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Freshly-made falafel in Calgary!

Check out Little Lebanon way up 17th. The freshly baked pockets are fantastic. They also make fresh falafel and kibbeh. Very good stuff.

Bears Den

More of a background flavour, definitely not dominant. The salad was served a tad too cold for my liking...but that may be nit picking. The acidity of the tomato was dulled a bit by the cold IMHO.

Bears Den

Bears Den - Recently I purchased tickets to a 4 course meal including 4 wine parings for $90 a seat...this was a steal. Great value from this hidden gem in the North.

The courses;

Hotchkiss Tomato Salad with Sherry & Mint Vinegar paired with 2007 Matetic EQ Sauvignon Blanc (Chile)

Alberta Bison Bites with Fresh Herbs & House Made Yogurt paired with 2006 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Indian Wells" Merlot (USA)

House Made Lemon Sorbet

Slow Roasted Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Cocoa Dry Rub & Ancho Chocolate Merlot Paste on top of Creamy Polenta paired with 2006 Rutherglen Estates Petit Sirah (AUS)

Dark Chocolate Praline Angel Food Cake with Warm Chocolate Ganache paired with 2005 Chateau Raumieu Lacoste Sauternes

They also added a lovely fruity dessert cup after cake. The wines paired well and the pours were generous. Anywhere else in Calgary and this would have been called 6 courses...isn't it nice when restaurants OVER deliver to their customers?

The menu was created by Chef Alaa Daoud and apprentice Garett Jetti and though this was my first trip wayyyyy up North, Bears Den delivered excellent value with this promotion and a solid dining experience all around. The roasted pork in particular was the finest preparation I have had. Any chef that serves me pink, juicy, tender pork is a friend of mine. Too bad this promotion ends November 15th but if you haven't been to Bears Den, I recommend you make the trek based on what we tasted.


I was perplexed by Garth Brown’s departure from The Tribune (now The Trib Steakhouse) to take the GM role at Olives. Trading Stephen Avenue, arguably Calgary’s best restaurant strip and all the competitive juices that flow there for hoards of Flames fans and casino dwellers who may be more interested in speed of service than quality of food or any semblance of the program Olives may build seemed odd. What Garth’s move may have lacked in pizzazz has been made up for with a demonstrable execution of his plan for Olives.

Having been to here several times since March the progress has been easy to pick out (even for a guy like me who cannot hide from Garth or his staff). I am impressed by the transformation that has unfolded these past few months and have to admit that while I think the location may have displaced them from seekers of fine dining and the room may feel more like a nightclub than a place some diners will want to spend a lot of time eating in…there are many reasons to dine here again and again.

The name “Olives” would seem to imply a menu dedicated to…well I didn’t know what to think before we went the first time. Upon arriving I saw that the wine list is completely devoted to Italian selections, but I would refrain from categorizing them as a true Italian restaurant. It’s Italian inspired.

The very first thing I ate was a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad and it was incredible. There’s nothing quite like fresh cheese and great olive oil for simplicity and texture. I wasn’t overly impressed with the tomatoes but had just landed from a trip to Australia so was a tad biased in my immediate view of our local produce. The star of my first visit was easily the Black Angus ribeye.

There are about a dozen places in Calgary calling themselves steakhouses and every resto serves steak, but the meat I ate at Olives was one of the juiciest, tastiest steaks I’ve ever had locally. If the ribeye is on the menu and you go, it’s worth a taste and will easily impress over some of our institutional beef houses that rest on their laurels serving the same tired dishes night after night. The final piece of the puzzle on this evening was Tiramisu with Espresso Gelato. I ordered it because Garth insisted it was like no other Tiramisu I have had, and he was right. Fantastic! No drowned out lady fingers or fake whipped cream in the middle. Very well executed.

As indicated I have been back a several times since my first visit and have enjoyed many items such as marinated baby beets and fennel, salads featuring fennel, chicken cooked sous-vide, wild mushroom soup, fresh pasta, etc. There’s a lot going on and the menu changes with the season so it motivates diners to come back and see what Chef JP Gerritsen has come up with. Having watched JP beat Ned Bell and Chuck Hughes in a recent Iron Chef competition in Calgary I can tell you firsthand as one of the event judges that this man can cook, much to the chagrin of the Food Network clan.

