Over the past few years, Calgary’s food scene has exploded with a newfound vigor and excitement.
Throughout the city, ambitious chefs and award-winning restaurateurs are creating some of the most delicious dishes in all of Canada. When food is crafted with this much style, it practically demands to be Instagrammed! Here’s a visual guide to some of the most photogenic meals in Calgary.
Located in the historic heart of downtown Calgary, this stylish restaurant serves some of the most artistically designed dishes in the city. What makes Blink so unique is its versatility. How many contemporary fine dining restaurants do you know that offer Korean ketchup popcorn on the snacks portion of their dinner menu? For the perfect Instagram photo, try the colorful fontina cheese tortellini with baby bell peppers, or the pacific halibut poached in olive oil.
2. River Cafe
During the summer months, the rustic-style River Cafe, located on the shore of Calgary’s beautiful Bow River, offers charmingly prepared picnic baskets that diners can purchase for an afternoon meal in the adjacent park. To make your friends back home jealous, be sure to snap an Instagram of the freshly shucked oyster platter. And for dessert, don’t skip the house made strawberry and honey popsicles. They’re a refreshing way to end an unforgettable meal.
3. The Street Eatery
This casual spot specializes in capturing the fun and flavor of street food from around the world. Combining the taste of Korean, Indian, Mexican, and southern U.S. cooking, The Street Eatery uses locally sourced ingredients and house pickled veggies to give their dishes an extra kick. But it’s their foot-tall milkshakes that are truly Insta-worthy. Designed like outrageous works of pop art, each shake is an elaborate meal all by itself.
A native Calgarian with a taste for adventure, chef Jessica Pelland brings her dynamic culinary skills to each item on the menu at this award-winning bar and restaurant. Located atop a historic 105-year old factory building in the city’s hip East Village neighborhood, Charbar features one of the most impressive rooftop patios in the city, making it an ideal spot for taking photos. Add a splash of color to your Instagram feed by ordering a brunch cocktail made with fresh seasonal fruit.
5. Calgary Farmers Market
Attracting more than a million visitors each year, this enormous indoor market features over 80 vendors selling locally grown produce and meats, plus international foods and decadent desserts. A great place for people-watching and picture taking, the Calgary Farmers Market hosts weekly tours that allow patrons to meet the ranchers and farmers whose work makes the place so special. Other events include things like chili cook-offs, canning classes and wine tastings. As an added bonus, Canadian country bands like The Heels occasionally stop by to play live music for the market.
6. YYC Food Trucks
Since 2010, this food truck collective has helped to bring some of the most exciting mobile chefs in the business to the streets and neighborhoods of Calgary. With more than 40 roving restaurants serving an incredible assortment of dishes across the city, YYC Food Trucks gives new meaning to the phrase “meals on wheels.” For an Instagram pic that’s guaranteed to get some attention, try the adorable Jelly Modern Doughnuts truck, or the emerald green Noodle Bus.
Having grown up sharing food with family and friends in the English countryside, head chef and owner Neil McCue brings a comfortable and welcoming style to his meals at Whitehall, a two-story modern British restaurant in Calgary’s Bridgeland neighborhood. The popular 5 course tasting menu allows diners to sample — and Instagram — a wide variety of different dishes, like Quebec foie gras, and charred tagliatelle squid. The high-ceiling downstairs dining room is beautifully appointed, making it a perfect spot for romantic dinners or special occasions.
8. Native Tongues
This lively (and late night) taqueria in Calgary’s thriving Victoria Park district celebrates Mexico’s cultural influence with every delicious taco, tostada, and sopa they serve. Along with the authentically prepared food, be sure to try one of Native Tongues’ signature cocktails, sporting colorful names like Bidi Bidi Bom Bom and Y Tu Mama Tambien, or treat yourself to an unbeatable $5 margarita every Monday.