John Gilchrist's best new restaurants in Calgary this year

Calgary Eyeopener restaurant reviewer John Gilchrist reveals his annual list of the top new eateries in the city for 2014.

2014 all about pork, cauliflower, tacos and ramen, says Calgary Eyeopener restaurant reviewer

The Nash in Inglewood tied for top spot with the Black Pig Bistro in Bridgeland for John Gilchrist's best new restaurants in 2014. (@thenashyyc/Twitter)

It's been a slower year for new restaurants in Calgary after the 2013 flood pushed back construction of many of the new places in Calgary.

Many have only recently opened.

In a year that has been "all about pork, cauliflower, tacos and ramen," CBC restaurant reviewer John Gilchrist said he had a hard time narrowing down his top picks. He couldn't decide on an overall winner so there is a tie for first place this year.

10) Whitebark Cafe 

Housed in the Aspen Lodge, and limited on seating, Gilchrist says this little cafe is a must to stop by for fresh baking. "Finally a decent coffee shop in Banff," he said. 

401 Banff Avenue, Banff, 403-760-7298

9) Symons Roadhouse 

Chef Kevin Turner, previously of Brava Bistro, moved to the northern tip of Calgary to open a restaurant Gilchrist describes as "part roadhouse BBQ, part California bistro." Gilchrist says the menu is a bit of an odd mix, but it works.

14555 Symons Valley Road N.W., 587-296-4986

8) Burger 320 

Named after the square footage of the restaurant, this place offers branded burgers in Bridgeland. Mario Spina, who was "one of Calgary's best pizza makers," opened the place after looking for a change of flavour. Gilchrist says Spina uses "beautiful hand-ground beef" and makes his own broiche buns.

814 First Avenue N.E., 403-515-0065

7) The Block 

Across from the site of Calgary's first McDonald's in the northwest, the place is run by a group of experienced restaurateurs who helped open Notable and National beer halls. "It's an excellent neighbourhood restaurant," said Gilchrist.  

2411 Fourth Street N.W., 403-282-1339

6) Thai Charm 

"Airdrie's first serious Thai restaurant," said Gilchrist. He said the owners are the same family behind several other Thai establishments in southern Alberta, including Thai Sa-on and Thai Nongkhai.

800 Yankee Boulevard S.W., Airdrie, 403-980-8884

5) Goro + Gun

The first of two ramen houses on the list. Gilchrist says Goro + Gun's Tomo Mitsuno is "the best sushi cutter in town."

225 7 Avenue S.W., (+15, Scotia Centre), 403-237-5596

4) Shiki Menya

The second ramen house and is also the second of three restaurants located in Bridgeland, The restaurant makes one pot of ramen per day and they close up shop when it's gone. Gilchrist said people line up around the block for this place.

827 First Avenue N.E., 403-454-2722

3) Scopa 

Gilchrist says this lively family restaurant offers big bowls of pasta and great food.

2220 Centre Street North, 403-276-2030

2) Workshop 

Kenny Kaechele is no stranger to high-end restaurants in Calgary, he was previously the executive chef at The Ranch and Rouge but he now has his own place in the Theatre Junction GRAND. Gilchrist said it's a little hard to find (it's in the theatre's lobby), but worth it.

608 First Street S.W., 403-266-7062

1) The Nash 

This restaurant has only been open a few weeks but it still topped Gilchrist's list. This "hot new place" in Calgary's restaurant scene features chef Matthew Batey who just moved back to Calgary after several years at the Mission Hill Winery in Kelowna. "Bright, lively [and] great food," he said about the Inglewood restaurant. 

925 11th Street S.E., 403-984-3365

1) Black Pig Bistro 

This Bridgeland restaurant offers contemporary Mediterranean food by chef Allison Bieber. Gilchrist recommends this restaurant for people who love pork.

825 First Avenue N.E., 403-460-0350


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