Well another year is over and it is once again that time to pick our favorite restaurants for the year. Who would have thought that our number one pick for last year would have gone down in a blaze of self-destructive glory.

This years list proved to be the toughest selection ever. Mainly because what was new and exciting a few years ago has become the new norm. In the same way that hardwood and stainless steel have become the standard in new home and condo construction, great and tasty food has become the new norm on the Calgary food scene. So how do you pick the ten best when much like new homes, they are all nice? We think you have to look not only at what was new on the menu, but also what has been on the menu for years but that people keep flocking back to. So while tapas and small plates were definitely on the menu this year, so to was the resurrection of the steak house in Calgary. No, not new steak houses, the old ones, the ones that had been around forever but had seemingly been forgotten. Fortunately for them, the rise is small serving dainty food left a desire in Calgarians to get back to something hardy, something delicious, something that screamed Alberta. So don’t be surprised if you see some old favorites pop up on a list that in the past was filled only with the latest and greatest. Enjoy…


2012 Top Ten Restaurants

  1. Taste – #1 because they pushed themselves past their own limits this year. They were innovative/creative serving among other things horse (which was delicious).
  2. The District/Rhino – Once again chef Heather has proven that District and the Red Door Group have the foodie formula figured out, especially with the addition of the Rhino Smokehouse.
  3. Caesar’s Steak House – A major renovation at the Willow Park location proves that Caesar’s has staying power, and still by far the best steak in the city. This restaurant could easily be number one on the list.
  4. Cibo – Of all the new restaurants this year, Cibo is our pick. They have a great room, a great menu, and an almost family style menu that has proven popular in other foodie Meca’s
  5. The National – A combination of great beer hall and foodie haven
  6. Bolero – The ideal cross between the trendy and the classic, one part cutting edge, one part Calgary steak house, 100% Bazillion inspiration.
  7. Il Sogno – With Petite no longer in the picture we had to find a restaurant to satisfy our palate with complex well rounded flavors. Il Sogno is it. There is nothing on the menu that doesn’t have perfect harmonization of flavors.
  8. Model Milk – coolest table in the city and still some of the best food you will find in Calgary
  9. Redwater Grill – it is predictable, consistent, and tasty. Try the prawns with the affectionately nicknamed “crack sauce” (chili garlic sauce)
  10. Kinjo – Because there needs to be a Sushi place on the list, Kinjo’s atmosphere regardless of location is second to none.

Top Food Truck – Chef Mario’s Mobile Pizzeria

Best Burger – Five Guys

Best Poutine – La Belle Patate (Canmore)

Best Steak – Caesars

Best Tapas Menu – Taste

Best Spanish Restaurant – Ox & Angela

Best Venue – Cibo

Best Service – Redwater Grill

Biggest Wow Factor – Taste – serving horse

Best Food for the Money – The District

Best Lunch Menu – Tango Bistro

Best Furniture – Model Milk’s steel beam expandable table

Kinjo Sushi & Grill on UrbanspoonRedwater Rustic Grille Aspen on UrbanspoonModel Milk on UrbanspoonIl Sogno on UrbanspoonBolero Fire Grill on UrbanspoonNational Beer Hall on UrbanspoonCibo on UrbanspoonCaesar's Steak House on UrbanspoonThe Rhino Smokehouse on UrbanspoonDesign District Urban Tavern on UrbanspoonTaste Restaurant on Urbanspoon