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11 Exceptional NYE Meals in Calgary

By IAN DOIG

Best Calgary NYE Dining

Photo courtesy River Cafe

New Year’s Eve is one of the best nights of the year to indulge in the city’s red-hot restaurant scene. Reserve your table now for some of the year’s finest multi-course meals, the requisite bubbly and plenty of good cheer.

River Café
Its fishing lodge atmosphere, island park location and locally sourced Canadian cuisine make River Café one of the best places to spend a Calgary New Year’s Eve. The night features a six-course fish and game tasting menu ($110) with optional wine pairings ($60). Course options include Northumberland Strait lobster tortellini, beef tartare “caponata,” miso sablefish and bison tenderloin. Playful touches include the use of popcorn and horseradish “snow.” The meal wraps with a cheese selection and house-baked dessert. Reservations are a must.
•River Café, 25 Prince’s Island Park, 403-261-7670, www.river-café.com
Map and reviews

The Oak Room, The Rimrock
The Fairmont Palliser hotel is a Calgary landmark with a fine dining tradition that runs back to the city’s frontier days. New Year’s Eve dinner will be served at both of its dining rooms. The Rimrock and The Oak Room feature a five-course meal ($100) with optional wine pairing ($50). Cream of parsnip soup with smoked salmon and caviar is followed by a choice of seared Arctic char or filet mignon. For dessert, enjoy silky chocolate mousse passion fruit cake.

Jazz singer-songwriter Ellen Doty performs live in the Oak Room. Seatings are available from 5:30 pm through 9 pm. Reservations are recommended by phone or online for the Rimrock, while the Oak Room is first come, first served.
• The Oak Room, 133 – 9 Ave SW, 403-260-1219, www.fairmont.com
Map and reviews 

•The Rimrock, 133 – 9 Ave SW, 403-260-1219, www.fairmont.com
Map and reviews

downtownfood
The recent winner of the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Championship, Darren MacLean’s brash and delicious contemporary bistro cuisine is getting his downtown restaurant noticed. One of city’s hottest young chefs, his New Year’s Eve menu is suitably adventurous. The five-course early seating ($75) starts at 5:30 wrapping at 8:30. Dishes include soy sake cured salmon and braised beef ravioli with shaved truffles and a choice of lemon tart or red wine sorbet for dessert.

The evening kicks into high gear with a late seating at 8:30. This seven-course meal ($150 with wine pairings) includes a seasonal amuse bouche, smoked mushroom consommé with a 64 degree egg, lobster roe papardelle, sous vide wagyu beef and miso cured sablefish. Petit fours and champagne will be served at midnight.
•downtownfood, 628 8th Avenue SW, 587-353-3474, downtownfood.ca
Map and reviews

Rush and Vintage Chophouse
These downtown sister restaurants present pre-game express menus starting at 4 pm, with complimentary shuttle service to the Philadelphia Flyers versus Calgary Flames hockey game at the Saddledome. Once the hockey crowd has moved on, both will roll out special New Year’s Eve chef’s tasting menus as well as regular a-la-carte dining.

The Vintage Chophouse tasting menu ($85) opens with seared jumbo shrimp and includes beef tartare, prawn capellini and a main course beef duo of tournedos Rossini and braised short rib. Dessert is a chocolate trio.
•Vintage Chophouse, 320 – 11 Ave SW, 403 262 7262, www.vintagechophouse.com
Map and reviews

The pre-hockey seating at Rush ($50) includes a beef tenderloin salad, mackerel and mushroom soup with a main of wagyu ribeye and chocolate desert. The second seating ($90) also features the soup, salad and ribeye as well as pork belly, a foie and bone marrow dish, a lobster seafood broth and more.
•Rush, 100, 207 – 9 Ave SW, 403 271 7874, www.rushrestaurant.com
Map and reviews 

Yellow Door Bistro, Raw Bar and Chef’s Table
All part of the Hotel Arts group, these three top city restaurants present fun and delectable New Year’s Eve cuisine events. Yellow Door Bistro’s $75 tasting menu features optional wine pairings ($45, $70). The evening’s two staggered seatings start at 5 pm, and reservations are recommended.

