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Readers’ Picks for 2022
A covert practice gets the green light
Three getaways if you’re craving flowers
A compact galley with loads of storage and style
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An Evening with
19 May 2022 / 7:30PM Jubilee Auditorium Don’t miss Broadway sensation Bernadette Peters and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra performing the hits that made her famous. This concert is presented in partnership with the Taylor Family Foundation.
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18 May 2022 / 7:30PM Bella Concert Hall
on the cover King crab steamed in its shell and served in a sauce made from its own liver with house-cured salmon roe at Eight, one of this year’s Top 10 Best Overall Restaurants. Read more on page 20. Photograph by Jared Sych
contents 8 Editor’s Note 74 Work of Art
13 Detours A new book by author, artist and U of C faculty member Vivek Shraya insists that personal safety should be more than just a platitude. Plus, inside Alberta Distillers, the world-renowned Calgary distillery that has been creating award-winning rye whiskies for the past 76 years, and our regular roundup of “new and noteworthy” products and places to shop.
FE AT UR ES 56 Travel The first day of spring on the calendar still looks a lot like winter in Calgary. Here’s where you can go to see green grass and flowers in bloom. 62 Decor The compact and well-appointed galley kitchen in the home of interior designer Paul Lavoie is proof that dream kitchens sometimes come in small packages.
19 Best Restaurants 2022 Find out which local dining spots made this year’s top 10 list of Best Overall Restaurants. Plus, the five Best New Restaurants in Calgary and our readers’ picks for their favourite places to eat. By Karen Ashbee, Rosemary Bacovsky, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, Gabriel Hall and Chanry Thach
42 Chickens in the City What used to be a covert practice has now been given the green light by the City of Calgary. Why backyard henkeeping may be the next big thing on your block. By Elizabeth Chorney-Booth 48 Fashion Shot on location at Best New Restaurant Major Tom, these laid-back looks with a touch of glam are what you’ll want for going out on the town this spring.
C R E D I TS J A R E D SYC H , J A R E T T S I T T E R
D E PA R T M E N T S
t ain’t easy running a restaurant right now, what with all the rules and regulations on who and how many people can be in the house, the challenges around maintaining a full roster of healthy staff, supply chain issues that make it increasingly difficult to stock the walk-ins. With every day bringing new and unforeseen struggles, it’s a wonder most restaurateurs are able to get out of bed, let alone put on a successful dinner service. And yet, they do. Perhaps because of this, those of us who appreciated a good restaurant before our world got really complicated two years ago find ourselves extraappreciative in these current times. There’s a fighting spirit behind the flavours that end up on our plates, and, in that sense, this year’s Best Restaurants issue could be considered our toast to the contenders out there, the ones who fight the good fight, night after night, to deliver exceptional dining experiences. As in previous years, the process of selecting this year’s Best Restaurants list drew on criteria such as food quality, inventiveness, consistency and ambience. But there was also a sense of wonder that these worthy establishments were maintaining their high standards despite formidable odds. Our judging panel — which included some new faces alongside those from previous years — determined a top 10 list of Best Overall restaurants, and also
SHELLEY ARNUSCH EDITOR IN CHIEF s a r n u s c h @ re d p o i n t m e d i a . c a
The Good Fight
brought back the Best New Restaurants list this year, honouring five establishments that have put their stamp on the dining-out landscape in Calgary, despite only opening within the last year and a half. We also reached out by way of an online ballot to find out our readers’ favourite spots to eat around the city. The response was impressive: just shy of 40,000 voters weighed in on everything from Chinese, Vietnamese, French and Italian restaurants to the best places for pizza, burgers and steaks. Readers also voted for their favourite restaurants in the ’burbs in all four quadrants, as well as their favourite “pop-ups”— a new category in step with the current trend of restaurant concepts operating outside the confines of a proprietary space. You can read the readers’ picks alongside those of the judges starting on Page 19. The annual Best Restaurants list tends to define the March issue, but there are non-restaurant stories to read this month, too. That being said, our story (written by Best Restaurants judge Elizabeth ChorneyBooth) on how the City of Calgary has greenlighted the formerly covert practice of keeping backyard chickens is, in essence, a story about where our food comes from and our connection to it. Wherever you get your eggs, whether straight from your flock of backyard hens, or one of the Best Brunch spots, as voted by Avenue readers, we wish you good eating this month.
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CHILLING IN THE MOUNTAINS Why proponents of cold-water swimming say you should take the plunge.
MOVING THE CITY FORWARD A conversation with Mayor Jyoti Gondek on her vision for Calgary.
FORAGING AND FEASTING How leading local chefs are bringing wild plants to the table.
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NOTEBOOK OF THE CITY
PONDERING THE PANDEMIC IN HER NEW BOOK, AUTHOR VIVEK SHRAYA ASKS US TO RETHINK THE IDEA OF SAFETY
“ T H AT P H R A S E , ‘ S TAY S A F E ,’ S TA RT E D T O W E A R O N ME AFTER A WHILE, AND I T H I N K PA RT O F W H Y [IT DID] IS BECAUSE A LOT P H OTO G R A P H BY T K T K T K P H OTO G R A P H BY A L E J A N D R O S A N T I A G O
O F P E O P L E C A N ’ T.”
ike many of us, Vivek Shraya kept asking herself the same question at the onset of the pandemic in 2020: Was she doing the lockdown wrong? After spending time in the all-too-familiar loops of worrying (about loved ones, the virus and everything), the multi-hyphenate artist, author and assistant professor in the University of Calgary’s department of English decided to address the question in her new book, Next Time There’s a Pandemic. In the book, Shraya doesn’t promise a hard or fast answer to doing a lockdown right, but, instead, thoughtfully weaves her 2020 lockdown experiences with critiques of the exclusionary attitudes and expressions that became our pandemic habits. “I talk about how that phrase, ‘stay safe,’ started to wear on me after a while, and I think part of why [it did], is because a lot of people can’t,” she says. “Certainly for me, as a trans person, when I’m walking down the street, just minding my own business and keeping to myself, I don’t have any control over
whether or not someone chooses to harass me.” The book offers honest observation on collective care and how to really be there for one another, pandemic or not. “I propose this idea of ‘stay caring’ or ‘staying kind,’ because at least that’s a reminder for us to care for other people and to be kind to other people, instead of ‘stay safe,’ which is sort of like ‘good luck to you,’” Shraya says. Two years after those first lockdowns, Shraya now sees the pandemic as a traumatic event. “I don’t think that there is a way to figure it out. I think we just take it one day at a time,” she says. “I feel oddly romantic about 2020 to 2021. It really felt like, okay, we just have to get through this thing. But now, this year, it feels like we’re just here and this thing is never going away. And we have to figure out how to get through each day.” —Lysandra Nothing Next Time There’s a Pandemic (University of Alberta Press) is out now in paperback and electronic formats. 13
Inside Alberta Distillers THE LOCAL DISTILLERY HAS BEEN MAKING AWARD-WINNING SPIRITS FOR 76 YEARS AND IS KNOWN AROUND THE GLOBE
It’s One of the Oldest Distilleries in Canada
Alberta Distillers isn’t just one of the oldest whisky distilleries in the city, it’s one of the oldest in Canada. The distillery opened in 1946 in Calgary’s Alyth/Bonnybrook industrial area and is celebrating 76 years in 2022. Alberta Distillers also holds the ranking of largest distillery in Alberta, as all production takes place on its massive 40-acre campus.
It’s Known for Using Local Grains and Glacial Water
When Alberta Distillers was started by Frank McMahon and Max Bell (two very recognizable names in Calgary), the founders sought out a location where they could produce exceptional-tasting products and easily transport said products nationwide. The Alyth/Bonnybrook industrial area’s proximity to the railway fit the bill. In addition to ease in shipping products out, the railway-adjacent location also allowed for easy transportation of locally grown grains into the distillery, which could then be blended with glacial water from the Rocky Mountains.
It Has an In-House Microbiologist
Alberta Distillers is known worldwide for its expertise with rye, which tends to be a difficult grain as the process of changing the rye starches to sugars using enzymes has a drastic effect on the finished flavour. Rather than leave it up to chance, Alberta Distillers employs its own microbiologist, something most other distilleries don’t do. The role of the microbiologist is to create enzymes to better control the process of changing starch to sugar, leading to a more consistent, finished product. As a result, Alberta Distillers is one of the only distilleries that can create 100-per cent rye whiskies.
D I ST I L L E RY I N T E R I O R P H OTO G R A P H BY C H R I S L A N D RY; RY E W H I S K Y P H OTO G R A P H BY N I C K W O N S , CO U RT E SY O F P R A X I S P R
lberta Distillers Ltd. is often an afterthought in discussions about local distilling. Unlike the trendy craft distilleries, it gets dismissed for being a producer of ordinary spirits in plastic bottles. But, in reality, Alberta Distillers is much more impressive than that, with a history that dates back eight decades and a global repuation. In celebration of International Whisky Day on March 27 (an unofficial holiday celebrated by whisky aficionados, if not their governments), here are four things you should know about this under-the-radar institution.
It’s an Internationally Renowned Brand
Though mostly known at home for everyday products like Alberta Premium, Alberta Distillers has gained international recognition for its special, small-batch spirits. In 2020, the distillery took home numerous awards at the International Whisky Competition, including Best Canadian Whisky, for its Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye and was named Distillery of the Decade at the 2020 Canadian Whisky Awards. Its Northern Keep vodka, made with a blend of Canadian rye and winter wheat, was a finalist in the 2021 Ultimate Spirits Challenge, earning 94 points. —Chris Landry MARCH 2022
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Calgary-based Needle & Pine’s mini cabin incense burners ($95 to $125) are made to order from reclaimed wood. The kitschy cabins can be built clean-cut (made with wooden pegs) or rustic (made from locally foraged branches). Either way, they come with handcrafted aluminum funnels, incense and a glass dish for safer burning. Available at etsy.com/ca/shop/ needleandpineshop
IM P E R I A L SP I C E ARG A N
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These hand-cut reed diffusers ($195 to $275) use natural ingredients and rigorously sourced essential oils to create relaxing blends. Sea & Dune invokes the smell of sea salt, lotus and ginger while Feu De Bois blends together frankincense, leather, sandalwood and pine. Available at Robert Sweep, 808 16 Ave. S.W., 403-262-8525, robertsweep.com
N ew Store THE HIDDEN GEM The original Hidden Gem is the largest indoor market in Okotoks, home to approximately 80 local makers, including clothing designers, jewellery artists, woodworkers and more. Now, a second location has opened in Kensington, which means Calgary shoppers can browse The Hidden Gem without leaving the city. 1145 Kensington Cres. N.W., 403-560-0964, facebook.com/ thehiddengemokotoks March 2022
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P L U S S P E C I A L G U E ST S Aura Inner Beauty, Azuridge Estate Hotel, Black Dog Bakery, eluo, Fiore Fine Events, JD Styling, JP Weddings, Melissa Dawn Event Designs, Smudge & Smoulder, Stephen Cleaners, Tkshotz Photography
T I C K E T S A N D I N F O R M AT I O N AT
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WANCHULAK RESIDENCE INTERIOR DESIGN BY LESLEY WANCHULAK DESIGN C O S M O P O L I TA N N A K E D / P L A N K S & C H E V R O N
V i s i t o u r s h owrooms
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Photography: Eymeric Widling Photography
Va n couver
Our spotlight on Calgary’s best overall restaurants is a Top 10 list this year. Among those 10, you’ll find some perennial list-makers, as well as some that are new to the party. And, speaking of new, after taking a break in 2021, the Best New Restaurants list is back, honouring five exceptional establishments that are already part of our city’s dining-out lexicon, despite their very short histories. We’ve also got the results of our annual online ballot in which Avenue readers voted for their favourite restaurants across 29 categories. All in all, there’s something here for every taste, so sit back, dig in and enjoy reading up on the best restaurants in Calgary right now. B Y K A R E N A S H B E E , R O S E M A R Y B A C O V S K Y, E L I Z A B E T H C H O R N E Y - B O O T H GABRIEL HALL AND CHANRY THACH PHOTOGRAPHY BY JARED SYCH
BES T OVERALL RESTAURANTS
S U M M E R P E A P U R É E P L AT E D TA B L E S I D E AT E I G H T.
