Nothing like a long, lingering tasting menu to take your mind off miniscule matters so you can concentrate on your partner across the table.
The only rule at downtownfood is that there are no rules. Give chef/owner Darren MacLean a budget or a number of courses and then turn his talent loose. He’s bound to come up with a list of luscious, Asian-influenced dishes, some of which may come from produce grown on the roof.
628 8 Ave. S.W., 587-353-3474, downtownfood.ca
Michele Aurigemma changes his tasting menu with the season, bringing cauliflower bonbons, sous vide duck breast with saffron gnocchi and Arctic char with Priorat pearls to the table. A mix of classics tweaked with modernist techniques, Aurigemma’s dishes can even be eaten at a special chef’s table in the kitchen.
100 La Caille Pl. S.W., 403-262-5554, qhautecuisine.com
Executive chef Jamie Harling, working with chef/co-owner Paul Rogalski,creates tasting menus from local, seasonal ingredients, many from Rouge’s own garden. Rouge’s strength is in its quality combined with its eclectic approach, serving the likes of elk carpaccio, sunchoke veloute, cider-compressed apple salad with walnuts, Tiger Blue cheese and a buttermilk vinaigrette and smoked sturgeon with braised red cabbage.
1240 8 Ave. S.E., 403-531-2767, rougecalgary.com