The food at Olives may have always been good but the service was inconsistent. Like a baby elephant on roller-skates you could see the lack of coordination right from the beginning. This is an area where I have noticed the largest improvement since my first visit and it makes me wonder why more restaurants cannot seem to clean up their act; “talent shortages” are a lame excuse. The quality of servers has improved steadily since Garth arrived, but the coordinated delivery of food to tables makes the experience so much more pleasant. Good service is not rocket science. Imagine receiving your food with friends at the same time! It seems so simple, basic, but all too often at least one poor schlep is hung out to dry while everyone else gorges. Good manners are outranked by the need for hot food these days but this need not be the case at Olives. A symphony of service awaits you.

Though I didn’t feel the location would be a place I’d want to hang out at night (teens and twentysomethings peeing around each corner prior to entering Cowboy’s) there is ample parking and the area is safe and clean (no one asks you for money on the street) with nary a crack dealer in sight. It served as a reminder of how badly clean-up efforts on Stephen Avenue have been needed.

So after my curmudgeonly preconceptions I have come away many times pleasantly surprised by Olives. My only complaints…the wine list needs an overhaul (if you don’t like Italian wine, you’re out of luck) and the music can be a bit loud for a dining environment but if you want a good time with a group of friends, this lively room is for you. Overall, the food is excellent, service has really improved and the open kitchen concept is a treat to watch. With Lee Peppinck (Calgary’s best bartender) pouring drinks in the comfy lounge and Garth commanding the room, you’re in good hands even before the food rolls out (all at once!). Cheers.

Salute Wine and Food Festival!

Looks like there will be some good events to check out in town between May 25th and June 6th.


Stephen AV Calgary: Tribune re-branding?

Andrew is the Exec. Chef of CA Restaurant Enterprises(Trib, Murrieta's, ParkerHouse)...Brent Klassen is the Trib Chef on a daily basis.

It's a re-jigging of their original concept so the menu has been refreshed, simplified, and prices are more reflective of market requirements. Seems like a Gordon Ramsay type of make-over minus the bad food and kitchen issues. They are definitely aiming for a more casual experience.

Wine Wednesday's are back as well though I haven't been since they restarted. The Trib GM is Francois...who also runs the Cellar Wine Store across the street.

easter weekend in kelowna

My vote for you is Bouchon’s Bistro (1180 Sunset Drive). This is French country food at its finest. Chef Dominique Couton was born in France and it shows. I have eaten here 4-5 times in the last 2 years and each time it has been excellent. Consistency and value are fantastic. Their cassoulet is heavenly...the menu and daily features make it very difficult to choose what to enjoy. I find no fault with them other than I wish they were in Calgary. You’ll also find an approachable wine list with the Cedar Creek “M” by the glass. Visiting Kelowna without eating here just feels wrong.

Quail's Gate is also nice value, really nice food and be sure to try the Family Reserve Chardonnay...gorgeous wine for the price! Purpletongues dot com for more wine info! LOL

Shrimp Tempura

I just got back from a 16 day eating and wine touring binge in Australia and had the most incredible appetizer...shrimp tempura rolled in cracklin' served on top of pork hoping for one of two things...maybe someone has seen this in Calgary OR...maybe a chef will read this and email to let me know they're going to cook it! More pics are on my site. Cheers!

Vin Room

It’s not like I needed to consume more food or booze after the holiday season…but the prospect of 64 wines by the glass was just too good to pass up at Vin Room (2310-4th St. SW). Located directly across the street from her pals at Bin 905, sommelier Karen Kho has hit a homerun with the wine list. Put simply, I love this place.

Choose a 2 oz. pour…maybe 6 oz….or a lucky 13 oz. or damn the torpedoes and spring for a bottle. I’m sprung by the layout of the wine menu and then there’s the wines themselves…brilliant selections across the board. I sampled Chasseur Pinot Noir…Boglietti Barbera...Quintarelli Primofiore…Oliverhill Shiraz…and Bogle Phantom Petit Sirah/Zinfandel. So many boutique wines are on this menu I felt like a mouse trapped in a grain elevator…more…more…more!

