Province/Territory: Alberta

Savour fine prairie cuisine beyond Alberta's famous beef

  • 05 tonnes of baked beans served at the Calgary Stampede
  • 100+ self-described steak houses
  • 37 food trucks roam city streets

A hot economy means a vibrant restaurant scene — the home of Canada's famed Alberta beef is a city where Twitter hums with the ever-changing locations of 30+ food trucks, pop-up dinners and celebrity chefs. Whether you feel like having a gooey, cheesy grilled sandwich on the street or a feast of Spanish tapas, a tasty potpie from a farm market vendor or sharing a steak around a cool communal table, Calgary's creative chefs can accommodate. Traditional meat-and-potatoes prairie cuisine has been modernized by a new generation keen on artisan charcuterie, heirloom root vegetables and cold-pressed canola oil — cooks creating everything from gourmet wild mushroom and local goat cheese perogies, to Korean braised short ribs and bison carpaccio.

Why you should visit
  • Savour the kind of tender, barley-fed beef that gave Calgary the nickname Cowtown and made it the country's steakhouse capital. Or try that beef in a burger, served to share with duck-fat fries at one of the city's many upscale burger bars.
  • Wash your bacon-studded morning pancake down with a spicy Bloody Caesar cocktail — invented in the bar of Calgary's Westin Hotel — as they do during the wild and crazy Calgary Stampede.
  • Explore authentic foods at a wide range of ethnic restaurants and Calgary's top restaurants— from crisp Neapolitan pizza and artisan Italian sausage panini, to perogies and smoky keilbasa, Chinese bbq duck, Japanese ramen noodles and fresh salmon sushi.

Weather

Calgary has a dry continental climate with warm summers (from June to September) and very cold winters (from November to April), punctuated by occasional "Chinooks" - westerly winds that can raise temperatures by 15°C in a matter of hours.

Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada’s Canadian Climate Normals Website.

Visitor information
  • Find the hottest new restaurants, cafes and delis in the Uptown 17 district, from designer donuts and funky burger joints, to Italian trattorias, late night tapas and the buzz of chef-driven bistros.
  • Take a brewery tour and try a local "barley sandwich" — craft beers from Big Rock, Wild Rose, and Village Brewery made with local two-row barley.
  • Explore the finest foodie haunts and hidden ethnic corners of the city with Calgary Food Tours.
When to go
  • For hot afternoons and long nights on outdoor patios (it can be light until 10:00pm), come in July and August.
  • July through September are the best times to visit bustling farm markets in the city, and find the freshest sweet Taber corn, heirloom beets and indigenous Saskatoon berries on your plate. Winter is a magical time to enjoy classic fondue or braised bison next to a cosy fireplace.
  • Get a bargain meal (and a table) at a popular restaurant anytime by stopping for a long, leisurely lunch.
Need to know
  • Downtown Prince’s Island hosts weekend festivals throughout July and August where food is often paramount — whether it’s the Calgary Folk Music Festival or the Barbecue on the Bow slow BBQ competition.
  • The 10-day Calgary Stampede, held in the first week of July, features daily free pancake breakfasts around the city and cowboy-themed dining, from smoky barbecue brisket to prairie ‘oysters’.
  • Make a reservation or be prepared to wait — many of Calgary’s coolest spots offer “first come, first served” service.
Getting Here
  • Calgary is at the intersection of the TransCanada highway and the QE2 Highway, an hour east of the Rockies.
  • Calgary has a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system that will take you from the city core to north and southern neighborhoods — the fare is free downtown along 7th Avenue.
  • Metered taxis are readily available from the airport and throughout the city.
  • Car rentals and RV rentals are easily arranged.