62 things to eat and drink in Calgary before you die

Sure, the Stampede barrels into town every year and shakes things up in Calgary with its crazy, greasy, deep-fried fair food. And while the rest of the year we know Cowtown is big on its beef, there is still an ever-expanding food scene in Calgary that is dishing up a diverse array of delicious eats.

Need help navigating the food and drink scene in Calgary? Consider this your bucket list. Here are X things to eat and drink in Calgary before you die.

1. Breakfast poutine at OEB

Wake up and taste the deliciousness at OEB, where they kick off the morning meal in a big way with their signature Breakfast Poutine. Hello, sunshine.

2. Mezcal flights at Anjeo

Get to know tequila’s smokier cousin, mezcal, through Anejo’s an impressive roster of styles and brands available to taste, as well as their great cocktail menu. Go for a flight of mezcal to really sip and savour.

3. Grilled Cheese at Janice Beaton Fine Cheese

Janice Beaton offers three different takes on the classic grilled cheese sandwich, all served with coleslaw. It’s hard to go wrong with a classic, but you can also go wild with her “Whim of the Week.”

4. Caesar from Caesar’s Steak House

What’s in a name? Well, at Caesar’s Steak House, the answer happens to be a drink. Their Bloody Caesar dates back to 1972 and their opening.

5. Flapper Pie at Blackfoot Truckstop

Flapper Pie is what the 24-hour Blackfoot Truckstop diner is known for; it’s a Canadian creation marrying custard and meringue topping.

6. Prime Rib from Smuggler’s Inn

In the biz for over 40 years, Calgarians have long loved Smuggler’s Inn, and they are well-known for their Prime Rib.

7. Cheezy Waffle Sandwich from Waffles & Chix

Find this restaurant on wheels and order up Waffles & Chix: Southern fried chicken, creamy coleslaw, and maple syrup, sandwiched between two cheese Brussels waffles.

8. Hot Dog from Tubby Dog

Tubby Dog is the stuff legends are made of. Hot dogs are at the core of this well-loved late night hangout in Calgary, and you can load up on the grease and good times into well past the witching hour.

9. Milkshakes at Peter’s Drive In

This Calgary institution is known for their huge menu of flavours, and you can combine them to make your own flavour sensation. On the list are things like Toasted Marshmallow, Watermelon, Licorice, Oreo, Mango, Mint, Root Beer, Grape, Lemon, and so many more.

10. Sushi pizza at Cafe 100%

Wrap your head around this: This Hong Kong-style cafe serves pan-Asian tapas, including a sushi pizza. Yeah, you gotta try it.

11.  Tacos from Native Tongues

Tacos, on tacos, on tacos. #yyc #yyceats #yycliving #capturecalgary #yycfood #bmexfamily

A photo posted by Native Tongues Taqueria (@nativetonguesyyc) on

This modern taqueria has won over Calgarians thanks to their authentic and delicious assortment of tacos.

12. Fried chicken at Cluck n Cleaver

Hit up this newer Calgary joint for killer Southern-style fried chicken and all the sides.

13. Do You Dare? Pizza at Earth Cravings

Do you dare eat crickets on your pizza? Earth Cravings wants to know. This unique pizza pie comes topped with tomato sauce, wagyu beef pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese. And did we mention the crickets?

14. Sandwiches at Peppino

Ciao bella! Peppino is a well-known staple for affordable sandwiches and deli-style eats. Enjoy signature sammies, like their Artichoke Turkey, Capicollo, Chicken Parm, Hot Beef N’ Onion, and more at this Kensington staple spot.

15. Chili Bacon Calamari at Wurst

You can go the full Bavarian at Wurst, but one of their best appetizers is their Chili Bacon Calamari (made with double smoked bacon, kale, pickled hot peppers, lemon aioli, and marie rose). Grab some beer to cool your mouth down.

