I'll be the first to say BEST restaurant is subjective. More accurately, I'd say some restaurants are better suited for certain occasions than others. There is good food everywhere, it's just a matter of choosing what food and atmosphere best fits the vibe you wanna set for the evening. That said, I get asked for restaurant recommendations Every. Single. Day. So here you go!
These hot spots always have a wait list. They aren't just the cool place to be seen though, the food is actually amazing. Worth the wait!
Smack dab in the middle of 17th ave, Una is Calgary's hottest pizza spot. They serve up thin crust pizzas that will make even deep dish fans weak in the knees. Try their mushroom pizza with truffle oil! Yummm. Note this place is always crowded and always has a line up and prices are not cheap for a thin crust pizza.
Mention "ramen" in Calgary and Shiki Menya will 100% enter the conversation. This hip place in Bridgeland is known for limiting the number of ramen bowls released daily and the long waitlist that results. Whenever I go I can't NOT get the Chili Goma. The broth, the noodles, the spicy level, everything is perfection!
Native tongues is known for it's small, juicy and flavourful soft tacos and delicious margaritas. I'd recommend going on a Tuesday for $2.99 tacos and ordering a mezcalgarita. As with others on this list, the usual warning applies - expect a waitlist for a table. However, there are often a few spots available at the bar.
Top service, outstanding decor, luxury food. These aren't for everyday. I mean, unless you are rich cuz then I'd say yes, DO eat here everyday.
Modern Steak has two locations, one in Kensington and one on Stephen Avenue. My fave is the Stephen ave location because of the rooftop patio with gorgeous views of the Calgary tower and downtown. Naturally the food is also spectacular. Highly recommend for a more extravagant night out.
Delicious! Alloy has been featured in Avenue Magazine multiple times as a top Calgary restaurant and for good reason. The food is spectacular and the drinks are really good. Be prepared to pay more for your dishes here, but trust me it is worth it. The beef short rib is to DIE FOR.
Chairman's is amazzzzing. It's stunning gold decor and big room, elegant atmosphere makes you feel you've left Calgary and been transported to LA, or I donno, somewhere that's not here. I would definitely return and would highly recommend for a fancy night out or to make a special occasion extra special.
These popular spots serve up family style dining or dishes that work best for sharing. (As in, you wouldn't order $17 worth of Brussels spouts just for yourself but when split with a big group, it just makes sense.) Plan your birthday, bar mitzvah, or divorce party here.
When you ask people about their favorite restaurants in Calgary it's only a matter of time before Ten Foot Henry comes up. Note that this restaurant is "vegetable-anchored" meaning that while they serve meat, vegetables are the main focus behind their menu offerings.
Sometimes less is best. These casual joints are a great place to chill with friends, take your parents or just have a low key but extremely tasty meal.
I love Bookers! I feel like their BBQ is a staple in my diet. Every time I go I get a hurricane and the burnt rib ends. They are so good it's hard to order anything else, but their tacos, nachos, ribs, sides, everything is amazing. You can't go wrong here. (Note Bookers is currently in the process of moving locations)
I am a person who is always down for a good sandwich. Alumni focuses in on what makes them the greatest! These aren't "light" sandwiches if that's what you're expecting, these are hearty, meal-sized sandwiches. And any sandwich shop that serves draft beer is A-okay in my books.
Calgary's pizza scene used to be lackluster, but in recent years the competition has really picked up, which really benefits us as the consumer! There are lots of good choices, but here are some faves.
Noble Pie started as a small pizza pop-up within Eighty Eight brewing but quickly took on a life of it's own. This New York style pizza is truly delicious. Expect big floppy slices of heaven. They now have their own digs downtown Calgary, you can't stay in but you can order pick-up or delivery.
Connie and John are famous local chef's who we already know because of Charcut, Charbar and Alley Burger. They've now added pizza to their repertoire, because why not? This pizza stands up the Connie & John's name. It's cheese and greasy in the best way possible. Get it to go from Charbar or pick-up from their new Blush Lane location in Marda Loop.
Who doesn't love tacos!? Hard shell tacos are old news as everyone wants delicate soft shell tacos that are filled with succulent slow cooked meats.
These brunch spots are so much more elevated than a traditional greasy diner experience. Don't forget the mimosa!
Calgarians are lucky because we have multiple coffee options that greatly exceed Starbucks.
...but only if you're up for some Calgary food adventures