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Canadian Rockies Restaurants

Banffshire Club
Fairmont Banff Springs
405 Spray Avenue
Banff , Alberta
Canada T1L 1J4
Tel: 403 762 6860

Depending on how you look at it, the Club is either elegant or maddingly fusty. A harpist's strains first greets guests inside the high-end eatery at the grand Fairmont Banff Springs resort. Oak-paneled walls, vaulted ceilings, and tartan curtains lend an old-world Scottish elegance to the space, and antique-reproduction tables are set with crystal goblets and bone china. The fine selection of single-malt Scotches has inspired many a toast to Scotland's distilleries, but the innovative menu is clearly Canadian. Specialties include sockeye salmon and halibut terrine, maple-wood-grilled Alberta beef strip loin with braised short rib, and date- and pecan-crusted local venison. Jackets are recommended, and reservations are essential.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 6 to 9:30 pm.

The Blue Toque
562 7th Ave.
Fernie , British Columbia
Canada
Tel: 250 423 4637

The Blue Toque—"toque" is a Canadian term for a woolen winter hat (i.e., nothing to do with chefs)—serves the best breakfasts in Fernie, with massive plates of hash browns, eggs, and veggies. It's also a nice place to chill out over a cup of joe—and to survey the work of local artists. The café is housed in Fernie's Art Station, a former Canadian Pacific Railway station built in 1908. Painters, quilters, and weavers work on the upper floor; photographers and ceramicists occupy the basement studios. Their creations are displayed in the station's former lobby, as well as inside the Blue Toque.

Buffalo Mountain Lodge
700 Tunnel Mountain Road
Banff , Alberta
Canada T1W 1G8
Tel: 403 760 4484
www.crmr.com/diningbuffalo.php

Chandeliers crafted from antlers hang from the ceilings of this rustic and renowned dining room. A 250-bottle wine selection accompanies the so-called Rocky Mountain cuisine—meaning local, free-range game paired with native produce. Wild caribou medallions are topped with red currant, sweet-potato bread pudding, and sprouts, and grilled elk tenderloin is prepared with wild mushrooms and rose-hip glaze. Budget travelers should try the less pricey lunch specialties, such as buffalo burgers and wild salmon.

Open daily 7 am to 10 pm.

Coyotes Deli & Grill
206 Caribou Street
Banff
Banff National Park , Alberta
T1L 1C4
Tel: 403 762 3963

A Banff standby for ultracasual food and fast table service, whether you're rushing to get on the mountain, or looking for sustenance as you've just come off. Despite the name, there isn't all that much Southwestern food served here. Some of the best dishes, in fact, are the sweet-potato corn chowder served at lunch, or the sandwiches, such as Italian Melt: Genoa salami, capicola, provolone, and sun-dried tomato pesto oven-baked on a baguette.

Open daily 7:30 am to 9:30 pm.

The Curry Bowl
931 7th Ave.
Fernie , British Columbia
Canada
Tel: 250 423 2695
www.virtualfernie.com/currybowl

The young couple that owns this tiny restaurant serves excellent Vietnamese summer rolls and other Asian dishes at reasonable prices. One of their intricate, savory curries is just the thing to warm you up after a day on the slopes. Try their mango shrimp curry, with coconut milk and Indian spices, or their Thai green curry, with pumpkin, green beans, peppers, and chicken. Over 30 imported beers, sake, and loose-leaf teas are available to wash it all down. Note that they don't take reservations, so get there early—or resign yourself to a worthwhile wait.

Fuze Finer Dining
110 Banff Avenue
Banff , Alberta
Canada T1L 1C9
Tel: 403 760 0853
www.fuzedining.com

Upper-scale restaurants were once a rarity in these parts, but as Alberta becomes richer from oil and gas revenues, more fine dining is appearing in the mountains. Fuze opened in 2005 and is a successful example. Forgive the annoying name—yes, it is fusion cuisine, serving up traditional French dishes like salad of confit duck, to Southeast Asian-accented plates like salmon spring rolls (they're actually quite good). London-born chef Gary Dayanandan likes to throw a little heat into his concoctions, and some dishes work better than others—the curry in his mango butter atop artisan bread, and the chile lemongrass oil on his clams are winning combinations. But we're not sold on the "Indian-spiced New York steak." On weekends the crowd is young and loud, grooving as much to the electronic music as the food.

Dinner nightly 6 to 10 pm.

