Tucked away in the heart of Prince’s Island Park lies one of Calgary’s favourite fine dining establishments, River Café. After numerous accolades, awards, and tens of thousands of happy (and full) customers, the iconic inner-city eatery is celebrating its 30th birthday, and we want you to celebrate with them. 

Why? Well there are plenty of legitimate reasons, but the biggest one is that as far as summer dining experiences in Calgary go, it’s pretty dang hard to beat River Café. 

The Location

If you haven’t been, you might be surprised when setting up your GPS to River Café as this well-preserved gem is only accessible after a short walk through Prince’s Island Park.

river cafe calgary summer
Photo via Curiocity

Luckily, a walk through the park can be romantic, relaxing, and even help you work up an appetite. With the sounds of the Bow River and nearby birds and the sights of the natural park landscape surrounding you, strolling up to River Café is the perfect way to set the scene for an unforgettable meal.

Currently, these are the best ways to help you reach the café: 

  • The footbridge at 2nd Street
  • The Causeway at the Southwest end of the island
  • Memorial Drive footbridge

Note that currently the Jaipur Bridge, which connects Eau Claire to the island, is closed for structural repair, so keep that in mind when you are making your trip.

The Restaurant

River Café offers spectacular views of both the city and the Park and is situated so perfectly that it feels like it’s become one with its location. 

Inside, you’ll find what feels like an upscale fishing cabin, paying homage to its neighbourly river and the menu itself. 

river cafe calgary
Photos via Curiocity

In addition, two patios are available for you to fully take in the joy of summertime in Calgary. The south-facing patio is perfect for intimate lounging in groups big or small and is so quiet you will forget that you’re in the heart of the city.

The east-facing picnic tables deliver a slightly more casual feel, just right for stopping by the daily ha

ppy hour from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM for an $8 cocktail and appetizer.

The Food

As mentioned, River Cafe has been dishing out award-winning eats for three decades now, so reviewing the menu is like checking “Yes” on every single box. 

river cafe calgary
Photos via Curiocity

The menu is chock full of Canadian cuisine, whether it be dishes like the Hillview Farms Confit Duck Leg for lunch, the Haida Gwaii Halibut or Lambtastic Farms Braised Lamb Shoulder for dinner, or anything in between, you aren’t just having a great meal here, but you’re also supporting fantastic Canadian producers and farmers. 

On the weekends you can snag brunch from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and if you’re looking for a truly unique summer experience, River Café’s picnic menu is the move. 

With salads, shareables, and sandwiches, the takeout picnic menu makes spending a day or night at the park a dream come true. All you have to do is make your selection, swing by the restaurant to pick it up, then set up at a quiet spot in the park for the cutest picnic you can imagine. 

The Mission

Last but not least, River Café is not only an icon in regional Canadian cuisine but a pioneer in sourcing local and sustainable ingredients. 

Therefore, very deliberate and conscious choices are made about how the food at River Café is sourced, prepared, and served.  

Eliminating bottled water, reducing energy consumption and water use, reusing materials, recycling and composting, are just some of the ways in place to limit the impact on the environment. 

So, if you’re looking for a guilt-free dining experience at one of Calgarys’ best restaurants, look no further! 

And, of course, happy birthday to River Café! Thirty years has never tasted so good. 

River Café

Where: 25 Prince’s Island