HOT TIP Eight’s tableware includes exquisite Quinspired ceramics made by Calgary artisan Quin Cheung, whose wheel-thrown whisky tumbler with a glazed gold inlay was a winner in Avenue’s Made in Alberta Awards last year.
Results of our online ballot, in order of top vote-getter followed by runners-up BEST VIETNAMESE Pho Dau Bo Restaurant 4909 17 Ave. S.E., 403-272-5160 phodaubovietnamese.com, @phodaubo Paper Lantern 115 2 Ave. S.E., 403-457-7765 paperlantern.ca, @paperlanternyyc Pure Modern Asian Kitchen & Bar 815 8 Ave. S.W., 403-475-1899 purekitchenbar.com, @purekitchenbar Golden Bell Saigon Restaurant Four Calgary locations, goldenbell.ca, @goldenbellrestaurant
Eight It can take months to book one of the eight seats at chef-owner Darren MacLean’s Eight restaurant in the Alt Hotel, but the wait is worth it. MacLean’s enthusiasm for this country, the terroir and his profession are encapsulated in every bite. Tucked behind Nupo, MacLean’s other Alt Hotel restaurant, Eight’s V-shaped, reclaimed Douglas fir counter offers a view of the shared kitchen, while allowing for an interactive experience, where guests can ask questions as MacLean relates the details of every dish. This is kitchen theatre at its best. With an emphasis on seasonality, each night’s tasting menu of 15-plus courses digs deep into Canadian regional cuisine. Every meal begins with an assortment of amuses, all varying in texture and flavour intensity, 20
all miniature works of art. Mains such as chicken and pork are often sourced from the no-till farm MacLean runs just south of the city. Layered flavours abound, as in the B.C. spot prawns in a gochujang bouillabaisse enhanced with onion, fennel and smokedoyster aioli. Even the bluefin kama toro is Canadian — sourced from Newfoundland. Eight is only open Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, with a reservation system that functions more like obtaining tickets for a must-see show. But it’s a hot ticket for reason of exceptional culinary artistry and unforgettable flavours, unlike anything else in this city. —K.A. 631 Confluence Way S.E. (inside Alt Hotel), 403-457-2153, eightcdn.ca, @eight_cdn
Tamarind Vietnamese Grill & Noodle House 908 12 Ave. S.W., 403-262-6644 tamarindyyc.ca
BEST DIM SUM Silver Dragon Restaurant 106 3 Ave. S.E., 403-264-5326 silverdragoncalgary.com, @silverdragonyyc U & Me Restaurant 201, 233 Centre St. S.W., 403-264-5988 uandme-restaurant.com T.Pot China Bistro & Cafe 9650 Harvest Hills Blvd. N., 403-532-3982 tasteofasiagroup.ca march 2022
E I G H T P H OTO G R A P H BY D AV E A N D Q U I N C H E U N G , D Q ST U D I O S .CO M
Oriental Phoenix 104 58 Ave. S.E., 403-253-8189 orientalphoenix.net
BES T OVERALL RESTAURANTS
BEST ITALIAN MERCATO This family-owned restaurant/ market in Calgary’s Mission neighbourhood has been operating for more than 15 years. The menu is presented in the traditional format of antipasti, pastas, risotto and entrees (secondi), while the market is a source for fresh, handmade pasta, breads, sauces and other items you need for an Italian feast at home. 2224 4 St. S.W., 403-263-5535 mercatogourmet.com @mercato_mission Bonterra Trattoria 1016 8 St. S.W., 403-262-8480 bonterra.ca, @bonterracalgary Teatro Ristorante 200 8 Ave. S.E., 403-290-1012 teatro.ca, @teatrorestaurant Cardinale 401 12 Ave. S.E., 403-264-6046 cardinale.ca, @cardinaleyyc Pulcinella 1147 Kensington Cres. N.W., 403-283-1166 pulcinella.ca, @lovepulcinella
HOT TIP Alloy has access to an exceptional list of spirits and a vault full of wonderful wines. Craving a hard-tofind whisky after dinner? Let them know and they’ll look for it. They’ll also bring in wines for guests upon request.
Alloy As I get settled into middle age, I prefer comfortable clothes instead of slim Italian suits. I have a fondness for nostalgia, and my friends have more bald patches than actual hair. Similarly, when a restaurant reaches middle age, the interior design tends to fall behind, the menu clings to old favourites and the clientele gets, well, more mature. In restaurant years, 14-year-old Alloy could be considered middle age. However, the cool-white interior is still well-manicured and bright. The clientele is composed of as many young couples on nervous first dates as couples celebrating their 30th wedding anniversaries. But is there a nostalgic attachment towards the menu? Definitely not.
While owners Uri Heilik and Rogelio Herrera acknowledge that their regular customers would revolt if they ever removed the short ribs, the staff at Alloy revel in the creativity of designing customized dishes and menus. Want to prove to your partner that you remember their favourite vegetable? Create a whole course meal around it. Want your new year’s party to have a certain theme you’d like the food to match? The kitchen is eager to show you what their imaginations and skills can do. —G.H. 220 42 Ave. S.E., alloydining.com, @alloydining 21
BES T OVERALL RESTAURANTS
W O O D - RO A S T E D H A L F - D U C K W I T H C H A R R E D RO M A I N E A N D A F U RT H E R D O W N T H E R A B B I T H O L E CO C K TA I L AT BRIDGETTE BAR.
BEST JAPANESE Shokunin 2016 4 St. S.W., 403-229-3444 shokuninyyc.ca, @shokuninyyc Shiki Menya 824 1 Ave. N.E., 403-454-2722 shikimenya.ca, @shikimenya Kinjo Sushi & Grill Six Calgary locations kinjosushiandgrill.com, @kinjo_sushi Big Catch Sushi Bar 8835 Macleod Tr. S.W., 403-708-5555 bigcatchcalgary.ca, @bigcatchcalgary Fuji Ramen and Sushi 111, 12100 Macleod Tr. S.E., 587-352-5595 fujiramenandsushi.com @fujiramenandsushi
HOT TIP For an up-close-andpersonal experience with
Sushi Bar Zipang 1010 1 Ave. N.E., 403-262-1888 zipang.ca, @sushi.bar.zipang
Bridgette Bar’s culinary team, book one of the three seats at the kitchen bar. A loyal clientele snaps up these seats weekly, so make your reservation as early as you can.
Bridgette Bar When Concorde Group opened Bridgette Bar in 2016, the space generated as much buzz as the food. As conceived by Frank Architecture, the industrial concrete floors and exposed brick paired with mid-century modern furnishings and macrame wallhangings create a casual, urban vibe that has defined the restaurant from Day 1. But, beneath the laid-back atmosphere is a team of professionals, evident in the attentive service and skillful cooking. Local talent MacKenzie Pavka, Bridgette’s chef de cuisine, turns out elevated comfort-food dishes with an emphasis on charred and roasted elements, such as a tender, well-seasoned grilled lamb sirloin with falafel, tahini and 22
mint, and a wood-roasted half-duck paired with charred romaine, pine nuts and cranberries. Servers whisk by carrying massive platters of the crowd-favourite farm chicken with chicken sausage, dill gravy and crispy fries, while happy patrons line the bar in the lounge, sipping inventive cocktails. With one of the longest happy hours, from 2 to 5 p.m. daily, the lounge is the spot to grab a half-price drink any day of the week. No matter what the time of day, the tantalizing and comforting aroma of wood smoke wafts throughout the space. —K.A. 739 10 Ave. S.W., 403-700-0191 (text only), bridgettebar.com, @thebridgettebar
Sukiyaki House 207 9 Ave. S.W., 403-263-3003 sukiyakihouse.com, @sukiyakihouseyyc OMO Teppan and Kitchen 5222 Macleod Tr. S.W., 403-764-3222 omoyyc.com, @omoyyc
BEST CHINESE Silver Dragon Restaurant 106 3 Ave. S.E., 403-264-5326 silverdragoncalgary.com @silverdragonyyc U & Me Restaurant 201, 233 Centre St. S.W., 403-264-5988 uandme-restaurant.com Great Taste Chinese Restaurant 123 2 Ave. S.E., 403-265-9880 and 594 64 Ave. N.E., 403-275-6577 greattastecalgary.com @greattaste_chinatown
Bill’s Peking House 380 Canyon Meadows Dr. S.E. 403-278-3338, billspeking.ca @billspekinghouse march 2022
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MODERN STEAK A N A L B E R TA P R I M E G R A D E S T E A K H O U S E
Winner Best Steak House WWW.MODERNSTEAK.CA
Known around the restaurant as Papa Fuji, Benjamin Ang is a local businessman who always dreamt of owning a Japanese restaurant. Opening his spot in May of 2020, midst of a pandemic, has had its hurdles. Yet, staying optimistic and remaining true to the cuisine has helped this restaurant gain a loyal following, and winning multiple awards - including Favourite Ramen in Calgary. The success of this little gem in the heart of Avenida is thanks to the talents of Head Chef, Aureaus de Castro, whose beautiful plates of sushi and delicious ramen bowls reflects his 18 years of experience in Japanese cuisine. Additionally, through contributions of dedicated staff, alongside hardworking Manager/Owner Maria Hunter, Papa Fuji’s eldest daughter ‘Lady Boss’, they have created the experience of what it is today. Stop by for dine-in or take out and see why Fuji has risen to the top in two short years!
Maria Hunter, Owner/Manager 24
Head Chef, Aureaus de Castro
(587) 352-5595 fujiramenandsushi fujiramenandsushi.com 111-12100 Macleod Trail SE march 2022
BES T OVERALL BEST
C H E F D U N C A N LY.
MEDITERRANEAN Aida’s Bistro 2208 4 St. S.W., 403-541-1189 aidasbistro.ca, @aidasbistro A1 Café 1213 1 St. S.W., 403-474-7766 a1bodega.ca, @a1bodegacafe HOT TIP Chef Duncan Ly has a
Broken Plate Greek Restaurant 590, 10816 Macleod Tr. S.E., 403-225-9650, brokenplate.ca, @brokenplateyyc
passion for the art of dim sum. The pork siu mai with truffle soy and sesame chili is just one example of his successful experiments
Santorini Greek Taverna 1502 Centre St. N., 403-276-8363 santorinirestaurant.com @santorinigreektaverna_
towards developing an innovative dim sum menu.
Paros Real Greek 1436 8 St. S.W., 403-453-1039 and 8650 112 Ave. N.W., 403-547-7040 parosrealgreek.com, @parosrealgreek
BEST AFRICAN Safari Grill 100, 255 28 St. S.E., 403-235-6655, safarigrillcalgary.com, @safarigrill Flavours Restaurant 4129 4 St. N.W, 403-719-2770 flavourcuisineandcatering.com @flavoursrestaurant Abyssinia Restaurant 910 12 Ave. S.W., 403-452-3498 abyssiniarestaurant.ca @abyssinia_yyc Yegna Ethiopian Restaurant 100, 3515 17 Ave., S.E. 403-483-6995, yegnayyc.ca @yegnayyc Yenny Delights 81, 3131 27 St. N.E., 403-880-5731 and Crossroads Market, 1235 26 Ave. S.E. yennydelights.com @yennydelights1 avenuecalgary.com
Foreign Concept If you know Duncan Ly, you will know that he doesn’t stop moving. Takori, Melo, Greenfish, Concept Catering, Iron Chef appearances and multiple Canadian Culinary Championship regional wins and national competitions are just a short accounting of his activities after leaving Hotel Arts group in 2015. Most notably, he has also mentored numerous chefs who have gone on to open their own restaurants. Ly’s flagship, Foreign Concept, is antithesis to that frenzy with its cozily lit room, warm and sturdy wood tables, and muted colours. Time ceases to exist as Mama Ly’s pork and shrimp imperial rolls land on the
table: crispy, savoury and meaty, with the freshness of mint leaves and the acidity of nuoc cham. Chicken, shiitake and rice cakes steam in a traditional clay pot, making anyone who has spent time eating their way through Asia nostalgic for the days when one could freely travel. Foreign Concept has continued to be the anchor in Ly’s ventures. His warmth is evident through the time he takes out of his frenzied schedule to talk to his guests and to visit his protegés’ restaurants. —G.H. 1011 1 St. S.W., 403-719-7288 foreignconcept.ca, @eatforeign 25
BES T OVERALL RESTAURANTS
HOUSE-FERMENTED TEMPEH NIGIRI F RO M T H E V E G A N O M A K A S E S U S H I E X P E R I E N C E AT N U P O.