It was a cold, windy Saturday and we could have easily have spent 5 or 6 hours sampling away, and that was just on the reds. The beauty of a 2 oz. pour is being able to try just about everything you like or have been too cheap to buy yourself a bottle of (in my case that bottle is the Quintarelli) without getting completely pickled. This is an outstanding list and though it’s a cliché, it offers something for everyone at every budget.

The down side to getting lost in this list is how much you’ll spend on those 2 oz. pours ($10.75 for the Quintarelli) but it’s still better than spending your coin on a whole bottle at retail and not liking it. I’ll pay the resto markup to sample anytime. It can add up quickly but represents an unparalleled tasting opportunity in Calgary, so for me it’s worth it.

Given that it was late afternoon I was only able to try a few lunch menu items but the Short Rib Shepards pie ($22) was perfect given the weather. The build-your-own Charcuterie Plate (items charged in 30 gram increments) was a big hit as well (their homemade horseradish mustard is a toe curler). We also ordered a shrimp cocktail which seemed a bit out of place on the menu but the shrimp were fine and the house made cocktail sauce was nice and zippy. Everything was hot, fresh, and tasty.

I could go on and try to describe the make up of Vin Room, but you have to see it to appreciate it. It’s cozy, colorful, and has some great furniture. You’ll need to check out the state of the art wine preservation system that allows them to serve all that great juice too. Very impressive overall, it’s clear they spent some bucks and if you’re a cork dork like me you’ll love it. Can’t wait to go back for dinner!

Mexican in Modesto?

Can anyone recommend a good mexican spot in Modesto?


Nov 12, 2008
ureviewcalgary in California

Parker House Review

Interesting logic for a food writer to avoid discussing a bad food experience with a restaurant yet still write about it. No wonder the chef isn't a happy camper. You might have added some context to your experience in order to better explain what was wrong. Comparing organically raised, dry aged beef to Safeway probably didn't bode well for palate credibility in the eyes of staff. Insinuating that you can't send food back to their kitchen because of what hollywoord has taught you surely didn't help either. I'll be writing a follow up based on comments I see here, emails I have received and discussions with Andrew Keen and the staff.

Calgary Fish and Chips?

Once in a blue moon I ignore my expanded belly and need to satisfy my cravings for good fish and chips. Fortunately there is the Chowder House Seafood Restaurant (609-1st Street SW) a block away from my office in Petro Canada. Two times in a row I have been served excellent fish and chips by friendly, attentive staff. The batter is crispy crunchy good and the chips don’t taste of fish…which tells me they’re operating different fryers…thank the heavens. There’s also a nice selection of different types of fish you may choose from for your battered pleasure. The other dishes I have seen served around me on my trips here have also looked good as well. If you go for lunch you'll need a reservation.

Parker House Review

Did you send anything back? Too bad you didn't have the experience I did, but if everything was as bad as you say I'd be interested in knowing what you, and then the restaurant, did about it. Cheers!

Parker House Review

I am definitely going back for the lobster mac'n cheese. How can that NOT be good? LOL

Parker House Review

I was intrigued by the October 21st unveiling of Parker House in the historical Lougheed Building. Named after The Parker House Hotel in Boston (est. 1896) I see a poetic irony in having a local restaurant pay homage to New England’s culinary tradition while being located in a heritage building in landlocked Calgary. Complimented by the ever famous Parker House rolls, the menu has been kept secret with few knowing what to truly expect. I had to know!

Side note: eating and writing about a restaurant that is 11 days old may be an excuse to temper expectations and write off issues as a work in progress…but customers should never compromise. If the restaurant is charging full prices, expect good service and food. Problems aren’t our concern. We have enough overpriced “fine dining” spots getting away with inconsistency in service and food quality. Enough of my rant...on to the food.

Upon being greeted by a happy hostess (that makes 2 in Calgary) and seated on the mezzanine level we were provided a lovely amuse-bouche featuring a seared scallop topped with bacon foam and surrounded by a brilliant orange infused cocktail sauce. A lovely beginning accomplishing its intended nefarious mission….I was now salivating.

I was overwhelmed by the menu. There are so many thing to try. Resigned to an evening of gluttony we settled on Manhattan clam chowder, duck wings, trio of oysters, braised beef ribs and lobster turnovers…to start.

