2017 has been a big year all across the board in Calgary. We hosted yet another insane, world-famous, rowdy Stampede, celebrated our countries 150th birthday, re-elected the infamous Mayor Nenshi, and hosted tons of amazing concerts over the past 12 months. Of course, plenty of other, exciting things have gone down in YYC over the past 12 months, but it would take far too long to name them all.
One thing that often seems to get overlooked in a big city like Calgs is all the exciting happenings in the hospitality industry. It's pretty safe to say that Calgary is home to a lot of hidden gems, and not so secret hot spots that prevented us from feeling the all too real pain of hanger this year. We also have these great spots to thank for keeping our Instagram feeds and Snapchat stories looking consistently delicious and mouthwatering.
If you ask us, we think it's time that the amazing growth and talent in the YYC restaurant industry earns some love, and we're here to give it. From the opening of the city's first Cat Café, to the growing popularity of our favourite local bars and clubs, it's safe to say that there's plenty to celebrate as this year comes to a close.
Maybe some of these spots are your personal favourites, or maybe it's time you finally check them out and find a new favourite spot. We've covered everything you could ever want, from brunch to booze; all you need to do is plan your next outing to grab a bite.
For The Most Important Bars/Clubs, Click "NEXT".
Blink Restaurant & Bar
Where: 111 8 Ave SW // Stephen Ave
Why you should go: All the class of fine dining, serving your favourite foods. Who would've thought you could enjoy fish n' chips in an elegant setting? Blink has won several awards in Calgary throughout 2017, and they're very well deserved.
Pure Contemporary Vietnamese Bar + Kitchen
Where: 815 8 Ave SW // Stephen Ave
Why you should go: Voted Best Asian Street-Food Inspired Dining for 2017, Pure strives to provide diners with a unique and delicious experience that they won't soon forget.
Trolley 5 Brewpub
Where: 728 17 Ave SW // Downtown
Type: Bar Food
Why you should go: Trolley 5 is widely recognized as one of Calgary's best brew pubs. Located conveniently on 17th Ave, you can enjoy some drinks and delicious eats on the patio on a hot summer day, or inside on a cold winter day.
Last Best Brewing & Distilling
Where: 607 11 Ave SW // Beltline
Type: Bar Food
Why you should go: Last Best offers diners a unique experience; dining alongside the brewery where your drinks are crafted. Their menu offers a unique and tasty selection of bar foods for you to munch on while you sip on some drank.
Where: 119 12 Ave SW // Victoria Park
Type: Asian, Vietnamese, Fusion
Why you should go: If you're after a classy drinking experience, look no further than Raw Bar. This Calgary hot-spot has been recognized as one of the cities best cocktail-forward dining spots, and their incredible, unique drink menu speaks to that.
Where: 1302 1 Street SW // Victoria Park
Type: Finger Food
Why you should go: Proof is another unique YYC drinking experiences, offering one of the best and most extensive cocktail menus you'll find in the city. The decor is also super interesting and unique, giving off lowkey, speakeasy vibes.
Where: 1131 Kensington Road NW // Kensington
Type: Bar Food
Why you should go: A bar in the middle of an alley? What a concept. Container Bar serves up super affordable food and drinks, and is an even cooler spot to relax. Soak up some sun outdoors in the summer, or cozy up with a warm blanket by the heaters in the winter.
Where: 739 10 Ave SW // Beltline
Type: American, Pizza, Bar Food
Why you should go: Bridgette Bar was listed as one of the restaurants to watch out for in 2017, meaning that they're already great, but it's likely that bigger and better things are coming in 2018. They've got an adorable, unique interior, and are always serving up tasty bar food and amazing drinks.
For The Most Important Cafes, Click "NEXT".
Where: 25 Prince's Island Park // Downtown
Why you should go: Elegant and delicious are two words frequently used to describe this spot. Nestled into Prince's Island Park is this beautiful, cozy, magical cafe. If you don't mind spending a bit of money on your cafe visit, we recommend you visit here.
Hearts Choices Thai Vegan Cafe
Where: 9678 Macleod Trail SW // Haysboro
Type: Thai, Vegetarian
Why you should go: Finding good vegan food can be a challenge, but know that you'll always be in good hands at Hearts. Not only is the food amazing, the service and staff are always incredible, making this spot one of YYC's best niche dining cafes.
