Fall in the mountains is a fan favourite for so many reasons! The days are shorter, providing time for extra shut-eye and blanket hogging before hitting the trails; the temperatures drop, waking wool sweaters from hibernation; and fewer crowds are lining up to get into some of Banff and Lake Louise’s hottest dining establishments.
Take it on the Trails
Before hitting the trails, make sure to get something to cozy up in or with while soaking up those mountain top views or golden larches. Try some of these local favourites to take out with you on the trails.
Find oversized sweaters, vintage long sleeves, and flannel PJs at these two downtown stores. While you’re there, pick up some long-burning candles, plush fleece blankets, and mugs.
There are two well-known tea companies in Banff that specialize in high-quality loose leaf tea. Each has its own blends that make them unique.
After a day full of fresh alpine air, out exploring trails, kick your boots off, unwind and cozy up at these local restaurants. Get a local favourite cozy food like fondue, Alberta beef, or Italian and finish off with an after-meal coffee.
There’s nothing that comforts the soul more than a group of your favourite people gathering around a nice gooey pot of Swiss cheese. Find this traditional mountain fare and so much more here:
The famous Grizzly House is steeped in Banff history. If you’re craving exotic meats from all over the world, make sure you add this to your itinerary.
Fairmont Banff Springs is well-known for its culinary offerings. A short walk from the main Castle, this Bavarian-style pub house will have you sipping a pint of beer fireside in no time.
Ticino serves up a Swiss, Italian, and Canadian fusion food and culture. Started by Swiss immigrant Erwin and his wife, Lorraine, the restaurant is now owned by his daughter, Jill, and her husband, Louis-Pierre Hélie, Canadian Olympian.
While in Alberta, do as Albertans do and pull up a chair to indulge in homegrown beef. Many of our restaurants pride themselves on sourcing local, quality ingredients from farmers they know and love. Give these spots a try:
The absolute best time to visit The Bison is at dusk. The mountains are still visible, the twinkle lights turn on, and the glow of Bear Street below makes you feel the true magic of being in a mountain town. Let us assure you, the food is the cherry on top with fall-off-the-bone meats and imaginative dressings and sides.
Banff was once part of the wild west, and Chuck’s Steakhouse honours that past with an upscale twist. If steak is your weakness, you’re in for a treat with several cuts, including Canadian Waygu, 45-day dry-aged, prime rib and more.
The Maple Leaf is in the heart of downtown but makes you feel like you’re at a mountain lodge tucked away in a valley surrounded by snow-tipped peaks. Their short and refined menu offers classic beef cuts that are seared to perfection.
Pasta is a go-to comfort food for when the days start to shorten and nights cool down. There’s something about ripe tomatoes, sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and leafy basil that pairs so well with a robust wine list. Reserve a spot at these favourites:
Pacini has the type of menu that has you second-guessing your choice because all of the options are so tempting. The solution? Go with friends and family to order a sampling of pasta, risotto, and pizza, so they’re plenty to share!
The European-trained chefs at La Terrazza know how to whip up an authentic Italian meal. They focus on homemade ingredients, including their bronze-die cut pasta that clings to just the right amount of sauce.
The menu may be short and sweet, but it has all of the classics you crave. From caprese salad to crispy calamari to eggplant parmesan, your taste buds will be jumping for joy.
Sometimes a little extra warmth is called for throughout the day. These cafés offer a homey atmosphere to stop in and wrap your hands around a piping hot cup of coffee. Try them out:
If you’re an early riser or looking for a snack and coffee to tide you over until your late dinner reservation, pop by Whitebark café. They have a selection of dairy-free and gluten-free options available daily, so there’s always something tasty to curb your appetite.
If you’re not ready to head home after dinner, stop into Evelyn’s for a coffee aperitif. The coffee bar is open later than most cafés in Banff, so you can get a hot beverage and carry on the night’s festivities.
This pit stop is ideally placed on Banff Ave. They offer all of your favourite coffee and teas but also a small selection of homemade loaves, muffins, and cookies made at their bakery a few blocks away.