Where to Eat Before Going to a Calgary Flames Playoff Game

It may seem like your dining options around the Saddledome — located in the middle of Stampede Park — are limited. But there are multiple spots within a 20-minute walk where you can fuel up before a big game, concert or whatever else may bring you to the arena.

Cardinale

 

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Walking time to the Saddledome: 7 minutes

Do as the hockey players do and carb load before the game. At this lively Italian joint by the same team behind the Hayden Block/Comery Block/South Block barbecue empire, you’ll find homemade pasta dishes, from lasagna with braised beef shank and ricotta bechamel to squid ink paccheri with prawns, scallops, jalapeno and hazelnuts. Game nights are busy, so reservations are highly recommended.

Must-try dish: No matter what you order, the baked-fresh-daily focaccia with charred onion butter is the perfect accompaniment (and goes well with the carb loading theme).

401 12 Ave. S.E., 403-264-6046, cardinale.ca

 

Village Ice Cream – Victoria Park

 

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Walking time to the Saddledome: 9 minutes

If you’re saving yourself for a Pocket Dawg at the Dome, why not pre-game with ice cream? This is Village’s original spot (there are now five locations of the beloved scoop shop across the city), and it’s known for its outdoor parklet that attracts families, run clubs and “general merrymaking.” Just like all Village locations, there’s a selection of “Always” flavours (like Melted Chocolate and Guide’s Mint), plus seasonal varieties that change monthly.

Must-try dish: Ditch the cone and go for the Village Sundae: Village Vanilla Bean ice cream, freshly toasted pecans, hot fudge, whipped cream and, of course, a cherry on top.

431 10 Ave. S.E., 403-261-7950, villageicecream.com

 

Embarcadero Wine & Oyster Bar

Walking time to the Saddledome: 10 minutes

Oysters aren’t typically what comes to mind when we think of game-day foods — but, why not? They’re hand-held, come with a selection of toppings and condiments and are incredibly satisfying. Located right on the Red Mile, this converted historic house is home to Calgary’s widest selection of oysters (both east and west coast options), plus a large seafood-centric menu of appetizers and mains.

Must-try dish: Order a half- or full-dozen of the always-changing daily featured oyster for $1.50 per piece, complete with all the accoutrements.

208 17 Ave. S.W., 403-263-0848, oysterbar.ca

 

King Eddy

 

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Walking time to the Saddledome: 10 minutes

The historic venue located next door to the National Music Centre is one of the most happening pre-game spots in the city, thanks to its proximity to the Dome, live musical performances and Hockey Happy Hour (more on that below). The eclectic menu will satisfy every palate, with options ranging from chickpea fritters and cheese boards to buttermilk fried chicken.

Happy hour alert: The King Eddy hosts Hockey Happy Hour when the Flames are home at the Dome. From 4 to 7 p.m., find drink specials and discounted happy hour snacks, including the King Eddy Platter that’s loaded with springs rolls, jerk chicken, sliders and more.

438 9 Ave. S.E., 403-829-6016, kingeddy.ca

 

First Street Market

Walking time to the Saddledome: 15 minutes

A great place for groups, this food hall allows everyone in your cheering squad to choose what they’re craving before the game. Home to nine restaurant vendors, from pizza slingers Actually Pretty Good to experts in Indian street food Saffron Street, you can order what you like, then grab a table with your group by the central bar, which serves a selection of wines, Alberta brews and creative cocktails.

Happy hour alert: Every day from 4 to 6 p.m., glasses of wine and draft beer are $5 each — or get a whole bottle of vino for $25.

1327 1 St. S.W., fsmyyc.com

 

Mighty Halifax Style Donair

 

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Walking time to the Saddledome: 16 minutes

If you don’t have time for a sit-down meal, grab a donair at this takeaway shop in Ramsay, then find a spot by the Elbow River in Enmax Park to enjoy it (you’ll be heading through there on your walk to the arena anyway). For this hand-held meal, spiced beef, tomatoes, onions and sweet garlic sauce are wrapped in a pita, just like you’d find on the streets of Halifax.

Must-try dish: While a donair is the obvious choice, the egg rolls stuffed with donair meat and served with creamy donair sauce for dipping shouldn’t be missed. Luckily, the owners have thought of that and offer an option to combine a small donair, a donair egg roll, a small portion of deep-fried pepperoni and a drink for $20.

1048 8 St. S.E., 587-617-0047, mightyhalifax.com

 

Home and Away

Walking distance to the Saddledome: 16 minutes

For pre-game food, drink and entertainment, head to Home and Away. In addition to plenty of TV screens, this sports bar’s got shuffleboard, Skee-Ball, Pop-A-Shot basketball and more arcade games. Just be sure you don’t get so into a game that you are late to your seats at the Dome.

Happy hour alert: Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., happy hour brings $3 bar snacks, $4 tacos and $4 drinks. On top of that, there’s a different special that kicks off at 3 p.m. every day of the week (like half-price wings on Tuesdays).

1207 1 St. S.W., 403-455-9789, homeandawayyyc.com

 

Deane House

Walking time to the Saddledome: 18 minutes

If you’re looking for a fine dining experience before hitting the crowded concourse at the Dome, book a table at the Deane House. The historic home-turned-restaurant located just east of Fort Calgary, at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers, makes for a beautiful pre-game setting — with dishes to match.

Must-try dish: Fuel up for a night of cheering with an epic dish: the beef wellington for two, served with pomme purée and crispy shallots.

806 9 Ave. S.E., 403-264-0595, deanehouse.com

 

Rose & Crown

Walking time to the Saddledome: 19 minutes

For a classic pre-game pub experience, Rose & Crown is your spot. The menu is filled with wings, nachos, burgers, pizza and other sports bar favourites. But there are lots of other dishes to choose from, too, such as Baja fish tacos, shrimp corn dogs and Indonesian gado gado. And on nights you don’t have tickets to the game, the pub’s 22 TVs make it a great spot to watch.

Happy hour alert: Every day from 3 to 7 p.m., drinks are $5.75. Score!

1503 4 St. S.W., 403-244-7757, roseandcrowncalgary.ca

 

The Palomino Smokehouse

Walking time to the Saddledome: 20 minutes

This is the furthest spot on our list, at 20 minutes door to door, but it’s by design: After feasting on this iconic smokehouse’s meats and sides, you’ll be thankful for the opportunity to get some steps in before taking your seat at the game.

Must-try dish: Get a few of your fellow fans together and go for the platter, heaping with applewood smoked pulled pork, Alberta beef brisket, Spolumbo’s smoked sausage, Kansas City ribs, smoked chicken, Palomino slaw, beans, garlic fries, applewood smoked cheddar grits, bacon-wrapped corn, mash and Kentucky bourbon apples (woah).

109 7 Ave. S.W., 403-532-1911, thepalomino.ca

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