Note: This list is in reverse chronological order, if ya keep scrolling all the way down you'll arrive back in time at 2016. For each restaurant I did a "mini review" based on whatever my knowledge level was.
If full reviews of new restaurants are of interest to you, def sign up for my blog.
Mahogany is really making the rest of Calgary jealous. Alvin's Jazz club is a new, yet classically old, lounge style restaurant in the deep south. The theme is New York in the 30's or 40's which means lots of elegant gold trimmings, martinis, and high quality dishes with a vintage feel (e.g. beef wellington, Waldorf salad, and meatloaf!).
If you're hungry, DO NOT look at the instagram page for The Goose. The menu items are seriously mouthwatering. They just opened and I haven't made it there yet, but it's on the to-eat-immediately list! This restaurant comes from the owners of The Beltliner and Gorilla Whale, so these people know food.
Sidewalk citizen, (yes the bakery!) now has a restaurant all of their own. And it's a cute one too. They took over the space in Central Memorial Park that used to be Provision. Their menu has an Israeli influence featuring dishes like falafel, skewers, fatoush, and even a fish plate! There's also a bakery on-site so don't expect to leave empty handed.
Guess who's back! After briefly dying in the summer of 2019, Home & Away has been returned to us in the late fall. Essentially, they got killed by 17th avenue taxes. So all they did was pick up and move to 1st SW (next to Leopolds & St. James). They did a bit of a menu refresh, they lost a few of their games and table space (i think) and they added a whole shuffleboard thang happening in their basement. I recommend you go get your shuffle on and also, get the wings, they are top-notch.
Located in the Grain Exchange building, Bar Patricia is a really great spot. It's small and hip and has a crazy feature wall (seen here with me standing in front of it). We went there on a Friday night and enjoyed a bottle of Rosé before heading off elsewhere. It was odd the place had so few customers on a Friday (see empty tables for reference), but it was also a dark winter night, hope they get the business they need to survive!
OMG. If you are into food porn then I have the place for you. D Spot is part of a national chain and they just opened a location on 17th ave. While I haven't made it there yet, I'm kicking myself because their food looks CRAZY. I think they put a full bucket of nutella on every crepe. It's redic. Apparently when you go plan to share a dish with 1 to 4 people because they are just that massive. Or maybe take it to go??
It used to be Paper Street and now it's Common Bond. I'm not even sure if they closed for renos or just did an overnight switch? Anyway, it happened really fast. Obviously more of a branding change than anything else, but cool, why not? Welcome to the neighborhood Common Bond. Keep an eye out for various events at Common Bond, they do date night movie packages with Globe Cinema and other fun stuff.
As you know, tacos are all the rage right now. Which is awesome, and so is the fact that a taco-centric restaurant exists in the heart of downtown. This new restaurant is attached to Foreign Concept (I mean physically, not emotionally, although there might be something there too). We went there and it was good, they had a variety of taco types and the typical margaritas you'd expect. I wasn't really blown away by it as I had hoped to be though, but maybe I just came in with high expecations.
Let me preface this by saying, I'm not a big brunch person, or even a breakfast person, I tend to skip this meal in favor of chugging 2-3 bailey-soaked coffees. #healthymornings For that reason, I think Queens is something I could be down with. The brunch menu looks spectacular and I love that it is simultaneously a morning cocktail bar. As someone who doesn't see the appeal of a shitty diner atmosphere, THIS is where I'd greatly prefer to spend my morning hours. So thank-you for treating us boujee breakfast people like the royalty that we are.
To be honest, I don't know much about this place. They are downtown and serve fancy french food. I'm not sure if it's more of a corporate lunch place or an evening dinner place. I do know that the chef is a big deal. His name is Duncan Ly and he is behind a number of restaurants in Calgary including Foreign Concept and Takori, so it is safe to say this place is worth a visit.
From the creator's of Modern Steak comes Modern Ocean! So. You KNOW it's gonna be good. You are probably familiar with their Stephen Avenue location, the main floor is now Modern Ocean and the 2nd floor is Modern Steak. AND, I happened to have a little bonus information on what's happening on a higher up floor shhhh....it's a patio level. I predict this patio will be epic in the summer, not in a trashy way, but I think they will accomplish a classy and beautiful restaurant patio that Calgary has never seen before. Yes, my expectations are high and I can't wait.
