31 Best Things to Eat and Drink in Calgary 2022

From savoury sausages to perfect pastries, lip-smacking beverages and jiggly jellies, bloggers and BFFs (best foodie friends) Carmen Cheng and Chanry Thach scoured the city for the 31 best things to eat and drink right now — one for each day of the month of May.

Avenue is highlighting one of the 31 best things to eat and drink every day in May on Instagram. Follow along to learn more about these great products.

 

Curators of this year’s list Carmen Cheng (left) and Chanry Thach (right). Photograph by Jared Sych. Food styling by Chris Landry.

 

Buddy’s Fooman Cinnamon Cookie

Photograph by Steve Collins.

From Buddy’s Bakery Buttery, crumbly, spiced with cinnamon and filled with walnuts and sugar, the Fooman cookie originates from northern Iran. Buddy’s Bakery is one of the few places in Western Canada making this traditional treat. It’s heavenly with a hot beverage; it’s also great crumbled over ice cream — so great that Village Ice Cream created a limited-edition Buddy’s Fooman flavour in 2021. —C.C.

61, 3131 27 St. N.E, 403-452-5264, buddysbakery.ca

 

Non-alcoholic Botanical Cocktails by Wild Folk

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Last November, Dalia Kohen, former owner of The Coup, took her passion for sustainability and gardening and sprouted Wild Folk: canned non-alcoholic botanical cocktails. Enjoy the negroni or vermouth spritz without the woes of a morning hangover! Both are bursting with vivacious notes of bitter rinds and hints of smoke. —C.T.

Sunnyside Natural Market, 330 10 St. N.W., and other retailers, drinkwildfolk.com

 

Five Brothers Cheese from Luc’s European Meats, Cheese, & Eats

Photograph by Steve Collins.

One bite of Five Brothers cheese and I am hit with layers of flavour. From Woodstock, Ont., this cheese is aged on cedar planks for a minimum of eight months and is sweet and creamy with a sharp, nutty finish. Try pairing it with Luc’s house-made coffee-bacon jam. —C.C.

Calgary Farmers’ Market, 510 77 Ave. S.E., 403-909-0374; and Crossroads Market, 1235 26 Ave. S.E., lucseuropeanmeats.ca

 

Ghees by Vresh Foods

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Ghee is a shelf-stable cooking oil made by clarifying and caramelizing butter. Calgary-based Vresh Foods launched its O.G. Ghee made with Alberta butter in April 2021. The high smoke point makes it ideal for searing meat or pan-frying. I also love using the URB’N Garlic Ghee to make cheesy garlic bread. You can find Vresh ghee in retail locations around the city. —C.C.

vreshfoods.com

 

Tumbler, $12, from The Cookbook Co. Cooks; blue La Creuset dish, $85 (set of four), mint-green bowl, $7.95, fish platter, $29, purple napkin, $33 (set of two), from Britannia Kitchen & Home; green flower plate, $18, from nanao kimono. Food styling by Chris Landry. Photograph by Jared Sych.

 

Banh Mi Charcuterie from My Tho BBQ & Fresh Meats

Photograph by Steve Collins.

The Vietnamese-style barbecue, head cheese and hams are the stars of the show when it comes to My Tho’s banh mi charcuterie platters. My Tho make all the cold cuts themselves — not surprising considering the storefront contains an in-house butcher. In business since 1989, this operation was doing nose-to-tail way before the cool kids. —C.T.

11, 575 28 St. S,E., 403-272-7335, @mythobbqyyc

 

Tourtière Pocket Pies from Ma Pies

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Raise your hand if you’re thankful Corey Ma left his engineering career to make pies. Me. I’m raising my hand. Ma’s pocket pies are buttery and flakey with a perfect pastry-to-filling ratio. I bake them from frozen at home in my toaster oven and I’m floored by how delicate, golden and light the pastry is. Work your way through the menu, finishing with something sweet like the black-sesame. —C.T.

Granary Road Farmers’ Market, 226066 112 St. W., Foothills County, mapies.ca

 

Jane’s Tennessee Sweet Tea from Jane Bond BBQ

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Chef Jenny Burthwright might be known for her lip smackin’ barbecue, crawdads dripping in butter sauce and coconut cornbread (all seriously addictive). But have you had her Tennessee Sweet Tea? Grab a six-pack of these on your way to the mountains for a post-trail treat. It’s balanced, refreshing and great with a splash of bourbon. —C.T.

321, 723 46 Ave. S.E., 403-277-7064, janebondbbq.com

 

BIY Pastries from Butter Block

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Thanks to Karen Kong and her team, you can fill your home with the smell of freshly baked goods without pulling out the rolling pin. My go-to is the pandan coconut croissant, followed by the double-baked chocolate hazelnut. You don’t have to stop there: Butter Block has an entire line of bake-it-yourself pastries! —C.T.

