As any regular visitor or resident of Calgary knows, there’s no shortage of amazing restaurants to choose from in the city. There are also new restaurants opening up all the time, which makes Calgary all the more exciting for foodies. Whether your looking for a great spot to take a hot date, or for a schmoozy business dinner, choosing one of these new Calgary restaurants is sure to impress whoever you choose to take with you.
Cardinale is a just opened Italian joint from the owners of La Vita é Bella (and occupies the same space in historic Defoe building, which they’ve highlighted by exposing the brick in the dining room and adding plush oak and velvet furnishings). The food is superb, melding traditional Italian cooking with beautiful locally sourced ingredients, and all pastas are made in house daily. Must tries are their pillowy soft gnocchi served with spicy fennel chicken sausage, Tuscan kale, cannellini beans, parmesan, or the pappardelle with 12 hour braised veal shin ragu, burnt chicken liver, and piave vecchio, but honestly, everything on the menu sounds just as delicious. Cardinale also offers Italian sandwiches for lunch, has excellent cocktail menus and wine lists, and has a massive patio – all extra reasons to plan a visit there. (See a sample of their offerings in the header image above, or check out their Instagram account if you really want to start drooling.)
Elbow Room showcases the very best in Canadian cuisine, which means the menu is eclectic and highlights very Canuck ingredients such as cod cheeks, which you don’t see on that many menus away from Newfoundland. Come here for a great burger, or meaty dishes such as duck breast, pork belly, and buttermilk-fried chicken, but also for more delicate plates such as wood-grilled octopus, and excellent desserts too. Elbow room is also a great spot to head for brunch, and has a fabulous rooftop patio.
Ox Bar de Tapas is a sweet little Spanish inspired bar with an incredible menu. You can go for tapas staples like paella or patas bravas, but there’s such a huge variety in their menu that you’re bound to find many new and tasty little plates to try (how good does braised lamb ribs with blood orange BBQ sauce sound? Or grilled flank steak with salsa verde?). If you’re really feeling adventurous, Ox Bar de Tapas offers a $45 tasting menu that they call The Famous Spanish Table. Ox Bar de Tapas is a great place for a hot date, and one you’ll definitely come back to time and time again.
Calcutta Cricket Club has become a city favourite since opening this past just, and serves up a delicious menu of Bengali cuisine. From full on meals of curry and tandoor roasted fish, to rotis to bar snacks, there are plenty of options here (and an excellent cocktail menu to boot). It is worth going there just to check out the bar snack menu, which features dishes such as paneer and honey, Bengali croquettes with ground lamb & seasoned potatoes, roasted corn on the cob with lime and salt. Decor is glam 80s inspired, with pink velvet and rattan seating, and plenty of gold accenting throughout. Theres also a huge patio out back. Calcutta Cricket Club is fun, and different, so suitable for a raucous night of eating and drinking with friends, or date night (depending on your date, of course).
Bread and Circus Trattoria just opened up, and bills itself as, “Your neighbourhood pasta bar,” serving up tasty and inventive comfort food that’ll leave you satisfied. The menu includes small plates of crushed olive potatoes with salt cod, chicken liver and almonds, and standards like minestrone to main courses of oxtail rigatoni, spaghetti with prawn bottarga, or lamb meatballs and spaghetti (and the house-made paste is really what this place is all about). Bread and Circus is pretty small and intimate (it seats just 38) but if you aren’t there to seal a deal you can grab a seat and the bar to watch the chef and his team make the magic happen.
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