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Dining in Banff

• A WorldWeb.com Travel Guide for Banff, Alberta.
A world-class destination, Banff draws millions of visitors to its awe-inspiring mountain landscapes, top-notch recreational opportunities and small-town charm. A haven for those exploring the wonders of Banff National Park, the town provides diverse amenities and services sure to please the most astute traveller. Among its myriad attractions, Banff also provides exceptional culinary experiences to satiate any craving; regionally-influenced cuisine, family-friendly eateries, cosy coffee shops, upscale fine dining and international flavours await. Choices are heavily concentrated along the town's artery Banff Avenue and at nearby hotel and resort properties.


Contemporary selections, exquisite wines and fusion dining experiences of an upscale nature are available at independent establishments and at area hotels, including the famed Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Couples seeking intimate dining in Banff will not be disappointed with the offerings available, which include romantic French cuisine and Canadian-inspired gourmet restaurants. Creative epicurean delights paired with mountain views are found at Three Ravens Restaurant and Wine Bar in the Banff Centre complex.


Visitors travelling with children will appreciate the abundance of kid-friendly dining options while in Banff. Alternatives to fast food and room service are plentiful and provide amenities catering to the needs of families, including high chairs, child menus and budget-minded promotions for travellers with tiny tykes. Buffets, pizza and pasta restaurants, chain establishments, food court selections and home-style cooking at casual hotel eateries are just a small sample of the choices available. Take-out and delivery services are also a viable option for busy families who prefer to dine in the comfort of their guest room or suite.


Cosy pubs, ambient lounges and lively nightclubs are easily within reach when visiting Banff, which features an abundance of options for casual, intimate and energized nights out. Welcoming decor, live local music and genuine hospitality are hallmarks of neighbourhood favourites like the Rose and Crown and St. James Gate Olde Irish Pub, while Western-style entertainment is the highlight of a visit to Wild Bill's Legendary Saloon.


A lengthy history of quality beef production is a trademark of Alberta's culture and economy. Banff is no exception when it comes to showcasing the province's beef bounty, offering numerous restaurants with menus filled with AAA steak and prime rib selections. Old-west mountain charm is served up at popular, longstanding steakhouses Bumper's Beef House and Melissa's Mis-Steak. Chain-style steakhouses and casual independent establishments around town also feature beef as the main event but offer alternatives for children and vegetarians, too. Regional flavours abound at numerous Banff eateries, where locally sourced foods are prominent on menus.


Authentic cuisine from every corner of the globe is showcased on the tables of many specialty restaurants in Banff. Whether cravings are for Japanese, Tex-Mex, Italian, Thai, Mexican, Korean, German or Chinese food, Banff offers it all. Genuine Greek cuisine and hospitality are featured at the landmark Balkan, and Le Beaujolais is renowned for its exceptional French fare. Bon appétit!


Artisan bake shops, quaint coffee bars, a year-round ice-cream shop, convenient counter-style sandwich shops and bistros are an ideal alternative for those looking for lighter fare, take-away picnic choices and to refuel quickly. Independent spots and internationally recognized chains are readily available along the main strip, including local favourite Evelyn's Coffee Bar, which offers multiple locations along Banff Avenue.


While already boasting a vastly diverse culinary landscape, Banff features a few standout foodie experiences that are exceptionally distinctive. Located atop Sulphur Mountain and offering impressive panoramic views, sightseeing lift restaurants are a novel alternative for visitors. A casual, self-serve eatery operates year round while an additional, casual dining location is open during the busy June-to-September season. Vegetarian bistros, tapas bars and fondue restaurants—don't miss the quirky Grizzly House—are also popular alternatives sure to please any appetite.


In Alberta, a 15 per cent gratuity is customary and can often be added directly to the bill, especially for larger groups. All restaurants observe varying gratuity policies, so unless posted, visitors are best advised to enquire accordingly. Weekends year round and weekday evenings during the peak May-to-September season are the busiest for Banff's attractions and restaurants, making reservations a must for many establishments.

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