111, 908 17 Ave. S.W., butterblockyyc.com

 

Daniel’s Dill Dip

Photograph by Steve Collins.

This dip started as a family recipe that makers Daniel Kapeta and Amy Kopp shared with friends. Their Medicine Hat-based dip business has since spread around Alberta. I add Daniel’s Dill Dip to my grazing plates, lash it on grilled meats and burgers and even use it as a salad dressing. Vegan, nut-free and dairy-free, this dip is just the right amount of tangy and has a nice zip of freshness. —C.T.

Multiple retailers, including Safeway and Sobey’s, danielsdilldip.ca

 

The Ukey Sausages by Tubby Dog

Photograph by Steve Collins.

The Ukey, by iconic Calgary hot dog maker Tubby Dog, is crafted from owner Jon Truch’s grandfather’s recipe and was on the menu when Tubby Dog launched more than 16 years ago. Though the original Tubby Dog location on 17th Avenue S.W. has since shuttered, in 2020, Tubby made these sausages available in retail stores across Alberta and British Columbia, so you can now enjoy them wherever you set up your grill. —C.C.

tubbydog.com

 

Everything Bagel Donut from Holy Cow

Photograph by Steve Collins.

One of my favourite doughnuts in the city is this savoury one from Holy Cow. The shop’s signature sourdough doughnut is stuffed with whipped green-onion cream cheese, brushed with butter then dipped into the house-made “everything bagel” seasoning. Beloved by customers, this doughnut is brought back every weekend alongside six other monthly rotating flavours. You can also pre-order doughnuts from Holy Cow with a minimum 48 hours’ notice. —C.C.

938 2 Ave. N.W., 403-719-1092, holycowgelato.com

 

Sweet Potato Mousse Cake from Wow Bakery

Photograph by Steve Collins.

I have South Korea to thank for two of my obsessions: BTS and sweet-potato cake. The thought of a sweet-potato cake might raise a few eyebrows, but I assure you, it’s an absolute delight, especially the way Wow Bakery does it. There’s no smoke and mirrors with this cake, rather, simplicity is king — just mashed Japanese sweet potatoes and honey sandwiched between extremely soft mousse cake. It’s creamy and light, with a hint of sweetness. —C.T.

Multiple Calgary locations, wowbakery.co

 

Instant Pho Cups (Phở ăn Liền) from Pho Dau Bo

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Pho Dau Bo is well known in the city for its fabulous pho served in signature green bowls, loaded with noodles, beef, herbs and a flavourful broth that has been cooked for 16 hours. Originally created as a grab-and-go option for customers during the pandemic, the Instant Pho Cup is a 32-oz. serving of ready-made piping-hot pho that is intended to be guzzled within 15 minutes of being made. Slurping in your parked car is highly encouraged. —C.C.

110, 4909 17 Ave. S.E., 403-272-5160, phodaubovietnamese.com

 

Speckled bowl, $15, small black bowl, $7.95, small white plate, $15, and blue spoon-rest dish, $16, all from Britannia Kitchen & Home; tumbler, $9.95, and green napkin, $35, from The Cookbook Co. Cooks; wooden serving tray, $31, beige and black plates, $25 each, large white plate, $20, and ramen bowl, $25, all from nanao kimono. Photograph by Jared Sych. Food Styling by Chris Landry.

 

Aioli Green Sauce from Latin Food Specialties Market & Kitchen

Photograph by Steve Collins.

This Venezuelan creamy garlic and cilantro sauce is made from a family recipe that has been passed down through generations. When Latin Food Specialties Market & Kitchen first opened three years ago, its Latino snacks were served with a side of this sauce. The sauce was so popular with customers that owners Alejandro Rodriguez and Andreina Chavez started selling it in jars. Enjoy it with arepas, quesadillas and grilled meats. —C.C.

12445 Lake Fraser Dr. S.E.; and 6103 Centre St. S.; 403-475-5020, latinfoodspecialties.com

 

Arabic Style Samosas from Reem’s Kitchen

Photograph by Steve Collins.

No two samosa recipes are the same, and you can see and taste the difference with Reem’s samosas. I stumbled upon Reem Albrasi’s booth at a farmers’ market last year. Her charming, timid smile is what initially drew me to her tiny table piled high with baked samosas, focaccia, fresh naan and spinach rolls, but the samosas were what brought me back. These beauties are filled with potatoes, green peas, onions, cilantro, curry and a touch of chili. Did I mention they are vegan, too? —C.T.

