By SEEMA DHAWAN
There are two ways to define Canadian cuisine. The first is to build off of ingredients found locally like Saskatoon berries, fresh salmon, and Alberta beef. The second is to bite into foods from world cuisines that have grown their way into the culinary scene and built Canada’s identity.
“To me Canadian cuisine is sort of a celebration of all of the wonderful people that grow food and using the influences of all the different nationalities that have come to Canada,” says Paul Rogalski, long-time Calgary chef and owner of Rouge.
Great cuisine always demonstrates a sense of place, says Scott Pohorelic, instructor at SAIT and former River Café chef, and we couldn’t agree more. “For me Canadian cuisine is cooking with things that grow here,” he says.
Canada 150 is an opportunity, and excuse, to celebrate Canadian cuisine. Dine at one (or all) of these restaurants in Calgary that serve up Canadian greats.
Tradition is at the core of the menu and aura of this stately restaurant. The beautiful interiors and fine dinnerware are complemented by a menu that hosts stars of Canadian cuisine: Wild B.C. salmon, west coast octopus, slow-roasted bison, and a locally-sourced golden beet salad topped with crumbled feta, basil pesto, pine nuts, and wholesome Canadian goodness.
• 200 – 8 Ave SW, 403-770-2313
Foreign Concept is an alternative Asian restaurant that merges pan-Asian dining with Alberta ingredients. The award-winning chefs have created a local yet unfamiliar menu with dishes such as lemongrass pork belly rillettes and cha ca la Vong, a classic Vietnamese grilled fish dish made with Alberta trout.
• 1011 – 1 St SW, 403-719-7288
A new addition to Calgary’s culinary scene, Deane House explores regional Canadian cuisine with dishes like the Haida Gwaii halibut cakes and coffee-glazed Alberta lamb ribs. The restaurant also has a tasting menu inspired by seasonal, Canadian ingredients.
• 806 – 9 Ave SE, 403-264-0595
A road map of Canadian culinary delights would be incomplete without the mention of saskatoon berries and delicious flaky pies stuffed with them. Head to The Beltliner for a scrumptious saskatoon berry pie served with local Fiasco vanilla bean gelato. Other Canadian offerings include the wild salmon eggs Benedict and the perogy poutine.
• 243 – 12 Ave SW, 587-955-1555
It was the chef at Silver Inn in Calgary who first thought to coat beef strips in batter and created the now famous dish ginger beef. Head to where it all began and take a bite out of the city’s history and crispy, succulent beef.
• 2702 Centre St N, 403-276-6711
Rouge is applause to local Canadian food. The restaurant has created a Canada 150 menu that features a new province every month. July features Alberta, and British Columbia is showcased in August. The inspiration of the season and the garden in the restaurant’s backyard will determine the special menu.
• 1240 – 8 Ave SE, 403-531-2767
Jelly & Bliss
One of the first bakeries to make gluten-free food is only three hours north of Calgary, in the province’s capital Edmonton. In Calgary, Bliss & Co. makes some of the best cupcakes in cowtown, with gluten free and vegan options. If doughnuts are more your jam, head to Jelly Modern Doughnuts for gluten-sensitive options that include maple bacon, chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, and coconut to celebrate Alberta’s culinary feats.
• Bliss & Co: 728 Northmount Dr NW, 403-281-8821; Jelly Modern Doughnuts: 1414 – 8 St SW, 403-453-2053