16. Doughnuts at Jelly Modern Doughnuts

Fancy donuts #jellymodern #donuts #carrotcake #peanutbuttercup #maplebacon #omnomnom #calgaryeats #yyc

A photo posted by Victoria Stowe (@vicstagram01) on

Considered Calgary’s “fancy” doughnut outpost, Jelly Modern is a must-try for their fun flavours and visually stunning sweet creations.

17. Cheese Buns from Glamorgan Bakery

Cheese buns! Cheese buns! Cheese buns! Need we say more?

18. Parlour Gin from Eau Claire Distillery

This medium, A London-dry style gin was the second spirit released from Eau Claire Distillery. Enjoy its big flavours at home with your own mixers, or in a cocktail.

19. Jerk Chicken Sandwich from Butcher and Baker

Head to this newer sandwich shop to try their Jerk Chicken sandwich, made with 12 hour slow-cooked jerk chicken, lime slaw, and mango salsa, piled on a rustic artisan baguette.

20. Frozen Hot Chocolate at Fiasco Gelato

A signature flavour from Fiasco Gelato’s lineup of artisanal gelato, the Frozen Hot Chocolate tastes just like the real (hot) deal, and even comes with marshmallows.

21. Fritters at Chicken on the Way

You can’t miss the giant chicken outside Chicken on the Way, but if you overlook the sides on their menu (which is so much about the fried chicken, obvs) you’ll miss their corn fritters. Don’t be silly. Get them.

22. French Toast Fondue at The Bro’Kin Yolk

There’s a lot to love at breakfast time at this Calgary spot run by brothers (get it, “bro”-kin?), but if you head to the sweeter side of the menu you’ll find creative dishes like their French Toast Fondue.

23. Ice cream at Village Ice Cream

Handcrafted small batch ice cream is a real treat, and Village’s 10 core flavours can’t be beat. Maple Pecan, Guides Mint, Earl Grey Tea or Cardamom might tempt you, or maybe you’re a purist and would prefer Strawberry or Chocolate.

24.  Ginger Beef from The Silver Inn

Was Ginger Beef invented in Calgary? Calgary sure likes to think so. Check it out at The Silver Inn.

25. Naacos from the Naaco  truck

So a taco walked into a naan…and the result is the wildly coloruful creations of Naaco’s truck.

Editor’s note: Naaco Truck has since closed down.

26. Cal-Rito burrito from Bento Burrito

Sushi meets Mexican: Bento Burrito found a way to combine these two cuisines, pairing sushi rice with smoked salmon, crab, pickled veggies, cilantro, and avocado wrapped in a flour tortilla. Customize with the protein of your choice.

27. Spicy Chorizo Pork Burger at Blue Star Diner

You may already know and love Blue Star for their fab brunches (hello, Stuffed French Toast), but this farm-to-table modern “diner” also makes great stuff in the evening. Their Spicy Chorizo Pork Burger (Broek Farms chorizo & ground pork, sautéed balsamic onions, granny smith apples, bacon, Sylvan Star peppered gouda, lettuce, tomato & chili mayo) is one such standout option.

28. Eggs Benny Poutine at Naina’s Kitchen

Wake up and taste the sunshine with Naina’s Eggs Benny Poutine. It’s fries loaded with poached egg, ham, mozzarella, and–of course–Hollandaise sauce. Yes, please!

29. BBQ Pulled Pork Hash at Diner Deluxe

Calgary doesn’t mess around when it comes to breakfast, and neither does Diner Deluxe, where breakfast is the start. Their BBQ Pulled Pork Hash is one of their “Skillet” options, served with their house potatoes and poached eggs. Good morning, indeed.

30. Coffee at Phil & Sebastian

Keep it simple.

31. Marshmallow Mermaid Pie at Pie Cloud

There’s a reason why this concoction resides on the section of Pie Cloud’s menu they call “sublime.”

January 13, 2017 – Editor’s note: Pie Cloud announced on January 10 that they have permanently closed. More details here.

