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The Real Banff / Published: Tue, 08/11/2020 - 16:03

Eat Your Way Through the Mountains – Top Banff and Lake Louise Restaurants for Foodies

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When you visit a destination as glorious as Banff and Lake Louise, you want to soak up the experience with every sense. But how does that translate to your taste buds? 

The land of Banff National Park is protected for your enjoyment, so you won’t see farms or vineyards amid the rugged spires of the mountains. We gratefully enjoy the bounty of our farming neighbours in Alberta, British Columbia and beyond. 

We do have one (soon to be two!) top-notch craft breweries, the world’s only national park distillery, and a community of restaurants that is proud to champion local and domestic suppliers.  

Each of the eateries below has embraced local ingredients with a unique perspective. Sample their specialties to discover a taste of place in Banff and Lake Louise.  

Farm to table 

Nourish Bistro is a vegetarian restaurant that dares meat eaters to leave unsatisfied. A farm-to-table focus means you’ll enjoy local, seasonal ingredients throughout the menu, from the unbelievably creamy wild mushroom ravioli to the seasonal market salad – a daily surprise. 

It’s all in the name at Farm & Fire, where you can choose from a menu designed around fresh ingredients from local Canadian farmers. Signature dishes include the woodfired flatbread pizza and mouth-watering, rotisserie chicken, but don’t skip the Scotch eggs. They’re lovingly wrapped in pork from Alberta’s Bear & the Flower farm and fried to perfection.  

Locals love brunching at Juniper Bistro for the fresh, locally-inspired menu and the killer views and vibes on the inviting patio. Nosh on locally-made farmhouse sausages and brown butter hash and scoop up the last morsels with fresh bread from the on-site bakery.  

Alberta beef and game 

Celebrate Alberta’s cowboy heritage by biting in to a juicy steak.  

You can learn about the local legend behind Chuck’s Steakhouse while savouring succulent wagyu from nearby Brant Lake Farm, or revel in Banff heritage at the 1888 Chophouse over a filet mignon fresh from Alberta’s Benchmark Farm.  

Crave Mountain Grill invites you to enjoy a special menu of Albertan prime rib every Friday and Saturday, dished up with buttermilk mash and spectacular views of the mountains.  

The Bison on Bear Street is dedicated to creating delicious mouthfuls using local ingredients – try the bison short rib and bannock or the elk tartare for evidence of their success. 

Another tempting option for sustainable game is the elk striploin at the Mount Fairview Dining Room, located in Deer Lodge in Lake Louise. Relax amid a gorgeous, mountain lodge setting that is the ideal accompaniment to a menu of Rocky Mountain cuisine.  

Local brews and bevs 

The right drink can add a whole new level to a dining experience.  

The Maple Leaf’s premium menu of Canadian cuisine is complemented by an award-winning wine list that features quality vintages from the Okanagan Valley and Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula. We love the Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir, but your server will have plenty of enticing suggestions.  

Is beer your beverage of choice? Choose the Sampler at Banff Ave. Brew Co to try six local brews and try to pick a favourite. The Banff Ave Blonde Ale is an easy-drinking favourite that pairs fabulously with the fresh, pub-style menu.  

If you like the idea of gin tempered with glacial water, then you’ll be in heaven at Park Distillery. Whether it’s the Bird’s Eye Chili Vodka or the Park Glacier Rye, you’ll find your ideal drink to sip while feasting on the campfire-inspired menu.

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Mountain inspiration 

Tucked away between Banff and Lake Louise is the Baker Creek Bistro, where you can enjoy authentic Canadian cuisine in an enchanting mountain cabin. Choose a seat on the patio and you’ll be fully immersed in the alpine landscape as you enjoy your braised beef short rib or Rocky Mountain poutine.  

The floor-to-ceiling windows at Sky Bistro offer mountain views that are nothing short of flabbergasting. A sustainable menu is another fantastic element of this elevated dining experience. Raise a toast the alpenglow with its cocktail embodiment - a Sulphur Sunset cocktail. 

Ticino Swiss-Italian Restaurant celebrates the rich immigrant history of Banff and is one of the town’s oldest, family-operated restaurants. Dip into an aromatic cheese fondue while enjoying the ambiance of a Swiss mountain lodge.  

Fast bites for an action-packed day 

If your itinerary is chock-a-block with the many adventures available in Banff and Lake Louise, a custom-made sandwich from JK Bakery makes for a tasty picnic. You can also take out a homemade soup from their famous, rotating menu. This is your chance to discover why the cream of tomato basil is coveted by locals. 

Rocky Mountain Flatbread is nearby, offering handcrafted pasta and wood-fired pizza that’s quickly prepared to fuel your escapades. Order your delicious maple bacon pizza ahead of time, then stroll down the road to dine by the turquoise waters of the Bow River.  

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