Lizard Creek
5346 Highline Dr.
Fernie , British Columbia
Canada
Tel: 250 423 2057
www.lizardcreek.com

Set inside the Lizard Creek Lodge, this is one of Fernie's fanciest restaurants, serving such creations as pan-seared venison with scallops in a red currant and Merlot reduction. Ask to sit near the huge stone fireplace and try a local Okanagan Valley wine with your food. A casual menu, served in the lounge, is also available. Skip the burgers and club sandwiches in favor of the divine fondue—done in classic Swiss style with Gruyère, white wine, and kirsch. The Toblerone chocolate fondue is a romantic treat for two. Reservations are recommended.

Melissa's
218 Lynx Street
Banff , Alberta
Canada T1L 1A9
Tel: 403 762 5511
www.melissasrestaurant.com

For rib-sticking chow, Melissa's is a local favorite and venerated landmark (its Tudor exterior and wood interior, dating to 1928, qualify it as a Banff Heritage Building). Melissa's serves from dawn past dusk, usually to a mixed crowd of locals and tourists, but families and hangover victims both seem to agree: Breakfast's the thing. Our choice? The apple pancakes: crisp on the outside, tender inside, with a fine balance of apple flavor, cinnamon, and fluffy grain.

Open daily from 7 am to 10 pm.

Muk-a-Muk Bistro & Lounge
Juniper Hotel
1 Juniper Way
Banff , Alberta
Canada T1L 1E1
Tel: 403 763 6205
www.thejuniper.com

Delivering fresh fish, fowl, game, and meat quickly to its polished-steel tables, Muk-a-Muk is named for an early native word meaning "food" or "feast." No question, it's mountain food in that it's hearty, but there's fun flair here, too. For instance, the bison ribs are braised in dark ale and blueberries, and the pan-seared wild salmon is served with a cranberry-orange butter sauce and salt-cod potato cakes. If you've really had a hard day on the mountain, an ideal protein-carb mix might be the penne with bison whiskey sausage.

Open daily 7:30 am to 10 pm.

The Old Elevator Restaurant
291 1st Ave.
Fernie , British Columbia
Canada
Tel: 250 423 7115
www.oldelevator.com

Set in a renovated 1908 grain-feed store (the original lift and loft remain), the Old Elevator features stained-glass windows that tint the mountain views. The vaguely French menu includes steak, chicken, seafood, and pastas—and uses the phrase "pan-seared" a lot. For an upscale restaurant, dishes are refreshingly simple. Try the New York strip loin with green peppercorn sauce, or the Pacific king salmon with lobster butter. The cozy fireside lounge is a great place to enjoy an aperitif before dinner.

The Royal Hotel's Royal Dining
501 1st Ave.
Fernie , British Columbia
Canada
Tel: 250 423 7743
www.fernieroyalhotel.com/finedining.htm

For those who like their comfort food with a creative twist, chef Paul MacNish dishes up contemporary Australian fare in this upscale hotel restaurant, located in the historic downtown. Try his Alberta beef fillet with crushed potatoes, wild mushroom marmalade, spinach, and a red winejus. A lighter choice is the lime-cured Atlantic salmon with a soy beurre blanc. The excellent desserts include a honey and saffron crème brûlée with palm-sugar biscuits. The stately dining room is furnished in early 1900s style, with china-filled wooden cabinets and elaborate window treatments.

Stone Peak Restaurant and Lounge
Overlander Mountain Lodge
Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16)
Hinton , Alberta
Canada T7V 1X5
Tel: 780 866 2330
www.overlandermountainlodge.com

The secluded Overlander Mountain Lodge is a 30-minute drive from Jasper, but the homey log cabin–like setting, panoramic views of the Rockies, and an unexpectedly elaborate menu make it worth the trip. Wild salmon is poached in a chai reduction and doused with red-pepper coulis; truffles and foie gras garnish the grilled bison tenderloin; and free-range chicken is stuffed with local ostrich and served over gingered watermelon with cilantro dressing and beurre blanc. In summer, request a table on the patio.

Closed Sundays and Mondays October through May.

Walliser Stube
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
111 Lake Louise Drive
Lake Louise , Alberta
Canada T0L 1E0
Tel: 403 522 3511

The glacial cirque surrounding Lake Louise has attracted Swiss guides since the early 1900s, so a Swiss heritage restaurant such as the Walliser Stube actually makes more sense than it might at first blush. It serves a variety of fondues, including venison, beef, and bison, along with the standard cheese and chocolate versions. Located inside the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, there's something unmistakably cheery about coming in from the snow to a bubbling pot of delicious stickiness.

Dinner nightly 6 to 11 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.