Where: 940 2 Ave NW // Kensington
Why you should go: The overall ambience and charm of this place are not the only great things. They also offer an incredible and delicious selection of pastries and drinks for patrons to enjoy while they relax.
Where: 110, 30 Country Hills Landing NW // Country Hills
Type: Asian, Chinese
Why you should go: Cafe 100% was voted one of the cities' best Chinese and Dim Sum spots for 2017. It's got a super fun and inviting atmosphere, and is a great little spot to grab hot pot with friends.
Higher Ground Cafe
Where: 1126 Kensington Road NW // Kensington
Type: Coffee and Tea, Sandwich
Why you should go: Higher Ground has you covered for everything, from your late night study sessions to your gluten-free diet. This spot has been a YYC favourite for years, and it's charm and allure just continues to grow.
Regal Cat Cafe
Where: 303 10 Street NW // Kensington
Why you should go: 2017 was a big year in the cafe industry, with the opening of our cities' very first Cat Cafe. Patrons of this new YYC hot spot can pay a small fee to spend time snuggling with adorable kitties, and munching on some tasty treats.
Where: 5403 Crowchild Trail NW // Varsity
Type: Coffee and Tea, Desserts
Why you should go: Euphoria Cafe is a spot frequented by many students, as it's relatively close to UofC, is a great study spot, and offers a variety of delicious and unique treats and drinks. You'll never run out of new things to try here.
Where: 632 17 Ave SW // Downtown
Type: Coffee and Tea
Why you should go: Philosafy on 17th is a definite YYC gem. The cafe has an old, vintage book store feel, but still serves up delicious, modern menu items for you to enjoy while you study, catch up with old friends, or simply people watch.
For The Most Important Breakfast/Brunch Spots, Click "NEXT".
Yellow Door Bistro
Where: 119 12 Ave SW // Victoria Park
Type: Breakfast, French, Fusion
Why you should go: The Yellow Door is known across Calgs for their incredible brunch menu, and of course, their brunch buffet. You'll feel like you're dining in France when you step into their beautifully decorated restaurant, and be even more impressed when choosing one of their carefully designed options.
OEB Breakfast Co.
Where: 824 Edmonton Trail NE // Renfrew
Type: American, Diner
Why you should go: With two locations in YYC, you can enjoy OEB no matter what side of the city you're on. They have a super innovative menu (the New York Cheesecake stuffed French Toast has us drooling)", and the interior is very bright and welcoming.
Where: 1301 10 Ave SW // Beltline
Type: Breakfast, Sandwich
Why you should go: Monki is another popular breakfast spot in Downtown YYC, serving up delicious brunch concoctions at very reasonable prices. The restaurant is smaller, but that simply adds to the cozy and welcoming atmosphere.
Blue Star Diner
Where: 809 1 Ave NE // Bridgeland
Type: Breakfast, Burger
Why you should go: Every Calgarian has heard of Blue Star Diner, simply because it's equally as charming as it is delicious. They were ranked on a list of Calgary's best brunch spots for 2017, and continuously serve up classic diner breakfast foods.
Where: 340 13th Ave SW // Beltline
Type: Modern European
Why you should go: If you're looking to treat yourself to a fancy brunch, you'll want to head Downtown to Provision. This elegant spot serves up some beautiful dishes, that taste even better than they look.
Where: 243 12 Ave SW // Victoria Park
Why you should go: Good, authentic diner food can be hard to come by, but The Beltliner never disappoints. With everything from Chicken & Waffles to Eggs Benedict, all your breakfast/brunch needs will be satisfied.
Where: 804 Edmonton Trail NE // Renfrew
Why you should go: Diner Deluxe has a great reputation around YYC. Not only is the service always great, the staff super friendly, and the diner incredibly Insta-worthy, the food itself is literally to die for. It's your new favourite brunch date and hangover cure, all in one.
The Bro'kin Yolk
Where: 130, 12580 Symons Valley Road NW // Evanston
Type: Breakfast, Sandwich
Why you should go: This spot always ranks well among Calgary breakfast restaurants, probably because it's ridiculously tasty, and ridiculously cute. Everything about this spot belongs on your Insta, if it isn't there already.
For The Most Important Cheap Eat Spots, Click "NEXT".
