Spring has sprung and although hearty lamb dishes tend to be warm and comforting — perfect for warding off winter — lamb chops, ribs and roasted legs are a delicious way to celebrate spring.
There are plenty of great lamb producers in Alberta (try Driview or Ewe-nique), but if you want to leave the cooking to someone else, here are five great Calgary eateries that are serving up some tasty lamb — from kebabs to burgers to ribs.
Lamb kebabs at Koob
Get some meat on a stick to-go at Koob, brought to us by the family who owns Atlas, the popular downtown Persian restaurant.
They offer up ground meat kebabs, including the option of ground lamb shoulder, cooked over an open flame and topped with your choice of house-made toppings and sauces: sumac onions, hummus, slaw, spicy pomegranate sauce or Atlas’ gourmet hot sauce.
Wrap a single or double skewer up in a soft pita or put it on a salad. (Check out John Gilchrist’s review on the Eyeopener)
Koob, #5 2015 Fourth St. S.W. (in Mission), 403-926-5662, koob.ca, @KOOBalicious
Lamb ribs at Anatolia in the Crossroads Market
There is a hidden gem at the Crossroads Market in Ramsay — a small Turkish restaurant in the food court where I recently got a plate loaded with lamb ribs, simmered white beans, rice, tabbouleh salad, Greek salad and minty tzatziki for just $6.
For 10 years, the family-run business has served freshly-made Mediterranean cuisine from lamb and chicken kabobs, roast lamb rib dinners to börek (phyllo pastries filled with cheese, minced meat, or veggies).
Anatolia, 1235 - 26th Ave. S.E. (in the Crossroads Market), crossroadsmarket.ca, @CrossroadsMrkt
Lamb burger at Blue Star Diner
They know how to make a great lamburger at Blue Star Diner with Alberta lamb, Gull Valley tomatoes, fresh spinach, red onion, feta, tzatziki and red pepper mayo ($15.75). It’ll satisfy your craving for juicy lamb without getting too spendy.
Blue Star Diner, 809 First Ave. N.E. (in Bridgeland), 403-261-9998, bluestardiner.ca, @BlueStar_yyc
Manchego-crusted lamb loin, pulled lamb shoulder at Rouge
When the days are long and warm enough to start enjoying their backyard patio garden (which takes up almost a city block), Rouge Restaurant, the iconic Calgary eatery in the former home of A.E. Cross, is worth a visit.
Executive chef Kenny Kaechele has lamb on the menu: manchego-crusted lamb loin and pulled lamb shoulder, with ratatouille and parsley gnocchi ($36).
Rouge Restaurant, 1240 Eighth Ave. S.E., 403-531-2767, rougecalgary.com, @RougeCal
You’re always guaranteed plenty of lamb options at a Greek restaurant.
At Santorini on Centre Street you can satisfy your lamb craving with brizoles (broiled lamb chops), lamb souvlaki, arni kleftiko (roast lamb, $27.50) or arni psito (roast rack of lamb, $29.50).
Santorini, 1502 Centre St. north, 403-276-8363, santorinirestaurant.com