5 Best Restaurants for a Formal Occasion

Where to dine if you’re looking for a romantic evening or a celebratory night.

Valrhona chocolate tart at Blink. Photography by Jared Sych.

Popping the question? Or reliving that moment from many anniversaries ago? Here are a handful of places where the setting is lovely, the food superb and the service refined – perfect for that celebratory evening.

1888 Chophouse

The cozy confines of the Fairmont Banff Springs’ 1888 Chophouse (formerly The Banffshire Club) recall days of an elegant past. Duck confit in a tomato broth followed by venison grilled over maple charcoal and served with buttermilk whipped potatoes is sure to create new memories, especially when paired with wines from the Springs’ extensive cellar.

Banff Springs Hotel, 405 Spray Ave., Banff, 403-762-6860, fairmont.com/banff-springs


Ask for a quiet corner in Blink, a cornerstone of Stephen Avenue dining that’s enveloped in historic sandstone. Owner Leslie Echino will guide you through an evening of such delights as prosciutto-wrapped rabbit with roasted beets and lentils or Parmesan polenta with parsnip crumble. Have a proposal to put forward? Serve it up with the Valrhona chocolate tart.

111 8 Ave. S.W., 403-263-5330, blinkcalgary.com

Il Sogno

Tall red curtains drape the windows of Il Sogno, frequently named among Avenue’s favourite Italian restaurants. Well-spaced tables make for private, personal evenings. The chef’s four-course “Surprise Menu” paired with wines lets you focus on more important matters.

24 4 St. N.E., 403-232-8901, ilsogno.org


Is there a better view than the one sweeping across the valley from Sulphur Mountain at Eden in Banff’s Rimrock Hotel? Gaze for a while, but then choose from two-, three- or four-course options, or try the long, indulgent “Grand Dgustation.” Check out the view again. It’s still there.

Rimrock Hotel, 300 Mountain Ave., Banff, 403-762-1865, banffeden.com

Rush Ocean Prime

As plush and lush as they come, Rush Ocean Prime can slow it down with lobster-and-truffle devilled eggs, lobster pot pie and bone marrow compound butter. But the Rush buttercake with crme Anglaise and fresh berries is perfect for topping with a shiny ring. Who can say no?

207 9 Ave. S.W., 403-271-7874, rushoceanprime.com

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