In the last few years the concept of fine dining has largely made way for more casual chef-driven restaurants where the music is loud, the food is a little bit cheeky and guests are encouraged to wear jeans — but there’s still something special about dressing up and splurging on a true fine dining experience in a restaurant that offers exquisite food and impeccable service. These Calgary restaurants are all worthy of visiting for milestone occasions, be it a birthday, anniversary or just a celebration of expertly prepared food.
From the outside, located on the edge of an industrial park, you may wonder about Alloy as a fine dining restaurant, but trust me – inside, it is all about style and luxury. The chic circular booths and mid-century style make the room feel comfortable and elegant at the same time, but Alloy’s greatest selling point is chef Rogelio Herrara’s delicious and meticulously-plated food, which plays on influences from Asia, the Mediterranean, and beyond.
A top destination for downtown business lunches, Blink is also an ideal spot for an intimate dinner. Situated in a historic building on Stephen venue, the restaurant serves up rich dishes with a hint of Mediterranean flair. Blink is also home to one of Calgary’s best wine lists, carefully curated to perfectly complement the food coming out of the kitchen.
The closest thing you’ll find to Tuscany in Calgary, this longtime Calgary favourite specializes in upscale takes on rustic Italian cuisine. In the winter, Bonterra’s dining room is cozy and welcoming, but when the weather is warm, be sure to request a spot on the restaurant’s lush backyard patio
Bow Valley Ranche
Sitting in a heritage home in beautiful Fish Creek Park, Bow Valley Ranche is the perfect location for a special meal. The menu is made up of classically prepared (and often locally sourced) proteins and decadent treats like pan-seared foie gras and fresh oysters, all accompanied by seasonal produce.
Located in one of Calgary’s most significant historical homes in the city’s oldest neighbourhood at the confluences of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, Deane House is a Calgary icon. The restaurant offers a fine dining version of locally sourced contemporary Canadian cuisine. The menu changes with the seasons, but always focuses on fresh produce and Alberta-raised meat.
Hy’s offers several different levels of steak, including 60-day dry-aged beef and Canadian Black Angus. The menu is filled out with a selection of seafood, traditional steakhouse sides, surprisingly good vegetarian options, and Hy’s famed (and legitimately irresistible) cheese toast.
The Lake House
Operated by Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts (CRMR), The Lake House is on the shore of Lake Bonavista and makes the most of products sourced from CRMR’s signature game ranch. Dine on beautifully prepared elk, bison, and other meats or fish while gazing out the restaurant’s picture windows.
One of Calgary’s longest-standing fine dining restaurants, La Chaumiere offers the utmost in classic French service and cuisine. Expect dishes like veal served with foie gras, chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce, and prawn and scallop ragout
Expect hip-hop instead of muzak on the sound system at Modern Steak, where the level of food is celebration-worthy. Serving only ranch-specific Alberta beef, guests can choose the cut of their choice, cooked on a 1,800-degree infrared grill or non-beef selections like the massive seafood platter, pork belly with scallops, or rich pasta dishes.
Q Haute Cuisine
Choose from a four-course or seven-course (depending on which night of the week you come in) chef’s tasting menu for a truly chef-driven experience at Q Haute Cuisine. The restaurant also offers a Kitchen Table option, where guests enjoy a special menu while sitting right in the bustle of the busy kitchen.
The only restaurant on Calgary’s picturesque Prince’s Island Park is also one of the city’s best — a beautifully rustic dining room specializing on creative and sustainable food. In addition to an ever-changing seasonal menu, River Café boasts a truly phenomenal wine list.
Located in beautiful red Victorian heritage home in historic Inglewood, Rouge has earned its reputation as one of the city’s finest dining spots. The impeccable menu is seasonal and French-inspired and often features ingredients from Rouge’s expansive backyard garden. Complete your meal with a special bottle from the restaurant’s extensive wine cellar.
A Calgary institution for 25 years, Teatro has long served discerning diners looking for an elegant bite before taking in a performance at Arts Commons, which is located right across the street. The restaurant is located in an opulent old bank building — the kitchen serves up carefully prepared Italian-inspired dishes to match the grandeur of the luxurious locale.
A classic steakhouse with dark décor, live music and a great selection of wine and whiskey, Vintage Chophouse is the place to go when you’re craving a perfect steak. In addition to a full selection of beef, Vintage serves up lamb, seafood, wedge salads, and the very popular lobster mac ‘n’ cheese
Yellow Door Bistro
Hotel Arts’ whimsically decorated in-house restaurant, Yellow Door Bistro offers one of the city’s best breakfasts and number of refined dinner options, like a lavender honey glazed duck breast and delicate Haida Gwai halibut, as well as seasonal chef’s tasting menus. Don’t skip dessert — the hotel is home to one of the most creative pastry chefs in the city.
If a big night out isn’t in the cards, most of these restaurants offer lunch (and in some cases, brunch) options for a less intense and more affordable gourmet experience. Bon appetit!