Tired of asking your friends and family where they want to go for dinner? It is a conversation where everyone has a different opinion, and every time it ends up resulting in going to a place that no one really loves in particular but that everyone knows.
Well, it is time to introduce something new with something old! If you are looking for an amazing new place to eat in Calgary, then check out some of the retro Calgary diners in and around YYC. These gems have been around for years and are still serving locals with some of the best eats in town! Re-introduce retro experiences and great eats into your outings with these local spots that will satisfy every craving - talk about a #throwback!
Phil's Family Restaurant
Of the many remaining Calgary diners in the area, Phil's Family Restaurant has been a favourite for years... since 1956 in fact! With four locations throughout the city (16th Avenue NW, 17th Avenue SE, Glenmore Trail SW, and 11th Avenue SW), you can find the meals you adore including breakfast and lunch at ANY time of the day! Phil's menu has a wide selection of comfort food favourites including pancakes, eggs ranchero, French toast, crepes, eggs benedict, as well as lunch favourites such as Pan-Fried Bread, fish and chips, Classic Chicken Pot Pie, and others. Whatever you are in the mood for, you can find exactly what you are hungry for at the cozy diner of Phil's Family Restaurant!
Angel's Drive In
If you are looking for a Calgary diner that truly gives you retro-vibes, then you will want to visit Angel's Drive In on 47th Avenue in the northwest of the city. As you walk inside, you will be completely transported into a retro environment, complete with old records decorating the ceiling and walls, black and white checkered flooring, red leather booths, and the oh-so-famous 1950's diner bar! Known primarily for their famous burgers, sandwiches, and soft serve ice cream, Angel's dining experience is unique and has eats that the whole family will love!
"In the heart of the bustling community [of Marda Loop]" you will find the beloved Belmont Diner! This restaurant first opened back in 2000, and although it may not be as "retro" as some of the other Calgary diners, it has worked hard to earn that definitive "diner" ambiance. The restaurant features 100-year-old booths, a timeless diner counter with vintage stools, and other eclectic décor. When it comes to food and drink, Belmont Diner offers bottomless hashbrowns and coffee, and an all-day breakfast menu so you can get brunch later in the day (yes, you can sleep in!). On your next visit, try their famous milkshakes or pop in during the holidays for fun pancake art!
Galaxie Diner is the Calgary breakfast restaurant that will transport you to the 1940's with their vintage bar stools and booths as well as their classic menu options. Open seven days a week, Galaxie Diner has an all-day breakfast that includes meals like their Montreal Smoked Meat Hash, Galaxie French toast, pacific omelette, and don't forget their legendary breakfast burrito! What makes this Calgary diner stand out is their insistence on using REAL butter and PURE maple syrup for all of their dishes. Whatever you need, Galaxie Diner specializes in "feeding friends, families, and even hangovers!"
Kane's Harley Diner
If you love Harley Davidsons as much as the next person, then boy, do we have the dining experience for you! One of Calgary's iconic retro diners is Kane's Harley Diner! Found in the heart of Inglewood is an exciting and exclusive Harley experience. Inside you will find Harley Davidson bikes, vintage leather-seat chairs, orange, black, and white flooring and walls, and U-shaped booths complete with checkered seat backing. Truly capturing the "50's at its finest!" Bring the whole family down for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and re-experience old-school dining!
Your favourite day-time meals served at any time of day, seven days a week? Sounds like a plan to us! Welcome to one of Calgary's most popular and well-known diners — Diner Deluxe! There are three locations in Calgary, one along Edmonton Trail, one in Westman Village, and the third in Aspen Landing. But, if you are looking for the location with an authentic retro vibe, then be sure to visit the Edmonton Trail location for a retro-inspired décor and layout. Looking for another reason to seek out Diner Deluxe? They support local producers who "[use] local, ethical, sustainable and seasonal ingredients when possible!"
Blue Star Diner
Want to find a diner that is making a difference? Then Blue Star Diner is where you need to go! This diner strives to make a positive impact on the environment through recycling practices, having a carbon neutral energy bill, as well as sourcing their ingredients and foods from local farmers. As stated on their website, "we believe you should know where your food comes from!" Here you will find tasty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, as well as a wide array of drinks (including breakfast cocktails!) that can be paired perfectly with any meal. Looking for something aside from the diner classics? Try their BSD Hash Bowls, Crab Cake Benny, Veggie Burgers, and more!
Although Mat's Diner hasn't been around very long since its opening in 2018, it has brought the true diner-experience to Calgarians! Mat's modern and classy take on the traditional diner is one that creates an atmosphere of comfort and coziness. Instead of bar stools, there are elegant high-backed chairs, and instead of vibrant wall colours, there are brick walls with trendy Aztec flooring. But don't let this modern style dissuade you! There is plenty of mouth-watering "diner" comfort food available, like their eggs benedict (some with unique twists like the Butter Chicken Eggs Benny!), Golden French Toast, steak and eggs, BLTs, crepes, burgers and more! Order your food and an organic drip coffee and settle in for a few hours of contentment.
Blue Vinny Diner
Located in the heart of downtown along 8th Avenue you may just come across a small window within the historic buildings with the words "Blue Vinny Diner". If you see this spot, be sure not to pass it by! The Blue Vinny Diner is one of Calgary's much-loved locations that offers a casual spot to relax as well as some incredible food for a great price! It is a favourite for many to grab a quick brunch before heading out to meetings in the downtown core. Described in some of their reviews as the "best brunch [with] large portions," you won't leave here with an empty stomach!
Why should a good thing need to change? This seems to be the idea of the retro Calgary diner Deerhead Café, located along Edmonton Trail. This hidden gem has been described as a "hole-in-the-wall" and is an unexpected surprise! Having served customers for more than 30 years, this rustic locale features none other than deer heads on the wall, charming old booths, wood panelling, and some pretty tasty "grub." Burgers, bacon and eggs, sandwiches, and other conventional meals are served here on their unchanging menu. Although it may be unchanging, their loyal customer base is always raving about how great and affordable the food is! Looking for something different, unique, and classic? Head on over!
With a stylish and modern take on the classic diner experience, The Beltliner is one spot that has taken Calgary by storm. Named after the streetcar that once ran along 12th Avenue, The Beltliner has held true to the traditional style of a diner, but with a much more contemporary setting. Here you will find a great selection of dishes on "a menu crafted with local, seasonal, artisanal and handmade ingredients." This diner also features a coffee to-go counter with Fratello coffee, cold pressed juice, Caesar meals, and other baked goods and sandwiches that you can take with you on the way!
Ready to dive into some comfort food and re-experience those timeless meals? Be sure to add these retro Calgary diners to your next morning or night out and enjoy good food, great environments, and experiences worth their while!
Justin Havre is the top producing REALTOR® with RE/MAX First, Canada's very first RE/MAX brokerage. Calgary real estate is his passion; Justin specializes in Southwest & Northwest Calgary homes for sale. He can be reached at 403.217.0003 or contacted through this site.