HOT TIP The Okami Kasu beer on the drinks menu is a collaboration between chef and owner Darren MacLean and Ol’ Beautiful Brewing Company in Inglewood.
BEST MEXICAN NATIVE TONGUES TAQUERIA This upscale Mexican restaurant remains a go-to for tacos — with both grilled and braised meats and vegetable options — served up with a variety of fresh salsas and traditional Mexican sides, as well as a dizzying array of tequilas and mezcals. 235 12 Ave. S.W., 403-263-9444 nativetongues.ca, @nativetonguesyyc Añejo Restaurant 2116 4 St. S.W., 587-353-2656 anejo.ca, @anejoyyc
At Nupo, the focus is on natural flavours of vegetables, fish and seafood, whether you’re ordering from the dining-room menu or have scored a seat for the omakase sushi experience (a multi-course menu as determined by the chef). Vegetables are harvested locally, many from chef and owner Darren MacLean’s farm, while sustainable fish and seafood ingredients come to the table fresh or aged in-house for up to seven days to produce incredible texture and depth of flavour. A range of salads, satays, tostadas, tacos, rolls and hot pots reveals a diversity of culinary influences. The key influence, however, is Japan, as evidenced by the superlative sushi offerings. The omakase, which can be ordered traditional or vegan, requires 26
pre-paid tickets, with six seats per seating and two seatings per night. The daily menu for each option features 17 courses of snacks, nigiri, soup and desserts. Nupo’s head sushi chef skillfully prepares each morsel, garnishing the artful pieces with Canadian caviar, real wasabi, in-house aged ginger and house-made XO sauce. Desserts sustain the overall focus, with vegetable-forward flavours and nut-milk ice creams. The cocktail program is a star in its own right, with sake-based cocktails and specialty drinks crafted with Matsu Kaze teas, all enhancing the unique and special vibe that Nupo creates, night after night. —R.B.
Con Mi Taco 821 1 St. S.W. (pop-up inside Meat & Bread) 587-890-7192, conmitaco.com @conmitaco Tacos Mexico Memorial 3725 Memorial Dr. S.E., 403-457-6117 tacosmexicoyyc.com @tacosmexicomemorial Fonda Fora 630 4 Ave. S.W. (inside The Westley Hotel), 403-764-6260 fondafora.com, @fondafora
631 Confluence Way S.E. (inside Alt Hotel), 587-353-1388, nupo.ca, @nupoyyc march 2022
N U P O P H OTO G R A P H BY D AV E A N D Q U I N C H E U N G , D Q ST U D I O S .CO M
BES T OVERALL RESTAURANTS
PA R K BY S I D E WA L K C I T I Z E N C H E F S C OT T M C K AY.
HOT TIP While the solarium is undoubtedly picturesque, snag a spot on the parkside patio in the summertime for some prime peoplewatching.
BEST BARBECUE HAYDEN BLOCK SMOKE & WHISKEY Hayden Block serves up a taste of the South in the heart of Calgary. Smoked meats and traditional sides like collard greens and bacon mac ’n’ cheese are highlights here, as is the list of more than 100 whiskies. 1136 Kensington Rd. N.W., 403-283-3021 haydenblockyyc.com, @haydenblockyyc Jane Bond BBQ 321, 723 46 Ave. S.E., 403-277-7064 janebondbbq.com, @janebondbbq Comery Block Barbecue 638 17 Ave. S.W., 403-453-7636 comeryblock.com, @comeryblock
B A R B E C U E P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E S Y O F H AY D E N B L O C K
The Palomino Smokehouse 109 7 Ave. S.W., 403-532-1911 thepalomino.ca, @palominosmokehouse Big T’s BBQ & Smokehouse Three locations in Calgary (plus one in Airdrie) bigtsbbq.com, @bigtsbbq Prairie Dog Brewing 105D 58 Ave. S.E., 403-407-2448 prairiedogbrewing.ca, @prariedogbeer Big Sky BBQ 306016 15 St. E., Okotoks, 403-938-0701, bigskybbq.ca
Park by Sidewalk Citizen When it was announced in 2019 that the team from Sidewalk Citizen Bakery was taking over the restaurant in Central Memorial Park, many expected a repeat of the bakery counter in the Simmons Building in East Village. But owners Michal Lavi and Aviv Fried had bigger plans. Park by Sidewalk Citizen took what was a difficult and cramped space and turned it into one of the most creatively designed dining rooms in the city. The former patio is now an all-weather solarium covered by a cathedral-meets-beehive wooden lattice that feels both elegant and sublimely natural, a descriptor that also matches the restaurant’s eclectic and shareable food. Park really caught its stride this past summer, bringing new chef Scott McKay on board. McKay’s menu is Mediterranean-in-
spired, with plenty of seasonal flair, making great use of luxuriant ingredients and fresh vegetables. The Sidewalk Citizen pedigree shines through during the daytime with a sandwich-forward lunch menu and brunch items like the much-loved shakshuka. At nighttime, though, the park gets dark and the restaurant and patio light up, with a beautifully curated wine list designed by Von Der Fels alum Thomas Dahlgren and a list of fragrant cocktails that match the food. Running a restaurant in a public building in a downtown park can be a challenge, but Park feels like it’s destined to be in this space, a tiny oasis in the heart of the city. —E.C.B. 340 13 Ave S.W., 403-263-2999, sidewalkcitizen.com/park, @parkbysidewalk 27
BES T OVERALL BEST PIZZERIA
RESTAURANTS HOT TIP Start and end with the
Una Pizza + Wine Three Calgary locations (plus one in Banff) unapizzeria.com, @unacalgary,
artisan cheese and the fish and game charcuterie. Nothing tells a story like the rawest expression of natural ingredients.
Noble Pie 720 11 Ave. S.W. (alley), 403-536-4075 (text only), noblepiepizza.com @noblepiepizza Posto Pizzeria and Bar 1014 8 St. S.W., 403-263-4876 posto.ca, @postocalgary Actually Pretty Good 2509 14 St. S.W., 403-475-9384; and 1327 1 St. S.W. (First Street Market) 403-475-9384; actuallyprettygood.ca @actuallyprettygood Bow Tie Pizza Four Calgary locations bowtiepizza.com, @bowtiepizza Pulcinella 1147 Kensington Cres. N.W., 403-283-1166 pulcinella.ca, @lovepulcinella Double Zero Pizza CF Chinook Centre, 403-457-7677 doublezeropizza.ca, @doublezeropizza Connie and John’s 618 Confluence Way S.E., 403-710-2145 and 2044 33 Ave. S.W. 403-819-1434 connieandjohns.com, @connie_and_johns
River Café Sal Howell, proprietor and founder of River Café, and her staff have been refining the tastes, smells and ingredients of Canada for the last 31 years — long before “local and seasonal” was a catchphrase. A walk through Prince’s Island Park to the building will start to unravel the historical documentary that is River Café. Shrimp from Fogo island, delicate lamb from a family farm just outside Lethbridge, grains harvested from the sun-soaked Prairies, glassy-eyed fish from both coasts, and wine grown in the fertile valleys of British Columbia and Ontario all combine to celebrate the bounty of Canada. The reverberations on the wood floor, the bright whites of the birch-lined bar and the glowing rocky hearth envelop you in the 28
warmth of something instinctively familiar. Few icons in the restaurant world ever reach a decade of service, much less three. Fewer still stay relevant. La Chaumière is gone from the Calgary culinary lexicon, Bishop’s in Vancouver has disappeared from the Canadian landscape and forces like Dave McMillan of Montreal’s Joe Beef have called it quits. Permanently. Restaurants are now transitory entities. When a restaurant continues to remain steadfast in its concept and relevant in its execution, it should be wholeheartedly celebrated as a cornerstone in our community. —G.H. Prince’s Island Park, 403-261-7670, river-cafe.com, @rivercafeyyc
BEST FRENCH Cassis Bistro 105, 2505 17 Ave. S.W., 403-262-0036 thecassisbistro.ca, @cassisbistro Fleur de Sel Brasserie 2015 4 St. S.W., 403-228-9764 fleurdeselbrasserie.com @fleurdeselbrassarie Purlieu Modern Bistro 14, 3109 Palliser Dr. S.W., 403-280-7474 purlieucalgary.ca, @purlieuyyc Hutch Cafe 795 1 Ave. S.W., 403-454-8823 hutch-cafe.com, @hutchcafeyyc march 2022
220 – 42 AVENUE SE
403 287 9255
BES T BEST THAI
White Elephant Thai Cuisine 1808 19 St. N.E., 403-457-1172 whiteelephantcuisinecalgary.com
HOT TIP Tasting menus are constantly updated. Bold, powerful flavours and softer, subtler surprises are available at different points throughout the year, based on seasonal and foraged ingredients and the imagination of the chefs in the kitchen.
Tuk Tuk Thai Nine locations in Calgary, plus one in Airdrie tuktukthai.com, @eattuktukthai Jurees Thai Place Restaurant 2055 16 Ave. N.W., 403-264-6477 jureesthaiplace.com, @jureesthaiplace Hearts Choices Cafe Market 4127 6 St. N.E., 403-276-2163 heartschoices.com, @heartschoices Thai Sa-On Restaurant 351 10 Ave. S.W., 403-264-3526 thai-sa-on.com
BEST OF THE BELTLINE Bridgette Bar 739 10 Ave. S.W., 403-700-0191 (text only) bridgettebar.com, @thebridgettebar
CHEF DE CUISINE
Ten Foot Henry 1209 1 St. S.W., 403-475-5537 tenfoothenry.com, @tenfoothenry
D E A N FA S T.
Lulu Bar 510 17 Ave. S.W., 403-519-0444 (text only) lulubar.ca, @thelulubar
Rouge Imagine dining in your grandparents’ farmhouse, beets grown in the garden and picked that afternoon, veal that was grazing in the neighbour’s field the other week and herbs growing all along the back porch. Now, imagine trained chefs in the kitchen with access to this glorious bounty and just think what might appear on the plate. Rouge, in the heritage A.E. Cross House, is reminiscent of that aging farmhouse and far from the cool, crisp restaurant aesthetic that has been popular in global fine-dining. The view of the garden is enhanced by the scent of hay-smoked veal wafting up from the plate. Granules of garlic soil peek out from under brightly coloured roasted beets, encapsulating Rouge’s use of modern tech30
niques and simple approaches to entice all the senses. Dean Fast, who, before landing at Rouge, spent time at Q Haute Cuisine honing his culinary skills, plunges his hands into the garden to grow his own ingredients. Fast further collaborates with chef and co-owner Paul Rogalski, whose own foraging and hunting adventures in the wilderness (Rogalski stars with “Survivorman” Les Stroud in the PBS series, Wild Harvest) help inform Fast’s vision of a refined frontier dining experience in a building that dates back to a time when this region was the frontier. —G.H. 1240 8 Ave. S.E., 403-531-2767 rougecalgary.com, @rougerestaurant
Native Tongues Taqueria 235 12 Ave. S.W., 403-263-9444 nativetongues.ca, @nativetonguesyyc Vegan Street Kitchen & Lounge 1111 7 St. S.W., 403-454-3287 veganstreet.ca/beltline, @veganstreetbeltline Una Pizza + Wine 618 17 Ave. S.W., 403-453-1183 unapizzeria.com, @unacalgary Donna Mac 1002 9 St. S.W., 403-719-3622 donnamacyyc.ca, @donnamacyyc Model Milk 308 17 Ave. S.W., 403-265-7343, modelmilk.ca, @modelmilk march 2022
BEST BURGER JOINT BOOGIE’S BURGERS This perennial favourite has long been a go-to for Calgary burger-heads, serving up an eclectic selection of whimsical creations topped with things like mac ’n’ cheese wedges or hot dogs, and a long list of crazy milkshake flavours. At the Edmonton Trail location there are also classic arcade games to play while you wait for your order to come up. 908 Edmonton Tr. N.E., 403-230-7070 and 2129 33 Ave. S.W., 403-454-2902 boogiesburgers.com, @boogiesycc Lil’ Empire 4323 1 St. S.E. (inside Annex Ale Project) 403-453-8994; and 1105 1 Ave. N.E. 403-455-4007; lilempireburger.com @lilempireburger Inglewood Drive In 802 12 St. S.E., 403-265-5198, inglewooddrivein.com, @inglewooddrivein Iyycburg 19 Sunmills Dr. S.E., 403-287-0011; and 220, 129 Sage Valley, Sage Hill Common N.W., 825-407-8620; iyycburg.com, @iyycburg Clive Burger 736 17 Ave. S.W., 403-229-9224 cliveburger.com, @cliveburger
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BES T OVERALL RESTAURANTS
S O F T- S H E L L C R A B T E M P U R A F I N I S H E D W I T H F R E S H L I M E AT S H O K U N I N .
