A Calgary press trip invitation instantly brought one thought to my mind… mmmm steak. Yes, I’m a full-on carnivore and there’s nothing quite like Alberta Beef to get my stomach growling. Of course, dining in Calgary wasn’t the only thing on the agenda, but it was certainly at the forefront of my mind. So off to Calgary I went, in search of Alberta beef.
I didn’t realize that Calgary was such a foodie city. The number of unique restaurants, rooftop patios and food trucks astounded me, and beef was not the only star of the show. Our first stop was a Kensington area restaurant called Hayden Block, where the smell of smoked BBQ makes your mouth water before you even sit down. Whiskey aficionados would be impressed with the menu of over 100 types of the brew. I was content with a local lager, since whiskey isn’t my thing, but the vast menu was impressive.
The crowd pleaser was most definitely the food. Rather than order individual meals, we asked for a couple of platters to share. We were presented with ribs, brisket, bacon wrapped corn on the cob, corn bread and some veggies and salad sides. There were six people at the table and as much as we loved every bite, we couldn’t finish it all.
Our second day dining in Calgary began with a bicycle tour with Nomad Bike Tours YYC. We were guided through the extensive bike and pedestrian trails around the city, and arrived for lunch at the River Café. Located in Princess Island Park, this quaint restaurant is almost hidden by the trees and gardens.
The River Cafe has a rustic Muskoka feel to it, with the big stone fireplace and natural wood throughout. On a nice day you can take your meal as a picnic to eat in the park. Unfortunately for us, we had a little rain, so we opted for an indoor lunch. This ended up working to our benefit though, as we were treated to a complimentary cabbage soup made from locally sourced food.
The River Café prides themselves on their partnerships with local growers and producers, choosing only responsible and sustainable sources for their customers. Their exceptional care and pride extends to the plate with beautiful presentations and exquisite meals. Our bike ride continued when our stomachs were full, and our foodie tour continued the next day at Without Papers.
Calgary’s historic Inglewood is home to Without Papers Pizza. This unique pizza place offers a menu of creative pizza, as well as starters and desserts. I love a thin crust pizza from a wood burning oven, and that’s exactly what we were served. We chose to test a few different pizzas and each one was bursting with flavour. It is the type of place you can enjoy with your family or go for a pizza and beer with your friends.
Our last night dining in Calgary was celebrated in the East Village on the rooftop patio of charbar. Here we devoured four different types of tacos and a platter of nachos. The food was served family style and we quickly inhaled it all. The food was fantastic, the service was impeccable, the atmosphere was lovely and our view from the rooftop was of the river, but the most impressive thing about charbar is the collaboration they have within the Simmons Building.
A community gathering place and historic landmark, the Simmons Building is now home to charbar, Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters and Sidewalk Citizen Bakery. The three businesses provide one another with products and partner to bring the city a central location for all their culinary needs. I saw this type of community building and collusion throughout Calgary and it was a fitting way to end the press tour.
It was time to go home when I realized that I had been presented with so many incredible menu choices during my visit that I neglected to order a steak! I couldn’t leave Alberta without enjoying at least one steak, so I found a Chili’s at the airport, ensured they served Alberta Beef, and fulfilled my steak yearning before I flew home.