I visited Calgary last weekend for the first time. Traveling from Central California, I must say the city and the weather were very nice.
Thanks to Chowhound input I had a long list of restaurants to visit and, though I didn't try them all, I did pretty well.
The first night we started with drinks at the Metropolital Grill. I didn't actually eat there but the food I saw looked good and the waitstaff was incredibly attractive. I'd definetly visit again!
Next was an appetizer at Murietta's (also on 8th Ave).
We had a Salmon carpaccio and a salad--all Ok, but not great and the waitress on the outdoor patio was downright unfriendly and slow. Wouldn't go back. Next was dinner. I intended to visit Mango Shiva, but didn't have the address with me and no one I asked on Stephens (8th) knew where it was, so we ended up at Glory of India. OK food and nice service, but wouldn't go back. The room was overly hot (no A/C?) and the food was just, well....OK.
The next day involved renting a car and traveling to Banff. Thanks to Chowhounds, we stopped in Canmore for lunch and had a great lamb sandwich at Crazyweed Kitchen. We also perused the menu at The Quarry and I'd love to try their food next time. Crazyweed is a definite winner--thanks for the tip. That night, back in Calgary, we stopped at divino (8th Ave) for a glass of wine and an appetizer. The sweetbread appetizer was teriffic--plenty for two--and the wine list offered a Primitivo by the glass. You don't find that simple, but very nice, Italian wine often. I must return to Divino to have dinner some time.
From Divino it was a taxi ride to 4th St SW and a visit to a small medeterranian restaurant named Aida's. It's Lebonese, very inexpensive and a real gem. The prices are so low, and the food's so good that I just hope they can stay in business. Oh yes, the service was really nice, as well.
Sometime on the trip we also visited Mercado (4th St SW) for pre-dinner wine and appetizer and, frankly, I think that's as nice a dining experience as we had. The setting is beautiful at the counter, teriffic service, and just watching the chef up close (and smelling the smells) while he prepared a scallop risotto is a great experience. We had carpaccio and a caprese salad--both were teriffic. Mercado would be at the top of my list to return to--OK, possibly along with Divino.
We did try Towa sushi (also on 4th) but came away unimpressed. It could, of couse, just be what we ordered, but the shashimi plate was just so-so and the spicy tuna roll was just a lot of tuna and a little rice--but not much flavor.
Believe it or not, we actually visited a few other places as well, but I think this report has gotten long enough.
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