I often get asked about my favourite spots to grab a glass of vino around Calgary. While I have many, I thought I would throw a few of my favourite wine and food haunts in Calgary for your viewing pleasure.
Vin Room – One of the hottest spots in town at the moment. Just voted best wine list in the city by Avenue Magazine. Huge by-the-glass selection (close to 70 wines). Food is decent. They offer small sample pours and flights as well. Friday and Saturday get crazy so reservations suggested. On 4th street and 24th Ave SW in mission. www.vinroom.com
Thai Sa On – One of the best hidden gems in the city both for great Thai food and amazing wine. If Sam the owner is in get him to recommend one of his great Riesling’s from his cellar. Oddly enough he also loves big reds from Bordeaux, Australia and Spain. They aren’t necessarily classic Thai food pairings but what the hell, it’s his restaurant so he will do what he wants! On any given night half of the guests may well be in the wine business, which is as sure a sign as you can hope for! Plus, they claim this is Jackie Chan’s favourite restaurant…celebrity fever! www.thai-sa-on.com 351 – 10th Avenue SW.
Cilantro – A staple of the Calgary food scene for over 20 years. Great flatbreads and house made pasta’s, a good wine list, one of the city’s best patios and good fun! Brad Royale is the Sommelier on Saturday nights, which is a great thing if you want to get some of the best wine tips in the city (and see some of the tightest pants you will ever see on a man…seriously!). One of my favourite spots for sure. 17th Ave and 4th Street SW. www.crmr.com/cilantro
Taste – A very funky little spot and a welcome addition to Calgary’s food scene. Located on 1st street SW, this area is going through an amazing rejuvenation from crystal meth to crystal stemware! Funky little wine list changes monthly and they have some great small plates. Brendan is a great host and the atmosphere is awesome. Definitely worth a look. www.taste-restaurant.com
Una – This fairly new pizza spot on 17th avenue shows that the “red mile” is about more than piss-drunk hockey fans and girls gone wild! A very nice room, great crowd, fun wine list, good service staff. Ask for Jackie Cooke as your server if she is available and tell her I told you come down. One of Calgary’s most knowledgeable Sommeliers! www.unapizzeria.com
Divino Wine & Cheese Bar – Another long-established spot on Stephan Avenue. Very fun wine list, solid food, a little higher end but a great spot. Sit at the bar and talk to Bryan Childs. He’s shy, but a good friend of mine and exceptionally knowledgeable once you get him talking! Bryan is also a Single Malt wizard and always has an interesting dram or two behind the bar. Brad Royale is the Sommelier Thursday and Friday nights and always makes for an entertaining evening. www.crmr.com/divino
This list could definitely be a whole lot longer, but alas it is past my bed time. So get off your butt and try something new…you’ll thank me later.