HOT TIP Save room for the sublime sake kasu tiramisu. Floating in a rich sake caramel sauce and topped with a choco-
late tuile, this dessert
should never be missed.
ALUMNI SANDWICHES Alumni has built a loyal following with sandwiches like the chicken Parmesan, the hot-chicken sandwich or the chorizo torta, paired with inventive cocktails or local craft beers. 725 17 Ave. S.W., 403-455-7255 alumnisandwiches.com, @alumniyyc Spolumbo’s Fine Foods & Deli 1308 9 Ave. S.E., 403-264-6452 spolumbos.com, @spolumbosdeli Peppino Five Calgary locations peppinogourmet.com, @peppinoyyc
Shokunin With a hard-edged hip interior and a playlist set to ’90s hip-hop, diners happily brave the lineups at chef-owner Darren MacLean’s six-year-old, multiple-award-winning izakaya in Mission. No matter what time of night, the place will be throbbing with noisy energy and tantalizing aromas. Grab a spot at the eight-seater harvest table or sit among the fans at the chef’s bar and start with the chicken yakitori. The moist skewers of butchered-daily chicken — including hearts, wing flap, knees and oysters — are miles ahead of the chewy norm. (You’ll need to get there early as there are limited quantities and 32
Meat & Bread 821 1 St. S.W., 403-764-6225 meatandbread.com, @meatandbread
popular cuts sell out quickly.) The deep-fried buttermilk chicken karaage comes out crisp and never greasy. Sushi in all its forms, made from fish flown in several times a week and butchered in-house, is impossibly delicate and flavourful. Specials are chalked on the board nightly. There’s also an extensive list of premium Junmai sakes (a pure rice sake with no additives), that pair well with just about everything. It’s a night out that’s loud, fun and undeniably delicious. —K.A. 2016 4 St. S.W., 403-229-3444, shokuninyyc.ca, @shokuninyyc
La Boulangerie Bakery & Café 2435 4 St. S.W., 403-984-9294 la-boulangerie-calgary.com @laboulangerieyyc Sammie Cafe 113, 2205 33 Ave. S.W., 403-457-9682 sammieyyc.ca, @sammieyyc Empire Provisions 8409 Elbow Dr. S.W., 403-244-0570 empireprovisions.com, @empireprovisions
S H O K U N I N P H OTO G R A P H BY D AV E A N D Q U I N C H E U N G , D Q ST U D I O S .CO M
Lazy Loaf & Kettle 8 Parkdale Cres. N.W., 403-270-7810 lazyloafandkettle.com, @lazy_loaf
BES T OVERALL RESTAURANTS
C H E F KO J I KO B AYA S H I CO M P O S I N G A CHIRASHI BOWL.
HOT TIP The chirashi bowl is a
visually artistic masterpiece, with a curated
assortment of seasonally available fish, expertly
MODERN STEAK What sets Modern Steak apart is the beef: the restaurant works with Alberta ranchers to source the highest-quality local beef found ’round these parts. Alongside its Alberta beef menu is a wagyu program that rivals what you’d find in Japan. Three Calgary locations modernsteak.ca, @modernsteakca
sliced and presented on a bed of sushi rice.
Caesar’s Steak House 512 4 Ave. S.W., 403-264-1222; and Willow Park Village, 403-278-3930 caesarssteakhouse.com @caesarssteak Chairman’s Steakhouse 2251 Mahogany Blvd. S.E., 587-291-9898 chairmans.ca, @chairmansyyc Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar 8th Avenue and 3rd Street S.W. 403-663-3363, hyssteakhouse.com, @hyssteakhouse Vintage Chophouse and Tavern 320 11 Ave. S.W., 403-262-7262 vintagechophouse.com @vintagechopyyc Charcut Roast House 899 Centre St. S.W., 403-984-2180, charcut.com, @charcut
Sukiyaki House Sukiyaki House managers (and siblings) Judith and Justin Kwong, head chef Koji Kobayashi, and the rest of the team bring a little bit of Japan to downtown Calgary, night after night. Chef Kobayashi is trained in kaiseki, the highest form of Japanese fine dining, in which a chef uses a variety of traditional cooking techniques throughout a multicourse dinner to highlight the seasonality of the ingredients. This expertise shows in the artistically composed dishes that have become the Sukiyaki House standard over the course of its decades-long history in the city. The Kwongs fly in fresh seasonal fish from Japan weekly, allowing diners to sample
seafood in season in the contemporary-chic space, which is well-suited for either intimate tête-a-têtes or extraordinary celebrations. From exquisitely made nigiri bites, to perfectly golden fried tempura or bubbling bowls of hot pot (available with one day’s notice), the menu offerings are as warm and comforting as they are dynamic and exciting. Try to reserve the omakase experience on nights that Chef Kobayashi is offering it. The term means, “I’ll leave it up to you,” and you’ll be so glad you did. —C.T. 207 9 Ave. S.W., 403-263-3003 sukiyakihouse.com, @sukiyakihouseyyc 33
Starbelly Open Kitchen & Lounge 220, 19489 Seton Cres. S.E., 403-570-0133 starbelly.ca, @starbellyyyc
The Park Kitchen & Bar 1200, 163 Quarry Park Blvd., 403-719-7200 theparktogo.com, @theparkcalgary
BEST OF THE
Major Tom 40th Floor, 700 2 St. S.W. 403-990-3954 (text only) majortombar.ca @themajortombar
Notable 4611 Bowness Rd. N.W., 403-288-4372 notabletherestaurant.ca, @notablecalgary 4th Spot Kitchen & Bar 2620 4 St. N.W., 403-984-3474 4thspot.com, @4thspotkitchenbar Flores & Pine 254028 Bearspaw Rd., 403-241-7611 floresandpine.com, @floresandpine The Bro’Kin Yolk Creekside 130, 12580 Symons Valley Rd. N.W. 587-317-5743, brokinyolk.ca, @brokinyolk Nick’s Steakhouse & Pizza 2430 Crowchild Tr. N.W., 403-282-9278 nickssteakandpizza.com, @nickssteakhouse
River Café Prince’s Island Park, 403-261-7670 river-cafe.com, @rivercafeyyc
BEST POP-UP CON MI TACO Operating out of Meat & Bread downtown, Con Mi Taco (translation: “with my taco”) is all about house-made ingredients, grinding corn daily to make hand-pressed tortillas, which are then wrapped around authentically Mexican fillings. There is also a large list of exotic margarita flavours like soursop, and, of course, traditional lime. conmitaco.com, @conmitaco
BEST OF THE
Pigot’s Burger Club pigotsburgerclub.com, @pigotsburgerclub Donut Club YYC donutclubyyc.ca, @donutclubyyc
Klein / Harris 110 8 Ave. S.W., 403-262-8100 kleinharris.com, @klnharris
Tokyo Chopsticks bestwishes120.wixsite.com/website @tokyochopsticksyyc
Veg-In YYC 215 6 Ave. S.E., 587-351-5253 veginyyc.com, @veginyyc
Garbanzo’s garbanzos.ca, @garbanzosyyc
’BURBS S.W. Cassis Bistro 2505 17 Ave. S.W., 403-262-0036 thecassisbistro.ca, @cassisbistro Mercato West 873 85 St. S.W., 403-263-6996 mercatowest.com, @mercatowest
BEST OF THE ’BURBS N.E. Calgary Momo House 2150, 4310 104 Ave. N.E., 403-660-7043 calgarymomohouse.com @calgarymomohouse
Teatro Ristorante 200 8 Ave. S.E., 403-290-1012 teatro.ca, @teatrorestaurant
Amihan Grill + Bakeshop 208, 3132 26 St. N.E., 403-455-6050 amihan.ca, @amihan_grill_bakeshop
BEST OF THE ’BURBS S.E.
The Ship & Anchor 534 17 Ave. S.W., 403-245-3333, shipandanchor.com @shipandanchorpub Trolley 5 Brewpub 728 17 Ave. S.W., 403-454-3731 trolley5.com, @trolley_5 Citizen Brewing Company 227 35 Ave. N.E., 403-474-4677, citizenbrewingcompany.com @citizenbrewingcompany
Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market 3326 17 Ave. S.W., 403-727-7627 sauceitalianmarket.com, @sauceitalianmarket
White Elephant Thai Cuisine 1808 19 St. N.E., 403-457-1172 whiteelephantcuisinecalgary.com
Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant 15979 Bow Bottom Tr. S.E., 403-476-1310 bvrrestaurant.com, @bowvalleyrancherestaurant
Purlieu Modern Bistro 14, 3109 Palliser Dr. S.W., 403-280-7474 purlieucalgary.ca, @purlieuyyc
Hearts Choices Cafe Market 4127 6 St. N.E., 403-276-2163 heartschoices.com, @heartschoices
Chairman’s Steakhouse 2251 Mahogany Blvd. S.E., 597-291-9898 chairmans.ca, @chairmansyyc
Ol’ Beautiful Brewing Company 1103 12 St. S.E., 403-453-2739 olbeautiful.com @ol_beautifulbrewingco
National Westhills 180 Stewart Green S.W., 403-685-6801 ntnl.ca, @ntnlwesthills
Queens Breakfast Cocktails 3927 Edmonton Tr. N.E., 403-764-0878 queensyyc.ca, @queensyyc
Fuji Ramen and Sushi 111, 12100 Macleod Tr. S.E., 587-352-5595 fujiramenandsushi.com, @fujiramenandsushi
Last Best Brewing & Distilling 607 11 Ave. S.W., 587-353-7387 lastbestbrewing.com, @lastbestbrew march 2022
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Fine Chinese Cuisine Since 1966 Large selection of Dim Sum (Calgary only) Extensive menu, live seafood, Cantonese & Szechuan dishes Lunch, Dinner Open 7 days a week and all holidays Take out, delivery and catering services
106 - 3 Avenue SE • Chinatown
109 Spray Avenue, Banff
O L D FA S H I O N E D B A K E D
A L A S K A AT M A J O R TO M .