This new vegetarian restaurant seems to be quite a hit. I walked by it the other night and it was packed. Their menu does look delicious. I'm not a vegetarian but I do love me some good vegetables. Lots of shared plates if you want to do group dining. They also have an extensive cocktail menu and an impressive looking brunch.
Too cute! You can find Annabelle's kitchen in Marda Loop. While I haven't had the chance to visit, it looks casual and at the same time well put together. The menu is Italian focused. This restaurant is from the owners of Blink and Bar Annabelle (both on Stephen Ave). I must stop by for some pizza and pasta!
The website of Flores and Pine describes the restaurant as "elevated casual." I don't know what that means but I'm gonna assume it's something along the lines of "look how good I look without even looking like I tried." You know. I'm casually hot. Well, this casually hot restaurant is actually hot because I've heard a lot of people talking about it. The menu is "Canadian" which is amazing, but if you look through it, it just means a lot of variety haha. Variety that looks tasty though. Pizza, fish, pasta, steak, duck, scallops, it all sounds significantly better than Tim Horton's menu.
If I had to describe Taiko Canteen I would say it is multi-focused. It's about tacos sure, but it's also about local draft brews, but it's still more so about mini-golf. Wow. And I would left it at triple focused but now they have added a game show called Totsu. I don't understand the game show thing, maybe it's just a one-off, I guess we'll see. Also I only went to Taiko Canteen once and it was so packed with a line up, we gave up before getting drinks or tacos. I imagine it is less busy now but keep in mind it's a very small venue so it fills fast.
In the cutest little pink house in Bridgeland, lies a new restaurant that focuses on champagne and fondue. I haven't been yet, but who doesn't like bubbles and melted cheese? This is probably an exceptional place to go to for a celebration or for a totes adorbs girls night.
You had me at "Afghan street food modernized." I love trying new flavors and new flavor combos so I'm already sold. I haven't yet been to Taj Kabob because it's way in the NE, but everyday I see yet another delicious kabob pic on their instagram is another day I kick myself for not having tried it. (Whoever is doing their food photography should get a raise, cuz dammmmmn.)
You can now get New York style pizza right here in Calgary! It requires a drive to the NW or just do it the easy way and order delivery. Fun fact about me, I've never ordered delivery in my whole life, okay there might have been the odd time when me and my friends drunkenly ordered pizza, but I myself have never ordered food in. What can I say, I like going out!
So freaking good. Well I love BBQ so maybe I am biased... but these ribs...Hmm mm mmmmm mmm mm. Comery Block opened on 17th avenue in the summer and is the sister (brother?) restaurant of Hayden Block in Kensington. So the menus are very similar, as is the focus on whiskey/bourbon drinks. Pay attention to their daily specials for a deal or go to after 10pm for half price meat! See you there!
New from the Vintage Group (known for Bookers, Allora, Township24) is a fancy classic steakhouse down in Mahogany. I had the chance to visit Chairman's at a media event and it was BEAUTIFUL. Really. It didn't even look like a restaurant that belonged in Calgary, I thought I might have been transported to Vegas. Take a look at their website gallery or Instagram and you can see how super beautiful and high end it is inside. This would be an amazing place to hold a celebration or to have a romantic steak dinner with a mini-vacation feel.
Fun fact: I posted about the I Love You Coffee Shop on my instagram stories and it was the most clicked on thing I've ever posted to date. There was about 380 people who clicked it over 24 hours. THAT BE CRAZY. Not sure what the attraction was, perhaps just cuz it's weird ass name for a coffee shop and it just makes you want to learn more. Who are these people who made this weird coffee shop? What's it like inside? Is it as random as their instagram feed? And least important, how does their coffee taste? Well I'm down to find out. Gotta make it here pronto.
I don't know what a "Yardarm" is. And that's not just because I'm stupid, it's also because their website and instagram don't provide any insights. Go to their website, it's all black with a couple of quotes. So I have no idea what this place even does other than serve cocktails. I've heard good things though, from more than a few people. So whatever they are secretly doing is working and I am going in with high expectations for this mystery cocktail bar.
