If you could have a soul-town this would be mine. Having lived there for a little over two years I have struggled to find somewhere that captured everything I am in the same way. Many have tried, however.
Anywho, any foodies out there will be pleased to hear that this small mountain town nestled in a National Park holds some amazing restaurants. Not only that, but even for the budget traveler passing on through great food for cheap can be found.
Hands down one of the best breakfast’s I have ever had. This little place lies on Caribou Street just off the main Banff Avenue. Oddly for this cold mountain town the owners have set up a little Cajun Restaurant but the fusion of established western meals means there’s a bit for all tastes. A savoury breakfast ranges from CAD$10 – $25, lunch $15-$30 and dinner $15-$35. Get the smoked salmon benny. Do it.
A firm favourite with visitors and locals alike. The Canadian bar sat right on Banff Avenue has a traditional North American menu with reasonable prices. Even more reasonable is the Tuesday night $8 steak sandwich! Think of a half decent steak cooked to your liking, on garlic bread with a choice of 2 sides: fries, sweet potato fries, salad or soup! $8! Granted there were some weeks where we only had the $8 plus tip scraped out the back of the sofa, but for 6 months straight it was a weekly staple! Their other daily specials are also nothing to be sniffed at. Entrees range from $15-$40.
Banff Ave. Brewing Company (Brew Pub).
Probably my favourite spot. We didn’t discover this microbrewery at first even though it’s in the center of town. When we did though, hooooweeee! The beer is great and caters for our European expectations of a REAL pint. The food is delicious and they serve meals up until midnight. The restaurant buzzes with a very natural vibe. The staff are friendly and have a good knowledge of beer recommendations. Entrees range from $10-$40 but their starters are fairly generous if you just want a smaller snack. To top it off there’s also a balcony overlooking Banff Avenue. Perfect for a sunny afternoon of people watching.
$10 Calzones? $10 Stonebaked Pizza? YES, PLEASE! The Beer Street Tavern has a lovely little courtyard shaded well on sunny afternoons and some great cocktails to make the day float by. Definitely a great little spot which is frequented by locals far more than tourists. Sitting on Beer Street it misses a large chunk of the main street traffic however don’t be fooled: this place is busy. They don’t take reservations unless you have a large party so don’t show up at 7pm expecting a seat right away. The $10 specials run on Monday and Tuesday nights. The rest of the time the meals range from $11-$20.
This one is a pricey affair. Fantastic if you are a couple looking for a romantic one off night from your hectic sightseeing adventures. Definitely bank breaking if you are on a budget. Over two years we went down there a handful of times for special occasions and always felt like we had treated ourselves to a great dinner. Entrees range from $25 – $60 with some very good but pricey wine to compliment.
There are more I could list here; Eddie Burger + Bar, The Magpie and Stump, Nourish Bistro, and Sushi Bistro to name but a few. I’m not sure there’s anywhere in town you can really go wrong for a great meal and a decent price. Cheers to my soul-town!