Eats of Asia
Where: 1235 26 Ave SE // Inglewood & Ramsay
Why you should go: Eats of Asia is known as one of Calgary's best Asian food spots, with their large menu selection and super affordable prices. If you're in the mood to try something new and unique, at a great price, you'll want to check them out.
Cluck 'n' Cleaver
Where: 1511 14 Street SW // Downtown
Why you should go: They call Calgary the Texas of Canada, and Cluck 'n' Cleaver is the perfect place to grab some Southern style chicken in YYC. It's just as affordable as it is delicious, which is why it's recognized as one of Calgary's best fast and casual food spots for 2017.
Butcher and the Baker
Where: 250 6 Ave SW // Downtown
Why you should go: You can never go wrong with a classic sandwich. This cozy little shop in Downtown Calgary offers diners affordable prices with memorable and delicious tastes that will have you coming back time and time again.
Where: 736 17 Ave SW // Downtown
Why you should go: Clive Burger is a cute and trendy spot, located on 17th Ave. The food is not only delicious, but also affordable, which played a big part in this YYC hot spot being recognized as another top millennial dining spot.
Where: 827 1 Ave NE // Bridgeland
Type: Japanese, Ramen
Why you should go: Everyone knows that millennials basically live off of ramen, so it's no surprise that Shiki Menya is one of our cities most popular spots. It's got a super laid back, modern vibe with beautiful food that will look amazing on your Instagram.
Where: 123 2 Ave SE // Chinatown
Type: Chinese, Dim Sum
Why you should go: If you find yourself hungry while in Chinatown, take advantage of this opportunity to grab some tasty, super cheap authentic Chinese food. This spot is often busy because it has diners coming back for more, time and time again.
Where: 202 16 Ave NE // Central 16 Ave N
Why you should go: Namskar has received a ton of acknowledgment as one of Calgary's best Indian spots, and continues to wow it's patrons with a delicious and unique menu that has something to offer everyone.
El Charrito Taqueria
Where: 808 Edmonton Trail NE // Renfrew
Why you should go: Because you're probably so over Taco Bell. El Charrito provides a super unique, affordable, and delicious experience for patrons. What more could you want in a taco?
For The Most Important Restaurants, Click "NEXT".
Where: 220 42 Ave SE // Alyth-Bonnybrook-Manchester
Type: European Fusion
Why you should go: Alloy was featured on Avenue's infamous "10 Best Restaurants in Calgary" list for 2017, so you know they're definitely worth a visit. Not only is the interior beautifully decorated, the menu is incredibly elegant and well thought out. If fine dining is what you're after, look no further.
Where: 308 17 Ave SW // Downtown
Type: Seafood, Tapas, Fusion
Why you should go: Model Milk is another big award winner this year. Not only does the building itself hold a lot of historical significance, but the food and service you receive will hold an important place in your memory for years to come.
Native Tongues Taqueria
Where: 235 12 Ave SW // Victoria Park
Why you should go: As far as Mexican food goes in Calgary, Native Tongues is definitely the cream of the crop. It's interior is beautifully decorated, which is perfect for the 'gram, and their menu selection is to die for.
Where: 1240 8 Ave SE // Inglewood & Ramsay
Type: European, French
Why you should go: Rogue was a popular 2017 wedding destination in YYC, and we understand why. The vibe this spot gives off is simply magical; it's minimalistic and modern decor and incredible menu will have you coming back time and time again.
Where: 200 8 Ave SW // Stephen Ave
Why you should go: The Guild was recognized as one of Calgary's best Charcuterie spots, and we see why. If you find yourself on Stephen Ave, and are in the mood for a good, hearty meal, you won't regret grabbing a bite to eat here.
Where: 3574 Garrison Gate SW // Altadore
Why you should go: Anew Table was recognized as one of the best concept restaurants in Calgary this year. Their amazing French cuisine and elegant but casual decor brings diners back time and time again.
Where: 550 11 Ave SW // Beltline
Why you should go: If an authentic French dining experience is what you're after, Avec Bistro should be on your radar. The decor is beautiful but super comfortable and casual, and the menu is full of fan favourites.
Where: 2016 4 Street SW // Downtown
Why you should go: Asian food is a popular choice among Calgarians, and there's definitely no shortage of restaurants to choose from. It's hard to find one better than Shokunin, though. In 2017, it was recognized as one of the cities' best dining spots for millennials.