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Beyond downtown Calgary: 6 restaurants worth the trip

By RACHAEL FREY

Downtown certainly has its fair share of excellent restaurants, but there’s also plenty to discover outside of the core. Whether they’re located in Calgary’s further reaches or outside city limits altogether, these restaurants are well worth venturing to.

The bannock at Stones Restaurant in Chiniki Cultural Centre/Photo by Rachael Frey.

Chiniki Cultural Centre

You might not expect to pull off the highway in the middle of a wind-swept prairie and discover mouth-watering and elegant cuisine in a quiet, light-filled dining room, but that’s exactly what awaits you at Stones Restaurant in the Chiniki Cultural Centre. The menu is inspired by the rich history of the Chiniki First Nation and by some of Canada’s finest Indigenous chefs, including recipes such as saskatoon berry soup that have been handed down for generations.

The bannock—which comes in baked and fried varieties—is a must-have, as is the blueberry house-cured salmon gravlax. Ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced, resulting in creations like the slow-cooked roast elk taco, a uniquely delicious presentation of flavourful elk meat. After your meal, browse the art and history galleries in the cultural centre and check out the one-of-a-kind experiences the centre offers.

Located on Trans Canada Highway at Morley Road (Exit 131), 403-881 2159, chinikiculturalcentre.com 

Safari Grill

This place is a darling of Calgary’s food scene with a menu of flavourful East African and Indo-African cuisine, located in Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s favourite food destination, the strip mall named Short Pants Plaza.

255 – 28 St SE in Calgary, 403-235-6655, safarigrillcalgary.com

Hayloft Restaurant

Recommended by no less than three Where to Dine judges, this welcoming place has taken the town of Airdrie by storm with locally sourced, stick-to-your-ribs fare such as house-made braised rabbit agnolotti.

5101 – 403 Mackenzie Way SW in Airdrie, 403-980-8123, haylofton8th.com

Bun Bo Hue Deli

The “no frills” décor and service leave room for the food to shine. Unsurprisingly, the specialty is bún bò Hue (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) with an added perk—you can bring your own pot and get it filled for a bargain price of $20.

4909 – 17 Ave SE in Calgary, 403-248-3030

Chuckwagon Café & Cattle Co.

The legendary status of this down-home restaurant is well-deserved. The food is not only house-made, it’s house-raised—all the beef comes from the owner’s cattle ranch. They have all day breakfast too!

105 Sunset Blvd in Turner Valley, 403-933-0003, chuckwagoncafe.ca

Scopa Neighbourhood Italian

This friendly neighbourhood restaurant serves up fresh, uncomplicated, Italian-inspired dishes along with a carefully selected wine list. Pizza, pasta, antipasti and entrees such as a classic osso buco adorn the menu.

2220 – Centre St NE in Calgary, 403-276-2030, scopacalgary.com

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