CORNBREAD! I know, that's not what you were expecting. But that's what I'm excited about trying here, but ALSO definitely the meat. Important to note, they have smoked vegetarian options to please our non-meat-eating friends. I haven't been there yet (it's down in Avenida) but I'll let ya know when I do. They pride themselves on being a big part of the community and I like that that is important to them. Always be a good neighbour!
Opened April 2 in the Fairmont Palliser hotel, this elegant dining room is a wonderful addition to Calgary's upper-scale lounge scene. The room is a renovated space that has maintained its old world pride and traditional feel while at the same time feeling new, shiny, and sophisticated. They are open all day and into the evening (breakfast until late night). This would be an interesting place to hang and check out the visiting hotel clientele. (not as a hooker, please don't go if you're a hooker, that's not what I meant).
Allora is an all-Italian restaurant that prides itself on its ingredients that are either local or shipped straight from Italy. Wow. Allora is all the way in Aspen Landing. which, I don't know where you live, but that is real far from me. I did make it there with a group of friends though and we thought it was worth it. We got awesome seats right in the middle of the restaurant which sounds like a not-awesome spot but it was actually perfect for a group setting. We had our own little area. I ordered pizza and pasta and both were REALLY tasty. My only complaint, (others had the same complaint) was that the dishes were very skimpy on the meat. I had a sausage pasta that was delicious but only maybe had 3 chunks of sausage in it. Same problem with my prosciutto pizza. Great taste, but skimpy. If they pumped that up, it would be worth driving back for.
Fresh on 17th ave, Lulu Bar is a great addition to the strip. (17th is basically the vegas strip of Calgary right?) Anyway, this pic is of me in front of their big, dramatic, statement-making door. I recommend you get the same pic when you visit. I only had a few small plates when I went and some delightful spiced/flavoured popcorn. Also the drink I got came in a cat shaped jar so that made me happy (cat lady here). Check out Lulu, I predict it will be a feature on Calgary's vegas strip for years to come. Update: I have since returned to Lulu to experience their epic patio. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. Two of us got addicted to the "Lamborghini Mercy" cocktails and the waiter said this was the most any table has every ordered Lamborghini Mercy's, so I feel like I left with some kind of record anyway.
Just stop already, you're too beautiful. Finesse is too beautiful and their desserts are too beautiful. Seriously. You can kind of see the wall of flowers in this pic but obviously you gotta go in person to see the whole place and all the amazing sweets. Tons of macarons! Macarons for days! I wish I was rich and I could buy all the macarons. That's really the only reason to be rich, that and expensive cheese. Anyway, enough about me, visit Finesse! It's on Macleod trail. Great for gifts or a party favor for your host.
What a great name to combine two great countries! This small place is in located in Chinatown (cuz why not?) and is ideal for lunch. It features fresh tacos with traditionally cooked mexican meats and spices. They also make fresh baked churros daily!! omg. Very tasty and more authentic compared to tacos from other places.
Opened March 5, 2019, Waalflower is the newest addition to the Bridgeland area. They have a selection of "pies" on their menu (which is hipster language for pizza I guess?) and some pastas and appies. So I guess it has an Italian feel. Mostly I was just really excited about the smoked pina colada I had which was a deeeeelight. I wish it was on special during happy hour because then I would have like 8 of them.
Officially open Feb 27th, Southland Yard is big on games, craft beer, and tasty pub food! The games they offer are bocce ball, foosball, shuffleboard, arcade games, pool, and board games. They are located down Macleod Trail (old Boomtown location). If you live in the area this would be a cool place to hangout after work or maybe weekends when I'm gonna assume it gets filled with hotel guests.
It's a coffee shop, its a gamer's home, it's your childhood happiness returned! Play old school games on old school game stations and/or get a delightful cup of coffee. Something different to do with your friends on a casual fun night out! Itz a meeeeee a Maaaaario! *falls off rainbow road*
Officially open Feb 5, 2019 this is Calgary's newest addition to the Mission area. It's small with a white, minimalist vibe but big on taste. As you might expect from the name the menu features a lot of cow-focused dishes (I made up the term cow-focused). It looks like a good place to take out a colleague on the company dime or maybe for a fun couple date. Currently they are only open for dinner service. UPDATE: NOW CLOSED. Unfortunately Le Petit Boeuf didn't make it.
