Forest Lawn’s International Avenue (17th Avenue S.E.) is arguably one of Calgary’s most ethnically diverse areas when it comes to eating out. It’s also one of the most authentic foodie destinations where most restaurants are small, family-run spots that make you feel like you’re eating in your auntie’s kitchen. No matter where you go, the vibe is relaxed and the food is both memorable and easy on the wallet.
The number of dining options – from Ethiopian to Uzbek to Filipino – is so great that we couldn’t list them all, but here are six places to get started on a global culinary journey, and hopefully even try something new.
Cuisine: Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian
The menu at this tiny restaurant includes fried and regular momo (dumplings), warm veggie and noodle soups, shabaley (beef patties) and chow mein. There are also some Indian dishes such as chicken curry and aloo tarka (spicy potatoes).
4908 17 Ave. S.E., 403-454-2000, little-tibet.com
After more than 30 years in business, Mimo is still Calgary’s only Portuguese restaurant, probably because it would be too hard to beat. The cozy spot has an old-world charm and cocktails for less than $10. The paella is made-to-order (it takes around 30 minutes to cook), but it’s well worth the wait.
4909 17 Ave. S.E., 403-235-3377
Pho Dau Bo
On a cold day or if you’re recovering after a long night, go straight to this spot in the Little Saigon Towne Square strip mall for its famous spicy beef pho satay noodle soup. Gluten-free spring rolls are an added bonus.
4909 17 Ave. S.E., 403-272-5160, phodaubovietnamese.com
Ramen Tekkotsu Ya
This new ramen restaurant just opened in January 2018. It does away with the fancy add-ons found at other ramen spots and instead serves up hot chicken and pork ramen with classic ingredients: egg, spinach, negi and toasted seaweed.
1704 61 St. S.E., 403-569-0785, tekkotsucalgary.weebly.com
Cuisine: South Indian and Sri Lankan
Dosa is a crepe made with chickpea flower and it’s one of the most popular South Indian foods. Supreme Dosa chef Manivannan Ponnuvelu is a dosa master. There are more than a dozen vegetarian and non-vegetarian options on the menu here. Try the paneer or the butter chicken. There’s also a vegetarian buffet on Saturdays and brunch buffet on Sundays, and both offer unlimited dosa.
1919 31 St. S.E., 403-475-5672, freshsifoods.com
Family-run Begim is Alberta’s first restaurant specializing in food from Uzbekistan. Try the osh (rice with lamb and spices), which is the country’s national dish. Begim’s location in an old house with pretty patterned wallpaper and delicate teapots making it perfect for some seriously Instagram-worthy food pics, too.
4413 17 Ave. S.E., 587-353-4413, begim.ca