Who’s behind it?
Owners Paul Rogalski and Olivier Reynaud, chef Dean Fast, manager Rey Dalman.
What’s on the menu?
Canadian spirit and bounty transformed through French technique.
Why we love this place
With its setting within the historic A.E. Cross House, it would be very easy for a decades-old restaurant like Rouge to start to feel stuffy. But with its bountiful backyard garden, commitment to seasonal (and often foraged) ingredients, and the optimistic outlook of its affable owners, the Inglewood mainstay has managed to keep things fresh — all while eschewing any potential for snootiness. A young couple scraping together pennies for an anniversary dinner will always feel just as comfortable and well-attended at Rouge as well-heeled executives celebrating a big deal.
Rouge seems to have a fire in its belly these days, which owner Paul Rogalski credits to his staff in both the front and back of house, quite an achievement given the industry-wide staffing issues that have persisted since the pandemic. “They’re enthusiastic, they’re engaged, they are passionate,” he says. “They want to know more about wine, they want to know more about where the food comes from, they want to know more about the story of the restaurant.”
That enthusiasm becomes contagious, prompting guests to become just as engaged with their meals. Combine that with chef Dean Fast’s command of flavour, picturesque plating and flawless technique, as showcased in dishes like his red- and golden-beet salad, seared wild boar tenderloin with apple and potato puree, or his sous vide Arctic char, and you’ve got a taste of a very special place.
1240 8 Ave S.E., 403-531-2767, rougecalgary.com, @rougerestaurant