BEST BRUNCH OEB Breakfast Co. Four Calgary locations eatoeb.com, @oeb_breakfast The Bro’Kin Yolk Three Calgary locations brokinyolk.ca, @brokinyolk Blue Star Diner 809 1 Ave. N.E., 403-261-9998 bluestardiner.ca, @bluestar_yyc Queens Breakfast Cocktails 3927 Edmonton Tr., N.E. 403-764-0878 queensyyc.ca, @queensyyc Diner Deluxe 804 Edmonton Tr. N.E., 403-276-5499 and 106 Mahogany Centre S.E. 587-482-9979; dinerdeluxe.com @dinerdeluxe @dinerdeluxemahogany
Calgary had to wait for Major Tom to land. Concorde Group’s most ambitious project to date was scheduled to open on the 40th floor of Stephen Avenue Place in the spring of 2020, but the pandemic delayed the opening. Then delayed it again. But the glitzy restaurant finally opened its doors (or elevators, to be more precise) last summer, and proved that some things are very much worth waiting for. With decor by Frank Architecture that evokes New York hot spots of the ’70s and a massive dining room that is always full, Major Tom has an energy unlike that of any other
restaurant in Calgary, evoking a sense of glamour along with that killer view. A great room needs to be supported with equally great food though, and that’s where Major Tom not only meets, but exceeds the hype. Concorde culinary director Garrett Martin oversaw the menu, which takes retro steak house classics and turns them on their ear, surprising diners with cheese toast, Waldorf salad, roast chicken and a baked Alaska that all have an extra something-something to push them to the next level. It would be a crime for a loungey
sky-high restaurant to phone it in on the cocktails and Major Tom delivers on that front, too, with ice-cold martinis, “cover versions” of classic cocktails, and a list of creative new concoctions. Pair that with a wine list from renowned sommelier Brad Royale and impeccable tableside service and you’ve got a restaurant that isn’t just the city’s best new place to eat, but one that has already established itself as a Calgary classic. —E.C.B. 4000, 700 2 St. S.W., 403-990-3954 (text only), majortombar.ca @themajortombar
Namo Cafe|Bistro 824 Edmonton Tr. N.E., 403-475-7010 namocafebistro.com, @namoyyc Monki Breakfastclub & Bistro 1301 10 Ave. S.W., 587-352-7131 and 1420 9 Ave. S.E., 403-453-7131 monkibistro.ca, @monkibistro Red’s Diner Four Calgary locations redsdiner.com, @reds_diner Vendome 940 2 Ave. N.W., 403-453-1140 vendomecafe.com, @vendomeyyc Donna Mac 1002 9 St. S.W., 403-719-3622 donnamacyyc.ca, @donnamacyyc march 2022
B R U N C H P H OTO G R A P H CO U RT ESY O F O E B B R E A K FA ST CO.
Jin Bar The array of dishes on the pass at Jin Bar brings to mind a night out in Seoul’s Cheongdam district — a place where Bentley dealerships and Birkin bags in display windows give way to side streets filled with chi-maek (a portmanteau of “chicken” and “maekju” meaning “beer”) restaurants full of laughing office workers with their ties undone, cute couples on casual dates and groups of university friends out for the night. Chef-owner Jinhee Lee’s award-winning skills and passion for fine dining are showcased in the perfectly consistent slices of ahi tuna swimming in patterned swirls of yuzu soy. But there’s soul here, too, in the dangerousred hue of the buldak (another portmanteau of “bul,” mean-
RESTAURANTS ing “fire,” and “dak” meaning “chicken”), and the bubbling cheese on the hot beef bulgogi pizzas fresh from the gas-fired oven. Lee’s zeal for showcasing Korean flavours extends to the bar, where cocktails such as the Jin-Jin mule, are enriched with candied ginger and dehydrated yuzu, and an ever-changing list of local beers are on hand to pair with the crunchy and spicy chicken. Jin, meaning “true,” is an accurate description of Jin Bar and of Lee herself. The dishes she is creating here are drawn from her memories, then dutifully reproduced and elevated through her own culinary imagination. —G.H. JIN BAR CHEF-OWNER
24 4 St. N.E., 587-349-9008, jinbar.ca, @jinbaryyc
D.O.P. When Von Der Fels occupied the tiny restaurant at 1005A 1 St. S.W., it felt like the space could never be anything but a hip little wine bar. That is, until restaurateur Tony Migliarese opened cozy Italian joint D.O.P. in the space last fall. Migliarese didn’t change much, save for a coat of paint and some family memorabilia. The latter is mostly in homage to his late father, who ran a family-style Italian restaurant in Ontario. His memory serves as Migliarese’s prime inspiration — even though the younger Migliarese was part of the opening team behind Proof and Tavernetta and still has the PizzaFace pizzeria in his portfolio, D.O.P. feels more personal, with many dishes avenuecalgary.com
rooted in old family recipes. Chef Sandro Chinea — who was the sous chef at Von Der Fels so he knows the limitations of the minuscule kitchen — adds some additional magic. One highlight is the small antipasti plates like spicy njuda spread, pickled green tomatoes and white anchovies in olive oil, all best ordered with pillowy triangles of grilled bread, though the house-made pasta and the bone-in veal chops are also delightful. Pair that with some house wine and Migliarese’s handson hosting style, and you’ve got the picture of Italian hospitality. —E.C.B. 1005A 1 St. S.W., 587-349-2656, dopyyc.com, @dopyyc 37
BEST SPECIAL UNA PIZZA + WINE EXECUTIVE CHEF K AY L E B U R N S .
Readers’ choice Roy’s Korean Kitchen 2024 4 St. S.W., royskoreankitchen.com @royskitchenyyc
Major Tom 40th Floor, 700 2 St. S.W. 403-990-3954 (text message only) majortombar.ca, @themajortombar
Jin Bar 24 4 St. N.E., 587-349-9008, jinbar.ca, @jinbaryyc
Alloy 220 42 Ave. S.E., 403-287-9255 alloydining.com, @alloydining
Bow Bulgogi House 3515 17 Ave. S.W., 403-686-6826
Korean Village Restaurant 1324 10 Ave. S.W., 403-228-1120, koreanvillageyyc.wordpress.com @koreanvillage.yyc
BEST VEGAN/ VEGETARIAN Ten Foot Henry 1209 1 St. S.W., 403-475-5537 tenfoothenry.com, @tenfoothenry The Coup 924 17 Ave. S.W., 403-541-1014 thecoup.ca, @thecoupcalgary Hearts Choices Cafe Market 4127 6 St. N.E., 403-276-2163 heartschoices.com, @heartschoices Vegan Street Kitchen & Lounge 1111 7 St. S.W., 403-454-3287 veganstreet.ca/beltline, @veganstreetbeltline Vegan Street Taco Bar 1413 9 Ave. S.E., 403-453-3282 veganstreet.ca/inglewood, @veganstreetinglewood 38
Bridgette Bar 739 10 Ave. S.W., 403-700-0191 (text only), bridgettebar.com @thebridgettebar River Café Prince’s Island Park, 403-261-7670 river-cafe.com, @rivercafeyyc
Wow Chicken Kensington 324 10 St. N.W., 403-460-7557, (plus three other locations) wowchicken.ca, @wowchickenca
OMO Teppan & Kitchen 5222 Macleod Tr. S.W. 403-764-3222, omoyyc.com @omoyyc
BEST CHAIN UNA PIZZA + WINE Since it opened more than a decade ago, Una Pizza + Wine on 17th Avenue S.W. has become a home-grown success. It’s consistently packed, night after night, with patrons enjoying delicious pizza, pasta and other dishes in a convivial atmosphere. So, it’s no surprise, really, that other corners of the city wanted a piece. There are now four Unas: West Springs, Bridgeland and a location in Banff, along with the 17th Avenue S.W. location (six if you count Saskatoon and the Una Takeaway counter next to the original). And the expansion hasn’t gone unnoticed, as this year, for the first time, Avenue readers recognized Una Pizza + Wine as their favourite restaurant chain. It’s an honour Una can add to its perennial Best Pizzeria placing, which it also claimed this year. Three Calgary locations, plus one Banff location, unapizzeria.com @unacalgary, @unabanff OEB Breakfast Co. Four Calgary locations eatoeb.com, @oeb_breakfast
Cactus Club Cafe Three Calgary locations cactusclubcafe.com, @cactusclubcafe National Four Calgary locations ntnl.ca, @ntnl10, @ntnl17 @ntnl8, @ntnlwesthills Kinjo Sushi & Grill Six Calgary locations kinjosushiandgrill.com, @kinjo_sushi Jerusalem Shawarma Ten Calgary locations jerusalem-shawarma.ca @jerusalemshawarma Earls Kitchen + Bar Eight Calgary locations earls.ca, @earlsrestaurant The Keg Steakhouse + Bar Five Calgary locations, kegsteakhouse.com @thekegsteakhouse
BEST INDIAN/ PA K I S T A N I Calcutta Cricket Club 340 17 Ave. S.W., 403-719-1555 calcuttacricketclub.com @calcuttacricket Masala Bhavan South Indian Cuisine 33A, 4604 37 St. S.W., 403-460-4535, masalabhavan.com, @masalabhavan Cinnamon Indian Cuisine & Bar 1207 11 Ave. S.W., 403-290-1777 and 3022 23 St. N.E., 403-454-3640 cinnamoncalgary.ca @cinnamonyyc Moti Mahal 1805 14 St. S.W., 403-228-9990 motimahal.ca, @motimahal Rajdoot 2028 4 St. S.W., 403-245-0181 rajdoot.ca, @rajdootrestaurant
PA P E R L A N T E R N O W N E R- O P E R ATO R S N H I T R A N A N D TA N N E R E N N I S .
Tucked away underneath the Ho Won Restaurant lies a tropical Vietnamese speakeasy. Don’t let the beaten exterior, the worn-down staircase and the old sewing machine in the window deter you from exploring what’s at the bottom of those stairs. Owner-operators Nhi Tran and Tanner Ennis have curated an eclectic and fun cocktail menu here in the heart of Chinatown, while also dishing up some of the city’s best Vietnamese street food. Classic Tiki drinks are made lively by the addition of Asian flavours like pandan, lychee and kaffir lime. Start the evening with the Pandan Pain Killer, a mix of Plantation dark
rum with pandan, coconut cream, pineapple and orange juices, and a hit of nutmeg, and end it with a Morning in Hanoi mix of coffee-infused Tito’s, cold brew, Kahlúa, condensed milk, coconut, banana and pineapple. In the meantime, there are savoury delights to indulge in, from nem chua (cured pork with garlic and chilis) to bowls of bánh xèo with a shell so crispy, you can hear it crunch from across the room. You’ll wonder how you landed in Saigon without stepping on a plane. —C.T. 115 2 Ave. S.E., 403-457-7765, paperlantern.ca, @paperlanternyyc
Orchard Restaurant With its soaring ceilings, twinkling chandeliers and jungle of lush greenery, Orchard Restaurant is a space that lifts the spirits. The vibe carries over to the lounge with its sky-high wall of spirits and custom bar. It all feels urban, grand and lively and serves as the perfect backdrop for Chef Jenny Kang’s culinary artistry, which modernizes Mediterranean classics by giving them an Asian twist. Expect seasonings and techniques from Kang’s native Korea, such as the tigerprawn appetizer breaded in bubu arare (tiny balls of dried rice from Japan) and served with a side of lemon and gochugaru chili aioli. Another appetizer sees humble Savoy cabbage elevated with a house40
made miso cream, while the Rougie duck breast with Israeli couscous, spinach and chirizu, an Asian relish made from soy, onion and shredded daikon, is exceptionally crave-worthy. Popular with the Instagram crowd, who snapped selfies on the patio, even when the place was closed due to COVID restrictions, Orchard’s steady stream of customers includes everyone from ladies who lunch to first dates, suits and their clients, and sophisticated downtowners. Clearly, it’s a formula that works as reservations need to be booked far in advance. —K.A. 134, 620 10 Ave. S.W., 403-243-2392 (text only), orchardyyc.com, @orchard.yyc march 2022
BEST restaurants JUDGES
The savvy foodies and dining-out aficionados who chose this year’s Best Overall and Best New Restaurants
PRESENTATION CENTRE NOW OPEN Visit us at 2424 4th Street SW, Calgary
Karen Ashbee is the Calgary
city editor for Western Living and a regular contributor to Avenue, whose experience as a food writer and restaurant judge includes work on the 2021 edition of Canada’s 100 Best restaurants. Rosemary Bacovsky is an
avid culinary tourist who has dined at top-rated restaurants around the globe — including the former El Bulli and the original Noma — and contributes to national and international best restaurant lists. Elizabeth Chorney-Booth is a frequent contributor to Avenue’s
dining section, as well as the restaurant columnist for the Calgary Herald and the food trends columnist for CBC’s The Homestretch.
