Eating and Sightseeing at Cliffhouse Bistro

    Naomi Witherick September 16, 2016

    Your time in Banff is precious.

    There’s so much to see and loads of tempting restaurants to visit. The best way to fit it all in? Eat while you sightsee.

    Though small, the restaurant is full of character.

    Mount Norquay’s summer sightseeing lift not only whisks you to 7000 feet-high mountain views, but the delectable Cliffhouse Bistro too.

    Perched at the top of the ride in a quaint 1950s building, the restaurant is only accessible by chairlift and offers the perfect combination of delicious food and breathtaking views.

    I visited on a beautiful, blue-skied day. I’d only been to Mount Norquay for night skiing during the winter months, so couldn’t wait to see the view from the North American chairlift in summer.

    The eight-minute ride lifted me above the tree line on a steep incline towards the summit. I could smell pine trees and patches of wildflowers beneath, while a dramatic view of Mount Rundle opened up to my left.

    It was even more spectacular at the top. The small viewing area felt like it was hanging right on the edge of the mountain, with Banff town directly below. Beyond it I could see miles of lush forest and the turquoise waters of the Bow River meandering across the valley floor.

    I took the view in for a few moments, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere as a handful of other visitors did the same. Then, it was on to the food.

    Inside the bistro I was greeted by a friendly hostess. She led me to a table by the large windows overlooking the scenery outside.

    Though small, the restaurant was full of character. Wood paneled walls and vintage photographs reinstated its retro vibe. The atmosphere was relaxed: families in hiking gear chatted and shared fondue appetizers, taking photographs of the view from their table.

    I was drawn to just about everything on the menu, which offered gourmet salads, sandwiches, flatbreads and tacos. I settled on a game and fig flatbread with smoked buffalo, venison salami, fig, grapes, arugula and Gorgonzola cheese.

    It was impressive. The smoked meats were full of flavour, but it was the pieces of fig that made the meal. Chewy and sweet, they complimented the juicy grapes while adding a distinctive and unique taste. Though it was filling, I unapologetically devoured every slice.

    I sat for a few moments to savour the view again. By now rainclouds had gathered on one side of Mount Rundle while the other side was still basking in sunshine, an awesome sight that could only be seen from this mountain top spot. Tasty food and stunning views; Mount Norquay is the perfect place to combine eating and sightseeing.

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