The great alpine landscapes that surround Banff, Alberta, inspire all-season outdoor adventures that create big mountain appetites. Fortunately, the bustling Banff National Park townsite is filled with excellent places to enjoy a carb-rich pre-ski breakfast, healthy lunch, energy-restoring après, decadent dinner, and everything in between. Read up on where to eat in Banff National Park with this guide to some of our favorite places to enjoy great Canadian cuisine in the stunning Canadian Rockies.
The Lowdown on Where to Eat in Banff
Enjoy private dining in one of three geodesic domes at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. With 360° views of Banff National Park and Canada’s Castle in the Rockies, the 360° Dome is home to some pretty swish dining experiences. A maximum of 6 guests from the same household can enjoy a Family Style Brunch, an Après Ski or Grapes Charcuterie Experience. Or reserve the Dome for a decadent 5-course private dinner. (Note: Warm layers and footwear strongly recommended in winter.)
Evelyn’s Coffee Bar
After you’ve captured the early morning sunrise on Banff Avenue, stroll over to Evelyn’s. You’ll find premium roasted coffee and tea, as well as speciality drinks like lattes, mochas and hot chocolate. They also have tasty sweet treats like muffins, pies and cookies, and serve freshly made sandwiches for lunch.
Bluebird Restaurant & Lobby Bar
Open in fall 2022, Bluebird Restaurant & Lobby Bar is a wood-fired steakhouse with an old-school love for cocktails and dinner parties. Giving off a serious mid-century chalet vibe, Bluebird is a great spot to unwind after a busy day exploring the larches in the Banff wilderness. The restaurant is spread out over two levels, anchored by a giant 50-foot fireplace. Enjoy cocktails at the Lobby Bar. Then head into the main dining room for steaks or veg cooked over a woodfire.
Yes, the lines can be long at this popular breakfast and brunch spot in downtown Banff. Take my advice and arrive early – Tooloulou’s is worth getting up for. The restaurant is open all day long, but we think breakfast is where it’s at in the Louisiana-inspired restaurant.
The morning menu is huge and features all manner of breakfast dishes. From ‘eggs any way you want them’ to pancakes, french toast, waffles, crepes, skillets, Cajun-spiced omelets specialties, and of course, grits. Be sure to bring your appetite!
Banff Ave Brewing Company
A local favorite with on-site brewed craft beer on tap, the food offerings go beyond pub fare. Of course you can find burgers, fries and sandwich options to accompany its selection of ales and lagers.
The Banff Ave Brewing Company also serves up creative Asian-influenced items. Think Buddha noodle bowls and vegetarian dishes like Fist Pumping Hippy. Or a stack of fried tofu, and portobello mushrooms with balsamic syrup and vegetables.
One of the best restaurants in Banff, The Bison offers a premier fine dining experience for guests. The restaurant serves organic farm-to-table cuisine with an emphasis on Alberta meat, particularly bison meat (tip: order the bison short ribs).
It also delivers great veg-forward options like roasted cauliflower, crab and avocado dip, scorched shisito peppers and burrata salad. It’s a great choice for a fancy night out enjoying some of the best food in Banff. In summer, enjoy a seat on the outdoor patio deck to enjoy mountain views.
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Another newish restaurant in the heart of Banff’s downtown. Billed as an homage to ‘the mavericks who built this town,’ Brazen is located in the Mont Royal Hotel and features brunch favorites, killer cocktails and small and large plates of everything from mushroom gnocchi, ginger beef and lamb chops, perfect for initiate and fun dinners with friends.
This adorable little 1950s tearoom at the top of Norquay Ski Resort has been transformed into a modern bistro, accessible via a retro two-person chairlift. Cliffhouse is open in winter and summer, and at an elevation of 6900 ft, guests enjoy some of the best views in Banff.