@reemkitchenyyc

 

Celebration Jellies by Leah Van Loon

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Stylist Leah Van Loon’s avant-garde take on this nostalgic dessert is like haute couture Jello. Van Loon’s moulded jellies are amazing to look at, with the perfect jiggle factor. They’re also delicious. Eight-year-old me would have been over-the-moon-ecstatic to receive a dramatic goth-black jiggly jelly made with cherry juice, blackberries and finished with gold leaf. You can order Celebration Jellies by direct-messaging Van Loon on Instagram with minimum one day’s notice. —C.C.

@leahvanloon

 

Yakitori from Eats of Asia

Photograph by Steve Collins.

The ultimate snack-on-the-run is Eats of Asia’s yakitori, championed by owner Jay del Corro’s chef-in-training son Josh. His yakitori menu includes chicken hearts, aortas and oysters, the round nuggets on the back of the chicken thigh, which are the juiciest part of the bird and should not be missed. Enjoy a few sticks on their own or in a bento. —C.T.

Crossroads Market, 1235 26 Ave S.E., 403-801-9453, @eatsofasia

 

Serrano Lime Hot Sauce by Knockout Heat Co.

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Knockout Heat Co. hot sauces were born of a spicy condiment obsession shared by Empire Provisions founders Karen Kho and Dave Sturies and Lil’ Empire kitchen manager Kevin Nelson. Tangy and herbaceous with a slow heat that builds over the tongue, Knockout’s Serrano Lime Hot Sauce has become a staple in my kitchen, used liberally on breakfast sandwiches, fried eggs and tacos. —C.C.

Empire Provisions, 8409 Elbow Dr. S.W., knockoutheat.com

 

Red Miso Bacon by Respect the Technique

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Cured in red miso and salt with a hint of konbu, a Japanese kelp, this bacon is packed with umami. The miso also helps with caramelization when it’s cooked, creating a slight sweetness. The popularity of this bacon has soared since its launch two years ago at a pop-up. A signature item in the Respect the Technique product line, it’s available at several Calgary retailers. —C.C.

respectthetechnique.com

 

Root Beer from Annex Ale Project

Photograph by Steve Collins.

We are diehard fans of the entire Annex soda line in our house, but the O.G. root beer is the one I’m constantly reaching for, possibly because I’m married to a self-proclaimed root beer connoisseur. The connoisseur and I both love it with a few scoops of ice cream. —C.T.

4323 1 St. S.E., 403-475-4412, annexsodas.com

 

Vegan Cinnamon Buns from Canela

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Canela owner Veronica Amaya used to make these vegan cinnamon rolls in her daughter’s kitchen before opening up her storefront on Inglewood’s 9th Avenue S.E. Big, fluffy, soft and absolutely delicious, these buns have their own fandom amongst vegans and non-vegans alike. Don’t stop at just the cinnamon roll: dive head first into the oreo roll, caramel-latte and maple-pecan rolls, too! —C.T.

1319 9 Ave. S.E., 403-226-4199, canelayyc.ca

 

Onigiri from True World Foods

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Onigiri is a Japanese rice ball stuffed with assorted ingredients and wrapped in toasted seaweed, making it a conveniently portable lunch or snack. The tuna-mayo and salmon varieties are the two most popular onigiri at True World Foods. I was wowed by the care that goes into the making of this grab-and-go item. To ensure the seaweed stays crispy, it is separated from the rice by a plastic wrapper: simply follow the instructions on the label to unwrap your onigiri, and enjoy. —C.C.

1826 25 Ave. N.E., 403-235-4024, trueworldfoods.com

 

Small white flower bowls, $8 each, green flower plate, $18, blue rectangular plate, $20, and beige plate, $25, all from nanao kimono; small white plate, $15, from Britannia Kitchen & Home; tumbler, $12, from The Cookbook Co. Cooks. Food Styling by Chris Landry. Photograph by Jared Sych.

 

Take + Bake Frozen Pizzas from Una Pizza + Wine

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Popular pizza chain Una started retailing bake-at-home pizzas during the pandemic, but what separates this local product from your standard frozen fare is the focus on quality. All toppings are prepared in-house, including the pepperoni, bacon and sausage made with Alberta pork from Bear and Flower Farm. The Take + Bake lineup includes Una favourites margherita, pepperoni, 4-maggi, quattro carne and Tiki. —C.C.

Four Calgary locations, unapizzeria.com

 

Empanadas from Good Fillin’

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Locally made frozen empanadas from Good Fillin’ are easy to fry up, making it feasible for Calgarians to enjoy hot, crispy empanadas at home. These gluten-free turnovers come in an assortment of tasty flavours, including more traditional meat varieties, dessert empanadas and even plant-based Thai or barbacoa. —C.C.

