By RACHAEL FREY
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and brunch with friends and family makes it an occasion. Calgary is home to some amazing breakfast and brunch spots that are bound to have line-ups around the block. But trust us, the wait is worth it.
OEB Breakfast Co.
This little 36-seat diner is a local favourite. Chef-owner Mauro Martina cooks with natural, local ingredients—OEB even has its own egg-laying flocks of free-run chickens.
MUST TRY: Soul ’n a Bowl incorporates potatoes fried in duck fat topped with St. Albert cheese curds, slow-cooked bacon lardons and brown-butter Hollandaise.
• OEB Breakfast Co. Uptown, 824 Edmonton Tr NE, eatoeb.com
• OEB Breakfast Co. Downtown, 222 5 Ave, eatoeb.com
Just a few doors from OEB, this funky retro diner serves hearty plates with ingredients from local producers such as Missing Link Extraordinary Sausage. The walls are adorned with vintage metal signs, but the food is fresh and modern.
MUST TRY: Maple Fried Oatmeal, a thick slab of oatmeal fried in maple syrup and topped with lemon curd and vanilla bean cream.
• Diner Deluxe on Edmonton Trail, 804 Edmonton Tr NE, www.dinerdeluxe.com
• Diner Deluxe in Aspen, 104, 350 Aspen Glen Landing SW, www.dinerdeluxe.com
The casual sister venue to the renowned Teatro Italian restaurant, Vendome serves breakfast classics. The eatery also serves alcohol, including breakfast-approved drinks like mimosas and Baileys in coffee.
MUST TRY: Peaches and Cream Bread Pudding, a decadent treat with cream cheese, peaches, and a brown sugar rum sauce.
• Vendome Cafe, 940 – 2 Ave NW, vendomecafe.com
Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus
The decor in this little strip-mall restaurant may be plain, but the food is something special. Massive crepe-like Dutch pancakes (pannenkoek) come loaded with savoury or sweet toppings.
MUST TRY: The impossibly rich Black Forest pannenkoek, topped with warm cherries, ice cream, whipped cream, dessert liqueur in a chocolate cup and chocolate sauce, or the classic bacon and leek topped with a crust of golden-fried cheese.
• Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus, 2439 – 54 Ave SW, www.dutchpancakes.ca
This tiny diner isn’t reinventing the wheel, it’s just giving the people what they want: fresh, well-made, classic breakfasts. The old-fashioned diner vibe is genuine, right down to milkshakes thick enough to stand a spoon in.
MUST TRY: The Omelette of Choice comes with any number of fillings for the same price. The 13 filling options include authentic Montreal smoked meat.
• Galaxie Diner, 1413 – 11 St SW, www.galaxiediner.ca
Blue Star Diner
This pint-sized spot claimed the Best Brunch category in Where Calgary’s 2013 Where to Dine Awards for its comfortable breakfast classics with a twist, making almost everything on the menu with vegan friendly and/or gluten free options.
MUST TRY: Albertan omelette, with bison chili and aged cheddar.
• Blue Star Diner, 809 – 1 Ave NE, www.bluestardiner.ca
The Fine Diner in Inglewood
This bright, modern diner is focused on comfort foods made from scratch with local ingredients. The restaurant even harvests some of its own produce and honey. Cult-status local bread maker Sidewalk Citizen Bakery supplies its bread.
MUST TRY: The Croque Madame, fried egg with a house cheese blend, hash medley and fried kale.
• The Fine Diner in Inglewood, 4, 1420 – 9 Ave SE, finedinerbistro.ca
Grumans Catering and Delicatessen
This Jewish deli’s delicious weekend breakfast-brunch menu is Calgary’s best kept dining secret. Though it’s possible to get a seat without waiting in line on weekdays, it’s unheard of Saturdays and Sundays at Calgary breakfast spots.
MUST TRY: The Lox Benedict is a Jewish take on eggs Benedict made with house-cured lox, red pepper artichoke spread, lemon Hollandaise and poached eggs served on latkes.
• Grumans Catering and Delicatessen, 230 – 11 Ave SE, grumans.ca
Monki breakfast club & bistro
Monki is a hip and popular eatery serving Benedicts, frittatas and more. They even make their own sausage.
MUST TRY: The brisket & monki sausage hash, topped with fried eggs and Hollandaise.
• Monki breakfastclub & bistro, 1301 – 10 Ave SW, monkibistro.ca
This homely diner spot serves traditional breakfast dishes such as Bennies and pancakes as well as a robust selection of vegetarian plates.
MUST TRY: Red Quinoa served hot and topped with maple-roasted almonds, pumpkin seeds and milk or soy milk.
• Red’s Diner, 1415 – 4 St SW, redsdiner.com
• Red’s Diner in Ramsay, 1101 – 8 St SE, redsdiner.com
• Red’s Diner in Kensington, 286 – 10 St NW, redsdiner.com