The Manhattan clam chowder ($7.23) was quite good…if you don’t like the taste of clams or clam juice. Subsequently my wife loved it as she despises clammy flavors. I thought it was more like a very good vegetable soup with clams. It wasn’t bad, on the contrary it was a great tasting soup…but it wasn’t what I expected from Manhattan chowder.

The duck wing portion scared me ($14.54). Three layers of sweet chili glazed log cabin style stacked wings with gorgonzola dip and ancho chili chutney on the side. This was all the meaty goodness one could hope for when eating duck. The wings could be a tad crispier but that’s a preference. They were served warm and tasted fabulous. The dip and the chutney were both excellent compliments to the glaze.

Oysters trio ($18.78) featured shucked, Rockefeller, and Cajun spiced fritters. There’s nothing like a fresh oyster for me but in this case the Cajun fritters stole the show…by a long shot. Light batter with the right amount of spice and crispiness. I could have eaten dozens of these jewels.

Thankfully our final appetizers came out on one plate because by this point I’m sure people around us were counting and we didn’t need another serving on our table. At some point during the appetizers we received the coveted Parker House rolls…but I’ll come back to those. Enter a half pound of braised beef short ribs ($12.12) and the lobster turnovers ($17.68). The maple glaze on the ribs is something I could smear on ANY meat. Outstanding flavor and the ribs were fork tender. The 3 puff pastry turnovers were served with a coriander and lime aioli. Wonderfully light puff pastry with a piping hot, creamy filling and in nice balance with the aioli. At this point I call a time-out. The entrée order can wait…but what about the rolls…

Per an online search engine…"a Parker House roll is a shape of bread roll made by flattening the center of a ball of dough with a rolling pin so that it becomes an oval shape and then folding the oval in half. They are made with milk and are generally quite buttery, soft, and slightly sweet with a crispy shell." My take…imagine the best tasting dinner roll you’ve ever had…just like the description above…buttery, soft, sweet, warm…now add the flavor of fleur de sel and you have it. Served with a daily flavored butter (we had fennel and sambuca) these sweet yet salty “works of art” will keep me coming back on their own…there’s nothing like them in Calgary. It’s not just a bun; it’s a triumph of baking in our food scene.

Maybe some lighter entrées would be in order…the grilled spring chicken with chili glaze and fettuccine alfredo ($24.68)….or the lobster mac’n 3 cheeses ($24.45)….no no it has to be the seafood cannelloni in rosé brandy sauce ($22.75)…forget that, it’s the crab boil ($25.15)…okay we finally decide on the roasted salmon with porcini crust in shellfish consommé ($22.45) and bison osso buco with saffron risotto ($40.62).

The salmon was lovely. Moist and cooked to perfection. The shellfish broth was better than the clam chowder (I assume they come from the same stock so what gives?). The portion of bison was ridiculous….even if I hadn’t gorged on appetizers there’s no way I would have finished the massive shank. Just like the ribs, it was fork tender. The risotto had gorgeous color with saffron permeating every little spec of rice. Excellent finish!

I could not have been happier with my first jaunt to Parker House. Next time I will definitely dine on the lighter side and taste a few items it just wasn’t possible to sample given the limits of my beltline. The Guinness steamed mussels and multiple varieties of aged, organic steaks featuring local producers caught my eye (and I rarely order steak). All desserts are $7.63 but there’s no way I could even attempt one…though the skillet baked brownie with vanilla black pepper ice cream will meet my tummy soon…

Regarding the service…it was friendly, courteous and though a little awkward at times I have no complaints. The wine list has many values by the bottle and by the glass. It’s not a deep list overall but it does feature the Euro Cave preservation system with six whites ($6-15 range) and ten reds ($7-14 range). More than enough to choose from. On this evening Penfold’s Bin 389 was a featured wine which was served at proper temperature. My first glass reeked of detergent but a new glass was provided without delay.

You will be impressed by the room, or should I say rooms of Parker House. There’s a dining room, mezzanine level, lounge area (3 piece jazz bands included) and a basement with private dining room. Nothing was missed in this space from the impeccable glass tile (about $250K worth) to the hand made, mouth blown glass chandeliers (cost unknown, but feared!). I have no idea what this place cost to build but it’s gorgeous. Sure to be Calgary’s newest hotspot, I’ll be back, with friends!

