Calcutta Cricket Club: Inside Calgary's best Indian restaurant
Calcutta Cricket Club is one of the most well-known most-try restaurants on the iconic 17th Avenue.
Sandwiched between two fantastic restaurants that closed long ago (Anju and Cilantro), it can feel like this restaurant is on an island all on its own. There are many fantastic Indian restaurants in the city and this is our favourite. It’s hands-down one of the best dining experiences in YYC.
Inspired by the “cosmopolitan nature of Calcutta,” walking through the front doors here feels like stepping out of Calgary. Besides the aromas of the food, the decor is beautiful, from the hanging lanterns and umbrellas to the blankets draped over the seats to the stunning jungle cat in a jumping position behind the bar.
It’s a menu made up of classic dishes and flavours, like momos, tandoori meats, biryani, vegetables, and more, but with creative spins on each one. And yes, there is a butter chicken here.
Dished recently had the opportunity to try many of these dishes, all made to order and from scratch. Indian food is known for its complex stage cooking and doing it like this is hard but SO worth it.
The cocktail program here is also amazing, serving drinks like the saffron gin martini, mango lassi gin fizz, chai or sandalwood old fashioned, or several different forms of the classic gin and tonic, using Indian spirits.
We started with four different small plates.
The Chips and Curry (classic British chips with a fenugreek-cream curry sauce and added lamb), the chili chicken (a salty, sweet, spicy take on a hakka classic with fried and sautéed chicken in sesame, soy, and green chilies), the pork momos (dumplings stuffed with scallion, cilantro, and ginger served with chili oil and sesame soy sauce), and the paper chaat (spiced potatoes, sweet yogurt, tamarind, and mint chutneys, and fresh root vegetables).
The chips were outstanding because fenugreek cream curry is one of the most decadent sauces in any cuisine. The chili chicken tastes incredible and feels like a highly elevated take on classic comfort food. Dumplings are always a great choice and ideal for sharing, but the paper chaat was our favourite.
It’s hot and cold and sweet and soft and crispy and all of the ingredients used together like that felt fun and new and despite so much going on on one plate, it was fantastic.
The chutney taster, served with papadums and raita, is also a must because the different flavours of mint, pineapple, mango, and more can be enjoyed with each new dish throughout the dining experience.
From charred red Kuri squash to minced Seekh lamb kebabs, there are several options for meats straight off the grill. We had the marinated and grilled Amritsari prawn tikka served with herb chutney and root vegetables.
Out of the seven different curry options, we had three: beef kosha, shahi paneer, and butter chicken.
The beef kosha is a classic Bengali braised beef curry with caramelized onions, yogurt, and aromatic spices and was perfect for eating on its own and spooning over basmati rice.
Shahi paneer is served in creamy cashew and saffron curry with perfectly prepared pieces of paneer and pickled shallot to cut through the richness.
The butter chicken, which seems to be everyone’s favourite, is outstanding here. It can be easy to think of this as a generic dish, served bright orange and way too sweet, but Calcutta takes this one seriously, also making it from scratch the right way. This is the kitchen team’s take on the original 1950s recipe from Moti Mahal in Delhi. We highly suggest asking for extra sauce on the side, which is an option (thankfully).
The next time you’re craving Indian food, which for us is all the time and all of its sides of naan, rice, chutneys, and more, go to this spot that isn’t just amazing… but fun too.
Calcutta Cricket Club
Address: 340 17th Avenue SW, Calgary