Bridges on First
Calgary Black Pig owners, Larry and Denise Scammell, have opened Bridges onFirst, Bridgeland’s neighbourhood pub and eatery. Bridges are echoed everywhere here – St. Patrick’s Island Bridge is featured behind the bar, countertops are sidewalks, and the seating comes from old school buses. The craft beer program is carried over from before with 12 beers on tap – three or four familiar brews, and eight that you may never have heard of. Come hungry to this family-friendly eatery (there’s a kiddies’ area with games and books, too) as Chef Tyler Ballance’s Best of North America menu has some killer rib-sticking dishes, like house-made Tater Tots stuffed with bacon and cheese, a bacon cheeseburger pizza, corndogs and perogies, and mega burgers.
Tip: the fried pickle chips and dip are addicting!
New to Calgary’s East Village is Mari Bakeshop. With one of the best bakery resumes in the city, head baker Doug Gregory has proven his worth at some of the UK’s and US’ most iconic and best-loved restaurants, including Corbin & King and Claridges, and working with Michel Roux and Thomas Keller. Now with pastry/sous chef, Lauren Ahn, Mari (Korean for “roll” or “scroll”) offers a choice of eight signature roll cakes, choux buns, quiche slices, baguette sandwiches, loaves of pain rustique, pretzels, and more.
Everything is baked in small batches in this modern 22-seat bakery/café, so it’s fresh all day. Stay and eat in with a cup of Whittard tea or Fratello coffee. Open 10 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Mondays.
Las Canarias Spanish Paella and Tapas Bar
Congratulations to Las Canarias Spanish Paella and Tapas Bar on their new Calgary location and new look. Now in the La Vida Loca spot on 17th Avenue SW at 11th Street, the restaurant has a new menu serving up all our favourite Spanish dishes. We’re excited that we can get Las Canarias’ papas bravas, croquetas, gambas al ajillo, mejillones and pulpo, conejo al ajillo, bacalao – close by now, and there’s a choice of 6 paellas!
After 22 years, Calgary’s artisanal bagel shop, Bagelino’s, is under new management, and has re-opened after extensive renos that include tableside USB charging stations! And now they have a coffee bar too, featuring Rosso coffee.
Stop the press! Calgary’s newest restaurant has just opened its doors in the refurbished Pie Cloud space on 10th Street NW. Cotto is the latest venture from Fiona and Giuseppe Di Gennaro (mastermind behind Capo and Borgo) with restaurant realtor, Rob Campbell, and wife Dana. The menu is Italian comfort food with some familiar faves such as purgatorio – eggs baked in tomato sauce with fior di latte – at lunch, and ossobucco for dinner. The wine list is 100 per cent Italian, with aperitivi, grappas and digestivi, too. Salute!
Neighbour, or NHBR, is Brett McDermott’s new grab and go breakfast and lunch spot in Altadore. This light and bright little shop is open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., 7 days a week, offering salads and granola pots brought over from McDermott’s Our Daily Brett in Bankview, and making smoothies, sandwiches, and breakfast pots, among many other treats. They are the first in Calgary to serve Anchored Coffee from Nova Scotia, and there are lots of gluten-free options to munch with it!
ONG Fried Chicken
In St. Albert, Tu Le of Jack’s Burger Shack and Cerdo Tacos, has opened his third venture ONG Fried Chicken – a tribute to Le’s own grandfather (“Ong” in Vietnamese). Very different to Southern Fried Chicken,Hanoi fried chicken is brined in fish sauce, garlic, and sugar – and like all the dishes on this small menu, based on his mother’s recipe.
Grandin Fish ’N’ Chips
Next door to The Common on 109 Street in Edmonton, Chef Jesse Morrison Gauthier has now opened his fast-casual dining restaurant, Grandin Fish ’N’ Chips. You can dine-in in this small blue and white, nautically themed spot, or take out your haddock, cod, or basa and chips. You can even purchase fresh sustainable seafood from local suppliers like Fins Select and Effing Seafoods to take home, too!
Edmonton Chef Ben Staley, North 53’s opening chef, has finally opened his long-awaited restaurant, ALTA, in the Wee Book Inn space on Jasper Avenue. This 30-seat, casual dining, walk-in only spot focuses its 11-item tasting menu on local and regional ingredients based on Chef Staley’s relationships with farmers, foragers, vineyards, and suppliers that share his values. Pop in for lunch or dinner and wash it down with your choice from the natural wine bar, or a low-proof cocktail. There’s a no tipping policy in place here as staff are paid a proper living wage with benefits and paid holidays.