32. Chicken Tandoori Pizza from Awesome Kitchen

This slice joint is a bit of a cult favourite in Calgary thanks to its specialty offerings, including Chicken Tandoori Pizza.

33. Merguez N Eggs at The Beltliner

Start your day off with this hearty, rich, dish that includes Merguez sausage, stewed tomatoes, onions, pepper, yogurt, preserved lemon, and poached eggs.

34. Duck Fat Fried Brussels Sprouts at CHARCUT Roast House

First of all, it seems criminal to pick just one thing at CHARCUT. You can get a great deal by hitting them up at lunch time, or join them for dinner and try their meat-centric menu of elevated roast house classics. Their Duck Fat Fried Brussels Sprouts, though, truly standout as more than just a side.

35. Bread at Sidewalk Citizen

“In Bread We Crust” is the motto at this Calgary bakery, and it’s bread at which they excel. Grab a loaf to go, or loaf around at the cafe and pick out a sandwich using their bread as a vehicle.

36. Seasonal Beers at Big Rock Brewery

Big Rock has been brewing in Calgary since the 1980s. They have several staple brews, but it’s always fun to see what the brewmaster has come up with for the season.

37. Handmade Crispy Braised Beef Tongue Gyoza from Shokunin

A dish like Shokunin’s Braised Beef Tongue Gyoza exemplifies the Japanese craftsmanship of this popular spot.

38. Pork W/Mac Sandwich at Chachi’s

Chachi’s is a sandwich staple in Calgary. It’s hard to single out just one from their menu of excellent options, but for something truly decadent, their Pork W/Mac offers pulled pork, sweet chili BBQ sauce, and mac and cheese.

39. Chili Goma Ramen at Shiki Menya

Plenty of ramen options are available at Shiki Menya, whether you’re choosing from the Classic or the New School column. They are known for their Chili Goma Ramen, which is served with nego, chopped pork, menma, mustard green, sesame, peanuts and cashews.

40. Falafel Quesadillas at The Coup

#falafelquesadilla #coconutbacon #vegan #vegetarian

A photo posted by Beatriz Gomez (@beagomezd) on

Calgary’s premiere vegetarian restaurant has a playful set of menus for all meals of the day, but their filling and fun Falafel Quesadilla is always a favourite with fans. They also happen to have some gorgeous cocktails.

 41. Pho from Pho Dau Bo

Considered one of Calgary’s best Vietnamese spots, it’s no wonder people flock here for their pho. With over a dozen options on their menu, you have your pick of all sorts of ingredients in this traditional, warming noodle soup.

42. Lemon Cream Cake from Brûlée Patisserie

This local patisserie hopes you’ve saved room for dessert. The Lemon Cream Cake is divine.

43. Chef’s Tasting Menu at Rouge

It’s hard to beat the historic setting of Rouge, the beautiful red home that once belonged to A. E. Cross. Treat yourself to the Chef’s Tasting Menu to eat the full range of the adventurous, elegant, and seasonal foods coming out of this award-winning kitchen.

44. Sunday Supper at Model Milk

Revive the classic family Sunday evening meal at Model Milk, one of Calgary’s modern greats. For $40 per guest, dine family-style (of course) on three courses of seasonally-driven special dishes.

45. Tiki Pizza at Una Pizza + Wine

This “California-inspired” pizzeria handily holds the hearts of pizza loving locals and visitors alike for their topping-laden creations. They don’t take reservations, and they serve pizza until it runs out. The Tiki is their version of a Hawaiian (prosciutto cotto, shaved pineapple, san marzano tomato sauce, friulano, jalapeno oil) but keep your heads up for their daily special.

46. Lime Square at Alforno Bakery

This recently opened bakery cafe from Calgary’s Teatro Group has made fast friends with visitors who are enjoying their sweet and savoury selections. But their Lime Square is what has so many guests shouting with glee, though we couldn’t fault you for falling in love with their macaron or Opera cake.

