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Top 20 Over 10: Calgary’s Classic Restaurants

Like a fine wine, age is a good thing when it comes to some of Calgary’s most notable and defining restaurants. These twenty Calgary classics have been staples of the local dining scene for over ten years — and are just as good as ever.

The Belvedere
Year Opened: 1998
Location: 107 – 8 Ave SW
The cuisine is prepared from scratch and sourced from small local producers at this upscale fine-dining establishment. Pair an interesting and delicious cocktail such as the “Mr. Belvedere” to compliment your meal.

Bonterra Trattoria
Year Opened: 2000
Location: 1016 – 8 St SW
Enjoy a taste of Italy in an exquisite dining room. The pasta selection is not to be missed, with a focus on simple, fresh ingredients.

Bookers BBQ Grill and Crab Shack
Year Opened: 1999
Location: 316 – 3 St SE
Roll up your sleeves and dive into Bookers’ crab and shrimp boil complete with potatoes and carrots. Ribs and barbecued meats are also a highlight of this southern food hotspot.

Year Opened: 1988
Location: 738 – 3 Ave SW
Head to Buchanan’s for a fantastic steak or rack of lamb, and enjoy a dram from their incredible whisky selection — over 200 varieties stocked in their cozy bar room.

Bottlescrew Bill’s / Buzzard’s
Year Opened: 1980
Location: 140 – 10 Ave SW
Buzzard’s and Bottlescrew Bill’s is a classic, no-frills pub with simple pub fare and over 300 different beers from breweries around the world.

Caesar’s Steakhouse
Year Opened: 1972
Locations: Downtown 512 – 4 Ave SW; Willow Park 110, 10816 Macleod Trail SE
The oldest on this list, Caesar’s Steakhouse is a staple of downtown Calgary. They specialize in tableside fine dining service and multi-course menus starting with their signature French onion soup and on to mouth-watering steaks. At the Willow Park location, enjoy their signature dishes a la carte.

Catch Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Year Opened: 2002
Location: 100 – 8 Ave SE
Savour the fresh seafood from Executive Chef Daniel Norcott in Catch’s elegant dining space. Love oysters? You’re in luck, as Catch has one of the best oyster bars in the city.

Year Opened: 1984
Location: 113 – 8 Ave SW
This intimate wine bar has an impressive selection of wines from all over the world, and is great for anything from a first date to after work wine-down (page xx).

The Embarcadero
Year Opened: 1995
Location: 208 – 17 Ave SE
Named after the waterfront district in San Francisco, The Embarcadero serves at least six varieties of oysters every day from both coasts (page xx).

Escoba Bistro
Year Opened: 1996
Location: 624 – 8 Ave SW
Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, Escoba continues to serve comforting Mediterranean-inspired dishes — though their steaks are a must-try. Each item has a suggested wine pairing for easy ordering. They offer a separate menu for those with food sensitivities and allergies, including several vegan options (page xx).

La Chaumiere
Year Opened: 1978
Location: 139 – 17 Ave SW
The city’s classic French restaurant is elegant, charming, and upscale — be sure to save room for their decadent desserts (page xx).

Laurier Lounge
Year Opened: 2005
This historic home is a go-to place for fondue, casual French comfort food, and always has great happy hour and daily specials (page xx).

The Living Room
Year Opened: 2000
Location: 514 – 17 Ave SW
As cozy and familiar as, well, a friends’ living room, this intimate restaurant encourages sharing with small plates, fondue, and sampler platters.

Year Opened: 2001
Location: 808 – 1 St SW
A welcome upscale retreat along bustling Stephen Avenue serves meat and fish-centric entrees, pizzas, and pastas, and has an extensive wine list.

Osteria de Medici
Year Opened: 1976
Location: 201 – 10 St NW
A neighbourhood fine dining spot for classic Italian fare — everything from spaghetti and meatballs to veal medallions.

River Café
Year Opened: 1991
Location: 25 Prince’s Island Park
Nestled in Prince’s Island Park, the unique location of this restaurant ensures that the view is beautiful any time of year. The truly local food is made with ingredients sourced from local farms, and everything is done in house — the sourdough culture for their bread has been maintained for fifteen years.

Year Opened: 2003
Location: 1240 – 8 Ave SE
Rouge offers a fine dining experience without the attitude, with a focus on hyper-local ingredients — in the summer months they pick ingredients from their backyard garden. The beautiful presentation means the food looks as good as it tastes, and its good for special occasions and everything in between.

Year Opened: 1993
Location: 200 – 8 Ave SE
The elegant, historic building is the perfect setting for the upscale Italian meals served here. Everything is fresh and made-to-order, and the wine cellar is stocked with an extremely impressive selection.

The Trib Steakhouse
Year Opened: 2005
Location: 118 – 8 Ave SW
Classic Alberta Beef steak and other meat entrees, paired with sides with a twist — try the buttermilk onion rings and truffle chicken wings.

Vintage Chophouse
Year Opened: 2003
Location: 320 – 11 Ave SW
A thorough steak experience — your server will guide you through the different cuts and types of beef so you know exactly what you’re getting. All of their classic side dishes are classics for a reason: after just one bite you’ll see why you’d never want them to change.

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