The top 10 from Avenue Calgary's 2014 Best Restaurant Awards, listed in alphabetical order.
When it comes to brunch, the Bridgeland area consistently knocks it out of the park. Its king of the ring this year and impresses from start to finish. Executive chef Drew Masterman uses some of the best local ingredients to make each menu offering here shine. From savoury stuffed French toast to a killer pulled pork hash, this diner has not only won our hearts, but also our stomachs.
Specialty: Huevos rancheros with corn tostadas, refried beans, onions, peppers, black bean cilantro salsa, Sylvan Star peppered gouda, sunny side up eggs, avocado, sour cream and salsa.
809 1 Ave. N.E., 403-261-9998, bluestardiner.ca
From the owners of Muse and Winebar Kensington comes Brasserie Kensington. There are eight brews on tap and more than three-dozen bottled varieties, including trappist ales from Belgium and lagers from Scotland. Bar snacks include duck fat potato chips, salted chicken skins and crispy pigs ears. Snack on poutines with pork hock, fois gras, duck gravy or truffled porcini gravy to melt the cheese curds and bowls of mussels soaking in saffron cream sauce or braised with beer. The Brasserie’s more substantial meals include hanger steaks, burgers and roast chicken dinner. Croque madame sandwiches add French flare to the menu, but the ingredients lean toward local and fresh, including the house-made sea salt ice cream on foie gras and caramel.
Specialty: Grilled duck hearts with scrambled eggs, chanterelles and hollandaise.
100, 1131 Kensington Rd. N.W., 403-457-4148, brasseriekensington.com
When the eggs Benedict comes with a seared duck breast or prosciutto, you know things have been kicked up a notch. And when the coffee pot tours a Phil and Sebastian 15 Kilo brew, you know the owners are taking brunching seriously. Add in lively diner service, a beer and wine license and Coke in bottles, you have an Inglewood gem.
Specialty: Breakfast burger with burger patty, carmelized onions, bacon and a sunny side up egg on brioche.
4, 1420 9 Ave. S.E., 403-234-8885, finedinercalgary.com
This place is as authentic a diner as you are going to find with its red-cushioned stools, checkerboard floor and Formica table booths. You'll find old favourites such as the traditional breakfast (two or three eggs, sausage, bacon or ham and hash browns), omelettes and French toast. For lunch, sample dishes like the Galaxie burger loaded with cheese, bacon mushrooms, onions and banana peppers.
Specialty: Montreal smoked meat hash with garlicky mushrooms, onions, banana peppers and cheese topped with soft-basted eggs and toast.
A step up from standard brunch offerings, you can choose from a selection of unique egg Benedicts like chorizo, carmelized onion and goat cheese, or sliced Angus beef wih sauteed mushrooms. For those who have more of a sweet tooth, try the morning sundae with coconut granola, fruit, organic yogurt and lavender honey. The space fills up quickly, so aim to brunch early or you'll be waiting in a line.
Specialty: Brisket and sausage hash with fried eggs and hollandaise.
1301 10 Ave. S.W., 587-352-7131
Star chef Michael Noble has opened his own place after years of winning awards — Culinary Olympics, Bocuse d’Or, Iron Chef — and opening great restaurants such as Catch. His stylish, 125-seat restaurant serves his “gourmet casual” food in the heart of Montgomery. A huge, wood-fired rotisserie and grill dominates the open kitchen and fires up meats from chicken and salmon to burgers and steaks. This is the food we would make at home if we knew all the right techniques.
Specialty: Notable skillet with potato cake, poached eggs, cave-aged Gruyère, bacon lardons and hollandaise.
4611 Bowness Rd. N.W., 403-288-4372, notabletherestaurant.ca
Expect lineups outside, but you'll find basics like eggs Benedict, buttermilk pancakes and breakfast heuvos de rancho inside. A communal table runs down the centre of the space, and 38 seats at the tables line the geometric-print-wallpapered walls. Menu items you won't find at the nearby breakfast spots include the uova alla Toscana, which draws on chef and owner Mauro Martina's Italian roots for rye bread, sun-dried tomatoes and smoked prosciutto with poached eggs.
Specialty: Soul ’n a bowl with poached eggs, herbed potatoes, Quebec cheese curds, bacon lardons and brown butter hollandaise.
824 Edmonton Tr. N.E., 403-278-3447, eatoeb.com
Sister establishment to Una Pizza just down the street, Ox & Angela is set up to be more of an intimate dining experience. Sitting on the "Ox" (the 50-seat lounge) side, you're offered some tasty small plates, which are great for sharing, but go with "Angela" (the 35-seat restaurant) if you're looking for a multi-course dinner full of Latin American flavours. If Una is where you go on a first date, Ox & Angela just might be perfect for a one-month anniversary. But what's the best part of all? Ox takes reservations.
Specialty: Huevos Benedictine with serrano ham, tomato and blood orange hollandaise.
528 17 Ave. S.W., 403-457-1432, oxandangela.com
Over the years, River Cafe has upheld its reputation as an unfaltering champion of regional Canadian cuisine and locally sourced ingredients. Start things off with the red lentil hummus and canola seed flatbread, or, if you're sharing, the fish and game platter. Main dishes include Diamond Willow organic beef tenderloin and Sunworks Farm organic chicken breast. The award-winning wine list and nearly 3,500-bottle cellar also offers plenty of choices to complement your meal.
Specialty: Driview corned leg of lamb with brioche toast, soft-cooked egg and Mornay chanterelles.
25 Prince's Island Park N.W., 403-261-7670, river-cafe.com
Hotel Arts' Yellow Door Bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and its bright "Alice Through the Looking Glass" decor makes it imaginative and inviting. For those who already have a sweet tooth in the morning, sample the banana chocolate chip pancakes or compressed fruit salad. Soups, flatbreads, pastas and mains are on the menu for lunch and dinner. For something light, try the wild prawn cocktail; for something heavier, go for the wild mushroom flatbread.
Specialty: The breakfast buffet.
119 12 Ave. S.W., 403-206-9585, yellowdoorbistro.ca