Opened Jan 2 this looks like it could be the new hipster place to grab a latte and a buttery pastry while on a walk on 17th. It's small and cute and the staff are super friendly. They are known for their popular raspberry jam croissants. (Not only tasty but very instagrammable as well.) They also have a weekly cake feature. Really making me want to come back on a weekly basis...
Opened Dec 28, this pop-up restaurant is in the Meat & Bread space (in the Grain Exchange building downtown). The reviews and food pics I've seen so far are making me REALLY want to check it out despite their somewhat limited hours. I'm not sure if this place would be better for dinner and then you head out on the town, or maybe the reverse, go out for some drinks and then head here when you get hungry for a late night bite. Will research.
Opened Dec 18 2018, Bar Modern is the newest member of the Modern Steak family. And this family member is the classy, mildly drunk, younger better looking sibling. For real though, the bar looks beautiful, and I could see myself wearing uncomfortably high heels and drinking something strong whilst engaging in some hardcore Stephen avenue people watching. Classy and fresh, this is not your stuck up steakhouse. And I appreciate that they've done their own thing.
Brand new on 4th street, with a dark club feel, and slogan "we vibe hard," I think Mister Chen's is ready to party. And I like it. I haven't been yet but I like the concept. Its high energy, its happening, there's even a DJ on weekends. Not to mention the food and cocktails look really good. You know how some places that are more club than restaurant skimp on the food aspect, from what I can tell Mister Chen's is still very food-centric. The BEST OF ALL WORLDS. I MUST try it.
OMG! LOVE!!!!!! How's that for a review? Seriously though, I went to Greta for their opening weekend (Nov 10) and I liked everything about it. Its a retro games bar (think Mario cart) that is similar to The Rec Room in the NE, but its smaller, downtown, and has a food truck inside (that's right its inside! you have to go see) Also, because its a bar I'm pretty sure they don't allow children, which was an annoyance of The Rec Room. I REALLY liked Greta's Montreal smoked meat poutine and would return just for that. But I do need to go back just to play some games though. Oh and great cocktail menu. See. I told yah it was cool! You'll thank me later.
I am a sucker for a good deep dish pizza, not a crappy deep dish pizza cuz those are definitely around, but one with real solid ingredients. So I have high hopes for Pow Pizza. Admittedly I have not tried it yet, but rest assured I will ASAP. They are out of Renfrew and my understanding is they don't have a restaurant its take-out and delivery only. So much crust. So much sauce. So much excited.
What's most surprising about Luke's is how instagrammable it is. It is after all, just a Library kiosk, but maybe its because its in the new architectural wonder that is the downtown's new library. Or maybe its the healthy hipster menu items (luxury oatmeal and porridge options, I'm sorry but it doesn't get anymore hipster than that!!) I feel like it fits though, the library, the look, the trendy ultra cool minimalist Instagram pics. Def worth checking out. Also probably check out the Library too, obvi.
The Shoe & Canoe is an interesting place. While they are inside the Delta hotel, they seem to think the hotel is the background to the pub. And they might be right in that it could be a prominent place for lunch or for post-work drinks for the downtown crowd. Also unique about this establishment, the theme! Its all Canadian eh? I think that is awesome. Let's embrace Canadian culture and not in a cheesy moose meat maple syrup way, in a classy upscale hotel pub way. Nicely done.
I haven't been here yet but I like the concept! Its a lounge which means wine and comfy chairs, but they also do manicures, pedicures, and offer a espresso bar! I'm guessing it would really depend on the time of day you went... or would it..? Very curious to try it out. They also have daily specials like "Mani Mondays" in which you get 15% off your manicure. Awesome.
I like the King Eddy a lot. I just think it has cool vibes. It has neat history and its right next to the beautiful, new, shiny National Music Centre. And they host live music multiple nights a week. It just seems like a cool place to hang. Check their website before heading down, some shows have cover, but many are free!