Sip on mugs of hot chocolate with whipped cream, enjoy cold local beer on tap, and munch on a warm pretzel or Vietnamese pork bao buns. Download on the chairlift, unless you want to ski double blacks, the only other way down the mountain in winter.
A place for all manner of steak, including the prized in-house, dry-aged Alberta beef. Every table enjoys a mountain view at Chuck’s, which also features a decent kids menu, family-style sharing platters, and even a vegan bowl for the plant-based crowd. Don’t miss carb-loading on garlic thyme fries, mac n’ cheese sticks, and corn creme brulée.
The Juniper Bistro is located north of town, on the road to Mt. Norquay across Highway 1 in the Juniper Hotel. The hotel is surrounded by fresh air, forest and stunning Rocky Mountain views. Bistro chefs curate a bounty of garden-fresh and sustainable regional produce and handcrafted ingredients to create award-winning dishes.
Long considered one of Banff’s hidden gems, the Juniper Bistro is a local favourite. It’s a recipient of multiple titles in the annual Best of the Bow dining awards.
Our top tips for exploring Banff with kids
An intimate restaurant that elevates vegan and vegetarian cuisine to another level. Meal options at Nourish include vegan, wheat and gluten free, as well as raw dishes.
From chia parfaits to veggie kebabs, Beyond Meat burgers and their ‘World Famous Nachos’ with over 27 ingredients, your body will be sated and nourished by the variety of healthy plant-based dishes on offer here.
Park Restaurant & Distillery
A relaxed restaurant that makes its own in-house spirits like gin, vodka and rye, Park Restaurant is very popular all day long, from weekend brunches to post-dinner drinks.
This bustling restaurant is an easy answer to the where to eat in Banff question. Park offers Canadian comfort food like fluffy pancakes and back bacon at brunch, rotisserie chicken sandwiches and pizzas at lunch, roasted meats at dinnertime, and creative cocktails that feature its delicious house spirits.
You can purchase carry-on sized bottles of your fave Park Distillery spirit in the tiny shop at the entrance. Think souvenirs, people!
Read more: How to pitch a tent in Banff National Park
When people ask me where to eat in Banff, this institution comes to mind for its history and pure uniqueness. The Grizzly House opened as a disco nightclub in 1967, and began serving its signature fondue at that time to comply with local liquor laws. With more than 14 types of fondue and a menu that includes steak and wild game, Grizzly House has been going strong ever since.
The interior decor is pure mountain shack chic, with wood-paneled decor, a 70s soundtrack and a working rotary dial phone on every table. The phones were used as real live chat lines by singletons back in that day. The phone alone promises hours of fun for the kids in this very family-friendly restaurant.
Three Ravens Restaurant
One of most picturesque Banff restaurants, the Three Ravens Restaurant at the Banff Centre creates dishes as beautiful as they are delicious. Focused on local and regional sustainable food sources – think chantelle mushroom risotto, pan-seared B.C. sablefish, and grilled Alberta beef.
The Restaurant also has a signature Wine Bar with a deep cellar and stunning floor to ceiling window views of iconic Banff scenery.
Vermillion Room at Fairmont Banff Springs
The recently renovated Vermillion Room at the historic Banff Springs Hotel is dripping with deep blue and brass-toned French brasserie style. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the latter of which pairs seasonal cocktails and an excellent wine selection with Gallic classics like French onion soup, salmon Niçoise, trout bouillabaisse, cassoulet and steak tartare.
Waldhaus Restaurant at Fairmont Banff Springs
For a romantic dinner or a fun night out with friends, head to the Fairmont Banff Springs and the Waldhaus Restaurant.
This little ‘house in the woods’ overlooking the Bow Valley is formerly the Banff Spring’s Golf Clubhouse. Its stone and dark-wood clubby, cosy atmosphere is perfect to enjoy elevated German-style fare like schnitzel, sausages and sauerkraut, as well as classic fondue, Alberta beef and wild B.C. salmon.
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Photo credits: Claudia Laroye; Paul Zizka