As a travel lover, traveling for work is the best kind of travel. When I went to Calgary, Alberta to attend a conference, I opted to stay for the weekend to explore what the city had to offer. Between exploring the diverse neighbourhoods of Calgary, I was also busy stuffing my face full of tasty meals. So here goes – where to eat in Calgary in three meals!
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Note: Because I was staying at an Airbnb (get $40 USD credit on your first trip of $75 USD or more by booking here) and had access to a kitchen, I opted to make my own breakfast every morning and didn’t get a chance to try out any breakfast fare while I was in Calgary. So instead, I’m going to suggest two lunch places – I really couldn’t make up my mind between them anyways. They were both very tasty.
Lunch Option #1: Grumans Catering and Delicatessen
I love me a delicious Montreal smoked meat sandwich. A really good Montreal smoked meat sandwich is hard to come by in Vancouver so a visit to Grumans was a must for me. Even though the deli’s main location is in downtown Calgary, even on a weekday, the streets were quite quiet and empty. Because its entrance is set back from the sidewalk with a parking lot in between (if you’re driving, don’t park here!), it can be easy to miss.
Inside, lining the walls were family photos of the Grumans and sports paraphernalia lending the whole restaurant a homey and rustic feeling. Also decorating the walls were witty quotes and food sayings which as a word lover, I couldn’t help but admire.
While I went straight for the Montreal smoked meat sandwich, also on the menu were other staples of American Jewish cuisine like latkes, chopped liver, knishes, kosher all beef hot dogs and rugelach.
The sandwich did not disappoint. It was incredibly filling and was more than enough food for me. The smoked meat was flavourful and juicy. The mustard provided the perfect bite and accompaniment to the meat. Coleslaw came on the side as well as and your choice of potato salad or French fries and I opted for the latter because I’m a fry gal through and through.
230 11 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2G 0X8
Lunch Option #2: Katsuten Japanese Restaurant
The first time I had really good tonkatsu, I was in Japan. While you can find it on the menus of Japanese restaurants in Vancouver, they seem like an afterthought and not really the star of the show and there is no dedicated tonkatsu restaurant in the city.
So when I read reviews staying “best katsu I’ve had since Japan” and “best katsu I have tasted in Canada” I had to check out this place. The restaurant only had a handful of tables and shortly after I was seated, there was soon a line out the door and I knew I was in for a good meal.
Katsu means that the food is breaded in panko and deep fried. You can have pork (tonkatsu), chicken (torikatsu) or beef (gyukatsu) to name a few. Within the pork category you can break it down depending on the cut of the pork whether it be lean or fatty.
Their menu wasn’t huge – a couple varieties of katsu, rice bowls and udon bowls. I opted for their tenderloin tonkatsu. When it came to the table, it was presented exactly the same as I had seen in Japan: on top of a metal riser, with a cabbage salad, and a bowl of rice on the side. I was also provided a bowl of miso soup to start.
That first bite into the tonkatsu was like heaven. It was so tender and juicy, yet crisp and flaky on the outside. The perfect combination.
3220 28 St SW
Calgary, AB T3E 2J6
You can’t go to Alberta without having some of the famous Alberta beef. There are numerous steakhouses in Calgary so there are lots of options. Because I was in town for a conference, I let my coworker, a Calgary local, decide on the restaurant and she made a great choice with Saltlik.
There are a number of cuts of steaks from sirloin to striploin to rib-eye. Also on the menu were a variety of pastas, seafood, burgers and salad, but really you’re in a steakhouse and should probably be having steak! In the end, I opted for a filet mignon with a classic Bearnaise sauce. Accompanying it was a loaded baked potato.
This was easily one of the best steaks I’ve had in my life. Granted, I don’t eat a ton of steak – maybe one a year if that and almost never at a restaurant so this was definitely an indulgence.
The only drawback was that service was a bit slow. We would be hunting for our server who always seemed to disappear.
101 8 Ave SW
Calgary, AB T2P 1B4
Dessert: Mango Mania
While not strictly dessert, the drink I got from Mango Mania might as well have been dessert. As a certified mango lover, this was heaven. There were so many choices to pick from. Each item, of course, had mango as it star.
In the end, I opted for the coconut mango drink which combines two of my favourite flavours. The drink is made with mango juice over a coconut milk slush before being topped with mango chunks.
While it was light and refreshing to start, by the time I got half way through the drink it was getting to be overly sweet. Definitely share this one!
1115 Centre St N
Calgary, AB T2E 2R1
So there you have it, the best of everything I ate and where to eat in Calgary. If you’re looking for a good grocery store to pick up snacks or a quick meal, look for a Sunterra Market. Their hot food section looked amazing, but I was there for dessert which was super tasty.
Have you been to Calgary? Did I miss any must eat places? Let me know in the comments below.