100 Wines

I have been delinquent in my event planning this past year...but am hoping to rectify that situation soon. I'll be sure to forward you the invite when I get something set up. If you ever need a wine rec, don't be shy! LOL

Belvedere Splurge

Thank you all for your kudos on the review.

Now that I have your taste buds standing at attention, you might be interested in the St. Canut roasted pork leg roast for 2 (which includes the gnocchi I referenced) in brown butter and maple glaze. If anyone tries all means let me know...unless I beat you to it first in which case I'll update the post. Cheers!

Belvedere Splurge

Belvedere 7 Courses with wine/spirits - $170

Even though they know me and the service goes above and beyond the call when I am there, I'll still write about my last dinner at the Belvedere. Chef Chris Walker continues to impress me each time I go. The only thing better than his food is his humility when speaking with customers about his food.

There's fine dining for in New York, Paris, Tokyo, etc. and then there's Calgary fine dining...which is good but often overpriced, poorly executed, and caters to our redneck palates (do we need anymore steak houses?). Anyway since I haven't traveled in a while I needed a fix and figured I'd splurge at the B. Here's the lineup we had...

1. Solitary East Coast Oyster with a house made mignonette. This was a great oyster. Lovely brine, perfect temperature and paired with the Bollinger Cuvee NV Champagne. Nothing original here but full marks for freshness and quality of ingredients.

2. Seared scallop served in a Thai curry broth containing shaved fennel bulb and topped with a mint cucumber relish. WOW! Now this was the type of thing I had been craving. Perfectly cooked, excellent balance and the relish was packed with flavor. 10 out of 10. Can't recall the pairing here as I was trying to steal my fiancés' portion.

3. Pan seared frog legs with a garlic veloute. Just like little chicken drumsticks. So crisp, so moist, and the veloute came with a pickle on the side so you could mix and dip the "wings" in. A fresh take on a French classic and very UN-Calgary. Paired with a Gewurztraminer.

4. Duo of Quebec Foie Gras….Pan Seared and Housemade terrine, with hazelnut brioche, Ground cherry and Kerner ice wine compote...another 10 out of 10. I could eat a bucket of Ground Cherries and a loaf of the brioche. Paired with Summer Hill Ehrenfelser.

Palate cleanser...pureed pineapple mixed with Champagne.

5. Naturally raised AB Grilled Elk Striploin with roasted carrots, beets, and served over house made seared Agria potato gnocchi…topped with shaved truffles. The portion of Elk was much too big...but full of pink perfection. The gnocchi may have been the best I have ever had in Calgary. Paired with Casa Silva Gran Reserva Carmenere, great choice here.

6. Cheese course featuring house smoked goat cheese, stilton (quince puree), brie, and a gouda. Again, very large portion and served with a 20 year old port...just wonderful.

7. Chef’s chocolate tasting with housemade ice cream, housemade truffles, chocolate bomb, etc. Wayyy too much on this plate. The Reserve Grand Marnier washed it down but we had to take one of the plates home as it was just too much!

If I have one criticism of this menu...they could reduce the portions and the cost a bit in order to make it all more approachable...then again if you just starve yourself all day you won't complain.

One nice thing I need to mention about this evening is how they timed the courses. There was no rush and we thoroughly enjoyed the many hours we spent dining and chatting in a relaxed space. I am also a big believer that any resto that wants to be considered "fine dining" needs to bake their own bread and it needs to be good. The Belvedere served up 2 types of housemade breads, both were excellent. It's the little things that put a smile on my face! You can do this tasting for $120 without any pairings...but the pours were healthy and generally on the mark.

PS. Since the St. Canut Farms (Quebec) pork wasn't part of the tasting I had to go back for lunch...that's worth the trip too if you haven't had this milk fed swine that is now appearing on menus all over Calgary. Unless Martin Picard one day comes to Calgary or someone starts copying his food...this is probably the most tasty expression of pork we'll get...not counting roast suckling pigskin at Pegasus.

