Visiting Banff this summer? Here are several of my favourite Banff area restaurants. Each of them offers a high quality menu, great service, and rustic mountain ambience. The hotel restaurants offer spectacular scenery. You will want to book ahead when going as they do fill up quickly! The main dining theme in the area is locally sourced, sustainable produce and game. There are many fondue options and wild game is offered in many ways. High Tea is highly recommended while enjoying the scenery.
Grizzly House, Banff
Right in the heart of Banff, the Grizzly House is full of quirky character. In 1967, the owners ran a disco next to a Chinese restaurant. There was a hole in the wall between the two buildings so the disco could easily obtain and serve food to its guests. Eventually, the Chinese restaurant closed, so the disco owners brought in fondue sets so they could still comply with the liquor laws. The fondues were a hit and the Grizzly House as the fondue restaurant we know today was born.
There are fondues and hot rocks for choices of how to cook your proteins. The hot rock is exactly that, a rock that is very hot, allowing you to cook your meats as part of the experience. They have an extensive fondue selection with the cooking base of Swiss cheese, oil, chocolate, or Bourguignonne. This fondue experience is best enjoyed when you can appreciate eclectic, exotic, and fun experiences. We enjoyed their exotic offerings such as wild boar, rattlesnake, ostrich, or my favourite, alligator. You can also get lobster, buffalo, beef, or chicken.
The experience itself is quirky. Some tables have phones which connect you to other tables in case you want to chat with other tables. There is a mop with a smiley face on it whose soul purpose is to wipe the grease off the fixtures above. It is a really fun place to experience.
Banff Springs Hotel, Banff
Anyone going to Banff must see its crown jewel, the Banff Springs Hotel. This is by far one of the most beautiful and historic hotels in Canada. The grounds are beautiful and worth exploring, as is the interior of the hotel. Established in 1888, this is one of the early hotels put in by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Former hotel guests include British royalty, Marilyn Monroe, and Joe DiMaggio.
There are two places I love to eat at when visiting this hotel. They offer the most enjoyable and scenic High Tea I have experienced. I have attended a lot of hotels and restaurants for High Tea, this is at the top of my list to recommend. If you can book a month or more ahead, ensure to request a table either on the patio or with a view. The view overlooks the golf course, stream, and the valley between the mountains. It is breathtaking.
There is a Bavarian restaurant on the grounds. This requires a walk through the grounds, down a path, and into the golf course. This is not the restaurant to attend if there are mobility issues in your group. Another fondue experience awaits here, their chocolate fondue here is divine. They also offer schnitzel. It is a warm and cozy alpine experience for dinnertime.
On the other side of the restaurant, is the Waldhaus pub and biergarten. The pub is open during the daytime and serves Bavarian pub style food. This is one of my places to go when at the Banff Springs. It makes for a great ending to a day of exploring the grounds and sights, to sit casually, have some extraordinary pub fare while sitting in the midst of mountains and forest. My favourite items at the pub are the bratwurst, roast mushroom tartine, wurst plate, and spatzle.
There are more options for your palate at the Banff Springs. Castello Italiana offers elevated Italian classics. My favourites are the risotto and the lobster carbonara. I have not been to the steak house, 1888 Chophouse, but their succulent menu is very inviting. For breakfast at the hotel, I like to eat at The Vermillion Room. I usually don’t get their buffet option as it is pricey. Instead, I order off their menu and get their omelette or crepes.
Eden at the Rimrock Hotel, Banff
For those wanting an elegant and luxurious meal, Eden is delightful. Located in the Rimrock Hotel, the French cuisine at Eden draws inspiration from the nature surrounding this posh hotel. Offering a four or seven course tasting menu, this tasteful experience is an evening you will remember for a long time.
Walliser Stube at the Chateau Lake Louise
If you are in the Banff area, it is definitely worth the trip to Lake Louise. The Chateau is elegant, the lake is mesmerizing, and the food is delicious. It is a 45 minute drive from Banff to Lake Louise.
The Chateau offers an elegant High Tea here with a spectacular view of the lake. The main restaurant’s buffet is also very good here for those wanting a different brunch option. For the most elegant dinner experience, their fondue restaurant Walliser Stube is beyond measure. Other items to try are the trout and seafood bouillabaisse. Prices are higher in Lake Louise in comparison to Banff. The lake is a must see if you go out this way. If you are able to go for an enjoyable walk, walk to the other side of the lake along the trails and take a picture of the hotel and lake together. It is breathtaking!
Mount Fairview at the Deer Lodge, Lake Louise
If you want to get a more rustic experience at Lake Louise, the Deer Lodge is great. The restaurant and hotel is only open during main seasons. We enjoy their charcuterie board which features elk. They source locally grown and sustainable produce and meats. Other items on their menu are a bison ribeye, and wild boar pasta.
Murrieta’s in Canmore
I love Canmore. It is scenic, 20 minute drive from Banff. Canmore still has the small mountain town feel to it for now. The shops there are fun to explore. We often do our grocery shopping in Canmore if we are packing for a picnic or looking for easy items to cook in our hotel kitchen.
Every time we go, we eat at Murrieta’s. This restaurant is on the second floor, up a flight of stairs. The restaurant combines rustic charm with elegance. We enjoy their casual plates here with the hamburger being our favourite. We also enjoy their dinner offerings of steak frites or gnocchi. I would definitely check if they have any special features when you go.
There are many excellent restaurants in Canmore and Banff. The foodie blogs such as Banff Blog, Avenue Calgary, and The Dining Guide, are worth researching to find more spots for your taste buds to explore.