Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and the fifth largest in Canada, making it a great place for food! Considering its size, there is no surprise that a large variety of restaurants and cuisines will have found their way to good old Calgary. With such a wide range of grub to choose from, why not try a few that you might not have heard of? Here’s our top five list of restaurants that you have never tried in Calgary, Alberta!
1. Fassil Ethiopian Restaurant
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The first thing you might be thinking is ‘Ethiopian food? In Calgary? Really?’, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. The most iconic Ethiopian dish usually consists of a vegetable or meat dish in the form of a thick stew, which is called 'wat,’ served on top of injera, a large sourdough flatbread that’s made from fermented teff flour. They also have a variety of other dishes in their repertoire that often consists of meat and spices. Typically, these dishes are meant to be eaten by using the injera bread to pick up bites of the entrees and side dishes. It’s definitely a unique experience both visually and in taste.
Enter Fassil Ethiopian Restaurant, the best spot in Calgary for your fix of Ethiopian cuisine. This family-run Ethiopian restaurant has been open since 2006 and makes all of their dishes fresh-to-order. The restaurant features a lot of different meat and vegetable dishes to go with your injera bread, and also combination platters that are great for sharing within a group. Within these platters, you can find an assortment of chicken, pork, beef, lamb and fish, all seasoned with vibrant spices. You can also try Egyptian beer in the process while you work your way through dinner. Finally, finish it all off with an espresso.
If you’re searching for something different that you wouldn’t try on a normal day, this is a great choice for a date or a group dinner. They do take some time to get the food out as it is made fresh, so make sure you aren’t in a rush when you visit this establishment. Who wants to rush with food anyways? It’s best to take your time and savor the experience. Also, who doesn’t like to eat with their hands?
Fassil Ethiopian Restaurant
Address: 3608 17 Ave SE, Calgary, AB
Website: Fassil Ethiopian Restaurant
2. Ten Foot Henry
If you’re a fan of all-day restaurants that serve everything from great brunches to amazing dinners, you need to check out Ten Foot Henry. This restaurant is very vegetable-oriented and features fun, family style dining. Named after a famed 1930s Calgary comic strip character, the Ten Foot Henry name has been moved around for the past 36 years, from an iconic night gallery to an underground nightclub in the early 1980s. Now the name Ten Foot Henry resides on 1st Street as an attractive restaurant that fills all of your Henry cravings.
With a menu that is heavily anchored on the use of vegetables, the restaurant is developing quite the following for restaurant-goers. The bold choices that the restaurant uses in all of their contemporary dishes are great, especially since the restaurant has a “shared” concept. This means that you get to try a little bit of everything that you order, making it a great spot for brunch dates, group meals and more. We definitely suggest you get the Spaghetti Pomodoro!
It’s recommended that you make a reservation before going there, as it can get pretty busy. It’s also slightly on the loud side of things, so if you were planning on a quiet date or meal, this might not be your first choice. If you are looking for a great meal in a warm and welcoming environment, look no further!
Ten Foot Henry
Address: 1209 1st Street SW, Calgary, AB
Website: Ten Foot Henry
3. Safari Grill
If you want a taste of East African cuisine without dishing out money for airfare and a hotel, Safari Grill is where you need to be. They’ve been in business for five years across Calgary and flaunt some of the most tantalizing East African dishes known to local Calgarians. The entire restaurant is based off an East African theme, with some of the décor actually imported from various parts of East Africa. The service is great as well, with the waiters offering great suggestions from the menu offerings and the owner’s attentive personality to your party’s comfort. If you’re lucky, he’ll even explain the dishes and how to eat them!
The restaurant boasts excellent hospitality and amazing dishes that will have you feeling like you’re on a wild safari trip. Taste different flavors and combinations ranging from Masala Mogo and Samosas to Afrique Mishkaki (BBQ chicken cubes) and Nyama Ya Ng'ombe Mishkaki (BBQ beef marinated in Indo-African spices). You can also find South African wines and other unique beverages and foods to further your experience at the Safari Grill.
This spot is great for families and couples to go to. There is a nice range of choices for food and the atmosphere is very relaxed. Just don’t be surprised if you end up wanting to visit the Safari Grill again after your first try!
Address: #100, 255 28th Street SE, Calgary, AB
Website: Safari Grill
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4. Tamarind Vietnamese Grill & Noodle House
If you’re a vegan looking for some variety in your life, you’re in luck. Tamarind Vietnamese Grill & Noodle House is an incredibly tasty vegetarian Vietnamese establishment that serves up great dishes. It’s more than just your average pho house. You can find all sorts of Vietnamese food here, but the kicker is that they don’t come with meat!
Now meat lovers, don’t be too put-off by this fact. Even though they’re a vegetarian restaurant, it still offers some great flavors and meat substitutes (tofu and such). While it won’t taste like the real thing, it’s good enough that you won’t be starving yourself if you head there! The great thing about their food is that their vegan theme doesn’t take away from the food. Pho broth is usually flavorful because of the meat used, but Tamarind’s broth doesn’t lose any of that flavor, even without the use of any meat.
Another excellent aspect of this restaurant is that the family that owns this place is very well-versed at taking care of their customers. If you’re looking for a quick bite or a very local, family-owned restaurant for your Vietnamese fix, Tamarind Vietnamese Grill & Noodle House is a step in the right direction.
Tamarind Vietnamese Grill & Noodle House
Address: 106 - 1111 6th Ave SW, Calgary, AB
5. The Himalayan
Our last recommended restaurant for you to try is The Himalayan. This Nepalese restaurant comes with an array of original Nepalese recipes and delicacies. The restaurant has a great, soothing ambiance to it. Combined with their excellent choice of tranquil, soothing music, the dining experience here leaves you feeling satisfied both spiritually and emotionally. Their dishes might not be the most “authentic” Nepalese you can find outside of Nepal, but it’s close enough that it’ll surprise your taste buds in the process. Items of interest include their Momos, which is a freshly prepared, handmade appetizer that has meat and spices in it. You can also find their grill options that include all sorts of meat prepared in all sorts of seasoning.
You definitely need to visit here with a reservation as it can get packed during the dinner hours. However, we fully recommend this as a great family dining experience or even for a date. Just remember to fully embrace the experience in the restaurant and to try some things out of your comfort zone!
Address: 3218 17 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB
Website: The Himalayan
Experience something different
Since Calgary is such a populated place, there are bound to be restaurants that you’ve never tried there. Take a step outside of your comfort zone and be a little adventurous! Try cuisines that you have never experienced before and have fun with it! Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s bad.
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