100 Wines

There's a little bit of irony here....a wine store with a stated goal of being unpretentious run by a fellow who makes it clear the store is made up of 100 wines selected by himself...if you're an Anthony Bourdain fan you'll know what he says about these kinds of guys...LOL

Seriously though...are the wines boutique selections exclusive to them? If so that could be pretty cool. If you liked the unpretentious style David brings you may also want to meet Brad Royale of Bin 905/Divino, IMHO the best sommelier Calgary has to offer serious wine drinkers and beginners alike. Not an ounce of snobbiness and always quick with value wines and boutique exclusives. Andre Kok at CSN Wines (Calgary's largest selection) is another very cool wine personality I enjoy buying from. Cheers, thanks for the post!

Ruth's Chris

Thanks all....glad my review brought out some smiles...! If anyone laughed to the tune of $300 let me know and I'll tell you where to send the cheque. LOL!

In answer to some of the questions was not NYE, it was the 8th of December, just another Saturday night in cowtown...and no, Biff had little success landing my GF but true to form as an oxygen thief camped on Mt. Delusional he began by telling her how amazing her diamond ring's a good thing she didn't tell me about it until after we had left or there would have been another dead looking piece of meat left on our table. As bugs bunny once said....what a maroooon!

One footnote, the GM has emailed me with his cell phone number asking that I call him to discuss my "experience" at my earliest convenience. I'll post a follow up once I have spoken with him if anyone is interested? Cheers!

Ruth's Chris

Thanks John! LOL

Ruth's Chris

I was so excited to have RC's open in Calgary. Though I am an Alberta beef fan all the way...I never had a bad experience at RC's while living/touring throughout the USA. The steak I had in Washington's location while trapped during the blizzard of '96 was as good a piece of meat as anything we have here and it was cooked in such a unique way...crispy on the outside and pink and juicy on the mouth still waters. After sending many friends to the Edmonton location and hearing how much they all enjoyed it I was giddy as a kid on Christmas to try our Calgary locale...and the Hindenburg, expectations evaporated right before my eyes.

After waiting for 15 minutes I finally flagged down a water boy to ask if he could get someone to serve us. Promptly a waiter I had watched serve all the tables around us popped by to apologize for the delay and indicated he would "take our table since no one else had"...a clear line of bullsh*t designed to deflect his own blindness for having walked past us several times. As we had waited for him we were able to rattle off our complete food and drink order at once. The wine we ordered showed up 10 minutes after he left with our orders (nice Zin, good price) and our appetizers showed up just afterwards. The crab cakes were excellent...and for $23 they had better be. The shrimp cocktail was also excellent. At least the food seemed to living up to its billing. The wine service was okay, no decanter nor an offer to decant...but I figured this guy was used to screw caps so I didn't bother...and I don't mean the screwcaps from good Aussie wines!

The waiter we had was clearly the village idiot in the place. Let's call him Biff. I watched Biff running from table to table while his peers seemed calm and collected which, given the atmosphere is exactly what is called for. Now the fun part, after our appetizers had been on our table for 5 minutes a food runner shows up with our mains. Totally unacceptable but he apologized and took our food back with no problems...except in my mind I wondered if my food was sitting under a heat lamp somewhere dying on the vine.

Biff shows up and apologizes for the mishap and explains that because the kitchen was having issues all night he put our main course order in at the same time as our appetizers because he believed these "delays" would have seen our food come out at the appropriate time. Nothing like throwing the kitchen staff under the bus. I am sure Biff is popular amongst his peers. In any case, this is a major screw up in my world. Nice work Biff.

We finish our appetizers and our table is cleared promptly. The food runner comes back with our food and does a nice job positioning our mushrooms, potatoes au gratin and steaks. The plates sizzle with butter and come out at 500 degrees but our steaks look dead. We both ordered the filet, medium rare. Mine is brown, all the way through. The other steak is cooked perfectly on the inside, but hardly looks broiled...which incidentally is what they are SUPPOSED to be famous for. Clearly one sat under a heat lamp, one came out fresh, but neither was broiled properly. For $48 a steak, they better be perfect...and they were far from it.

The sides were god awful. The potatoes were cold and the mushrooms either came out of a can or were somehow preserved given their rubbery texture and weak taste. Biff comes to ask how our food is 10 minutes later, I show him my steak and he offers to take it back...which is nice...but a dollar short and day late as the expression goes. At this point I feel physically ill....I have no idea why but I go to the restroom just in case my $23 crab cakes are coming back up...while I am away Biff HITS on my girlfriend! Can it get any better??