"El Furniture Warehouse" or "The Warehouse Stephen Avenue" is a self-described dive bar. Its got old school party vibes, cheap drinks, and even cheaper food. They pride themselves on their $5.95 food menu. Obviously the portions are smaller and quality is not the greatest for that price, but hey, its $5! Ask your waitress for menu suggestions as I feel that's how you get insider information on what food is tastiest. I think the cocktail menu is the best part of this bar though, as its probably the cheapest place on Stephen Ave to get your sugary party drinks (margaritas, bulldogs, palomas, etc). Yum.
Another professional dive bar! This one has more Coyote Ugly feels I think. Actually, I may be wrong but I think they encourage girls to dance on the bar? This is probably a good place to watch a Flames game or just get randomly wasted on like a Tuesday. Expect loud music, drunk dancing, and ski shots. Also important, they pride themselves on their dog-friendly patio, good info for the summer. Full disclosure, I haven't been here, I think it might be for a younger (early 20's) crowd. Let me know if I'm wrong!
Gorilla... what now? So hipster. So Inglewood. So good though. I feel like everything is "fusion" now, its like weird combos are the norm and aren't weird anymore. At Gorilla Whale you can expect Japanese food, like freakin' good ramen, yakitori skewers, and sake but you can also get burgers and craft beer. Nice. Hot tip - try the Gorilla Rice. It was so good my boyfriend almost didn't let me have any. Jeeze. That's okay, I didn't want to share my ramen with him anyway.
Bullet train sushi!! The first in Calgary. How it works is you order your drinks from a server but your food order is entered by you via the tablet on your table. Then a short time later it zooms right up via bullet train! And repeat. And maybe repeat a few more times. (Note, its not an all-you-can-eat restaurant, its a sushi restaurant with a cool delivery system.)
So much delicious sandwich! This place is somewhat tucked away on 17th ave (its in the building attached to Blanco and Starbucks). I like that they also have a bit of a bar atmosphere serving draft beer and a having an awesome cocktail menu. Warning their sandwiches are VERY FILLING and you may inadvertently not leave room for their many delicious sides. Plan accordingly. I say eat more sides, take half of the sandwich to go.
I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty sad that Roosevelt is gone, I liked that place! But Hostel is probably more fitting for Calgary's current economy. Similar to a few other new bars, the intention is to be cheap, divey, and cool. The food menu is all $10 items and the drink menu features all $5 cocktails. I got my bill after a night of drinking with friends and I was like... what?! is this real? It was shockingly cheap and that NEVER happens. Haha. It's a pretty lively place and has a good atmosphere for watching hockey.
Super trendy and cute. This little shop in China town serves soft ice cream in fish-shaped waffle cones. They offer some usual flavours: Matcha, Pandan, and Red Bean. They also have vanilla if you're not feeling too adventurous. Trust me, all the flavours are yummy though. You also get your choice of topping(s) like sour candies, Oreos, Teddy Grahams, sprinkles or wafers. And be sure to add a toasted marshmallow for extra pretty instagram pics.
So retro cool. The concept of this bar on 17th is to offer up some awesome game time along with delicious sandwiches. I'll confess I haven't yet had a chance to visit but I've heard good things and I know it was quite busy when it first opened. Seems like it would be a good time!
This is the sister bar (brother? cousin? some kind of relative) to Cleaver. Actually its probably best described as the neighbour bar because they are right beside each other. The main food they serve are are high end tacos, think soft shells filled with lamb shoulder or pork belly. Yummmmmy. They also have an awesome craft cocktail menu with drink names like Pablo Escobar and Peruvian Marching Powder. How can you not want to try them all?? Be sure to visit before 7 or after 9 for their happy hour prices.
The Wednesday room went full out on its theme "The Shining." The rich 70's decor creates a luxurious lounge experience. There's a lot of burnt orange. Its awesome. I love orange. I also love their drink menu which has a full list of movie-inspired cocktails. Red Rum anyone? Note that this place is very popular, especially with the after-work downtown crowd so make a reservation!
