Hipster haunts, character cafés and independent shops define this laid-back urban village
By Amanda Edmond
The new kid on the block, Spoon Me offers fat-free natural yoghurt in three flavours: natural, green tea and acai berry. Choose from a variety of toppings like fresh strawberries, kiwi, almonds and chocolate chips. For something even sweeter, Crave Cookies & Cupcakes specializes in gourmet cupcakes. They offer full-size and mini cupcakes in decadent flavours as well as cookies and cakes. Try the Velvet Elvis (red velvet cake with cream cheese icing), their signature Crave-O-Licious (chocolate cake with blue vanilla butter cream icing) or The Princess (vanilla cake with strawberry butter cream icing and sprinkles).
Pages Books on Kensington carries over 10,000 titles by authors from Calgary, across the country, and around the world. They also sell hard-to-find titles, and can special order any that aren’t stocked at the store. This literary hot spot also hosts readings by authors and poets, and has a weekly story time for children.
At Vero Bistro Moderne, chef and owner Jenny Chan prepares Italian fusion dishes and daily lunch specials for $15 that include a starter, main and dessert. If something with a bit more spice is desired, try a Thai treat made by head chef Doungkaew Yooyen at Delicious Thai. Dishes include cashew chicken, pad Thai, and sweet green curry with pork, and can be made mild, medium, spicy or extra spicy.
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Higher Ground is a great place to grab more than just a cup of organic coffee: this café also serves wine, beer and meals. Every Wednesday, try a three-course vegetarian meal. The Roasterie is a hot spot for the alternative and indie crowds; grab a cup of coffee made from beans roasted in-house, then take a seat outside for some people watching.
At Joints, find handmade jewellery, unique accessories and books. With a wide selection of well-made bags, scarves and shoes, Joints has something for women of any age. For stylish dresses and casual wear from Canadian and international designers, head to Kismet. Designer labels include Michael Kors, InWear, Eva Franco and Designers Remix from Denmark. Purr is a trendy clothing shop offering alternative styles and brands that are sophisticated, but still hip, and come in a range of prices. Find hard-to-find labels and old favourites like Vero Moda and Converse.
A local landmark for comfort food and a cold pint of beer, Kensington Pub offers a warm place for regulars and newcomers. Pulcinella follows traditional Napoletana recipes for its brick-oven thin-crust pizza, with toppings like fior de latte mozzarella and prosciutto, imported from Italy. Both spots are open late.
Kensington is just northwest of downtown across the Bow River. Take 4 Ave S west to the Louise Bridge; cross over and there you are. Most of the shops and restaurants line 10 St NW up to 5 Ave NW, and along Kensington Rd to 14 St NW.