Rather than experiencing anymore we get the bill, get the hell outta dodge and finish our evening at Divino where Brad and Brian demonstrate to us what customer service is all about. Thanks Ruth's Chris....did I mention it was my birthday? There may come a day when I go back, and that would be the day that drinking wine with Little Penguins on the bottle is something I crave. Their motto is an "Adventure in Flavor" was an adventure alright...just like the Hindenburg. Worst value I have experienced in Calgary this year.

Pizza in SW Calgary

Sophie's never disappointed me. One time I mentioned their driver was really late on my previous pizza showed up in 40 mins and was free. I ordered their vegetarian once a week. It was my attempt at health food! LOL


Pizza in SW Calgary

Nothing beats Sophie's pizza near is run by the family who originally opened Spiro's. Their pizza's are Greek in style. I miss them horribly now that I live in the DEEP South! I've never had Karouzo's so I can't compare. Good luck.


Same god-awful color...god-awful food. We should start a pool to see who can guess how long they will last because I can't imagine they get many return customers. Calgary diners support all sorts of bad places but this one takes the cake.


I agree with you 100% and Ramsay would have a meltdown for sure.

I have to admit I always enjoyed Zen 8 even though it was pricy it was worth it for me. The lobster roll kept me coming back and I liked the way they sliced their sashimi. Their tempura was great too. Now the fact that Zen 8 didn't suck might have a lot to do with the fact that they hired a lot of guys from Japan who understood the food well.

A little birdie told me they do a lot of their kitchen prep for Ceili's in the Belgo kitchen...

Tommy's Burger Bar opening downtown (Cgy)

What's wrong John....don't like a little ash with your burger?? LOL

A comment like that from an owner of a FOOD establishment says it all.

Raw Bar

Lunch by the pool at Raw Bar is something everyone should do when the sun is out. What a great setting! It’s like eating in LA or Miami…minus humidity and smog of course. I really enjoyed the experience and found the service to be excellent. Their homemade soup of the day arrived piping hot (cream of cauliflower) and really surprised me with its flavor (in a good way). The pulled pork sandwich and sushi roll I had were excellent. The sandwich was moist, nice bread and just the right size. The wine list provides a nice selection of by the glass whites and reds. It couldn’t have been better and works very well with the menu overall. The whole hour was like stepping out of Calgary and into some other world. It’s a great lunch hour escape and I’ll definitely go back.


I haven’t been since my last experience last summer (not positive). I really don’t get how oxygen thieves in the media keep writing how wonderful this place is. I am at a loss. Sure the space is nice, service is decent, but the food is wayyyy overpriced and generally isn’t good. Our first mussel was spit out as it was rancid. How does a kitchen serve BAD mussels at $22 a pop? It’s not like you can miss that distinctive eau de poop is it? Wow. Then comes the Leffe Braised BBQ rib appetizer ($15)….it should be called road kill because that’s what the pieces of meat looked like. Boiled meat drenched in bad sauce…yum. At this point I am ready to leave but Fred sucks it up and crazily orders the Lemon Lobster Risotto ($8) from the a la carte menu…to my amazement it is good and given the other prices of this place how it only costs $8 surprises me. Other than having a nice selection of expensive beers and a really good front of the house guy in James Belcher I can’t see why media think Belgo is so good. I must be missing something when it comes to their food but have no desire to spend any more money trying to figure it out. I’ll stick to the beer when the expense accounts are in effect.


The south of Calgary is dying for good restaurants…and there is no relief in sight. Halo advertises itself as a steak and seafood house with a great wine list…ummm….yeah….right. This place is like walking into an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Disasters. First of all…they were out of the first three wines we ordered…I won’t even comment on the wine service, some things are best left unsaid. The escargot I ordered…a triumph of flavorless chew. The menu is all over the place…but given their steak and seafood “focus” we ordered prime rib and halibut…the prime rib was tough and tasteless. The halibut we ordered was clearly frozen in a bag, poached in boiling water to reheat, slapped on a plate and then covered in sauce. Terrible. When the waitress asked us if we wanted dessert she made a point of emphasizing the fact that ALL of them are homemade (the implication being…nothing else there is). In short…this was $140 I’ll never get back. To end on a positive note, at least they spent some money making the room look nice.