The Best of Banff, Canmore, and Calgary Food and Drink

Good Food is Good Mood

Alberta Travel Guide

Best of Banff, Canmore, and Calgary Food and Drink

The Canadian Rockies, specifically Banff, has been an increasingly popular travel destination over the last couple of years.  This travel destination is visited year-round by adventurers who want to paddle across the turquoise waters of an iconic mountain lake or climb up a frozen glacier that spans over three miles.

One of my favorite parts of traveling is experiencing the different flavors and tradition of the local area.  Poutine is the infamous Canadian cuisine.  There are not too many extreme flavors or dishes that vary from American cuisine. To save you time scouring Yelp and Trip Advisor trying to find your next dining destination, I share my favorite and least favorite dining spots in Calgary, Canmore, and Banff. 


Iron Goat Pub and Grill, Canmore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

While dining at Last Best, Calgary, we met a gentleman at the bar who noticed we were not from the area. (I think our lack of accent gave us away) . As one does, we started chatting with him about "must go to" places in the Canadian Rockies.  He frequented the Canmore area as he owned a vacation home there and told us about the Iron Goat.  The name "Pub and Grill" is deceiving and in my opinion, is not a casual "Pub and Grill".  This restaurant has an all-glass wall that faces the mountains with breathtaking views. 


The food and drinks were five stars, as well as the dining experience.  Find a night and make reservations.  


The Tavern 1883, Canmore ⭐⭐⭐

A tip for those headed to The Tavern, enter on 10th street.  Your map app might guide you to 9th Street, but 10th street is the entrance of The Tavern.  We did not have reservations, but they are available online

We sat at the bar as it seemed to be a centralized part of the restaurant.  The bar staff was very personable and friendly.  We learned that there are many transplants that move to the area because of their passion for skiing, hiking and adventure. The bartender sold us on their Tavern Burger that is prepared sous-vide.  In my opinion, the burger was average.  Although it certainly was not dry, it did not have much flavor.  The Tavern had one of the local breweries, Canmore Brewing Company, on tap which was a nice addition to a flavorless burger.   


If you're looking for a casual place to drop in after a long day of hiking or skiing, head over to The Tavern for a welcoming dining experience.  If trying the traditional Canadian poutine dish is on your bucket list, this would be the place I would do it!


Last Best, Calgary ⭐⭐⭐⭐

When landing in Calgary, we headed straight to Last Best for a late lunch and brew.  We arrived after traditional lunchtime, therefore, there was plenty of room at the bar and dining room.  The modern menu made it hard to make a decision after our travels. We were so hungry, we both opted for the Alberta burger and a hoppy IPA. 


If in downtown Calgary, definitely head over to Last Best.  Not only do they have great food and drinks, but they also have some fun swag! #Albeerta


Tim Hortons, Everywhere! ⭐⭐⭐

Just like McDonald's in the US, you will see Tim Hortons all over Canada!  Although it’s fast food, I felt the need to get the full Canadian experience and dine at Tim Hortons. If we are being honest, it was actually very tasty. Who doesn't love a side of hashbowns with their hashbrown sandwich?  


Make sure to indulge in the Canadian tradition of Tim Hortons for a quick breakfast out to the slopes or peaks. 


Wild Flour Bakery, Banff ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Looking for a local breakfast or sandwich shop to pop into while shopping in downtown Banff? Wild Flour Bakery is the perfect spot nestled in the heart of downtown Banff.  We popped in at lunch and was lucky enough to snag a table as they are first come.  The food was prepared in a timely manner and allowed us to get back to shopping.  


Wild Flour Bakery is very popular, and rightfully so.  Their food is fresh and perfect for a lite lunch.  Make sure to snag a table as soon as you see people get up. Send your fellow traveler up to order so you can claim your table. 


Canmore Brewery, Canmore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Canmore Brewery is the best brewery we visited on our trip to the Canadian Rockies.  Visitors can sit directly in the brewery or take canned brews home.  


