By Where Staff
Photo: Elk & Oarsman
Spirit of Banff
Park Distillery is arguably the most original new Banff restaurant to open, ever! Joining the exclusive ranks of few such establishments in Canada, vodka and gin (and soon whiskey) are produced in-house. After a free tour of the distillery, sample their spirits straight, in an exotic cocktail or incorporated into the wood-fired cuisine of chef Liz Gagnon’s food menu. While at it, drink in the backcountry alpine hut décor.
Photo: Courtesy of the Fairmont Banff Springs
By Where Staff
New on Banff’s Dining Scene
The newest restaurant at the Fairmont Banff Springs is 1888 Chop House. The trendy chop house concept is juxtaposed with elements from the past such as railway artifacts and a name that evokes the hotel’s opening year. Before your meal, take a seat at the cocktail bar that overlooks the Castle in the Rockies’ lobby.
Best Restaurants on Calgary’s Edmonton Trail: The original “Soul in a Bowl” at OEB Breakfast Co. (Photo: Jason Dziver)
Just a four-minute drive north of downtown, Edmonton Trail is the dark horse of emerging restaurant rows. The stretch is punctuated with an eclectic mix of eateries from retro diners serving brunch, burgers and Benedicts to upscale bistros serving fusion cuisine.
New York strip, Atlantic lobster tail, sautéed fresh spinach and onion rings, at Hy’s Encore. Photo by KK Law
Little has changed at downtown’s long-running steakhouse, which since 1962 has lured carnivorous devotees to luxurious, distinctly clubby surroundings. Fans hail the superb dry-aged steaks paired with wines from a significant cellar, as well as delectable cheese bread, served foil-wrapped with unapologetic practicality. The ongoing half-centenary menu features classics such as steak Diane and chateaubriand, which truly capture the enduring essence of Hy’s Encore.—Tim Pawsey
The popular $12 fries are served with a "side order" of steak.
If you love ending the day with a glass of wine and a good meal, look no further than Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro in the ByWard Market, which is known for its warm, relaxed atmosphere (as well as its $12 French fries served with a side order of steak). This restaurant carries 70 wines by the glass, 200 types of beer (including hard to find Belgian ones), and 20 wine flights, which come with a tasting sheet and three different wines. Live jazz Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday evenings and a complimentary cheese table Sunday to Thursday from 4pm to 6pm add to the experience. 54 York St. (in the cellar), 613-241-4270.
The bar and meat-aging cellar at Black + Blue. Photo by KK Law
Downtown’s newest steak emporium, Black + Blue (pictured) is a positive stunner with no shortage of buzz, wrapping prime beef and killer cocktails in a dazzling three-tiered setting highlighted by a glass-walled elevator. Uber-cuts from the Himalayan-salt-walled dry-aging room range from PEI Blue Ribbon and Canadian Reserve Angus to USDA RR Ranch and Wagyu, grilled precisely to taste and offered with a variety of sauces. Good sustainable seafood options cater to the less carnivorously inclined. Think high-energy protein palace…then multiply by 100. For a less contemporary though still very flavourful take on steak, wander down to clubby Hy’s Encore, established in 1962. For simple but flawless steak frîtes, and wines to go along, rendez-vous chez Bistro Pastis.—Tim Pawsey
The Shore Club photo by KK Law
With the feel of a luxurious ocean liner, The Shore Club (pictured) blends a striking mahogany-wrapped decor with the best cuts of AAA Alberta prime beef and West Coast seafood served simply and elegantly. Chill over a perfectly poured vesper martini or sidecar at the downstairs lounge before ascending the gracious, sweeping stairs to enjoy a porterhouse steak, filet mignon, plentiful bouillabaisse or macadamia-crusted halibut in an elegant setting in front of the bustling open kitchen. Other worthy haunts range from Gotham to Hy’s Encore to Black + Blue.—Tim Pawsey
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Sockeye salmon wellington with pinot noir butter sauce. Photo by KK Law
When the waterfront’s long-running Cannery succumbed to port security measures, former owner Bud Kanke took up the challenge by incorporating some of the original hallmark dishes into the menu at his Goldfish Seafood & Chops in Yaletown. Reincarnated classics include the pastry-wrapped sockeye salmon wellington and the smoked Alaska black cod, while other mainstays include brick chicken, braised beef short rib with cashew brittle, and a seafood tower stacked with marine treats.—Tim Pawsey
GOLDFISH SEAFOOD & CHOPS $$. D (daily). 1118 Mainland St. 604-689-8318. www.goldfishseafood.com
To June 30
The Mix by Ric's, in Whistler
Whistler may be best known for skiing and mountain biking, but gourmets also make the two-hour drive for the wining and dining scene. Frugal foodies anxiously await Dine In Whistler, when 33 restaurants offer three-course meals at four appetizing prices ($19, $29, $39 and $49). There’s something for every taste, whether it’s the inventive Italian cuisine at Quattro at Whistler, perfectly cooked sirloins at Hy’s Steakhouse, West Coast–inspired tapas at The Mix by Ric’s, modern comfort food at 21 Steps—or a special creation by a chef from Whistler Cooks Catering, whipped up in your hotel room.—Sheri Radford
Bouillabaisse from The Shore Club.
In September 2010, the city got a new addition to its fine dining scene when The Shore Club opened in the Westin Hotel. Originally started in Vancouver, the restaurant made a name for itself based on its steak and seafood. Particularly popular is their signature bouillabaisse, filled with almost every type of seafood in the kitchen and finished with a saffron broth. With an elegant – yet modern – interior, this is the place to go whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or getting together for after work drinks. 11 Colonel By Dr., 613-569-5050.
Steak at the Four Seasons Whistler's Sidecut
A recent addition to Whistler’s dining scene: Sidecut. This steakhouse earned a coveted spot on Where Canada’s Best New Restaurant list for 2010. Each 40-day-aged steak is served with your choice of rub and comes with six signature sauces.—Jennifer Patterson