If you’re a local in Vancouver, you may have noticed the unusually high concentration of Calgarians (yes, that’s what we call people from Calgary) who have migrated to West Coast and now call Vancouver home. We often get Calgarians on our foodie tours, who have travelled to Vancouver for a weekend getaway or to catch up with old friends. It’s always special for me to host guests from our neighbouring province, because it’s a little known fact that I grew up in Calgary, too!
I travel to Calgary 3-4 times per year and every occasion is a foodie occasion. Over the years, it has been fascinating to see the city’s culinary scene grow and change. My family of foodies and I have taken it upon ourselves to taste and observe along the whole way. This week’s post is for those of us who returned “home for the holidays” and found ourselves hungry in Cowtown, Alberta.
1. Waygu Beef Tartare – Anju Restaurant
If you want beef done right, you’ve got to taste it at Calgary restaurant. Be wary, as you’ll discover beef tartare or beef tataki on many Calgary menus, but this perfectly seasoned plate was actually one of many expertly-crafted Korean tapas I enjoyed an Anju. The Oxtail Tortellini with truffle sauce is also unlike anything I’ve tasted before. You can visit Anju along Calgary’s trendiest street – 17th Avenue. The dining room is modern, lively, and manages to achieve a sense of intimacy despite the (relatively) large space.
2. Earl Grey Macaron – Ollia
This little macaron and tea shop is only 4-months old and literally stopped me in my tracks. Truth be told, I was already holding a box of macarons when I found Ollia, but I couldn’t resist stopping for a petite bite in this adorable shop. Run by a (French) husband and wife pair, the $2 mouthful might’ve been the best macaron I’ve had in the city.
3. Tomato Soup – Cucina Market
I’m a sucker for a rustic tomato soup. This bowl at Cucina had the all the heartiness that I had hoped for, with just a touch of rich cream in the middle. I loved how the vintage decor and tableware matched the old-style flavours in the food. I’ve heard that Cucina Market is a go-to lunch spot for the downtown business crowd, so try to visit just before or just after the traditional lunch hours.
4. Phil & Sebastian Coffee Ice Cream – Village Ice Cream
If you ask Calgary locals where you might find a solid cup of coffee, it’s likely that Phil & Sebastian will land high on the list. Well good news, ice-cream lovers – Village Ice Cream took the incredible coffee from P&S and crafted it into their beautiful ice cream. It’s a saliva-inducing match for foodies, especially paired with a fresh waffle cone!
5. Duck Confit Sandwich – Vendome Cafe
Compared to Vancouver, the cafe culture in Calgary is still very much blossoming. Yet, the cafes that have popped up have done so with great vigour. Take Vendome Cafe, a quaint and slender refuge on a quiet street in Kensington, that has become a coveted foodie place to visit. European-inspired waffles, cheese plates, pot pies – even steak tartare – but it’s the Duck Confit Sandwich that we’ll keep coming back for.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, foodies! On behalf of the VFT team, we hope that your hearts and bellies are filled to the brim this holiday season!