47. Montreal Smoked Bacon Eggs Benedict at Belmont Diner

This Marda Loop staple specializes in Eggs Benedict, so it would be rude not to order a plate. For a gratifying meal be sure to request the Montreal Smoked Bacon Eggs Benedict, which comes on a grilled croissant with a side of hash browns.

48. Mama’s Meatloaf at Sploumbo’s

Calgary’s favourite Italian deli, Spolumbo’s offers a range of delicious, wallet-friendly sandwiches. Choose from hot Italian-inspired subs, like “Mama’s Meatloaf,” or panini filled with cold cuts of meat.

49. Chef’s Tasting Menu at River Cafe

Enjoy the seasonal spoils served up as part of the River Cafe’s Chef’s Tasting Menu at this charming river side eatery.

50. Original Alley Burger at Alley Burger

With burgers comprised of local natural pork and roasted garlic sausage patties, Quebec cheese curds and piri piri aioli, it’s no wonder why Calgarians are excited to see Alley Burger back in operation.

 51. Moo Moo Lemon at Tuk Tuk Thai

Composed of barbecued pork shoulder and sautéed shallots doused in a sweet-and-sour lime chill dressing Tuk Tuk Thai’s Moo Moo Lemon is a must-order.

52. New York Strip at Vintage Chophouse

Craving red meat and in particular a marbled New York Strip steak? Head straight to the Vintage Chophouse.

53. The Big Cheese from Cheezy Bizness

Track down this roving food truck for delicious grilled cheese. Wrap your hands around the Big Cheese, a greasy and delicious grilled cheese gourmet variation, composed of a pimento cheese, cheddar, and gruyere mix, dill pickles, and shaved red onion.

54. Banh mi from Thi Thi Vietnamese Submarine

Great for a quick lunch, this somewhat hidden no-frills eatery in Chinatown offers a variety of tasty, overloaded submarines. Fillings include pepper beef, chicken satay, a veggie blend, and sausage.

55. Lamb merguez and date meatballs from Vin Room

Vin Room may be famed for it’s huge selection of wine, but it also has a reputation for dishing up a range of tasty small plates, including the wildly popular lamb merguez and date meatballs.

56. Pita Pies from Beirut Bakery

Beirut Bakery “Pita Pies” are flat pies that come in either meat or cheese.

57. Bacon Cheese Burger at Rocky’s Burger Bus

Rocky’s unique burger bus is not only a bus, but also open year ’round. Hard to go wrong with a classic Bacon Cheese Burger here.

58. Macarons from Yann Haute Patisserie

Piled high in towers, turned into cakes, or just lined up prettily in a box, Yann Haute’s macarons are true gems.

59. Mr. Chicken at Holy Grill

Life is short, says the team at Holy Grill, so don’t waste your time on lousy fast food. Their Mr. Chicken sandwich (Mayo, bacon, roasted red peppers, 7oz sliced chicken breast, red onion, and tomato) is a great reason to slow down and savour your lunch.

60. The Spanish Table from Ox and Angela

Sample the very best of Spain at Ox and Angela via their Spanish Table option. For $45 per person, this family-style feast of flavours includes tapas like olives, croquettes, jamon serrano, and heartier fare like patatas bravas and meat dishes.

61. Gluten-Free Quiche from Higher Ground

Kensington’s beloved green-centric Higher Ground is a great place for some coffee and light breakfast or lunch fare. You’ll find their Gluten-Free Quiche on their Hot and Fresh portion of the menu.

62. Latte from Monogram Coffee

Another gloomy morning, but it’s FRIDAY! Come celebrate with us! 🙌🏽

A photo posted by Monogram Coffee (@monogramco) on

Coffee at Monogram is a beautiful thing.

Lindsay William-RossLindsay William-Ross
Jess FlemingJess Fleming

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