It is easy to get tired of the ‘same-old same-old’ routine when it comes to meals. Calgary has become a culinary powerhouse with top chefs opening new and exciting restaurants all the time – some of which are labeled as ‘pop-up’ with limited time to enjoy. Calgarian’s tastes are becoming more eclectic and locals are craving something unique, something strange. Check out some of the most unique eats of Calgary food and spice up your mealtime excursions!
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Price Range: $
Location: 1022 17th Avenue SW
Crowd Favourites: Tubby Dog, A-Bomb, and PBJ
When you think of hot dogs do you imagine a sausage in a bun with ketchup and mustard? That may be the case for most hot dog stands, but at the Tubby Dog counter your hot dog is going to get an extreme makeover. Established in 2015, Tubby Dog is one of the wonderful places to get unique Calgary food that stands out in a category of its own.
Each hot dog is served with a variety of unfamiliar toppings, including chili, potato chips, coleslaw, peanut butter and jelly, or even Cap n’ Crunch! Each of these hot dogs is packed with flavour and a little bit of the uncommon; each is guaranteed to be delicious. In addition to the delicious dogs, you can enjoy the many arcade games that fill the dining area, or sit along the counter and watch the creations being made.
The Big Cheese
Price Range: $
Location: 738 17th Avenue SW and 207 10th Street NW
Crowd Favourites: Perogy Poutine, Hogzilla Poutine, and Taco Luchadore Poutine
Originating in Quebec, poutine has become one of the cherished Canadian foods that we crave. Overloaded with cheese curds, warm gravy, and freshly cut fries, this Canadian food is popular on any menu. But what about a location that serves strictly poutine? Introducing, The Big Cheese.
Located in Kensington and 17th Avenue, this local Calgary food option overwhelms locals with the different types of poutine served: veggie nacho, porky pig, maple bacon, buffalo chicken, donair, or even desert poutine, are just a select few from the vast menu. All poutine dishes are added to with locally sourced cheese curds and then covered with their secret gravy recipe. If you are looking for extreme comfort food, The Big Cheese may be just the place for you!
Calgary Stampede Midway Food
Price Range: $ to $$
Location: 1410 Olympic Way SE
Crowd Favourites: Beaver Balls, Mini Doughnuts, bug-themed item, deep-fried foods
Every July, locals and tourists come from near and far to visit the famous Calgary Stampede. This 10-day event is an opportunity to see the rodeo, have fun on rides, be entertained by the Grand Stand show, see concerts, and most importantly, try the food on the midway. Each year the Calgary Stampede increases interest by adding odd and fantastic food options – and ‘strange’ does not even begin to describe some of the dishes!
Previous years have included items like scorpion pizza, deep-fried Oreos, red velvet chicken strips, and more! For the year of 2019, the food has only become increasingly weird. This year we can expect to see: deep-fried banana peppers, cheesy chicken hearts, cricket caramel apples, and smoking charcoal ice cream in a cup. If you are looking for the perfect Calgary food to share on your Instagram feed, you will not want to miss out on the Calgary Stampede’s midway snacks!
Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus
Price Range: $$
Location: 2439 54th Avenue SW
Crowd Favourites: Potato, Onion, Bacon & Cheese Pannenkoek and Black Forest Pannenkoek
When discussing Calgary food, the list cannot be complete without breakfast. But of course, when it comes to unique and enormous breakfast foods, Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus takes the cake… or the pannenkoek. This Netherlands inspired food location has everything from sweet to savory, all put on top of a Dutch pancake, or Pannenkoek. The regular menu of this food locale contains over 45 different combinations, all adding different and tasty flavors to your pannenkoek.
The menu includes apple and onion pannenkoek, chicken parmesan pannenkoek, cinnamon roll pannenkoek, and even the black forest pannenkoek which is served with liqueur! This Calgary food location is open every Wednesday to Sunday, reservations are accepted! Whatever you crave, you will be sure to find something to sate your palate at this Pfanntastic location!
Price Range: $$
Location: 1131 Kensington Road NW
Crowd Favourites: Duck Mac and Cheese, Fried Chicken, Buffalo Chicken Poutine
We often picture quaint little cafes, restaurants overlooking the city, or friendly neighbourhood restaurants when discussing local Calgary food spots. What we often don’t picture is eating our meal in a shipping container. But that is the appeal of Container Bar! Located in one of Kensington’s abandoned alley-ways, Container Bar is one of the latest Calgary food places that is gaining popularity each year.
Aside from its rare and recycled accommodations (which is also dog-friendly!), Container Bar is also known for their eccentric menu – comfort foods with a twist! The menu includes items such as parmesan fries, house-made corn dog, chicken skins, and scotch eggs to name a few. If you seek the unusual, be sure to check out this location also in the summer for patio paradise!
Price Range: $$
Location: 908 Edmonton Trail and 2129 33rd Avenue SW
Favorites: Jebb’s Doggie Burger and Pizza Burger
Burgers and shakes, a classic Friday night craving. But when you want something that takes you beyond a burger, you can only find your solution at Boogies Burgers. This local Calgary food spot is a huge hit for those looking for a burger that has had a bit of an upgrade, as seen by the menu!
Boogies Burgers has a few regular burgers, but also offers add-ons such as the Pizza burger (with massive pieces of pepperoni), Doug’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” burger (featuring burger patties, bacon, beef weiners, cheese, egg, and all the toppings), and the Deep Fried Mac-n-Cheese burger. Of all these delicious selections, which also include vegan options, no meal is complete without a milkshake! Be sure to try one of their pre-made mixtures such as Angry Aztec, Hangover Helper, Young Vader and more!
Go ahead, try each of these unique, strange and fantastic Calgary food locations to spice up your meal-going experience. It will be a meal to remember!
For more popular Calgary neighbourhoods that have delightful dining options, be sure to check out our blog!
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.