Chinese food, but fancy. Let's face it a lot of Chinese restaurants are basically interchangeable. Two Penny did their own thang. The atmosphere is classy and Asian chic. The food focuses on small portions of top quality and the drinks are strong and unique. For a restaurant experience stay upstairs, for lounge/bar vibes go downstairs. They also have comedy on Thursdays, which is a weird choice for the venue, but I like it.
I have yet to visit Dark Table and I'm really mad at myself for not prioritizing this in my life! I have heard really good things about what a special experience it is. While the entrance area is lit, when you are guided to your actual table you will be in complete darkness for your whole dining experience. Whoa. So cool. Also super cool, all the wait staff are visually impaired so they are uniquely skilled in leading guests through the experience. I think that really adds to the learning and understanding of what it would be like to be visually impaired. Great idea all around.
I haven't been to Cardinale, which is silly because it has an easily accessible location right next to Cowboys Casino. It's small, intimate, and specializes in trendy, strong drinks. They are known for their delicious Italian food and I feel like this would be a great place for a date, maybe not a first date, but like a more intimate 2nd or 3rd date. Maximum romance.
Ugh, I am mad I haven't been here either. That picture of the giant cheese wheel alone has me sold. It also has kind of a speakeasy feel because it is hidden inside Una Takeaway on 17th ave. Its like Una's secret baby restaurant. They are big on Italian food and tapa-style menu items. Personally, I told my boyfriend, this may be good good choice for our Valentine's dinner. *hint* *hint* So MAYBE I'll be checking it out soon after all.
This is a young SAIT graduate success story. Karen Kong is the owner/head baker for the amazing Butter Block. She started it because of her passion for baking and I'd say her passion shows in her high quality work. The bakery specializes in croissants but offers a few other items as well. Try their sweet stuffed croissants, made to order and life-changing!!
I really like this place. I do extra love Indian food though so I might be biased??? To be fair, in my mind this food isn't as traditional Indian as what you might be familiar with. Instead its hmmm more modern? More hip. Wow these are bad explanations. I'm sayings its good, but less authentic in my uneducated opinion. The Kati rolls are AMAZING. Also they have a late night happy hour that is extremely well priced. Cheap drinks and eats. Oh and really unique decor. Highly recommend.
Ox Tapas is the newly renovated Ox & Angela. While I went to Ox & Angela a number of time's I'll admit I haven't gotten around to visiting this newer version. I did like it before so I'm assuming they kept all the best parts (lots of tasty tapas and warm atmosphere) and added some more good stuff. From the photos the decor looks much more Spanish inspired.
For a place that opened 2 years ago I find people are still talking about it a lot. The food is modern Asian fusion. The small or large Korean and Vietnamese plates are meant to be shared and I could see this being a great place for group dining. Cuz I mean, you're really going to want to try everything. The lounge side has laid back vibes and warm decor. A good choice for a date or small group of friends.
Full disclosure I haven't made it here yet. I've been meaning to but its kinda on the other end of downtown from where I live... but I'll get there soon dammit. Friends of mine have given me very positive reviews though. It has kind of hipster vibes and an interesting drink menu featuring cocktails, wine, beer and even sake. Seems very cool and like the in place to have been. (Guess I'm not cool, as usual).
Bar Von der Fels is small, really small. That might have something to do with why its always so busy. They are on OpenTable so I would say make a reservation. Its a wine bar so that's their specialty, they do have a food menu as well but it's small and I'm guessing based on one's choice of wine! Has a rich intimate feel. Good for an intimate date or maybe some good convo with your bestie.
Ten Foot Henry, Ten Foot Henry, Ten Foot Henry. Jeeze, people are always talking about this place even though it opened up 3 years ago now. I think that means it's good. To be honest, I haven't made it there yet. I've tried to but I'm dumb and don't always think ahead to make a reservation. Anyway, the food is "vegetable forward" meaning, its not vegetarian but the vegetables are the highlight of their dishes. I think that is a great idea and indeed it seems that people are loving it.
While I update my website pretty regularly, the fastest way to get the most interesting info is to have me send it right to you. Sign up below and you'll hear about local restaurants and Calgary fun.
...but only if you're up for some Calgary food adventures