If you enjoy the art of craft beer, make sure to add this to your list of Canmore stops.  This recently opened brewery has quickly established itself and can be found on tap in many local restaurants too. 


Trolley 5, Calgary ⭐⭐⭐⭐

We stopped in at Trolley 5 before heading to Canmore.  Located on 17th Avenue, this brewery has a fun interior with beer growlers traveling along a rail system.  Trolley 5 is another great place to visit if you love visiting microbrews. 


St. Jame’s Gate Irish Pub, Banff ⭐⭐

After shopping at Patagonia, I asked the staff where they would suggest grabbing a casual dinner in Banff. They suggested to head to St. Jame’s Gate Irish Pub for a great burger and brew.  A short walk from Patagonia, we headed over and got seated with no problem.


The Banquet burger and beer selection were adequate but the dining experience was just average. (I realize that we order quite a few burgers in Canada 🍔and this was my least favorite of all of them) I would not return to dine here if in Banff again. 


Bear Street Tavern, Banff ⭐⭐⭐

A fellow Canadian referred us to try Bear Street Tavern's pizza. We felt comfortable in our ski gear as we dined there after hitting the slopes at Sunshine Village.  The staff and bar seating were welcoming.  The pizza was perfect to restore the bumps and bruises from the day. 


No need to get fancy for this place.  Feel comfortable popping into Bear Street Tavern after a long day of hiking or skiing for some great pizza, beverages, and dining.


Mary’s Popcorn, Banff ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mary's Popcorn Facebook

This popcorn shop was the perfect stop to grab some snacks.  It is no comparison to Chicago's tradition, Garrett's Popcorn, but when your 1600 miles away from home this is a great replacement. 



Grizzly Paw Brewing Co, Canmore ⭐⭐

Located right on the main street of downtown Canmore, this brewery probably gets a lot of foot traffic but was my least favorite.  The atmosphere and menu reminded me of a modern sports bar chain.  The food was average and their locally brewed beer selection was below average. 


If you are looking to visit a brewery with some 'note worthy' beers, make a trip over to Canmore Brewery.  You can thank me later. 😁



Have you visited Banff, Canmore, Calgary, or Jasper National Park?  What were you favorite dining experiences?



My First Chicago Summer Will Last Longer Than My Tan

As you may or may not know, I started this personal blog to share personal experiences as I transitioned careers, moved from my hometown, and travelled around the world.  I unfortunately have done a very poor job at sharing my moments since I started my career at Naehas.  

Looking back at my first summer in Chicago, I cannot believe everything Spencer and I actually fit into a summer.  Although there was no travel "across the pond" this summer, it certainly was just as memorable. 

Downtown Chicago John Hancock

During college and post-college, Chicago was a city visited quite frequently.  I never really desired to live in Chicago, but when the opportunity arose with my career transition it was the open door to live in the windy city.  

Beach, Bike, and SUPping

The beach ‘season’ in Chicago officially ended September 4th.  However, the last two weekends in September have been dynamite for the beach-lovers of Chicago, like myself.  

North Avenue Beach Chicago Downtown

I could not get enough of Lake Michigan and the beach this summer.  I spent most of my time people watching and volleyball watching at North Ave Beach.  Sand, sun and SUPping are very addicting.  The lake and beach was the closest feeling of being on the beaches in Southern California, which is another addiction of mine. 


The best way to get to the beach was to bike.  The bike path along the lake is sprinkled with runners, bikers, and people wandering, but it was a great active way to get to the beach.  The first time I went to the beach by myself, I decided that I would just bring my bike with me on the beach instead of locking it up along the bike path. When I left the beach, I locked up my bike at Castaways to go to the bathroom.  When I returned to my bike and tried to unlock my u-lock, it would not unlock.  Sand snuck into my u-lock!  The key would turn, but the lock would not unlock.  After trying to pull and prod the lock for 10 minutes, I asked for assistance from the cops who always sit at the entrance of the beachfront.  During the next 20 minutes, my bike was like a magnet and accumulated a total of 8 cops and firemen who were all taking turns trying to unlock my lock.  A fireman, Aref, finally got the lock separated.  I learned my lesson and will just lock up my bike before getting my sand and sun on.


