Bar Von Der Fels | Calgary’s 20 Best Restaurants 2019

This small wine bar has mastered the art of pairing its imaginative share plates with just the right selection from its carefully curated wine list.

Chicken wings stuffed with liver and cheese, served with liver mousse. Photograph by Jared Sych.

FOOD | Sharing plates designed for wine pairing.
VIBE | Tiny and lively.
DECOR | Simple and minimalist.
DISH | The seasonal menu changes frequently, but there’s always a tartare, and it’s always worth trying.
TIP | Grab a stool at the bar and chat with the bartender about wine. Best seat in the house


Everything about Bar Von Der Fels suggests relaxed confidence — from its minimalist decor and its concise menu to its open-plan kitchen that invites you to watch just how much can be achieved in a tiny space. Malbec is shunned, Comté is crowned the “king of cheeses” and wines-by-the-glass are often selected spur-of-the-moment. These guys know about matching particular wines with their particular food, and if you let them — and you should — they’ll guide you through the unique, complementary and often surprising traits of each. It’s an exercise in trust, and take our word for it, that trust isn’t misplaced.

Chef Douglas King, formerly of Kissa Tanto in Vancouver (via a stint as chef de cuisine at Pigeonhole) puts his experience blending Asian and Italian flavours to good use at BVDF, churning out small but imaginative plates designed for sharing that are best described as “new Canadian.” Ingredients are seasonal and local, so the menu changes frequently, as does the glass-pour selection. The full wine list, meanwhile, is carefully curated by sommelier and co-owner Thomas Dahlgren, and has an impressive selection of those harder-to-find varietals you might be craving, like dry German rieslings, white Burgundies and refreshing gamays.

“The Calgary wine market is pretty amazing,” says co-owner Will Trow, which was part of what convinced him the city was ready for a smaller wine bar where guests get to experience and try a wide range of wine styles to pair with great food. Judging from the lineups every night at the door, he was right.

1005A 1 St. S.W., 587-349-2656,

Back to Calgary’s Best Restaurants 2019

This article appears in the March 2019 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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