Hotel restaurants can sometimes be an afterthought, but One18 Empire joins a legion of Calgary establishments that appeal to visitors and locals, alike. The sleek but cozy room and professional yet friendly service make it a popular spot for the after-work crowd. Of course, One18 Empire’s selection of more than 100 bourbons, ryes, Scotches and whiskies doesn’t hurt, either.
Though the menu’s focus is mostly on small plates, these are not your typical bar snacks. The signature One18 Burger is completely made from scratch, from the hand-ground Kobe beef patty and pretzel bun baked on-site, all the way down to the condiments. The restaurant also takes care to source local and sustainable ingredients, like Brant Lake grass-fed rib-eye and Ocean Wise-certified B.C. Weathervane scallops. All of the dishes tend to be quite hearty, standing up to the strong liquors and cocktails.
For teetotallers, One18 Empire is also open for breakfast, which includes a buffet option (it is in a hotel, after all), or stop by for the prix-fixe two- or three-course lunch.
Restaurants in the Best New Restaurants category opened by the end of summer 2015. It gave each restaurant time to find its groove and our judges time to eat there before the deadlines for our March issue. Other restaurants have opened since and they are on our radar for next year.