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Where to Eat in Calgary for Every Vibe

By Bon Appétit/

Great Taste of Canada

The Western Canadian city has graduated from its all-beef origins.

Not so long ago, Calgary—the Western Canadian city located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—was affectionately referred to as Cowtown, but things have changed. Home of Canada’s number one rodeo, Calgary is a place where outstanding Alberta beef once dominated every menu. 

Though the quality of the beef has remained over time, the city itself has grown into a dynamic, ever-changing foodie mecca touting flavors from around the globe. With a myriad of chefs setting up shop in Calgary, the creative culinary community is thriving—and the energy of the place is palpable in every restaurant you visit. There are plenty of incredible places to eat and drink while in Calgary, but here are our top picks to get your planning started. 

  • Lulu Bar

    Experimental Dining with a Vibe

    A stroll along 17th Avenue in Calgary is like a miniature culinary tour around the world. You’ll find Indian, Spanish, and Korean food, among others, but Lulu Bar is the only place that brings the flavors of the Pacific Rim to Western Canada. 

    The first thing you’ll notice upon arrival is the warm, mid-century modern decor with Polynesian flair—surfboards on the walls, plants in the corners, and a wrap-around patio. The second thing you’ll notice is the buzzy energy about the place, as though everyone is there to celebrate something. Once you get a look at the excellent, playful menu, you’ll likely feel like celebrating, too.  

    Dishes range from inventive snacks and small plates, like the signature hot dog bao made with char siu pork and banana ketchup and the fried coconut squid, to larger format plates, along with dumplings and noodles. The menu’s mix of different-sized dishes makes for versatile ordering options, pending your hunger level—a few small plates and large formats to share is a safe way to go. Pair dinner with a tiki-themed cocktail that will transport you to a warm beach somewhere. We like the Bobcat, made with bourbon and peach liqueur. 

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    Elevated comfort food

    Located just across from East Village is JINBAR, a cozy, comforting restaurant serving up Korean comfort food with a twist. Chef and founder Jinhee Lee designed the restaurant experience around memories of growing up in South Korea when, on monthly paydays, her father would come home with fried chicken and ice cream.

    JINBAR’s menu revolves around high-quality, Korean-style dishes. There is a nice list of snacks, veggies, proteins, and sides, but come here for the main event: the fried chicken. Boneless, all-dark meat thighs come in four flavors, each of which is perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The sweet corn and honey butter chips pizza is another must-try—but any pizza from the list will win you over. An extensive list of cocktails, soju, beer, wine, and rice wine makes JINBAR the perfect spot for grabbing a few drinks and a snack, or for sitting down for an unrushed, full-fledged meal. 

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  • Ten Foot Henry Downtown Calgary, Alberta
    Ten Foot Henry – Downtown Calgary, Alberta | Photo credit: Tanya Pilgrim
  • Ten Foot Henry

    Feel-Good, Family-Style Meals

    There are certain restaurants where you leave feeling ready for an immediate nap, but Ten Foot Henry isn’t one of them—and that is part of its appeal. The all-day restaurant’s physical space is as bright and airy as its vegetable-anchored menu. The food here is shareable, fresh, and supremely well-executed with subtle plays on texture and flavor—with dishes like cauliflower peppered with jerk spice and root chips, warm tomatoes and herbs atop a hunk of crunchy sourdough toast topped with whipped feta, and vegetarian-friendly cacio e pepe made with bucatini.

    Opened by husband and wife duo Aja Lapointe and Stephen Smee in 2016, the space is home to a small piece of Calgary history—that is, an oversized plywood cutout of the famed 1930s comic strip character, Henry. This cartoon boy became larger than life as a muse for Calgary’s creative community in the 1980s and has taken residence in various locations throughout the city, finding its home in the namesake restaurant. 

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  • River Café Restaurant Prince's Island Park, Calgary, Alberta
    River Café Restaurant – Prince's Island Park, Calgary, Alberta | Photo credit: Tanya Pilgrim
  • River Cafe

    Elegant, Seasonal Meals

    Nestled in Prince’s Island Park is River Cafe, a stunning restaurant that has withstood the tests of time. What started in the early '90s as a small, full-service cafe operating only in the summer months eventually grew to be an elegant fixture of Calgary’s dining scene. Everything about River Cafe is intentional—the bar crafted from an old sailboat, the open kitchen and grill fed by orchard wood, and the interior finished by local artists with repurposed materials.  

    This sense of place is even more vibrant when it comes to the menu, which is rooted in utilizing hyper-local, seasonal ingredients to give the palette a sense of the land. Many restaurants these days tout sustainably sourced, local ingredients, but River Cafe lives and breathes this truth—maintaining close relationships with farms and gardens, sustainable ranches, and fisheries to source their quality ingredients. The ever-rotating menu features impeccable dishes like tender bison striploin, freshly shucked oysters, and bright, crunchy vegetables. To get a true feel for the restaurant’s breadth, opt for the five-course chef’s tasting menu. We can guarantee you’ll be thinking about this meal long after you depart. 

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To learn more and begin planning your trip to Calgary, visit

This story has been adapted from an original article available at: