The best local restaurants in Calgary present you with the most authentic flavors from the cosmopolitan Cowtown food scene. Most of these restaurants are locally owned and are farm-to-fork venues, so get ready for a dining experience that's both appetizing and wholesome.

    There are farmers' markets offering plenty of options alongside great bargains and there are cool spots where you can enjoy top-quality local comfort food. Looking for somewhere romantic? Try booking a table for 2 inside a restored 19th-century home. Read on for more of Calgary’s best local food scenes.

    1

    Calgary Farmers' Market South

    A variety of local and artisanal foods

    Calgary Farmers' Market South is a lively spot to sample an array of local dishes in a single visit. You also won’t have to choose from just one style of food. For a Cowtown classic, try the mother-and-son endeavor Big T's BBQ. Their pulled pork poutine is a must-try. Make sure you leave room for the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich at Flavors of Quebec, and round it off with the Jarred Cherry Cheesecake at Yum Bakery.

    While you're at it, pick up some farm-fresh produce, fair-trade coffee or even artisan apparel from local vendors. A trip to the market is also a great opportunity to explore the culinary side of Calgary while doing some souvenir shopping.

    Location: 510 77 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2H 1C3, Canada

    Open: Thursday–Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm (closed Monday–Wednesday)

    Phone: +1 403-240-9113

    Map

    photo by Mack Male (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey

    The place to go for briskets and bourbons

    Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey serves up a juicy beef brisket alongside whiskey cocktails in Calgary. It embodies the cowboy spirit of Calgary like no other in town. It draws big eaters who mostly go for the beef short rib – a hefty meal with a price tag to suit.

    Try the pulled pork, turkey breast or pork spare ribs by the half-pound if you’re not that into beef. The cornbread – moist, sweet and buttery – is the go-to side dish. Expect happy hour and daily deals, like their Brisket & Bourbon on Mondays. Craft cocktails include the Smoked Old Fashioned to help all that meat go down easily.

    Location: 1136 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary, AB T2N 3P3, Canada

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 11 am to 1 am, Friday–Saturday from 11 am to 2 am

    Phone: +1 403-283-3021

    Map

    photo by Daniel (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Cravings Market Restaurant

    A diverse market experience without the crowd

    Cravings Market Restaurant in Calgary combines a restaurant and an urban market in one. You’ll find loads of dishes from around the world like Thai green chicken curry and roasted pear and blue cheese pizza. The lobster ravioli comes highly recommended. You’ll also enjoy comfortable seating and table service.

    Cuisines are separated into different stations so everyone can get what they want, making it great for families. Monthly specialties and events like the Seafood Boil keep things exciting – just one of the reasons why locals love this eclectic restaurant.

    Location: 7207 Fairmount Dr SE, Calgary, AB T2H 0X6, Canada

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 8 am to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm, Sunday from 9 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 403-252-2083

    Map
    4

    Model Milk

    Locally sourced food served with flair

    Model Milk offers a modern fine dining experience in Calgary that blends vintage, weird and fancy. Adventurous dishes like the house-ground hominy grits with red shrimp are creatively plated using locally sourced ingredients. Try the BBQ Wagyu Brisket with coconut-kaffir broth or the charcoal-grilled Alberta Striploin.

    Model Milk is located in a converted dairy. Its rustic-chic interior creates a comfortable and exciting atmosphere for exploring new flavors among friends. Don’t forget to try their whacky cocktails – the Bubbles for Your Troubles with sparkling wine is one that embodies their “tradition-meets-topsy-turvy” experience.

    Location: 308 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A8, Canada

    Open: Friday–Saturday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Sunday from 5 pm to 9 pm, Tuesday–Thursday from 5 pm to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 403-265-7343

    Map
    5

    Rouge

    Fine dining in a 19th-century home

    Rouge serves farm-to-fork food in a restored 1890s house in Calgary. The historic home was barely converted into a restaurant, so it seems as if you’re dining in someone’s home at the turn of the century. Their fine-dining selection includes cured trout, charcuterie with peppered elk sausage and, for dessert, a sumptuous blueberry mousse. The menu does change often, though.

    When the weather's warm, enjoy beverages and dinner on the cozy patio. You're sure to feel exceptionally comfortable looking out over the lush backyard with a glass of wine in hand and a century between you and the rest of the world.

