In nature the Spring season is synonymous with renewal…new life, creations and possibilities. This theme of renewal and new life seems to also carry through to the food/wine/beer scene here in Calgary.
With a host of new dining destinations either freshly opened or soon to be opened there are no shortage of exciting possibilities for foodies here in cowtown. The question is…which of these restaurants will live up to the hype and shine, and which will fade into obscurity? Only time will tell, but without further ado here is a shortlist of what’s new, fresh and hot on the YYC scene.
Cassis Bistro www.thecassisbistro.ca
When will Calgary finally get an authentic, honest and simple French bistro? This question is often raised by many a local food enthusiast and at least on the surface it appears that Cassis Bistro may be an answer to these prayers. I’ve only met proprietor Gilles Brassart on one very brief occasion, but even from that short encounter it’s clear this dude is the real deal…as French as they come!
Working in co-operation with Calgary food icon Dominique Moussou, Cassis promises to deliver “Authentic dishes inspired from the South of France created with local, seasonal produce”. A glance at the menu suggests they may have nailed the concept, with such hearty offerings as Provencal Mussel, Nicoise Salad, Duck Magret and Ratatouille.
Both my fingers are crossed that this intimate bistro delivers the goods as it is less than 1 block from my house. Along with the new J Webb Wine Merchants location these are the kind of neighbours I am happy to have!
Rising from the ashes of the former Wildwood restaurant/pub space on 4th street SW comes WURST. Part restaurant, part beer hall WURST is at first glance an interesting addition to the bustling beltline district of Mission. It also opens up seemingly endless opportunities for terrible puns ( ie “This sausage is the wurst” or “That is the wurst dress I’ve ever seen”). Perhaps I just need to grow up.
The restaurant, which takes up the main floor of the building has a warm, welcome feeling and outstanding design. The menu provides a diverse mixture of fare, ranging from traditional German dishes such as schnitzel, bratwurst and black sausage to standard fare such as bison short ribs, mussels and oysters. Great atmosphere and an intriguing menu guarantee that yours truly will be making the voyage to dine here soon.
I made a late night trip to the WURST beer hall this past Friday with some colleagues and was massively disappointed. Located in the basement of the building, this sprawling open space has certainly managed to capture the spirit of a classic German beer hall. Arriving shortly after midnight we were surprised to find the rows of tables in the hall still packed with a host of spirited revelers. As we approached the bar in search of a cold, sudsy stein we were told that out of 19 options listed on tap only 1 beer was still available…1 beer. Now I understand the pressures of opening a new concept must be great and that there are sure to be some opening weekend bumps…but 1 beer? And it’s piss warm? Unacceptable. Is this a high school cafeteria or a beer hall? Get it together.
Disappointments aside if they can pull up their pants and get their sh$t together WURST has potential to be an excellent addition the growing food scene in Calgary.
Ox and Angela www.oxandangela.com
Last but not least is the exciting new concept from the proprietors of the perennially popular UNA Pizza + Wine. Owners Jayme MacFayden, Kelly Black and Steve Smee have taken this city by storm (as evident by their recent sweep of FFWD magazines annual “Best of Calgary” awards) and the busting environment of UNA has become the most talked about new addition to the Calgary food scene in the past year. The trio looks to continue that wave of success with their new Latin American inspired venture, Ox and Angela.
Occupying prime 17th avenue real estate previously housing historic hot spot Bungalow, Ox and Angela is sure to entice the same waves of eclectic, fashionable and beautiful Calgarians through its doors. Stay tuned to their website for more details and look for a mid-summer opening.
This is just a short list of some of the new and exciting food/wine/beer spots popping up around our thriving city. I for one am looking forward to a summer chock-full of good food, wine and company.