By RACHAEL FREY
Watch the Fourth Street passers-by from Vin Room’s rooftop patio. (Photo: Jason Dziver)
At the first sign of warm weather, Calgarians head to restaurant patios, even while wearing shorts, sandals—and a parka. While there are far too many excellent outdoor favourites to mention, here are a few great options for…
… PEOPLE WATCHING
Ox & Angela: See and be seen at this authentic Spanish tapas restaurant, which is beloved for its expertly prepared menu and cocktails.
• 528 – 17 Ave SW, 403-457-1432, oxandangela.com
Vin Room: All sorts of fascinating people hang out in Mission, and you can watch them parade past from Vin Room’s rooftop patio while sampling 100 wines by taste.
• 2310 – 4 St SW, 403-457-5522, www.vinroom.com
Murrieta’s Bar & Grill: Get a bird’s eye view of downtown Calgary’s busiest pedestrian walk along with fresh, creative West Coast dishes.
• 808 – 1 St SW, 403-269-7707, www.murrietas.ca
… A SECLUDED OASIS
Bonterra Trattoria: You’ll forget you’re not in Tuscany when you step into this rustic, vine-covered courtyard and taste the sophisticated Italian fare.
• 1016 – 8 St SW, 403-262-8480, bonterra.ca
Alloy: Sample Mediterranean and Asian flavours in the dappled sunlight on Alloy’s lush and peaceful patio (there’s plenty of parking space too).
• 220 – 42 Ave SE, 403-287-9255, www.alloydining.com
Raw Bar by Duncan Ly: Luxurious, poolside dining is a reality in downtown Calgary, elevated by Chef Ly’s award-winning “Vietmodern” cuisine.
• 119 – 12 Ave SW, 403-206-9565, www.rawbaryyc.ca
… A SPECTACULAR VIEW
Oak Tree Tavern: This friendly pub has an excellent rooftop view overlooking the Kensington neighbourhood, the Bow River, and the downtown skyline.
• 124 – 10 St NW, 403-270-3347, www.oaktreetavern.com
Boxwood Café: The beautifully landscaped, Victorian-style Central Memorial Park is home to this modern café featuring rotisserie meats.
• 340 – 13 Ave SW, 403-265-4006, www.boxwoodcafe.ca
The Lake House: The patio juts out over the glassy surface of Lake Bonavista, and the sights coming out of the kitchen are just as appealing.
• 747 Lake Bonavista Drive SE, 403-225-3939, lakehousecalgary.com
… DRINKING CRAFT BEER
Wild Rose Brewery: Go straight to the source at this small-batch, Alberta-exclusive brewery, which also boasts a large, sunny patio and tasty menu.
• 4580 Quesnay Wood Dr SW, 403-720-2733, www.wildrosebrewery.com
National on 17th: Everyone from hip artists to oil execs hangs out on the National patio, and not just for the large selection of North American craft brews.
• 550 – 17 Ave SW, 403-229-0226, ntnl.ca
1410 World Bier Haus: Look down on the commoners from their rooftop perch while sampling unusual beers from all over the world.
• 1410 – 17 Ave SW, 403-229-1410, www.1410bierhaus.ca
… GOURMET DINING
La Chaumière: The elegance of the classic French menu pairs perfectly with the beautiful patio, not to mention a wine list of over 800 vintages.
• 139 – 17 Ave SW, 403-228-5690, www.lachaumiere.ca
River Café: The only restaurant on Prince’s Island in the heart of downtown serves world-renowned cuisine with a focus on exquisite local ingredients.
• 25 Prince’s Island Park, 403-261-7670, www.river-cafe.com
Rouge Restaurant: Situated in a vast, verdant lawn, patio diners can enjoy inventive dishes prepared with ingredients grown in the garden right beside the tables.
• 1240 – 8 Ave SE, 403-531-2767, www.rougecalgary.com
… KID-FRIENDLY FOOD
Cibo: The menu at this bright, modern Italian restaurant manages to be both kid and adult-friendly, and the trellised patio has a lush garden vibe.
• 1012 – 17 Ave SW, 403-984-4755, cibocalgary.com
Dairy Lane Café: A fixture since 1950, this little diner with a streetside patio uses organic ingredients and features a special menu of kid’s favourites.
• 319 – 19 St NW, 403-283-2497, www.dairylanecafe.ca
Los Chilitos Taco & Tequila House: With a two-tier patio overlooking 17th Avenue SW and a menu of authentic Mexican food, there’s plenty of food and good views for everyone to love.
• 1309 – 17 Ave SW, 403-228-5528, www.loschilitos.ca