Do you have a small staff and want to treat them to a nice holiday celebration, something above and beyond booking a couple tables at a rowdy pub or bar? If your employees are food lovers through-and-through (who isn’t these days), then they’ll probably appreciate a tasting menu a lot more than just a few pints and a casual bite.
For something a little out of the norm, try this cozy little Japan-Italian fusion restaurant in Mission for an innovative five-course meal. Though you’ll be in the hands of the kitchen, cross your fingers that the signature lobster mentaiko spaghetti tossed with spicy scallop roe lands on your table. It’s a dynamic example of fusion.
2206 4 St. S.W., 403-454-7668, carinoriserva.ca
The room’s focal-point open kitchen makes this restaurant inside of the Kensington Riverside Inn a fun place to go since you can watch from mere feet away as the plates for your tasting menu are prepared with precision by chef Michael Nop and his team. The intimate dining room also makes it easy for conversation and if anyone feels like continuing the party after dinner, Winebar is just around the corner.
1126 Memorial Dr. N.W., 403-228-4442, kensingtonriversideinn.com, @chefstableyyc
Q Haute Cuisine
Smoke, orbs and whimsical plating are all things to expect when walking in the doors of this avant-garde restaurant close to the Bow River. It has no problem adjusting tasting menus for people with dietary limitations – just make a point of mentioning it beforehand.
100 La Caille Pl. S.W., 403-262-5554, qhautecuisine.com, @qhaute
Though the garden has long since been covered with a blanket of white, Jamie Harling still serves up beautiful plates of food with a regional focus. Sitting in the heritage house on a snowy night just adds to the ambience of the whole multi-course experience.
1240 8 Ave. S.E., 403-531-2767, rougecalgary.com, @rougecal
One of the city’s most well-known places for a tasting menu, opting for an eight-course dinner by chef Jason Barton-Browne will be nothing short of memorable. Pastry chef Leah Gamache makes some truly beautiful desserts (for Teatro and the group’s other properties as well), so also expect a spectacular sweet finish.
200 8 Ave. S.E., 403-290-1012, teatro.ca, @teatrocalgary
Titled “improv,” the three- or five-course dinner you can choose from here at this funky downtown restaurant takes a lot of the stiffness out of what can be associated with tasting menus. At only $75 for the five-course option and an additional $36 for wine and drink pairings, it’s definitely the best deal of the bunch here.
608 1 St SW, 403-266-7062, workshopcalgary.com