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For more information, or to request an appointment, call (403) 271-7244 or visit verveseniorliving.com/riverwalk
Gabriel Hall has racked up an
impressive list of dining experiences in the world’s great cities over the past two decades and is regularly called upon to apply his global knowledge to judge and assess restaurants here in Calgary. Chanry Thach is a restaurant marketing consultant and food blogger who wrote about food and dining for CBC Hamilton and Hamilton Magazine in her former home and now writes for Avenue and Savour Calgary in her current home. avenuecalgary.com
528 25 Avenue SW, Calgary
BY E L I ZA B E T H C H O R N E Y- B O OT H
ILLUSTRATIONS BY JARETT SITTER
From the barnyard to the backyard, urban chickens may soon be f locking to a hen house near you.
ove over, sourdough. Urban chickens are poised to become the latest stars of the “cottagecore” trend — the idealized (and very Instagrammable) take on peaceful country living that came into fashion while everyone was locked down in their urban homes. After years of squawking, Calgary’s City Council approved a program in June 2021 that will allow residents to keep backyard hens as part of a series of changes to the Responsible Pet Ownership (RPO) bylaw. The bylaw changes went into effect as of Jan. 1 of this year, with the urban hen program expected to roll out through the spring. The move puts Calgary in line with major cities around North America that already allow backyard chickens, while also giving a tip of the hat to our history as an agricultural hub. After the past two pandemic years of developing at-home hobbies and supporting local movements to enhance the city’s food security and sustainability, the timing couldn’t be better to embrace the world of urban livestock.
o someone who is not already a chicken enthusiast — and do trust that there are bona fide enthusiasts in this city, with groups like Calgary Backyard Chickens and the Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub (CLUCK) fighting the good fight — the right to keep chickens may not seem like a big deal. They’re not cute and cuddly like cats and dogs (though chicken-lovers will argue they have great personalities). However, they do produce food, so while many folks enjoy them as pets, the case for keeping chickens is most firmly rooted in the sustainable food movement. A young and healthy hen will lay one egg a day, so, if you have three or four birds, that’s enough for several breakfasts a week. In addition to the practical aspect, much like gardening, chicken keeping teaches both kids and adults just how much effort goes into even simple food production, creating a respect for agriculture that can result in changed habits to reduce food waste and better support local and sustainable producers. Francine Gomes, co-owner of the Calgarybased Cluck N Cleaver fried chicken restaurants, doesn’t currently keep chickens in her suburban backyard. But she spent several years living in the Kootenays with more than 50 chickens on her property. “There’s a lack of access to knowledge about food and a lack of appreciation for what goes into making our food,” Gomes says. “This movement towards eating local and having a better understanding of food sustainability has been amazing to watch. Even though people may not all be growing their own food, when they see others doing it, at least they have an understanding that they should be wasting less of it. Too many of us don’t realize the amount of work and resources that go into producing food.” Anyone who has ever heard the gentle cluck of hens from a (hopefully egg-generous) neighbour’s backyard knows that some defiant Calgarians have been stealthily keeping chickens for years. There has been a bylaw on the books since 2018 that has allowed a small number of people to keep birds as emotional support animals, which might sound strange, but chicken-lovers insist that
“There’s a lack of access to knowledge about food and a lack of appreciation for what goes into making our food.” Francine Gomes, co-owner, Cluck N Cleaver
they are therapeutic to be around. With no anti-chicken patrol out looking for them, the City has long taken a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to backyard hens, only cracking down on illicit coops if a neighbour complains. Knowing that the underground chicken scene is a reality was part of the reason it made sense for council to ask the City to set up an official program to better ensure that the birds weren’t being mistreated.
ecause this is a City initiative, it is not without restrictions. Only 100 chicken-keeping licences will be issued for the 2022-2023 season. Only hens are allowed (so that neighbours don’t have to wake up to a 5-a.m. “cock-a-doodledoo”), with a general limit of four per yard, depending on the size and location of a property. Perhaps most importantly, prospective hen-keepers have to successfully take a hen-care class to assure the City that they know what they’re getting into before bringing a flock home. A licencee not abiding by the conditions of the program could have their licence revoked. The benefit of being late to the urban hen party is that City officials and pro-chicken advocates were able to look at what has worked (or failed miserably) elsewhere. “We talked to a few other municipalities while we were developing the bylaw recommendations, just to get a sense of what their process had been like, and we’ll be looping back and talking with them again, and also with animal-care experts and some of the groups that are providing the hen training,” says Jennifer Lawlor, a business strategist with the City of Calgary. Druh Farrell, the former councillor for Ward 7, says the chicken debate extended almost the entirety of her 20-year political career with the City (she served from 2001 to 2021) — right up there with bike lanes and secondary suites. Farrell had no issue supporting the move to allow backyard hens. Chicken programs in other cities haven’t resulted in major avian flu outbreaks or the smell of chicken waste wafting through the streets, and, while some vocal naysayers have painted a picture of a worstcase scenario where hoards of urban chickens would be running afoul, Farrell says that the vast majority of the constituents she spoke
to were enthusiastically in favour of the new program. As well, there’s no evidence from other municipalities that backyard chickens would peck away at the fabric of residential life in Calgary. “The approach by our bylaws team is reasonable and helps ameliorate some of the concerns people may have. I didn’t support limiting the licences, but it was a way to move forward to demonstrate that we have a handle on these issues that could arise,” Farrell says. “There are a lot more hens in people’s backyards than we’re aware of because hens are so quiet. I know they exist even though they are technically not allowed yet.” She adds that her office didn’t receive a single complaint in her 20 years as councillor.
he move to make room to keep chickens legally has local chicken-keeping advocates all a-twitter on social media. Gomes, for one, says she’s pleased about the new licensing program and has faith that Calgarians will embrace chicken-raising with a sense of duty and responsibility. She does see some potential issues if wannabe chicken-keepers were to jump in without doing their research, but feels the cautious approach to licensing will gently ease people into the world of chicken-keeping in a way that ensures the welfare of the birds. “The idea of starting small is good and will probably help the City to work through all the kinks,” Gomes says. “If they went full-bore, it could end up being a catastrophe. But allowing just 100 people to start and making them take a course will help the City to get feedback and figure out what hurdles these backyard chicken-keepers are encountering.” Seeing as the new keepers will be dealing with living creatures, there’s more at stake than with other hobbies that can be packed up and stored in the basement as interest wanes. This is where some smart entrepreneurship comes in, through some small-scale chicken rental companies that have popped up in rural areas surrounding Calgary (since, prior to the bylaw change, they couldn’t technically rent to Calgarians, wink wink, nudge, nudge). Companies like The Urban Chicks rent out hens on a seasonal basis so that the chicken-
curious can do a low-risk test run and enjoy a warm-weather season of fresh eggs, without having to deal with winterizing their chicken coops. The Urban Chicks rents out packages that include three hens, a coop, a season’s worth of feed and unlimited access to care advice. They drop everything off in May and then pick the birds and coop up once the snow starts to fly. Caring for chickens in the dead of an Alberta winter is not as idyllic as summertime chicken-keeping, so services like this relieve that burden. Owner Tammy Wheatley bought The Urban Chicks about
three years ago. The business has been quite successful up to this point, and Wheatley says she received several inquiries from Calgarians planning on applying for 2022 licences since the bylaw changes were announced. “Most of my clients just want to have them over the summer when it’s convenient,” Wheatley says. “I do have some on acreages who are just trying [chickens] out to see how it goes before they make a decision about winterizing. I have some conversations with people about how to winter hens, but it’s not easy and it’s not fun.”
“You have to be checking on your chickens every day. It’s an every day adventure.” Tammy Wheatley, owner, The Urban Chicks
algarian Sue Collis took the rental option in 2021, after gaining permission from her neighbours — albeit under the radar of municipal bylaw officers. As an avid gardener, Collis was interested in using chicken waste to enrich her soil, and, with COVID-19 preventing her from travelling, it seemed like a good time to give it a go. Even though the eggs weren’t her primary motivation, she says that fresh eggs have greatly improved her baking. (Tip: Eggs straight from the hen make for a superior lemon bar.) Collis says her positive experience renting chickens in 2021 has got her thinking about
renting again this year. (The provider even promised to design her a coop to match her house.) The only thing that may potentially hold her back, once again, is having them interfere with travel plans — aside from the winterization issue, chickens demand a fair bit of attention — though Collis says she has at least one friend who has expressed interest in caring for the hens in her absence. “Once you’ve looked after chickens for a few weeks, it’s pretty simple. But I don’t think I would have considered it without having had the rental experience,” Collis says. Even though potential complaints like noise, disease and lack of cleanliness are unlikely to be a problem for conscientious chicken-keepers, the practice does have some
number of eggs a single hen will lay on average over the course of its lifetime
pitfalls — though any major headaches will likely be felt by the owners, rather than by their neighbours. Perhaps, most importantly, for those who choose to buy rather than rent, there’s the issue of what happens to hens when they’re past their egg-bearing years. A single hen will tend to lay about 250 eggs over the course of its lifetime. At their healthiest, hens lay one egg every day. As they age, they lay eggs less and less. They can still produce eggs for about six to seven years, but they will live to be about nine to 10 years old. In their post-laying years, they can be kept as pets, but, since the number of birds one can keep is limited, and most people want eggs, a lot of birds will end up going off to a slaughterhouse and possibly being turned into soup stock as they’re generally too tough to roast at that age. None of this is unmanageable, but anyone imagining a cute backyard coop and an Instagrammable family of hens should keep in mind that the chicken life cycle can be complicated. “It’s not just about throwing a box in your backyard and putting some hens out there,” Wheatley says. “A lot of people are concerned about the welfare of the birds or that people don’t understand what’s involved. It’s going to be about education. You have to be checking on your chickens every day. It’s an every day adventure.” With its cap of 100 licences, the new program is unlikely to bring chickens to every block in Calgary, and those who were blissfully unaware of the hush-hush coops that have existed in the city for decades are unlikely to perceive any change. But, for those who love chickens (and love harvesting fresh eggs), being able take their hobby public and build a real chicken-keeping culture in the city, the change is significant. “I just really love chickens. When I had them, I went chicken-cuckoo,” says Gomes, who is considering getting some hens at her city home now that she doesn’t have to worry about keeping them covert. “I’ve never felt cuddly towards a chicken, but I definitely admire their personalities. They’re very diverse. I have a friend who taught her chicken card tricks. They are smarter than people think they are.” Up-to-date information on the City of Calgary’s urban hen licensing program can be found at calgary.ca.
PH0T0GRAPHY BY JARED SYCH STYLED BY JULIE ROTH ART DIRECTION BY STEVE COLLINS HAIR AND MAKEUP BY KRISTY BOND, ARTISTS WITHIN MODELS RACHEL AND SELEMANI, MODE MODELS SHOT ON LOCATION AT MAJOR TOM 48
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fashion source The Bamboo Ballroom Calgary 814 16 Ave. S.W., 403-454-1088, bambooballroom.com Bonita Runway Clothing 555 Strathcona Blvd. S.W. (by appointment only), 403-242-5565, bonitarunway.com Crabapple Clothing Company 3526 Garrison Gate S.W., 403-686-3661, crabappleclothing.com Era Style Loft 917 17 Ave. S.W., 403-452-5095; and 122-326 Aspen Glen Landing, 587-351-6500; erastyleloft.com espy Experience 1009 9 Ave. S.E., 403-457-3779, espyexperience.com Holt Renfrew The Core Shopping Centre, 403-269-7341, holtrenfrew.com Kate Hewko 908 17 Ave. S.W., katehewko.com Leo Boutique 810B 16 Ave. S.W., 403-410-9236, leoboutique.com The Revente (designer-clothing reseller), 239 10 Ave. S.E., 1-844-877-4331, therevente.com Simons The Core Shopping Centre, 403-697-1840, simons.ca 54
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Victoria During cold-weather months, while Albertans shovel mounds of snow in biting Arctic winds, the sidewalks of Victoria remain blissfully bare and the temperatures mostly mild. By March, everyone is walking around in T-shirts and enjoying patio hangouts sans patio heaters. Needless to say, Victoria is a pretty safe bet if you’re looking for a springtime sojourn.
