Avenue Staff Picks: Banff Restaurants We Love

These are some of the Banff spots that Avenue’s team loves visiting for fondue, cocktails, key lime pie and more.

A few of the dishes available at Bluebird Restaurant & Lobby Bar. Photo by Bluebird Restaurant & Lobby Bar.

Bluebird

There’s been plenty of buzz around this steakhouse since it opened, and after my first visit, it wasn’t hard to see why. Part of the Banff Hospitality Collective, Bluebird serves a tempting array of hearty, wood-fired fare in a moody, sophisticated atmosphere. Appetizers like French onion soup and cheesy potato doughnuts set you up for mains like lobster bucatini, peppercorn steak frites and the restaurant’s signature prime rib. And did you even go to Bluebird if you don’t end your meal with a slice of the creamy key lime pie? The restaurant also has some irresistible specials, including a daily fondue happy hour and a Sunday prime rib dinner deal for only $39.99. I’m already planning my next visit to coincide with the restaurant’s breakfast service, when tempting dishes like prime rib and fried egg toast, souffle pancakes and a croque madame await. —Alana Willerton, Digital Managing Editor

 

Park Distillery Restaurant + Bar

This restaurant is always a must visit whenever I find myself in Banff. The food, self-described as campfire cuisine, is cooked using wood fire, making for some pretty spectacular dishes. The rotisserie chicken is especially good when cooked over a wood-fired spit and covered in campfire drippins, but everything here is delicious. Of course, the cocktails at Park are also the stars, with everything made using the small-batch spirits distilled on site. Probably the purest way to taste this mountain distillery’s spirits — besides just straight up — is the Park Alpine Gin and Tonic, but Park makes all kinds of cocktails using its gin, rye and vodkas. There are also some exquisite barrel-aged negroni, Martinez and Manhattan cocktails. —Chris Landry, Assistant Editor

 

Waldhaus Restaurant

I love the parts of Banff that take you back in time and give you a sense of what it was like to be among the alpinists and adventurers who came to the area at the turn of the 20th century to hike, ski, sip schnapps and eat fondue. The Waldhaus Restaurant at Fairmont Banff Springs is one spot where you feel like you get a side of history with your dining experience. Built in a classic Bavarian cottage style, It’s tucked away from the main hotel (the “Castle”), on a rise overlooking the Bow and Spray rivers, so you have to go on a little walk through the woods to get there. Inside, the room is cozy and warm with a blazing fireplace. The menu is inspired by Swiss-German classics: cheese fondue, schnitzels, flammkuchen (a cheesy starter with pickled forest mushrooms). And yes, there is schnapps to sip. If you’re not up for a full restaurant meal, the Waldhaus pub on the lower level gives you the same vintage vibes in a more casual setting. —Shelley Arnusch, Editor in Chief

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