Eight | Calgary’s Best Restaurants 2023

Located in Calgary’s East Village neighbourhood, Eight offers an extraordinary display of gastronomic genius and culinary expertise.

Newfoundland Fogo Island squid in green curry shiokara sauce with Nupo Farm coriander blossoms at Eight. Photograph by Quin Cheung, DQ Studios.

Who’s behind it?
Chef-owner Darren MacLean, Shokunin Collective.

What’s on the menu?
Multi-course tasting experience showcasing Canadian coast-to-coast producers, with a mandate to create conversations on Canadian food.

Why we love this place
Eight offers an extraordinary display of gastronomic genius and culinary expertise. “With Eight, I am as creative as possible. My intention is to showcase the best of Canadian sustainable producers and the diverse people across Canada, whether they be Indigenous or from away,” says chef-owner Darren MacLean. With three seatings on a typical week and just eight seats at the angled bar overlooking the open kitchen, Eight is in high demand, continually sold out at a fixed $285 per person (not including pairings).

The evening starts with snacks, perhaps chawanmushi, a delicate Japanese steamed-egg custard, and warm gougères with culatello. From there, the journey unfolds like a food fantasy, unexpected and artful: Fogo Island squid, fried then grilled and served with a Cambodian-inspired amok curry made with the squid livers; B.C. sablefish with fresh ginger, spinach grown locally on MacLean’s farm and ankake sauce; iridescent Acadian caviar; sweet P.E.I. lobster; Newfoundland single-line-caught bluefin tuna.

A true chef’s table, the experience includes watching the final stages of plating while engaging in conversation with MacLean on his methods, stories and inspiration. Strangers become friends over the course of the evening.

631 Confluence Way S.E., 403-457-2153, eightcdn.ca, @eight_cdn


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This article appears in the March 2023 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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Alana Willerton

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