I've had a few of my friends and patients ask me recently, "where do you go out to eat in Calgary?" so I decided it was time to put together a list of my favourite paleo friendly restaurants in Calgary.
Now, I should say that none of these restaurants actually claim to be paleo or paleo friendly. But the reason I chose these places is because they focus on local meat and produce, seasonal ingredients, are extremely accommodating when it comes to dietary restrictions and still make delicious food. Can I guarantee that they aren't using cane sugar instead of honey or coconut sugar in their food? Absolutely not. But I have eaten at most of these restaurants many times and not gotten sick. So that says a lot. Whenever I go out to eat at restaurants I always tell my server that I have allergies to gluten, dairy and soy. I have found this to be the most effective way to find foods that are safe (at least for my needs). You may have to modify what I do depending on your own restrictions. Now, there are some restaurants on this list that I haven't eaten at yet. I will make note of which ones below, but I have friends who are paleo and belong to the Weston A Price Foundation who have eaten at these places and told me they were really good. So I am taking their word on that.
And before you get to the list of restaurants I should say that this post was not sponsored by any of them, and these venues don't even know I am writing this post. I want you to realize that this is a totally unbiased review based on my own experiences. And if you think I have left any restaurants off of this list please let me know. I am always looking for new places to try!
So if you need any last minute restaurant ideas for Valentines Day tomorrow maybe try giving one of these places a call to see if they have any room left. Happy eating friends!
The Best Paleo Friendly Restaurants in Calgary
1. Open Range
This was one of the first restaurants I dared to eat at after switching my diet and I have been back many, many times. I highly recommend the Chili Rubbed Baby Back Ribs, the Local Duck Breast and the Apricot Glazed Wild Boar Rack. They also have sorbet for dessert which is both gluten and dairy free.
This was the first place that I ever tried pork belly. And let's just say I am now hooked. Although I haven't managed to make it well myself yet... I'm still working on that skill. If you eat here I recommend The Duck, Beef or Pork Belly (which I realize isn't currently on their menu as their menu changes frequently). Erik also loves (literally loves) their duck tacos, so if you tolerate corn this would be another great addition to your meal.
I just ate here for the first time a few weeks ago for my birthday. Our new house is actually about 4 blocks from this restaurant so it is going to become a new staple for us that's for sure. And besides being able to just eat in their restaurant they also offer some great "to-go" options including "happy chickens" which are great for those busy nights when you just don't have time to cook. I ate the Alberta Bison Flank which was super good. Erik had their Crispy Potato Rolls (definitely not paleo) and the Lamb Sirloin, both of which he said were amazing.
I have eaten at this restaurant a couple times and I think I ate the same thing both times. The Butcher Steak. I just can't say no to a good steak. Now, I don't believe this steak is grassfed which isn't ideal. It does bother me when I know I am eating animals that haven't been properly raised, and may not have been ethically treated. But, in order to keep my sanity and not say no to every event that I am invited out to, once in a while I figure it's okay to eat something that isn't perfectly paleo, but is still local.
This restaurant is a Calgary icon. It is located on Princess Island Park and has been around for a very long time. It even survived the horrible floods we had a few years ago and has come back stronger than ever. I personally love this restaurant and their philosophy. They are dedicated to sourcing the best tasting local ingredients that are available in season. They connect directly with growers and producers at their farms, gardens and ranches, and carefully choose purveyors who are responsible stewards of the land. Now it doesn't get much more paleo than that does it? Now their menu changes frequently and since it has been more than 6 months since I last visited I don't think anything I have tried before is still on the menu. I guess that means it's time for me to go back!
This is one of the restaurants on this list that I have yet to try. But one of my best foodie friends highly recommends this place. As you can guess from the name this is a breakfast focused restaurant, with an emphasis on local ingredients. They even raise their own hens for their eggs! How cool is that?
7. Char Bar
Besides the food at this place, the location is also something really special. Char Bar is located in the Old Simmons Building which was just restored a couple years ago. It's located right on the river so depending on your table location you could have an amazing view. They also have a rooftop patio which is incredible. I have only eaten dinner here once and it was here that I was first introduced in chimichurri sauce. And theirs is amazing. I had the Wood Fire Grilled Half Chicken for my meal and I couldn't even finish it. So I got two meals for one. Which is even better! I love tasty restaurant leftovers. It really is time for us to go back to this restaurant.
8. The Nash
I am sad to say I haven't eaten here yet either. But I believe (and I could be wrong) that the same people that own The Nash also own Notables, so if the food at Notables is any indication, the food at The Nash will also be delicious. Looking at their menu there are so many things I would want to try including the Grilled Octopus, the Pan Roasted Duck Breast, Seared Scallops and Pork Belly, and the Pork Tenderloin.
9. Deane House
I was just told about this place by a friend and so I still haven't eaten here. This restaurant is run by the same group that runs The River Cafe so I know their food is going to be incredible. When I look at their menu I see many items that I would love to try: Salted Red Cabbage, Alberta Lamb Ribs, Seared Pacific Rockfish, Ranch Longhorn Beef and the Lamb Loin.
10. Ten Foot Henry
One more restaurant that I have yet to try. But many of my friends have eaten here and just raved about the food so I felt I had to include it. I will be going here soon I promise. If you have eaten here please give me your recommendations!
Alright friends that's my list of the Best Paleo Friendly Restaurants in Calgary. As you can see there are a few of these places that I still need to try myself but I trust the words of my friends and once I make it to these remaining restaurants I will update this post with my thoughts. And if there are any places you think I have missed please let me know and I am happy to update this list.
Until next time, happy eating friends!