Whether you’re looking to discover the characters of early Banff, the pizza that feeds the neighbourhood, modern fusion Indian cuisine, craft beer and food, locally farmed and foraged food, or delightful Indian traditions, theres a new concept restaurant in the Canadian Rockies waiting to please your palate.
Best in Banff
Banff has always been known for great food. Whether you’re starting your day with a remarkable breakfast at Tooloulou’s or El Toro, enjoying generational classics like Grizzly House, or taking in the elegance of the Fairmont Banff Springs at 1888 Chop House or Vermillion Room, Banff has no shortage of restaurants for every taste and budget. So how do you break into this market with a new concept ready to take on the tourist town?
You do it with swagger. Brazen opened this summer in the historic Mount Royal Hotel to rave reviews. This throwback to the Alberta Bar is complete with stories about Bill Peyto and Mary Schäffer, with nods to their Indigenous guides and the traditional knowledge of the park. The menu includes a wide selection of small, medium, and large sharing plates that all feature something a little extra. Selections like Golden Chicken Pops and the vibrant Brie Mac & Cheese pop on the plate and on your tongue, while classic desserts like the crème brûlée have an audacious presentation. Head chef Dan Jiricka is the mastermind behind Brazen’s menu, and he brings together a bold set of flavours that combine vegan and non-vegan options that everyone can enjoy.
While UNA Pizza + Wine was already popular in nearby Calgary, it opened in Banff at the end of the pandemic and has amassed a following of locals and visitors alike. It’s the perfect place to stop by, sit down, and enjoy great food and drink. Based on the California style pizza joints in San Francisco, which are often the anchor of the neighbourhood, UNA’s style of a friendly, approachable space with excellent food made from the best local ingredients is a breath of fresh air in Banff’s busy downtown. They make pretty much everything in house, from the sodas to the desserts, and of course the cocktails. But the draw is the California style pizza, cooked on stone deck ovens to create the perfect thin crust, artisan style pizza that’s crispy on the bottom and chewy in the middle.
Come to Canmore
Not to be outdone by nearby Banff, Canmore has its own reputation for great food in the mountains. From intimate date nights at Sauvage to stellar mountain views at BLAKE, The Iron Goat, or SandTraps, and classic comforts like Famous Chinese Restaurant, Canmore knows how to serve a meal. But some new takes on old classics are making their mark in this town, and they’re worth adding to your list of favourites.
Tucked away in the Shops of Canmore, The Roaring Rolls may not jump out as a place to eat. But this modern Indian bistro serves contemporary takes on classic dishes and they have some of the best flavours in town. The restaurant is sleek and stylish with an approachable vibe and personalized service. They source their ingredients locally, serving up the best quality available. Stop by for dinner and try unique sandwiches like Butter Chicken Bao or Gupta Ji Fry Burger, or enjoy the modern take on Chicken Tikka Masala or Schezwan Cheese Naan. Their desserts and drinks are also exceptional, so leave room to top off your meal in style!
Another popular city joint is making its way to the Rockies. Fergus & Bix opened earlier this year on Main Street and it’s serving up an elevated pub style menu that’s sure to get you excited about your old favourites. This restaurant and bar centres around the craft: both the craft of creating food and the exceptional local craft brewing scene. The restaurant features unique, local brews and creates passionate meals prepared in house with local ingredients where possible. Enjoy this new pub experience or bring the kids before 2 pm for lunch or weekend brunch that’s sure to become a family favourite.
Journey to Jasper
Jasper is known as the quaint mountain town with longstanding favourites that call back customers again and again. There’s authentic Italian from old family recipes at Cassios and friendly service with traditional Korean food at Kimchi House. Jasper also has classics like Evil Dave’s, and Lou Lou’s Pizzeria. But there are a couple of newcomers who promise to bring something exciting to the little mountain town, and they’re letting their flavours lead the way.
The Crimson Hotel has a new flagship restaurant, Terra. The concept restaurant showcases “the rawness of Jasper” and highlights locally farmed and foraged food at the heart of their menu. Therefore, their menus change constantly to reflect what’s in season. So no matter how many times you stop by, there will always be something new and unexpected to try. Enjoy small sharing plates or larger filling meals. More than just great food, Terra also creates unique cocktails that feature local distilleries and are designed to bring forward the taste of Jasper.
New this year to the Jasper scene, Haldi Fine Indian Cuisine brings traditional flavours and spices to locally sourced ingredients to create some of the best Indian dishes in the Rockies.
The restaurant celebrates the culture, tradition, and heritage of India through authentic food from both the north and south regions. The flavours will tickle your tastebuds with everything from hot and spicy to delicate and subtle. The aromas add to the dining experience and will delight you with traditional spices of India. Haldi is also available for special events, so don’t let the cold months deter you from celebrating with loved ones!
No matter where your mountain journey takes you, make sure you take some time to sit down and enjoy the new flavours of the Canadian Rockies.