Stay here Inn at Laurel Point This independently run hotel has a prime waterfront location enhanced by beautiful seaside gardens that will be right outside if you score one of the Garden King rooms on the main level of the newer Erickson Wing (named for architect Arthur Erickson). The spacious rooms have gorgeous marble bathrooms bigger than most studio apartments and a minimalist aesthetic that flows harmoniously into the greenery outside the sliding doors. The Erickson Wing also contains numerous museum-quality installations showcasing the impressive art collection of late owners Paul and Artie Arsens, who purchased the hotel and its surrounding property in 1982. avenuecalgary.com
The Magnolia is a contemporary-classic boutique hotel conveniently located just a couple blocks up from Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Reserve one of the 18 diamond-level rooms on the upper floors, which have features such as Juliet-balcony windows, cozy fireplace sitting areas with chaise chairs, and, as of last summer, fully renovated bathrooms equipped with either luxurious deep soaker tubs or deluxe multi-headed showers. As a Magnolia guest, you’ll also start the day with breakfast in The Courtney Room, the lovely in-house restaurant with a French-brasserie-styled bar.
Make a reservation here 10 Acres Bistro 10 Acres Bistro is part of a family of local restaurants supplied by the namesake farm. A plant-filled sunroom gives the bistro a summery garden vibe, no matter the season. The menu here is focused around local and sustainable, with a nightly “dinner fresh menu” after 5 p.m., alongside the regular brunch, lunch and dinner menus. There are also lipsmacking signature cocktails made with local spirits, such as the rhubarb gin liqueur from Sheringham Distillery in neighbouring Sooke.
Flower Finder The Butchart Gardens are synonymous with floral tourism in the Greater Victoria area, but, for an immersive experience that you can walk or bike to from downtown, head for Government House. Open daily to the public, the grounds of the 36-acre estate home of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia contain a variety of garden areas
to wander through, including a Victorian rose garden, cut flower garden, English country garden, and an iris and lily garden.
If it’s Raining? A meteorological phenomenon known as the “Great Blue Hole” means Victoria is often blessed with sunny skies, so you’re probably safe to book that urban cycling excursion you were thinking of doing. (The Pedaler’s “Eat. Drink. Pedal.” tour is a great way to see the city while discovering culinary gems). If you do get a rainy day, then it’s time for traditional English-style afternoon tea, which is ubiquitous in Victoria. For a serene experience, head for the Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden. Set within a heritage garden in a residential community, the quaint room serves full afternoon tea and the abbreviated “elevenses” version, with tasty morsels such as free-range organic egg-salad sandwiches and fresh-baked miniature Eccles cakes. —S.A. 57
B LO E D E L CO N S E RVATO RY EXTERIOR. VA N CO U V E R ' S YA L E TO W N N E I G H B O U R H O O D.
Vancouver What Calgarian hasn’t stared wistfully at images of Vancouver in splendorous springtime bloom while the ground outside remains caked in grit and ice? With numerous short flights and easy access from the airport into the city centre via the SkyTrain, it’s the ideal springtime getaway if you don’t want to bother with a vehicle.
Stay here Opus Vancouver This contemporary boutique hotel in the Yaletown neighbourhood has a buzzy urban-village vibe, with boldly painted suites showcasing contemporary artwork, much of it by local creators. For the ultimate springtime digs reserve one of the courtyard suites that open onto a private garden terrace.
Flower Finder Flowers are everywhere in Vancouver and the best way to see them is by bicycle. Many hotels (Opus included) provide complimentary city cruiser bikes for guests, or sign up for Mobi, Vancouver’s public bike share program. To combine your garden-gazing with a cultural experience in Vancouver’s Chinatown, plan to visit the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, an authentic representation of Ming Dynasty-era design and tradition that truly feels like stepping into another time and place.
Make a reservation here Minami Spring, summer, fall or winter, what landlocked Calgarians really want when they hit “the coast” is seafood. Like the classic Calgary steak, a great sushi dinner in Vancouver is more than just a meal, it’s part of the experience of the city. Located just a couple blocks from Opus hotel, Minami delivers fresh flavours and artful compositions in a relaxed setting, paired with a well-curated sake list. 58
If it’s Raining? Vancouver also has some amazing indoor options for flower-seekers. The most famous of these is the Bloedel Conservatory, an enclosed tropical garden set within Queen Elizabeth Park, where you’ll see hundreds of varieties of exotic plants and flowers, as well as resident exotic birds. —S.A. march 2022
YA L E T O W N P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E S Y O F D E S T I N AT I O N V A N C O U V E R / N E L S O N M O U E L L I C ; B L O E D E L P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E S Y O F D E S T I N AT I O N V A N C O U V E R / TA N YA G O E H R I N G
V I N E YA R D V I E W S F R O M N A R A M ATA B E N C H . T H E R E STA U R A N T AT
… or here The Bench d’Or
Naramata Far from the motorhome and MasterCraft set you see in Kelowna, the vibe in Naramata, a charming community just a half-hour’s drive north of the Penticton airport on the southeastern shore of Lake Okanagan, is understated chic, with tractors outnumbering Teslas and where “wedges” refer to cheese, not shoes.
Stay here Naramata Inn This 12-room, Mission-style hotel was built in 1908 by John Robinson — town founder, land baron and tree-fruit pioneer — who had a vision to draw tourists to the area and share its bounty with them. A century later, that same vision is alive and well thanks to a group of four hospitality professionals, including chef Ned Bell, who reopened the place in 2020. The hotel feels strikingly authentic thanks to a commitment to keep things as close to the building’s original character as possible during renovations. Creaky wood floors, period antiques, clawfoot bathtubs, and views of the gardens, lake and hills, combined with contemporary amenities and a hearty Continental breakfast, make this a must-stay. 60
This 6,600-square-foot log guesthouse in the heart of the Naramata Bench is surrounded by vineyards and lush landscaping with panoramic views of Okanagan Lake, best appreciated from the outdoor pool deck. With just four suites, you can expect quiet relaxation in a child-free atmosphere with seriously good coffee and excellent mountain biking at your doorstep.
Make a reservation here The Restaurant at Naramata Inn Helmed by superstar chef Bell, who was born and raised nearby, the menu here is best described as “Naramatian,” meaning it is built around the best that local growers and producers have to offer. The oft-changing dishes are refined, clean and highlight the quality of the ingredients. The award-winning wine list is curated to showcase B.C.’s best wines. The cocktails are so painstakingly pretty, it’s almost a shame to drink them, and the precisely plated dishes are almost too gorgeous to eat (the operative word here being “almost”).
If it’s Raining? The BC VQA Wine Information Centre in Penticton has a tremendous selection of B.C. wines, accessories and local food. It offers seminars throughout the year, or you can just stop in and talk grapes with the helpful staff, who can even arrange to ship your purchases home for you. —J.H.
Flower Finder The Penticton Xeriscape Demonstration Garden is the ideal place to stop and smell indigenous flowers and learn about gardening and landscaping with water conservation in mind. Forty different perennials, ornamental grass shrubs and trees populate the garden and there’s information on how you can create a water-wise landscape on your own property.
Avenue’s writers and editors are occasionally invited to experience dining or adventure experiences as a guest, including some of the experiences in this story. Neither complimentary experiences nor advertising are required for coverage in Avenue. Neither companies that advertise nor those that provide other incentives are promised editorial coverage, nor do they have the opportunity to review or approve stories before publication.
N A R A M ATA B E N C H P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E S Y O F D E S T I N AT I O N B C / G R A N T H A R D E R ; R E S TA U R A N T AT N A R A M ATA I N N P H O T O G R A P H B Y J O N A D R I A N
N A R A M ATA I N N .
Like a ship coming into harbour, Inn at Laurel Point provides an eﬀortlessly elevated home away from home. The boutique hotel’s location on the picturesque peninsula at the edge of Victoria’s inner harbour has been a favourite with locals and travellers since the 1980s.
Book your next Victoria getaway, we’re closer than you think CALL TOLL FREE 800-663-7667
The Laurel Wing and its surrounding property was purchased by Paul and Artie Arsens in 1982. Legend goes that the Erickson Wing was added after friend and architect Arthur Erickson lost a round of cards to the savvy pair. Fellow architect on that project, John Graham, returned for the 2019 renovation and redesign of the Inn’s entrance and lobby, Aura restaurant, and main ﬂoor that saw the addition of three new meeting rooms. This renewal has brought a sense of wholeness to the arrival experience and onsite amenities, joining the original Laurel Wing with the 1989-built Erickson Wing in a uniquely exquisite, yet ﬁttingly familiar way. Featuring bright, open shared spaces, art pieces from the Arsens Collection to keep an inquisitive eye entertained, friendly, approachable staﬀ, and personalized service for guests and their four-legged travel companions, Inn at Laurel Point provides a balanced blend of metropolitan hotel and spacious resort. The team’s commitment to maintaining a locally owned, independently operated, and socially responsible hotel carries the Arsens’ legacy forward, ensuring that every guest continues to feel great about indulging in the serenity found here. Within 90 minutes you can be oceanside on the West Coast. Imagine a weekend away, or even a mid-week break where you’ll enjoy our award-winning gardens with stunning views, an incredible culinary experience at Aura Waterfront Restaurant and Patio, and attentive staﬀ that make relaxation a required part of every stay.
DOWNTOWN VICTORIA, BC LAURELPOINT.COM
(Re)discover a thoughtful hotel experience full of personality at Inn at Laurel Point. Find a guide for the times with curated, self-guided itineraries that keep solo travellers, adventuring partners, or the whole family (pup included!) delighted. Or relax in comfortable safety surrounded by beautiful scenery with a restful night in. Either way, a memorable stay in postcard-perfect downtown Victoria awaits.
For voting Flores & Pine ‘Best of the NW ‘Burbs’ in 2022!
254028 Bearspaw Road Calgary, Alberta
D EC OR
BY KAREN ASHBEE PHOTOGRAPHY BY EYMERIC WIDLING
The 12-foot-long custom granite island provides plenty of prep space, even with a Bustamante sculpture perched on its far end. Behind the Bustamante is a painting by Canadian artist William Perehudoff.
Kitchen Incognito H O W I N T E R I O R D E S I G N E R PAU L L AV O I E C R E AT E D A S M A L L B U T M I G H T Y K I TC H E N I N H I S H O M E
he compact kitchen in the home of interior designer Paul Lavoie and his husband, Doug Lavoie, is proof that good things come in small packages. (It’s also proof that a sprawling Nancy Meyers movie kitchen isn’t a requisite for the home of an interior designer.) Built in 1961, the original A-frame house that the Lavoies purchased 14 years ago in the exclusive community of Bel-Aire came with a kitchen typical of its era: cramped and dark, with very little cupboard space. Doug, an avid cook, had several must-haves when it came to
redoing the kitchen — a more practical design and an open feel among them — but, first and foremost, it had to have a place for everything, meaning a lot more storage. “Because we wanted the kitchen to reflect our love of entertaining, it needed not only to be functional, but also warm and welcoming,” Doug says. “Although we gutted it, we maintained the original width of the kitchen at 12 feet. It not only respected the heritage of the home, but also gave me a galley kitchen, which I love.” march 2022
CLOCKW ISE FROM LEF T Homeowner and interior designer Paul Lavoie at the kitchen’s central island, with chairs from William Switzer. The kitchen-adjacent den features a black-and-white graphic-print ottoman and sofas upholstered in black chenille. A TV is cleverly tucked behind another Perehudoff painting. Contrasting shades of black and white add definition to the galley kitchen. Lavoie says the profile on the Sub-Zero refrigerator and cabinets was inspired by the original home.
