Farm to fork culinary trends are sweeping the world and chefs in Banff and Lake Louise are embracing this movement by sourcing local ingredients from Alberta farms and ranches. This leads to the question: what is uniquely Albertan? Meat; whether it’s AAA Alberta Beef or game meats of any variety, we do meat well. So if you are game to try, here are a few spots in Banff and Lake Louise that feature fine cuts on the menu.
With windows on three sides of the space and an open concept copper kitchen on the other, The Bison’s layout alone is bound to wow. However, a true foodie is always looking for more than just esthetics and The Bison delivers with regionally inspired entrees that will impress any palate. The Carmen Creek Bison Rib-eye served with a smoked butter and Lyonnaise potatoes is bound to please and bison, a particularly tender meat, leaner than beef and very similar in taste, is an easy introduction to game meats.
The Bison is located right downtown at 211 Bear Street and entrees run $19-$47.
If eclectic and eccentric is more your style, The Grizzly House is perfect for those who enjoy a sense of history and are curious to try any oddity from rattlesnake to shark or even alligator. Initially open in 1967 as a disco featuring go-go dancers, describing the décor as quirky is almost an understatement. Each table has a working telephone allowing you to call other tables or even the bathroom – a little remnant from days gone by! Specializing in fondue, you can start with cheese, move to oil (or a hot rock if grilled meats are more appealing) and finish with chocolate fondue for dessert.
The Grizzly House is located right on the main drag at 207 Banff Ave and fondues cost roughly $20-$50 per person depending on how exotic your selection.
A visit to Banff isn’t complete without a trip to The Fairmont Banff Springs – after all it is the only castle in town – and why not indulge in a meal at the 1888 Chop House while there? At this signature restaurant, executive Chef JW Foster serves prime cuts of Alberta beef, sustainably sourced wild game and Ocean Wise seafood all with a modern take on a traditional chop house. The Rack of Lamb, the Porterhouse Alberta AAA Beef and the East Coast Lobster are all worth the indulgence and you are sure to find the perfect wine to accompany your choice on their extensive wine list.
The 1888 Chop House is located in The Fairmont Banff Springs and main courses start at $40 with sides charged separately.
IN LAKE LOUISE
It is not surprising that Executive Chef Hans Sauter is European-trained, the entire dining room at The Post Hotel feels almost eerily European; you could easily be walking into a Swiss lodge. Entrees have a distinctly Canadian flare however as game meats are featured predominantly on the menu. Our favorites: as an appetizer the Carpaccio of Bison Tenderloin served with a wasabi Remoulade will allow you to sample the mild flavor of bison and still leave space for a decadent entrée. The Chateaubriand of Alberta Range-Fed Angus Beef for two is always a hit; it is inevitably cooked to perfection – the only challenge is to find someone to share with who loves their meat cooked as you do.
For those a little more adventurous, the whole roasted Northwest Territories caribou striploin is a marvel of game meat. Incredibly lean and high in protein, caribou is so tender its consistency can be likened to pâté but with a milder flavor than venison, it will melt in your mouth like a pad of butter. Pair your meal with a selection from The Post’s impressive wine list – an encyclopedia-sized volume with more than 2300 selections of the finest wines and an inventory of over 25,500 bottles. One of only four Canadian restaurants to receive the Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award”, The Post’s wine cellar is arguably as impressive as its food.
The Post Hotel dining room is located at 200 Pipestone Road near the village of Lake Louise. Appetizers start at $15 and entrees run between $42-$88.
The Chateau Lake Louise: The Walliser Stube
Arched picture windows surrounded by a floor-to-ceiling wine library of beautiful dark woods creates a warm atmosphere at The Walliser Stube, a signature restaurant at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. While the menu features a variety of German, Swiss and Alpine dishes, a meal here is incomplete without one of the traditional Swiss fondues. Besides paying homage to the history of Swiss mountain guides so closely tied to that of The Chateau, fondues are served family style and allow each member of your party to prepare their own cut of beef tenderloin or bison rib-eye as they choose be it rare or well done. Open the meal with a black truffle infused cheese fondue and you are bound to please even the vegetarians in your party.
Located on the main floor of The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, appetizers at The Walliser Stube start at $15 and entrees at $40.
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