Dinner includes oyster with pickled beet pearls, scallop and prawn civiche, as well as truffle and squab risotto. Choose between two entree options: Brant Lake waygu strip loin or chorizo crusted sable fish. For dessert, it’s chocolate or cheese.
•Yellow Door Bistro, 119 – 12 Ave, SW, 403 206 9585, www.yellowdoorbistro.ca
Map and reviews

Just down the hall in Hotel Arts, the freshly renovated Raw Bar by Duncan Ly gives Yellow Door dinner guests a post-meal party destination from 7:30 to 2 am. Live music performances by Amy Thiessen and Curtis Glas will be followed by turntablist DJ Mari. Both a welcome cocktail and midnight bubbly are included in the ticket price. Tickets can be purchased at the hotel for $50 plus $3.99 service fee or online at nyerawbartickets.eventbrite.ca. Hotel Arts guests and NYE Yellow Door patrons receive a $25 rebate. Raw Bar tickets are available at nyerawbartickets.eventbrite.ca.
•Raw Bar by Duncan Ly, 119 – 12 Ave, 403 206 9565, www.hotelarts.ca
Map and reviews

Chef’s Table in the Kensington Riverside Inn serves an early, four-course dinner ($85) with optional wine pairing ($35, $70). The meal opens with chestnut soup, moves on to poached lobster and Alberta beef tenderloin with chanterelles, truffles and gougère. Finish with baked Alaska. This is followed by a second seating ($105) with optional wine pairing ($45, $90) and the addition of a foie gras course.
•Chef’s Table, 1126 Memorial Dr NW, 403 228 4442, www.kensingtonriversideinn.com
Map and reviews 

[RELATED: A Guide To Calgary's Best Cocktail Lists]

Alloy
Its cozy elegance suits this special occasion to a tee. Alloy serves fine contemporary cuisine with the beauty and taste to match its sparkling decor. Chef and owner Rogelio Herrera’s five-course New Year’s Eve feast ($100) is both seasonal and bright. Introductory course options include oxtail consume and sundried tomato and feta cheese bread pudding. Third-course options include duck confit arancini and tuna tataki, while the heart-warming fourth includes sous vide beef tenderloin and seared scallop or roasted Cornish hen.
•Alloy, 220 42 Ave SE, 403-287-9255, www.alloydining.com
Map and reviews 

The Selkirk Grille
Celebrate the passing of 2013 in the warmth and casual elegance of The Selkirk Grille in the Haskayne Mercantile Block of Heritage Park Historical Village. The evening’s seven-course dinner ($89.95) riffs on Canadian comfort classics and includes gaufrette potato with smoked salmon, coppa ham wrapped monkfish and braised pork belly. Save room for the pumpkin-infused duo of chocolate-glazed cheesecake and spiced crème brulée with chocolate-dipped shortbread. Reservations are a must.
•The Selkirk Grille, 1900 Heritage Dr SW, Calgary, 403-268-8607, www.heritagepark.ca
Map and reviews

Bar C
The newest restaurant in the Canadian Resorts of the Rocky Mountains (CRMR) stable, Bar C puts a chic spin on locally sourced game-focused cuisine with a made-to-share sensibility. Its three-course New Year’s Eve dinner ($50) is available with pairings ($35) by CRMR’s own wine director. Entree options include roasted free-range chicken with chorizo, grilled bison rib-eye and vegetarian-friendly, slow-roasted stuffed tomato with quinoa, grilled veggies and almond romesco sauce. Parties of six or more diners will receive complimentary sparkling wine to toast the stroke of midnight. For reservations, e-mail bar-cmanager@crmr.com.
•Bar C, 340-17 Ave SW, 403-984-3667, bar-c.ca
Map and reviews

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