438 53 Ave. S.E., goodfillin.ca

 

Red Lentil Hummus from River Café

Photograph by Steve Collins.

I have fond summer memories of sitting on River Café’s patio, savouring a glass of wine and snacking on the red lentil hummus. Made with cold-pressed canola oil and Okanagan Valley sumac for a pop of brightness, this hummus is garnished with canola seed and served with basil pistou and sourdough flatbread. As the weather gets warmer, you can order the hummus as part of River Café’s picnic menu to enjoy in the surrounding park, or wherever you lay down your picnic blanket. —C.C.

Prince’s Island Park S.W., 403-261-7670, river-cafe.com

 

Kol Börek from Anatolia Turkish Food

Photograph by Steve Collins.

You can’t walk by Anatolia without stopping to take in the gorgeous pastries, breads, heating dishes filled with tender lamb shanks and all the other Turkish foods. I’ll usually end up taking home one or two börek. While the gözleme börek is similar to flat bread, the kol börek are flaky pastries of handmade phyllo filled with cheese, minced meat or vegetables. The spinach and feta is popular, but my favourite is the cheese börek, which, when heated up just slightly in the oven, gets a little melty and gooey, while the phyllo remains light and crispy. —C.C.

Crossroads Market, 1235 26 Ave. S.E.; and Calgary Farmers’ Market, 510 77 Ave. S.E., anatoliaturkishfood.ca

 

Pesto Dressing from Cherry Pit

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Cherry Pit is known for its fresh produce, butchery and home delivery services. It also makes great bottled salad dressings. When I tried the pesto dressing, I was blown away by the rich flavour from the basil and pine nuts. Not only do I use it to make tasty salads, but it’s also incredible in chicken salad sandwiches or drizzled over roasted sweet potatoes. —C.C.

Calgary Farmers’ Market, 510 77 Ave. S.E., 403-770-9689, betterfresh.ca

 

Babka from Sweet Cake and Bake Shop

Photograph by Steve Collins.

Never had babka before? This half-cake-half-bread masterpiece is sweet, soft and buttery. Baker Shannon Brooks’ chocolate babka is made of rich brioche dough with a smooth and super-chocolatey filling. The folds of chocolate mixed with brioche ensures every bite has the most delectable ratio of bread-to-chocolate. Grab a loaf at Gruman’s Deli locations or order directly through Sweet Cake and Bake Shop. —C.T.

@sweetcakeandbakeshop

 

Mango Lassi from Saffron Street

Photograph by Steve Collins.

On each visit to Saffron Street, I make a point of picking up a bottle of house-made mango lassi. This lassi contains just four ingredients, so the sweetness from the Alphonso mangoes and cool creaminess from the yogurt truly shine. It is an especially nice pairing with some of the spicier Saffron Street dishes. —C.C.

First Street Market, 1327 1 St. S.W., @saffronstreetyyc

 

Grandpa’s Olive Oil from Bridgeland Market

Photograph by Steve Collins.

This olive oil comes from owner Yousef Traya’s family olive grove in Lebanon. The Traya family has tended this olive grove for three generations and still produces their olive oil using the same methods that their great-grandparents employed. For the past seven years, the Traya family has bottled their oil and shipped it to Bridgeland Market here in Calgary. —C.C.

1104 1 Ave. N.E., 403-269-2381, bridgelandmarket.com

 

Chiang Mai Thai Sausages from GR8 Thai Sauce

Photograph by Steve Collins.

At my place, we keep these sausages in the freezer for whenever we have a craving for Thai food. When it comes to layering the different herbs, spices and traditional flavours Northern Thai cuisine is known for, creator TJ nails it. This delicious spiced-pork sausage is loaded with lemongrass, garlic, cilantro, shallot, green onion, kaffir lime leaves and shrimp paste. I love serving up these links with green papaya salad and a bowl of sticky rice. —C.T.

gr8thaisauce.ca

 

Footed cake plate, $70, small white plate, $15, and mint-green bowl, $7.95, all from Britannia Kitchen & Home; tumbler, $9.95, and napkin, $35, from The Cookbook Co. Cooks; beige plate, $25, large white plate, $20, and wooden serving tray, $30,
from nanao kimono. Food styling by Chris Landry. Photograph by Jared Sych.

 

[Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the Aioli Green Sauce producer. The correct name is Latin Food Specialties Market & Kitchen.

Correction: An earlier version of this story included incorrect information about the menu and address for My Tho BBQ & Fresh Meats. My Tho offers Vietnamese-style barbecue items, not Hong Kong-style as previously stated, and the correct street address is 11, 575 28 St. S.E.]

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This article appears in the May 2022 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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