The River Cafe

Delightful seasonal Canadian cuisine….or so they say. 

Add. Prince’s Isand Park, Calgary (center)

Tel. 403.261.7670

Website

Freakin’ fantastic! If you don’t mind spending all your hard earned cash. And I mean all. A full dinner meal out  can run pretty high – fortunately they’re open for brunch and lunch. 
One of the things I love about the River Cafe is that it’s basically your chance to eat at a fancy restaurant in Banff – without having to go all the way to Banff. 
The service is excellent, the food is outstanding with an emphasis on local and game foods, and the atmosphere is second to none. Nestled amonst the tall trees of  Prince’s Island Park the River Cafe’s location can’t be beat. It’s decore of woodsy outdoor with a twist of old money is delightfully relaxing. 
The river cafe boasts seasonal Canadian. But is it really? As the waitress went on and on about how they were as local as you can get – telling charming stories about neighbourhood ladies bringing in baskets of rasperries – my dinning companion and I exchanged sidelong glances of unconvinced disbelief over the fresh squeezed orange juice, lemon slices, and steaming cups of coffee.

 
So you can’t grow coffee in Alberta and the Okangan doesn’t produce oranges. So what? The food is still delightfully good and I love the selection of game meats available at the River Cafe. 
The meal prices at dinner range from a very reasonable mid $20 level (for the veggie dish) to the high $40s for the beef tenderloin. Though pricey I think it’s worth it for a special occasion. If you’re feelin’ a little broke but still in need of the royal treatment – swing in for brunch on the weekend and get a maple lemonade or wildberry iced tea and the basket of pasteries ($9) for the best apple muffin and fruit scones you’ve ever tasted. Or spend a mere $14 on one of their delicious egg or sausage dishes. 
The menu does change frequently to try to keep up the whole seasonal thing. But right now some of the amazing dinner options are the:
Organic chicken with fiddleheads and morels ($38)
Grilled Portobello with watercress and goatcheese ($24)
Bison striploin with beech mushrooms and barley risotto ($46)
Roast sablefish with lentils, cauliflower and dungeness ($35)

They are also open for lunch with mouth-watering options:
gouda perogies ($15), tuna tatake ($18), or Grilled artic Char ($24) – plus there are plenty of appetizer options, salads (mmmm – the beet salad is great!), and fun plates to share. 

I went in for an iced tea and the irresistable pastery basket. But because of my insatiable love of game meats I also ended up getting the Fish & Game Platter. The platter is enough for two to share – it features Native Candied Trout, Duck Rillettes, Walleye Roll Mop, Salt Cured Bison, Pork & Game Terrine, Grilled Apple & Turnip Relish, Pickled Egg, and House Made Crackers ($21) 
It was worth every penny. I have never had such amazing trout. The terrine was amazing, and the duck was what pate should be like — not that gross stuff you get a cheap dinner parties that tastes like cat food.

I L.O.V.E. the River Cafe super lots. Each time I go there I come out looking like the cat that got the canary. I wish I could go everyday.

Parking: No, the restaurant is on an island park

Open: for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

Reservations: Make one by phone or online www.river-cafe.com

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Perfect pairing:

Beirut – Gulag Orkestar

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