Two Penny | Calgary’s Best New Restaurants 2019

This new restaurant has crafted a well-rounded dining experience, from the 1920s Shanghai-deco decor to its cheeky takes on classic Chinese dishes.

Tea coffee kuri squash. Photograph by Jared Sych.

FOOD | A yin and yang of Chinese flavours and Western techniques.
VIBE | Approachably trendy.
DECOR | Shanghai-deco with mid-century touches.
DISH | Ginger beef made from slow-cooked short rib.
TIP | The cocktails are great, but don’t miss out on some truly special teas.


Food is important, says Two Penny co-owner Cody Willis, but dining in restaurants is also about the experience — the vibe of the space, the hospitality. “Restaurants are the sum of all their parts,” Willis says. That ethos is on full display at Two Penny, with its 1920s Shanghai-deco decor, thoughtful cocktail and tea programs, and cheeky takes on classic Chinese dishes.

Devotees of sister restaurant Calcutta Cricket Club will find much that is familiar in Two Penny’s Western approach to Eastern flavours. The menu boasts plenty of familiar names like fried rice, potstickers, and ginger beef, but diners shouldn’t expect a traditional take on any of them. The special fried rice has bone marrow mixed into it tableside. The vegetarian potstickers are stuffed with napa cabbage. And that ginger beef? It’s a top-grade cut that’s been slow cooked for 30 hours, then dredged and deep-fried until it’s lightly crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth inside.

That’s because Two Penny isn’t trying to replace your favourite local Chinese, it’s doing something entirely new. “Here’s this dish we all know and love,” Willis explains of the ginger beef, “and we take the essence of it — beef with slightly sweet sauce — and use a modern technique like sous vide.”

Dim sum is handmade in-house, and pairs beautifully with the many wonderful teas on offer. Sample them both during the cold tea happy hour from 2 to 5 p.m. daily, or downstairs in the Tea House bar during live comedy on Thursdays.

1213 1 St. S.W., 403-474-7766,

Back to Calgary’s Best Restaurants 2019

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

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