Donna Mac: Inside Calgary's incredible neighbourhood restaurant
Donna Mac is one of the best restaurants in Calgary.
It doesn’t matter if you’re going for brunch, lunch, dinner, or just drinks, this is a go-to spot for all types of occasions.
Because it has such a large, open, and bright room, it really does feel like a place you can just as easily go on an intimate date as you can book a table for a quiet evening with family. Bachelorette stop? Excellent idea too. It’s hard for a room to effortlessly capture all of the vibes, but Donna Mac does so because all of the elements work in harmony.
The sunny patio doesn’t hurt either, and neither does the open kitchen…or the exciting front bar…or the large back room that still feels like part of the rest of the dining room.
Sometimes it feels like Donna Mac, located at 1002 9th Street SW, can be a little bit overlooked. Downtown Calgary has so many amazing places to eat and drink, and with this spot just on the outer edges, there can be a lot of options between yourself and the dishes here. We are here to tell you menu and atmosphere make it a much easier decision when deciding where to go.
Drawing inspiration from all over the globe, the menu still feels celebratory and inspired by Canadian cuisine by using locally sourced ingredients.
The original cocktails and creative food are complimented even more so by the outstanding service with some of the best management in the city, led by the ever-present Julie Dalton.
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Dished recently had the opportunity to check out the modern restaurant, try out a few of the Instagram-worthy dishes, and enjoy watching the team at work while the busy room appreciated it all.
We started as everyone should, with the potato croquettes made with Appletree Cheddar, maple sugar, and smoked aioli.
The other starters we tried included the heirloom tomatoes on the vine with charred bread, an oyster Caesar, fried cauliflower, and a trio of the smaller version of the fried chicken sandwich, topped with gochujang hot sauce, lettuce, pickles, and mayo on a sesame brioche bun. The salad, even though it’s vegetarian, is actually better for it because it uses smoked tofu dressing, fried garlic, and pecorino romano instead. It was fantastic. Our favourite though? Surprisingly it was the fried cauliflower with whipped pimento cheese. Don’t sleep on it.
As for the mains, we ordered the spiced squash risotto and the Donna Mac & Cheese (clever). The risotto was autumn in a bowl, made with a base of butternut squash purée, whipped goat cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds, and arugula pistou. The pasta was steaming hot in a wonderfully creamy spiced sauce, made with shells (the best choice), and a topping of pork guanciale sourdough bread crumb.
We were SO full, but we were told the desserts were a must and once they came to the table we were so happy we went for it. We had the delicious (and adorable) lemon and earl grey mousse that came in a teacup and also the housemade carrot cake that could very well be the best in Calgary.
A few of the incredible dishes we didn’t try but wish we could include the beet pastrami sandwich, Mac burger, and the chorizo rigatoni.
The next time you’re feeling like trying comfort food that looks and tastes like elevated fine dining, check out this place. with a far-reaching menu for both lunch and dinner (with vegan options for those so inclined), Donna Mac is a bright and spacious food lover’s dream.
Donna Mac often has fun features, specialty bagels, and more, and remember it’s also one of the best brunches in the city too!
Address: 1002 9th Street SW, Calgary