Calgary takes few things as seriously as its reputation for western hospitality, prime prairie-raised steaks and a discerning taste for craft beers. A fun time to go is during the annual Calgary Stampede in July, billed as the World’s Greatest Rodeo, for the outdoor flapjack breakfasts and chuckwagon races.
Named the 5th most livable city in the world for its active and cosmopolitan lifestyle, Calgary is “more than cowboys and oil,” says Cynthia J. Douwes, CMP/CMM, event servicing manager for Meetings & Conventions Calgary. “It’s about the twists on Alberta steak and beer that no one else can duplicate.” The two items are the focus of the city’s trendiest restaurants.
For example, Rouge is housed in the historic 1891 Cross House, surrounded by six blocks of gardens five minutes from downtown. Chef Paul Rogalski, who serves a mean modern Steak Spring Roll, sources ingredients from homegrown producers, complemented by a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence wine cellar.
At Charcut Roast House, famed for its urban rustic cuisine, chefs Connie DeSousa and John Jackson reinvent steak and potatoes. Their steak with duck fat poutine is a French-Canadian dish of french fries, brown gravy and fresh cheese curds. And at Ox & Angela, Spanish tapas specialties include a local rib eye enhanced by Andalusian-style sauces.
Two new beer houses pride themselves on their group hospitality. Craft Beer Market offers hundreds of international beers served around Calgary’s largest oval bar. Over at Wurst, the Bavarian themed Beer Garden and Beer Hall, innovative beer concoctions reign supreme. Try the Strudel—a fun combo of Blackthorn Apple Cider and Goldschläger, or The Nikki, a duo of Schofferhofer Grapefruit Wheat Bier and Peach Schnapps.