Grizzly House Fondue Restaurant
207 Banff Avenue, Banff AB
Being an omnivore pays off once again! The Grizzly House – this place lives up to the hype. And it’s worth the price. Sure, it may look like a teepee cafe from the street, and it resembles a dank basement when you first walk in, but it’s a really cozy old lodge style restaurant with KICK ASS fondue!
First: The drinks. The beer selection is a good one. They’ve got something for everyone; from Moosehead to Guinness to Checkvar. If wines are more your deal – don’t worry. They have plenty of top BC wines (Golden Mile, Burrowing Owl, Laughing Stock), and their Ontario wine list includes Le Clos Jordanne and some yummy ice wines.
One of the first things I noticed at the Grizzly House was the tantalizing smell wafting through the restaurant and into my nostrils. Mouth-watering meat sizzling away in garlic butter. Ahhhh fondue, the Swiss are geniuses! At the Grizzly House the fondue option are pretty well covered with oil, hot rock, cheese, and chocolate.
I’ve been to the Grizzly before and I can make most fondues at home – but I cannot concoct a 600F rock – so I opted for the hot rock fondue…well, actually I wanted to try every kind of fondue so I ordered the complete fondue dinner (4 courses, 4 different fondues for $53). Whoo!
The first course soup/salad was fine. Nothing too jazzy in the salad department – the house dressing added a bit of zing to the dull green salad. The ‘soup of the moment’ was a rich and clear chicken tortellini. The next course was the cheese/oil fondue. The cheese fondue was cubes of bread are dipped into a mixture of gruyere and emmental with kirsch and garlic. This combo is amazingly good! The oil fondue was also great. Veggies are cooked in a bubbling pot of oil, garlic mash and other spices. The flavour soaked up by the broc, cauliflower, carrots, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes is sublime.
For the main course we had the ‘Hunter’ plate which consists of wild boar, bison, and elk. We also grabbed a bit of lobster and beef to try. Plates come out with 5 different dipping sauces: onion-bacon, spicy tomato, horseradish-dijon, teriyaki, and honey-garlic. All of the meats are excellent cuts and only need 3 minutes to cook on the sizzling hot rock.
The boar is amazing – and was a favorite at our table. The bison was delightful, as always. Bison is like a tender, lean, flavorful version of beef. Once I started eating bison burgers – I began to secretly despise beef burgers. Anyway…the elk was also fabulous! Seriously, when do you get to eat purple meat?! And for future reference – elk meat pairs wonderfully well with hollandaise (or béarnaise) sauce. The Atlantic lobster is sweet and tender, and the beef was…well…beef. An excellent cut, though, it was sort of like eating a tiny steak.
Alllllllright, at this point we are all super full and have agreed that this was well worth $50 each – but there is still a dessert fondue coming. The chocolate fondue comes with a selection of fruit for dipping and…I’ll just admit it: I’m a chocolate snob. At the Grizzly, in keeping with the Swiss fondue theme, they use Toblerone for the chocolate and it works really well.
If you’re not really into the super exotic meats they have here (shark, alligator, rattlesnake, ostrich, frog) you can stick with chicken, beef, veggies, or get a steak ($30-50). The fondues vary in price ($18 and up) depending on which meat you want – so choose wisely (the rattlesnake tops out at $80 for an 8oz portion).
If you can afford it – go. If you can afford it it’s amazing here – but not everyone has $60 to drop on dinner. Maybe go for their lunch instead. You could get a tasty burger (buffalo or steak) $14 or a hot rock lunch ($17-24).
The servers …as in all of Banff are very experienced and excellent at their jobs without being snooty about it. But unless your face is blown off by the awesome service don’t tip extra! They’ve already added 15% to your bill.
Open: 11.30am – 12am daily
Reservations: Make one! Even a few hours notice is better than nothing!
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