    Location: 1240 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0M7, Canada

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 5 pm to 11 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 403-531-2767

    Map

    photo by Bill Longstaff (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    6

    Blue Star Diner

    Classics made from locally-farmed ingredients

    Blue Star Diner serves classic diner fare in Calgary with an atmosphere to match. The booths and aprons may lead you to believe the food is processed and greasy, but Blue Star sources all of its ingredients from local farms.

    Among the delightful selections to try are the banana cream pie stuffed french toast, the kale caesar salad and the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich. On the beverages side, they take pride in their cocktail craftsmanship, so be sure to try an Old Fashioned or Classic Margarita. Don’t miss this diner experience in Calgary for rich comfort food and plenty of real maple syrup.

    Location: 809 1 Ave NE, Calgary, AB T2E 0C2, Canada

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 8 am to 9 pm, Sundays from 9 am to 3 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 403-261-9998

    Map

    photo by Mack Male (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    The Selkirk Grille

    Farm-fresh ingredients and comfortable seating in a town square

    The Selkirk Grille serves classic, chef-driven dishes like steaks and halibut, all with convenient outdoor seating right next to Heritage Park. Come here to try something new like rabbit ravioli or have a no-nonsense meal of burgers and fries. Either way, you'll taste the quality of the fresh, local ingredients.

    The Selkirk Grille is upscale but casual, so it’s a convenient spot to grab a quick lunch or to open a bottle of wine for a long evening. To end your meal the right way, try their raspberry and peach strudel for dessert. The central location makes it a great place to take a break after visiting Heritage Park Historical Village.

    Location: 1900 Heritage Dr SW, Calgary, AB T2V 1R1, Canada

    Open: Wednesday–Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, Tuesday from 11 am to 5 pm (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +1 403-268-8607

    Map
    8

    The Coup

    Vegetarian and vegan fusion dishes packed with flavor

    The Coup is a Calgary restaurant that offers vegetarian dishes prepared in ways you’ve probably never seen before. The roasted rosemary yams and tandoori cauliflower wings are great finger food options to share with your friends, as is the Alberta wild rose pizza. Menu classics include peanut satays and tempeh shawarma.

    The Coup strives to make every dish filling and delicious, despite the lack of meat, to leave you feeling light and guilt-free after. Service can include a refreshing non-alcoholic apéritif that sets the stage and cleanses the palate for the flavors ahead. Try the hot pot if you want a more communal dining experience, and save space for their Cool Dark Midnight vegan chocolate cake for dessert.

    Location: 924 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0A2, Canada

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 11.30 am to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from 11.30 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 403-541-1041

    Map
    9

    The Beltliner

    Comfort food for breakfast and brunch

    The Beltliner serves elevated diner food in Calgary, combining comfort and innovation in dishes like tater tot poutine. Chicken and waffles may be a diner staple, but The Beltliner adds a maple chili sauce that makes all the difference.

    They've gotten something for everyone, including for vegetarians, like the quinoa and lentil health bowl or the pepper jack and aged white cheddar broiled cheese on sourdough. The charming diner-like interior is always bustling. Stay for another cup of coffee – or better still, a breakfast cocktail with vodka, Kahlua, coffee, egg white and maple syrup.

    Location: 243 12 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1H7, Canada

    Open: Monday–Friday from 7 am to 4 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 587-955-1555

    Map

    photo by Mack Male (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    10

    Holy Broil

    The place for local gourmet burgers in Calgary

    Holy Broil is a popular local burger joint in Calgary that believes that fast food can be great food. From the moment you hold one of their burgers, you can feel the fluffiness of the bun and the heft of the meat. Holy Broil puts a lot of care and craftsmanship into each burger because they know the Cowtown locals are quite demanding when it comes to high-quality meat.

    The Gourmet Burger with blue cheese and avocado comes highly recommended. They have a brunch menu that includes eggs benedict and a prime rib burger. If you want pure quality without pretentiousness, Holy Broil fits the bill.

    Location: 444 5 Ave SW #200, Calgary, AB T2P 2T8, Canada

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 am to 2 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    Phone: +1 403-454-4659

    Map
    Benjamin Gorman | Contributing Writer

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