When you think of fine dining in Canada, your thoughts might drift to the diverse restaurant landscapes in Vancouver and Toronto. But Alberta is creating its own culinary buzz—by taking advantage of the many flavourful and wholesome ingredients grown right here in our own backyard.
From Edmonton and Calgary to Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, Jasper and Banff, restaurants throughout Alberta are celebrating the province’s rich assortment of home-grown agricultural products by crafting their menus around regional cuisine.
For those unfamiliar with this particular type of cookery, regional cuisine uses locally grown ingredients, or processed products that are traceable to a farm or locality in the province. Given Alberta’s vast and rich countryside, the options for locally grown products are endless. All across the grasslands, two-thirds of Alberta farms raise cattle and are world-famous for their rich, flavourful grain-fed meat. Central Alberta has become a hub for artisanal cheese makers and dairy farmers; fantastic produce such as sweet corn, squash and potatoes come from local market gardens; and the south of the province yields canola and wheat fields, and berry farms.
To showcase local agricultural products and family-owned farms, the Dine Alberta: Savour the Regional Flavour project was initiated. This program, now in its fourth year, incorporates producers, processors, distributors, restaurants, chefs, media, and most importantly, the consumers in a unique annual promotion.
Each September, Dine Alberta offers diners all over the province an opportunity to sample regional cuisine prepared by some of Alberta’s finest chefs. An initiative of Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Dine Alberta pairs local producers with chefs to develop feature menus highlighting locally grown and produced ingredients. Participating restaurants serve at least three different dishes in fresh sheet or table d’hote concept, featuring a minimum of 70 per cent local ingredients.
The month-long promotion is also designed to develop consumer awareness of the rich variety in local ingredients, from white honey, hearty grains and potatoes to berry reductions with tasty ranch-raised game. While usually more cost-effective for restaurants, mass-produced and imported ingredients are eclipsed by the freshness and flavour of a locally produced product.
Apart from enjoying wonderful, regional cuisine, another fun aspect of the promotion is the Dine Alberta passport. Use the passport to find out about all of the 110 participating dining establishments throughout the province. Every time you eat a Dine Alberta meal, fill out the survey form your waiter provides along with the respective restaurant’s name. You may be eligible for a regional cuisine gift basket or restaurant gift certificate! However, the opportunity to sample some of the best beef, pork and lamb along with our unsurpassed farm raised bison, elk and deer, fruit and produce Alberta has to offer is often reward enough. For more information on the program and passport prizing visit Dine Alberta’s website (there’s also an on-line survey), or call toll-free 310-0000 and enter 780-644-3463 for a complete voice regional listing of Dine Alberta information across the province.
Participating Calgary & Area Dine Alberta Restaurants:
The Bavarian Inn Restaurant/ Bragg Creek
75 White Avenue, 949-3611
107 – 8 Avenue SW, 265-9595
Bistro Twenty Two Ten
2210 – 4 Street SW, 228-4528
Bistro Provence/ Okotoks
52 North Railway Street, 938-2224
Buchanan’s Chop House & Whiskey Bar
738 – 3 Avenue SW, 261-4646
Buzzards Restaurant & Bar
140 – 10 Avenue SW, 264-6959
Cafe Divine/ Okotoks
42 McRae Street, 938-0000
Calgary Petroleum Club
319 – 5 Avenue SW, 269-7981
100 Stephen Avenue SE, 206-0000
Centini Restaurant & Lounge
160 – 8 Avenue SE, 269-1600
The Coup Inc.
924 – 17 Avenue SW, 541-1041
Forage at Calgary Farmers’ Market Hwy.
6, 4421 Quesnay Wood Drive SW, 869-2445
Good Earth Cafés
9 locations throughout the city
Isabella’s at Lougheed House
707 – 13 Avenue SW, 410-9288
La Chaumiere Restaurant
139 – 17 Avenue SW, 228-5690
O.N. Bar & Grill at the Westin Hotel
320 – 4th Avenue SE, 266-1611
1114 Edmonton Trail NE, 277-3408
Red Door Bistro
607 – 11 Avenue SW, 233-2433
Red Tree Catering
2129 – 33 Avenue SW, 242-3246
River Café Prince’s Island Park
1240 – 8 Avenue SE, 531-2767
Route 40 Soup Company/ Turner Valley
146 Main Street, 933-7676
Saint Germain Bistro
119 – 12 Avenue SW, 290-1322
Sorrentino’s Bistro & Bar
#308, 1919 Sirocco Drive SW, 246-5353
200 – 8 Avenue SE, 290-1012
Tribune Restaurant and Bar
118 – 8 Avenue SW, 269-3160
Wild Horse Bistro/ Black Diamond
126 Centre Avenue West, 933-5800
Wildwood Grill & Brewing Company Ltd.
2417 – 4 Street SW, 228-0100—Susan Phelan and Andrew Mah