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Calgary Places we Endorse
The Fraser-Kuipers clan patronizes a variety of restaurants, businesses and organizations in Calgary. Here is our attempt at creating an alternative to the overloaded lists on tourist sites and the pendantic reviews loved by so much of our local media. There is no star system on these reviews as only those making a sufficiently superior grade are going to get mentioned here.
If you'd like to comment on these reviews, provide us with corrections or even make a suggestion, please send us an email with the subject line "tallglass endorsements" (to get around our spam filter). If you are sending us a suggestion like some have done in the past, we typically patronize inner city places that are pretty friendly to kids.
Most of these places are either are authentic "fast food" or simple meal places. We like and patronize places that place pride in the food they make whether it's simple sandwich, bowl of soup or high end nosh, and then follow it up with excellent customer service.
We stake our reputation on our support of these establishments.
Pho Pasteur Saigon
While we can't necessarily prove it, Pho Pasteur Saigon has to be one of the original Calgary Vietnamese restaurants. Todd's been going here since about 1994 when a guy he worked with brought him there. Sue and Todd and usually other family members head there two to three times a month and Todd tries to get there another few times.
Hanna and Thao run an efficient little place that's always packed and has a simple menu with a perfect combo of dishes. It's well worth a visit and, based on Sue and Todd's travels in Vietnam, seems to serve as authentic a bowl of soup as you can get in town.
Falafel King - [ LINK ]
Certainly our favourite place in town for Lebanese cuisine, Falafel King has been around for years and revived Lebanese food in the downtown core. After Fauzi Salem bought the place his work eithic and excellent people skills turned the place from an also ran to a true destination.
With the arrival of the kids and jobs on the fringe of the core, we don't get down to Falafel King nearly as much as we should but Falafel King's food and superb customer service make us wish we come visit more often.
Sam has been running Dakota for years and Todd's been eating here regularly since 2003. Their fabulous donair sandwich is worth the trip and the portions are huge regardess of the sandwich you order. Throw in varied clientel, Sam's kind demeanour and trust of his customers, and you can begin to see why this place is appreciated by so many.
Dakota is legendary enough that the tiny sandwich shop is loaded in most all road/locationGPS software that we've seen. At one time it was a stop off for the backpacker crowd and garnered mention in a few travel guides. If you like, you can check your email while you wait or ship off money using Western Union.
Brad Myhre opened the Galaxie Diner in the late 90s and quickly (really) established it as the prime diner in the inner city. The Galaxie sports a simple yet kitschy decor, quick and friendly service and a straight forward and tasty menu continues to make be favourite. People travel across the city to chow down on omelets, sandwiches, coffee and the best shakes in town.
More recently Brad opened the Belmont Diner in Marda Loop and nailed the same atmosphere and food, seemingly without effort. The Fraser-Kuipers crew have made the Belmont their exclusive weekend breakfast joint, and Todd still manages to get to the Galaxie on the occasional weekday, easier since it's walkable from the office.
Palace of Eats - [ LINK ]
Another Brad Myhre creation, the Palace of Eats is right next door to the Galaxie Diner but serves up the best smoked meat sandwiches this side of Montreal. The service is excellent and the sandwiches are as tasty as you'd expect. Winnipeg rye bread and a nice selection of mustards contribute to the authenticity of the experience.
We try to eat here as often as possible.
Originally another one of Brad Myhre's places, this one has been subsequently picked up by a young couple (names to be obtained ASAP). The menu has undergone a bit of a transformation with the addition of soups, but the primary food - stellar Montreal smoked meat sandwiches and shakes - is excellent and the service is quite good.
Since it's opening in 2007 it's garnered many regulars in the neighbourhood and is patronized weekly by Sue and the kids, along with Todd's parents and sister's family. Well worth the trip!
Ship and Anchor Pub - [ LINK ]
The Ship and Anchor has been a Calgary staple for well over 15 years. This review is almost superfluous as the Ship is ranked as the best pub in the country if not Calgary by more than one site online.
The Fraser-Kuipers clan have made the Ship their pub of choice in town almost since it opened, first ducking in on a cold night in 1991 (we think). The food is always good, the beer selection superb (and they keep their keg lines clean), the patio special and the service the stick against which all other bar service should be measured. No other pub in town does it all as well.
Matsarang has a sign out that says "Do you know Matsarang? Have you tried Matsarand food? If you do you will be healthy." While I'm not sure you'll be healthy, you certainly will find the food tasty. Their BulGoGi and DakGoGi combos (with 3-4 excellent sides including Kimchi) are quite good and the BeBimBap vegetarian dish (with a perfectly done egg on top) is excellent.
This little Korean grill caters to the lunch crowd near the 10th St CTrain station downtown, along with some of the locals that live in the dozen or so highrise condo towers in the area. It's good enough and quick enough that it's worth the trip even if you're not nearby.
more to come...
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