“It’s almost the ‘non-kitchen’ as it is an extension of the den...” PAUL LAVOIE
D EC OR o expand the functional space, a former laundry room/hallway that abutted the kitchen was repurposed with the addition of a dedicated coffee area, second dishwasher, two Wolf ovens and a microwave. A built-in bar area with a second sink is ideal for cocktail prep. “All the cabinetry has been lined up so it feels like a dresser, as opposed to kitchen cupboards,” explains Paul. “With a blend of custom cabinets that read as drawers, in addition to actual pull-outs, the aesthetic is a cleaner, more seamless look, with a lot more storage possibilities.” Double islands, ceiling-height shelving, concealed nooks and an oversize storage cabinet for smaller kitchen appliances, such as the Cuisinart, ensure that everything is in its place and out of sight. “I never have to dig around in any drawer for the cheese grater, or the strainer, for example,” says Doug. “A variety of Command hooks, sliding shelves, dedicated knife drawers and Lazy Susan organizers keep everything at hand.” Although Paul admits that the addition of increased storage was paramount, the designer opted for a clean aesthetic with a quirky edge (a trademark of his work) over the cooktop with the removal of the upper cabinets. The hood fan is retractable, and all the controls are hidden in a storage cabinet adjacent to the cooktop. With a “no-clutter” mantra, every workspace and countertop is free of any and all appliances or kitchen paraphernalia. “It’s almost the ‘non-kitchen’ as it is an extension of the den and is seamlessly integrated into the open plan,” says Paul, laughing. “We have people who have come over and ask: Where is the kitchen?”
CLO CKWISE FROM L E F T Lucite hardware from Banbury Lane gives a curated feel to the dedicated liquor nook.
Striking Murano glass light fixtures from the Paris flea market and a mirrored backsplash, are in keeping with the ’60s-era vibe of the home. Unloading the dishwasher is a snap thanks to the proximity of deep pull-out drawers. Full-height dedicated closets flanking the fridge slide out to reveal brooms, mops and cleaning supplies.
(How to maximize storage in a tiny kitchen) A small kitchen need not be cluttered. Here are interior designer Paul Lavoie’s tips on how to stow away everyday appliances and other items.
Slim Down Where square footage is lacking, extra-slim cupboards are ideal for storing cooking oils and spices.
Top-Drawer Function Opt for drawers under counters as opposed to shelves. They are easier to accommodate, and provide easier access for pots and serving dishes.
In Rod We Trust Installing tension rods in drawers is a great solution for keeping things like cutting boards organized and in place.
Storage-Saviours Sliding shelves are a way to keep essentials within easy reach.
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MONEY SENSE From maximizing your savings to future-proofing your finances, we ask the experts about how to reach your goals and stay financially healthy.
FUTURE-FORWARD FINANCIAL PLANNING Through good times and bad, connectFirst Credit Union has remained true to its mission of helping Albertans achieve their financial goals through passion, expertise and good oldfashioned know-how. Here, Kathleen Hurtubise, senior vice president of Wealth, shares a few ways Albertans can make smart, future-forward money decisions. START WITH A PLAN How do you find money security in times of great change? Roughly two in five Albertans say they are both financially and emotionally stressed, but Hurtubise says managing that stress and anxiety starts with a plan. “Most Canadians don’t have a plan, but people who
have a plan are twice as likely to have better health, better emotional well-being and can get to where they need to go,” says Hurtubise. For many, financial planning can be initially overwhelming, so start small. Hurtubise suggests simply sitting down, reviewing your budget and updating it to be conservative with wiggle room. Make a list of everything and not just fixed or regular expenses. Write down after-tax income and unfixed costs like gas, heat, electricity and food, which can change weekly or monthly. From there, create a savings plan and decide what can be cut. “Savings gets prioritized after discretionary spending,” warns Hurtubise. “It’s what we do if we have anything left over, so a powerful way to improve your savings habit is a slight shift in mindset.” Even regularly saving a little will have a big long-term impact, so pay yourself first. BUDGET INFLATION To maximize savings, it’s important to understand the effects of inflation. Simply put, it means your money won’t go as far as it used to, whether that’s for groceries, recreational activities, or property taxes. Without the right plan, unexpected changes in costs can skyrocket you into financial trouble. The best way to tackle inflation is not to get caught unaware about your finances and savings.
“Be proactive, not reactive,” Hurtubise advises. “That keeps us in a position where we can identify places that are going to start to feel crunchy for us before we feel like we’re over our head.” ASK FOR HELP Even if you feel financially sound now, it’s never too early to set up budgets, investments and rainy-day funds, which can help with smart investments and savings or help you spot ways to ease the debt crunch. “If you’re not sure where to start, meeting with a connectFirst advisor can help with smart money strategies and is a great way to get going,” says Hurtubise. When looking for the right advisor, ask “discovery questions” to find the right match. Find out what their process is like, how often you can meet and how they work with a client. “It’s about picking people who take the time to connect and to understand you, and at connectFirst we do that,” says Hurtubise. “WE GO WAY BEYOND PRODUCTS AND PUT SOLUTIONS IN PLACE THAT HELP PEOPLE IMPROVE THEIR FINANCIAL WELL-BEING.”
THE RIGHT FINANCIAL ADVISOR The journey to financial wellness is easier with the right support, so we’ve asked the experts about what having a financial advisor means and how you can find the right guide for your financial journey. Through a holistic advisory approach, CH Financial provides effective strategies for financial wealth, tax planning, risk management and more to help its clients achieve both financial and mental well-being. With a company vision focused on “Clients First. Always.,” CH Financial advisors create meaningful relationships with the individuals and families they support. Here, Jeremy Clark, CEO and president of CH Financial, shares more about how Canadians can benefit from a financial advisor and how to find the right one. WHAT TO SEEK IN AN ADVISOR Every bank has financial advisors available to help with financial plans and investment goals, but which one is right for you? Clark says that choosing an advisor is
about finding a long-term partner who can guide you through your financial journey. “WHEN YOU GET AN ADVISOR, THEY SHOULD BECOME A PART OF YOUR FAMILY OR ‘TEAM.’”
“They will not overpower you or keep you in a box,” says Clark. “They should listen deeply to what’s important to you and help you get there.” Finding that partner starts with discovering a company where you feel confident your money is safe and your interests are heard. Despite being an independent advisory firm, CH Financial is still licensed by the same regulatory bodies of any bank. This means your money is secure, and CH Financial advisors will always place your interests first. If you’re going to be working together for a while, you want to feel comfortable placing your trust and finances with your advisor, which also includes knowing how they make money. “Our financial advisors make money by the percentage of assets under management,” Clark explains. “This model is mutually beneficial because if you make money, we all benefit. If you lose money, CH Financial does worse, thus
incentivizing our team to work hard for your success.” WORKING WITH AN ADVISOR Whether you are an experienced investor or completely new, an advisor’s role is to educate and guide. When working with an advisor, honesty and openness with where you are now and where you want to go is the best approach. As a new investor, that may mean looking at basic financial planning and investment options. Do you want to buy a home in five years or set up a charitable trust? An advisor can help by setting up a diverse portfolio and investments to achieve those goals. For more experienced investors, CH Financial can help navigate towards growing your existing portfolio even more. No matter what you need, CH Financial advisors help you achieve financial well-being. “At CH Financial, we create effective and tailored financial plans with tangible results. We help you identify what you want and make it a reality,” says Clark.
MAKING INVESTING EASIER TD can help you achieve your financial goals and feel confident no matter where you are within your investment journey. There's no question the last two years have felt tumultuous, including the state of our economy and finances. This uncertainty may make investing difficult for new and experienced investors. In a recent study, TD Direct Investing found that 53 per cent of Canadians polled1 have never 1 About the TD survey - TD Bank Group commissioned Leger to conduct an online survey of 1503 Canadians aged 18+ between December 24-26, 2021, using Leger's online panel. The margin of error for this survey was +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
traded or invested in the stock market, either from a lack of know-how, money, or because they found it too risky. Michael Wood, Region Head, TD Wealth Private Management, Prairies, says hesitancy shouldn’t stop you from achieving your financial goals. “ALBERTANS SHOULD KNOW THEY HAVE ACCESS TO TOOLS THAT CAN HELP THEM FEEL CONFIDENT WHEN INVESTING.”
BALANCE IS KEY Investing is about balance and should be based on individual investment goals and risk appetites. TD recommends a well-balanced and diversified portfolio. That can help reduce overall risk through all economic cycles — including pandemics.
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ASK THE EXPERTS “Some clients appreciate specialist advice. With an investment advisor, we regularly revisit your investment strategy to make sure your portfolio is balanced and diversified,” says Wood. “As the economy changes again in 2022, it can impact your finances. An advisor can help you assess your changing needs and goals and weather the volatility in the market.” For those interested in learning the basics of investing on their own time, TD Direct Investing recently launched TD Easy Trade™, a mobile app for stock trading that makes it easier for new and emerging investors to get started. To learn more or download the TD Easy Trade app, visit: TD.com/EasyTrade
C L A S S
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NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN Top40Under40.com
Enter the 2022
$5,000 CA S H G R A ND PR IZ E
march 31, 2022 MadeInAlbertaAwards.ca
W OR K O F A RT
CURATED BY KATHERINE YLITALO
TITLE Sopra L’acqua 9
D AT E 2010
A RT I S T Laurel Johannesson
MEDIA LightJet print on aluminium.
SIZE 42 by 72 inches.
L O C AT I O N Cardinale, 401 12 Ave. S.E.
his enigmatic image captures an iconic view of Venice in a unique way. Countless artists and visitors have gazed across the water from the spot where Calgarian Laurel Johannesson took more than a hundred photographs on a hot, steamy summer’s day. In the series she named Sopra L’acqua, space ripples and time stretches. The bell tower, Palladian Basilica and wooded green of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore come into focus across the waters of the lagoon, positioned on an undulating horizon. Clouds scud across the sky and waters swell in parallel waves within the warped space. A vaporetto (water bus) ferries passengers in the realistic middle distance. Closer in, details slip mysteriously into painterly texture: a passing boat leaves an aqueous white trail and a weathered bricola, one of the traditional mooring poles for gondolas, juts up starkly like a strong brushstroke. The key to the puzzling logic of the image lies in two intersecting black lines. These lines indicate a 74
grid of worn mirrored panels, mounted on a building along the shoreline, that provided Johannesson with the reflections, refractions, distressed surfaces and unexpected rhythms to echo her sense of the water’s edge as a metaphor for places where relationships are in transition. The Sopra L’acqua series marks a shift in Johannesson’s artmaking. A prairie girl raised in Wynyard, Sask., Johannesson grew up fascinated by Greece, on account of having a friend from that country. She participated in an artist residency there in 2003, and returned for several years to create lyrical underwater images of swimmers that earned her critical attention. When Johannesson visited Venice, the murky waters and complex history posed new challenges, and brought her attention to conditions above water, to the edge between land and sea. Now a professor at Alberta University of the Arts, Johannesson has a distinguished career with a history of exhibiting internationally. Her recent show at Herringer Kiss Gallery during the Exposure Photography Festival, It’s Not the End of the World, featured
Imaging Group. Another Johannesson photograph, The Rememberer (1999), is in the City of Calgary Public Art Collection and was reproduced for the MAX Teal line transit shelter at the Heritage CTrain Station. She is represented in Calgary by Herringer Kiss Gallery. photos, moving-image works and lightboxes created over the last five years, embodying the dreamlike, intellectually layered and physically evocative qualities for which her work is known. Sopra L’acqua 9 and its sister image, Sopra L’acqua 3, hang in the middle room at Cardinale restaurant, one of several Calgary dining establishments that display artwork by local creators. Johannesson collaborated with the owners to tailor the size and printing of her work to function within the space, allowing Cardinale to show its support for the arts while providing an inspiring ambiance for patrons. march 2022
P H O T O G R A P H BY L A U R E L J O H A N N E S S O N
Sopra L’acqua 9
NOTES Custom-printed by ABL
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