Banff: 1st meal is a lunch buffet at the Summit atop the Sulphur Mt. Gondola. In 40 yrs of traveling, I do believe this is the 1st meal weve ever eaten in this kind of place. Day is gorgeous, so check out restaurant, A+++ table is available, so we do the buffet while looking down on the Banff valleys & across to snow-covered mts. By far, the best view from any view restaurant weve visited. & lo & behold, the foods not half bad, featuring nice cold meats & cheese spread, fresh veggies & fruit, broasted chicken, &, of all things, bbq ribs. For C$13, it works for us.
Other Banff luncheons included cheese fondue & hot rock game at the Grizzly House. It was what it was fun fondue & interesting way to taste a variety of exotic meats. Particularly enjoy the ostrich & caribou, all cooked on a 600 degree little slab of marble, served with sauce choices (horseradish worked well). And good steak sandwich & fine prime rib dip sandwich at the Big Horn in the Timberline Hotel. Neither room nor food rate as excellent, but oh, the view. If, like the Grubs, ya cant get enough of snow-capped mts, this is your place. Utterly spectacular.
Banff dinners: Melissas (chosen as an endorsement of the restaurants local-ness, folksiness). Great old woody, lived-in room. Only real food disappointment of trip. Stew turned out to be pretty blah; big t-bone average. But high comfort place after much thrashing about the countryside. One night did roving dinner. At Maple Leaf, thoroughly enjoyed game appetizer plate: venison pate, boar sausage, air-dried buffalo (more about this later), smoked duck breast. Ordered Arctic char, which turned out to be salmon (but we didnt complain because it was so wonderful) on wild rice. Of course a bottle of wine. At this point, we seemed to be hooked on shiraz. After a short walkabout, we completed dinner at Ticino, where we had a nicely done raclette (it is a Swiss restaurant, after all) and an amazing rack of baby (?) veal. One of the most delicious dishes weve ever shared walnut crust & non-overwhelming gorgonzola sauce (dont say cheese, say gorgonzola!)
For quick-&-tasty breakfast in Banff, rec Evelyns Too for wonderful coffee (eat your heart out, Starbucks) & homemade sweet thangs.
Spent one night in a remarkably good room at the Icefields Chalet (at the Columbia Icefields), which contains the only eating facilities for hours around. Chinese managed in the Canadian wilderness, therefore third- or maybe fourth-rate chow mein & sweet-and-sour as far as the eye can see. We opt for what seem to be the only 2 menu choices with hope: grilled salmon & a Caesar salad. Salmon turns out to be simple, very fresh, & mighty tasty. Caesar, not so much.
On Icefields Parkway between Jasper & Lake Louise, there are 2 count em 2 stopping places: the aforementioned chalet & a gift shop-gas-restaurant-motel complex at Saskatchewan Crossing. Hint, hint: if you are near the crossing & hungry, do not go to the restaurant in the gift shop. Instead, go to the mucho friendly pub in the motel behind the restaurant for a funky grill-it-yourself burger (beef or buffalo) or do-it-yourself sandwich, with small but adequate salad bar & very cold beer.
Lake Louise & Jasper to come.