The Bow Valley offers more than rad mountain biking trails and backcountry boarding. Once you’ve got your fill of adventure, shopping and exploring, check out the always-growing restaurant scene. Oh, and if you’ve got time, knock down a few bowling pins while you’re at it, OK? Cool.
1. FILL YOUR BELLY AND YOUR SOUL
Tasty veggie-based bites and live music at Canmore’s Communitea Café are sure to be the cherry on top of the perfect day in the Rockies. Communitea is a bit of a Canmore institution, serving up wholesome and hearty grub in a bright, open space. The room itself is gorgeous, with clean-looking blue and white walls, yellow accents and an array of multicoloured tins of tea that will make you want to try each and every one.
2. FEAST IN STYLE (OR YOUR SKI GEAR)
With its elegant atmosphere, impressive wine selection, and carefully curated menu, Crazyweed is a place you can head to if you’re feeling like getting all gussied up for an evening out. Yet it’s also a place you can head to post-ski, hike, or bike and not feel out of place in your outdoor garb. That’s the beauty of Canmore; the whole town has that cool mountain vibe without a hint of pretention.
Crazyweed itself has been around for years, proving that the folks of Canmore know a good thing when they see it (or, you know, taste it). Their dishes are inventive yet approachable, and the portion sizes are generous (read: perfect for sharing). They have a happy hour that earns them bragging rights (Chickpea Noodles! Charcuterie! House-smoked Camembert, oh my!), and there’s a clear focus on the use of local ingredients, when possible.
Looking for the most Insta-worthy dishes on the menu? Try the Moroccan Lamb Sirloin, Thai Grilled Chicken, and the Salt and Pepper Calamari. Don’t worry, they’re as tasty as they are beautiful.
3. DELICIOUSLY PUSHING CULINARY LIMITS
Fuchsia burger buns: check. Fusion food: check. Paper menus and pencil crayons: check. OK, that last one wasn’t so much a food-related item, but it’s still fun! At Canmore’s BLAKE, located in a former automotive garage that has been beautifully revamped, you can find all three of those things, and it’s easy to see why the restaurant has quickly become a Canmore favourite.
Best known for its internationally inspired, contemporary dishes, BLAKE’s food is inventive, but still totally approachable, and it’s packed with flavor. The Ramen Cacio e Pepe, Spicy Chicken Burger, and Char Sui Pork Belly Bao are just a few of BLAKE’s most popular dishes, but really, the entire menu is exciting. As an added bonus, nearly everything is made in-house (right down to the ketchup and pickles), and many of the condiments are available for purchase on your way out.
4. TAKE A STEP BACK IN TIME
At Where the Buffalo Roam, you’re guaranteed to feel like you’ve gone back a few decades (or 10), thanks to the old-timey saloon vibe (is that a thing?) created by rustic-looking wallpaper and barnboard décor, mismatched antique dishes, and vintage overhead lamps along the bar that were originally from an old saloon in Carstairs. The cool collection of vinyl, killer cocktails, and a petite but perfect menu round out the experience – one that you’ll never want to leave.
Of course, the fare is as good as the drinks, so if you come hungry, be sure to nosh on one of their drool-worthy dishes. Go as simple as Roasted Almonds or Marinated Olives, or step it up with a Duck Club Sandwich, Tenderloin Tartare, or a good old Alberta steak. They also have a portion of their menu for kids (or the kid in you), which is awesome because everyone just wants a Grilled Cheese or Chicken Tenders every now and then, right? *nods head*
5. BOWLING, PIZZA, AND BEER
What else could you possibly want in life? Nothing. The answer is nothing. But just in case you’re feeling greedy and want to really push the limits, there’s High Rollers in Banff.
This, friends, is a place where you can nibble on the likes of BBQ Wings, Nachos, Spicy Chicken Pizza, and Mac n’ Cheese Bites all while you bowl a few rounds, play some shuffleboard, or try to be the very best pool player you can be.
The atmosphere is cool (chair-lift benches! Bowling pins as tap handles!), and the beer is local. They also serve up a mean fishbowl, if you’re so inclined.