Lonely Mouth Bar, a Japanese-inspired restaurant that specializes in sake, is one of the hottest new spots in Calgary.
It’s also one of our favourite places along the vibrant 17th Avenue.
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This swanky spot is a fresh concept for the YYC dining scene, located at 528 17th Avenue SW.
The interesting name stems from the notion that “when you’re not hungry, but you eat because your mouth is lonely.”
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The room is beautiful, the sake list is likely the best in the city, and the food is inventive and delicious.
We were recently lucky enough to check this spot out and get the full experience of the super popular bar and eatery.
As soon as we sat down we were offered oshibori hot towels to clean our hands. Each one is infused with essential oils made by local purveyor Riley Carlson, who also makes the candles that light up the space, and he even bartends as well.
That’s not the only locally sourced product that makes this restaurant so special.
If you order the sake, which you absolutely should, you’ll then be offered a tray of hand-crafted o-choko’s made by Calgary-based artist Noah Haruki. Each one is entirely unique and adds to the tradition and the fun of dining here.
The entire sake list is also run by Amanda Jansen who has been studying sake since 2011. She has earned several impressive designations in her career, including Advanced Sake Professional (Japan, 2016), WSET3 Sake (San Francisco, 2019), and Sake Scholar (Brooklyn, 2019).
There are so many different ways to approach the menu here, and sharing is always best.
Made up of salty snacks, hand rolls, udon, tempura, meat and fish, and sweet things, you really can’t go wrong. Just show up hungry as we did.
We started with the miso turnips with toasted sesame (a great palate cleanser), pickled cucumber with ginger dressing, the outstanding Brussels sprouts served okonomiyaki-style, and the table favourite, the bluefin tuna tartare.
This tartare dish is layered with avocado, tuna, and a miso emulsion and then served with udon crackers.
We also got two of the many hand rolls — cucumber and shrimp.
For a main, we had the miso cod, prepared with a sake marinade, radish mizuna salad, and a delicious goma dressing.
We also got the udon, which very well might be the signature dish at Lonely Mouth.
This kake udon is made with udon, dashi, scallion, togarashi, yuzu zest, and a tempura kasu. The noodles are prepared in-house every single day. We all loved it.
The cocktails were a huge hit too if sake isn’t necessarily your thing.
The Lonely Mouth Sour, made with shochu, Midori, yuzu, lemon, and egg white, tastes exactly like Rockets the candy and it looks pretty spectacular too.
The decor and design of the room are warm and with wood detailing and comfortable booths in this split room, it feels like a countryside restaurant just outside of Tokyo. The summer patio manages to combine that vibe with the excitement of 17th Avenue for a truly one-of-a-kind YYC experience.
If you haven’t already made it to this spot and fallen for it, now is the time to finally go and check it out.
Address: 528 17th Avenue SW, Calgary