Calgary’s Best Restaurants | Yellow Door Bistro: Funky and Fine

Calgary’s Best Restaurants | Yellow Door Bistro: Funky and Fine

Yellow Door Bistro is housed in Calgary’s coolest hotel: Hotel Arts.

The Hotel Arts Group has a reputation for creating cool in Calgary. Besides the hotel that is their moniker they also run Kensington Riverside Inn, Raw Bar by Duncan Ly, and Chef’s Table – all of which are on the cutting edge of Calgary’s service industry scene.

This particular night, however, was all about Yellow Door Bistro and the Chefs Choice menu that Executive Chef Duncan Ly and Sous Chef Quinn Staplehad prepared for us. 

There are two entrances to Yellow Door Bistro, one from the street level, and another from the hotel lobby. I’d recommend when you’re arriving or leaving to take a look at the incredible collection of modern art in the Hotel Arts lobby. It’s one of the top collections in the city, and a great addition to your cultural outing.

One of many of the amazing design touches at Yellow Door Bistro.

One of many of the amazing design touches at Yellow Door Bistro.

Once you entire Yellow Door Bistro you will be greeted by a decor that is one part modern minimalism, one part Alice in Wonderland extravagance. This may seem contradictory, but it works incredibly well. The dining room is unique, beautiful, and very artistic. Really, this shouldn’t come as a surprise coming from these purveyors of cool.

We were seated at a table for two near the window, with a good view of the action of the room. 

More examples of the amazing design inside Yellow Door Bistro. One whole wall was covered in shutter doors.

More examples of the amazing design inside Yellow Door Bistro. One whole wall was covered in shutter doors.

Our meal started with a Tete de Moine cheese course. It was tastefully presented on a crustini cracker, with watercress, strawberry gel, and toasted pistachios. The flavours went together seamlessly, and it – along with a glass of Prosecco – was a light, fresh way to start our dinner.

Our second course was the winning course of the meal.

The second course was a Sous Vide Bay scallop, vanilla bean, onion, and date soup. The creaminess of the soup, the freshness of the vanilla bean, and the complementary flavour of the scallops was perfection. This was one of the best soups I have ever tried, and my friend Robert agreed. It was paired with a Marc Brediff Vouvray white wine from the south of France.

The soup. Just wow.

The soup. Just wow.

The hits kept coming with a braised beef cheek tortellini for our next course. The tenderness of the beef, along with the freshness of the pasta created the perfect canvas for the beef to shine. The celery root puree, shemiji mushrooms, fava beans helped bring out the beef’s natural flavours. The dish needed nothing else, and was beautiful in its simplicity; as great food should be.

Our main was a seared salmon over a pilaf of quinoa, English pea, and pancetta. The salmon was very well prepared, and it went well with the quinoa, but this dish didn’t pop quite as much as the others. On its own, it would stand as a great dish, but it was a small step down from the previous two courses. 

We finished our meal with a Valrhona Chocolate parfait, prepared by Pastry Chef Karine Moulin (Top Chef Canada Season Four Contestant) and her team. The plating on this was dramatic in an avant garde style. I loved the plating for being artistic and colourful. However, others may see it as too much (as noted by my friend Robert.) The dessert tasted fantastic, no matter what your thoughts on the plating were. It consisted of a creme brulee base, almond praline crust, and raspberry sorbet topping.

Artful dessert course at Yellow Door Bistro.

Artful dessert course at Yellow Door Bistro.

Throughout the meal the service was sharp, friendly, and professional. At the end of meal the beverage manager Warren Fleming was there to answer any of our questions on the restaurant and hotel. He has a passion for the restaurant which is evident. From talking with him for about 15 minutes I got the feeling that Hotel Arts Group is a great place to work, and that they treat their staff very well. This translates to happy staff, which makes for a better experience every time.

We had a fantastic time at Yellow Door Bistro. The accolades that have been bestowed upon Hotel Arts Group’s newest restaurant are well deserved. Chef Duncan Ly has created a great menu, and Hotel Arts Group has designed a unique and fantastic dining room for which GM James Werner presides over.

If you are looking for a fun place to eat great food, visit Yellow Door Bistro. You won’t be disappointed, and you may just feel like you went down the rabbit hole to Alice in Wonderland’s feast with the Queen of Hearts.

Nitty Gritty


119 12 Ave SW (Attached to Hotel Arts)
Calgary, Alberta



6:30 am to 10:00 pm

Contact Info:

Phone: 1.403.206.9565


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