X Ambassadors concert at Northerly Island

You don't always have to be in the front row of a concert, but it certainly makes it more fun!  I had heard colleagues talk about the concert venue, Northerly Island, and decided I wanted to go.  Most people probably recognize X Ambassadors' most popular song, Renegades, but they certainly have other catchy tunes that are easy to nod your head to.  Monday, July 31st was extremely hot and humid.  Sam Harris's performance was 110% despite the heat and his all black, long-sleeved attire.  I don't think singing and dancing along to good music will ever get old. 


Tom Petty and Chris Stapleton at Wrigley

Another concert that Spencer and I went to was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Wrigley Field.  At the last minute, I decided that I wanted to go and it would be a great experience.  There is not a bad seat in Wrigley! (Except for the uncovered seats that evening when it poured down rain during the concert)  Although we were not in the front row, it was still fun to jam to Tom Petty classics.



Buckingham Fountain at Grant Park

When you live in the city, you tend to stay away from some of the 'touristy' sites like the 'bean' in Millennium Park or Navy Pier.  One evening, I wanted to go for a bike ride and ended up at Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park during sunset.  On the hour, a melody of music plays for about 20 minutes as the fountain expands even higher into the sky.  With all the hustle and bustle of the city and tourists, sitting on the benches around the fountain was extremely peaceful as the sun set behind the skyline.  The city illuminated itself with it's bright lights.  It was like being in a whole new city.  If you have never seen the city change from light to darkness, I highly encourage spotting up on a bench at Buckingham Fountain.


Crossfit Games in Madison, Wisconsin

This year, the Crossfit Games announced that they were coming to Madison, Wisconsin.  Why not head up north to watch the fittest people on earth? Whether in Carson, California or Madison, Wisconsin, the Crossfit Games was something Spencer and I wanted to go to this year.  Not only did we get to spend time with our CFB family, we also found some of our new SouthLoop Crossfit friends in Madison. Although the Games were set up differently than in previous years, it was definitely worth the experience to see all the coliseum events at the Allegiant Energy Center.  Many Crossfit Games athletes and spectators flew into Chicago and then road tripped to Madison.  Tia Toomey hopped around Chicago prior to the Games, Jamie Greene visited SouthLoop Crossfit and 'EZ'  Muhammad drop in at Crossfit Bettendorf after his great performance at the Games.  Can't wait to see who swings by before and after the 2018 Crossfit Games!


Repp's Golf Memorial Outing

My golf clubs saw something beyond the back of my closet this year at the Annual Matt Repp Memorial Golf Outing.  Spencer and I had the best teammates! (And of course took advantage of getting another 'switch-a-roo' pick with the Hawkins)


Denver, Boulder and Breckenridge Colorado with Mike

Chicago is great, but there is little elevation!  So Spencer and I took a long weekend and flew up to the mountains to see Mike!  I cannot believe he has been in Colorado for over three years and we are finally getting out to visit him.  There is so much ‘fun’ in Colorado, I’m not sure how anyone gets any work done.  Thanks Mike for showing us a ‘high’ time!

Day 1

Day 2


Cubs Game

All you need is good company, the Wrigley bleachers and the perfect day for a perfect baseball game!


Charlie's 9th Birthday in the city

Charlie Rose celebrates her last single digit birthday in the Windy City. Next year she will be 10!


We Love Visitors

It’s always fun to be a tourist in the new city.  Thanks to all the summer visitors who helped us discover some of the best breweries, rooftops, restaurants and brunches in the city.  Come visit again soon!