Guide: The best of YYC’s oldest restaurants
Okay, so you know what the newest hotspots in town are, where to get the latest drink specials, and what the most “Instagram-able” restaurant in town is. Maybe you need something new to know instead of something new…the classics are classics for a reason, and Calgary has quite the selection of establishments that have remained cool for decades. Here’s our guide to some of the oldest, yet coolest spots to eat in town.
To be honest, you’ve probably passed this place about a hundred times without knowing that you’re walking right by one of Calgary’s best kept dining secrets of the past twenty years. A fantastic contemporary menu combines itself with rustic Tuscan-style décor to provide a truly unique dining experience. Oh, and since you probably have no idea about the terrace in the back of the restaurant (seriously, what would you do without us?) we’ll just give you the heads up that it is absolutely one of the most stunning patios in the entire city.
Where: 1016 8 St SW
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Okay, so we know that Calgary is a mainland city and anyone from either coast is going to downplay our seafood scene. But guess what? We do have some great seafood, so while we are eating it the naysayers can go ahead and eat their words. Since arriving decades ago as Calgary’s first true Oyster house, Rodney’s has cemented itself as one of the best seafood spots in town. The industrial-chic décor has ensured that the tenth avenue hotspot hasn’t lost any of it’s appeal to the contemporary crowd, all the while maintaining the traditional food and drink combos that made it a hit in the first place. Where: 355 10 Ave SW
Located right beside the Olympic Plaza, this fine-dining establishment has been serving up some of Calgary’s best dishes since 1993. Housed in a building that is over 100 years old, you’re going to want to get yourself a little dolled up to not feel out of place. Don’t you worry though, it’s not a pretentious spot. It’s more so that any restaurant with this reputation (not to mention this fantastic menu) requires you to at least take a shower and run a comb through your hair. We know that’s a lot to ask, but trust us it will be worth it. Where: 200 8 Ave SE
For over 30 years, this longtime Centre Street staple has provided locals with some of the best traditional Greek food in town. This place is a no fuss, no stress venue with classic Greek décor and ambience that makes it a perfectly relaxing night out in one of the city’s most trusted locations. Where: 1502 Centre St NE.
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Sometimes that cool, old-school vibe should take you on a bit of an adventure, and that’s exactly what you’ll get at Silver Dragon. As one of the earliest places in Calgary to arrive with dim-sum and other more upscale Chinese food classics, this family-owned fixture has been gaining fans since 1966. Go for the tasty menu, stay for the atmosphere, and you’ll find a new favourite in one of the city’s coolest old gems.
Where: 106 3 Ave SE
Since it’s inception in 1972, Caesar’s has been the definition of excellence for steakhouses in town. Burgundy leather, dark wood finishes, and white linens are complemented by traditional service (Hello, tableside preparations!) all combine to give you a second-to-none dining experience. The lounge is as cool as any new spot in town so make sure you bring your A-game level of coolness if you’re going to stop in for a drink. There is a Willow Park location that’s popped up recently, but for the most authentic Caesar’s experience we suggest hitting up the original downtown spot on 4th Avenue.
Where: 512 4 Ave SW
If you’re looking to class it up a bit and you’ve got a little extra cash burning a hole in your pocket then Hy’s should definitely be at the top of your list. A fine-dining establishment that originally made its splash all the way back in 1955, this classic steakhouse in the heart of downtown provides the perfect backdrop for a cool, classy night out. Check your couch for a little extra change because once you get inside Hy’s you won’t want to spare a single expense on the experience.
Where: CORE Shopping Centre, 8 Ave SW
Okay, so you just got a promotion. Or it’s your anniversary, or maybe a birthday. Heck, maybe there’s no occasion at all and you’re just a responsible adult with a good job and we’re totally not envious of you at all…either way, La Chaumiere has been the cream of the crop when it comes to fine-dining and treating yourself in town since its arrival 40 years ago.
Where: 139 17 Ave SW
Keeping up with trends is great, but it never hurts to experiment with the places that made Calgary such a cool city to begin with. Give a few of the above places a shot and we guarantee you’ll better appreciate what it really takes to become a classic spot in the big city.