This week I start a series on Calgary’s best restaurants.
Wherever I travel to, I love experiencing the local culinary scene. Well, I’m back home, and I want to showcase the amazing and constantly innovate leaders of Calgary’s culinary culture.
River Cafe, one of my favourite restaurants, was the first place to host me on this culinary journey. It would be an understatement to say I was excited to dine with them again.
The last time I had eaten at River Cafe was previous to the floods of 2013. Walking into the restaurant for the first time since the flood, I was amazed at how well they had re-built and re-created their beautiful, rustic dining room – a shining example of the post-flood rebirth which Calgary has accomplished.
One of the things I love about River Cafe is the congruency of their philosophy. Every detail is thought out, and meticulously executed. The staff are professional, the dining room is cozy, yet elegant, and the food is fantastic. Relax, because there’s no pretension here to get in the way of you enjoying your meal.
Now to the food.
We were treated to a seven course tasting menu, paired with wine. Sticking with their philosophy, all of the ingredients were sourced as responsibly as possible.
‘Organic’ and ‘local’ are not just taglines at River Cafe.
We started with a prosciutto dish, and immediately the plating impressed. I love the visual arts, and there is no other way to describe how the food is place other than the obvious: art.
There were many plates to discover, and our server, Kevin, did a fantastic job of delivering us the food in an efficient, friendly, and informative manner. Every dish was visually stimulating, which served as an impromptu appetizer for every course.
There wasn’t a single course which was anything less than fantastic. The wine was paired as beautifully as the plates were prepared. The culinary journey took us from prosciutto to rice pudding, with stops at every flavour in-between.
My favourites included fat wrapped lamb with a perfectly complementary jelly, seared squid with a kim chi sauce, and the figurative cherry-on-top, a dessert plate which included rice pudding and a chocolate bomb.
The truth is, however, that there is nothing on their menu which they would feel comfortable bringing to your table that wouldn’t wow. They have their philosophy, they stick to it, and it works. They choose the best ingredients available, and they prepare them in a way to let the natural flavours speak for themselves.
If you are looking for a top-notch dining experience in Calgary, you can’t go wrong with River Cafe. It has earned its reputation as one of Calgary’s best restaurants.
Prince’s Island Park. Part of the experience is parking in Eau Claire and taking a walk through some of Calgary’s most beautiful walking trails to arrive.
Monday to Friday: 11am to 10pm (11pm in summer)
Weekends: 10am to 10pm (11pm in summer)
As a note, they do Sunday brunch, which I’ve heard is one of the best in town.