Athena Pizza & Spaghetti House – 110 Banff Avenue, Banff – (403) 762-4022
Since we spent the day sightseeing we wanted to go somewhere that was casual and had good pizza for dinner. We had heard about Giorgio's but when we asked the concierge he insisted Athena's. We asked two of the valet staff and they agreed, so Athena's it was. It's about a 2 minute drive from the Fairmont, serving deep dish, "Chicago-Style" pizza. Located right on Banff Ave, on the right side, upper level of the mall near the clock tower. With a diner-esq atmosphere; plastic table clothes, old wood chairs with plastic covered cushions, carnations on the table, etc. Low-budget, local place, some people might call it a dive. The "come-as-you-are" kind of place. They offer a simple menu with mostly pizza and a handful of salads, sandwich and pasta options. The menu also had a steak, fish and chips and fried shrimp which ranged from 9.95-19.95 CAD. Pizzas are sold in three sizes, 10, 12 and 14 inch and ranged in price from 12.95- 23.50 CAD. The wine/beer menu is larger than the food menu. Our bill was 36 CAD and that was for 2 – 10" pies and one draft beer. We ordered one plain and one house special (loaded pizza) which took almost a half hour to serve; we were only one of six tables seated, four of which were already served. The bottom line is that this pizza was O.K. Very similar to what you would find at a Pizzeria Uno's in the states. The service was fine, two waiters in all. He definitely made us feel as though we were bothering him when we had questions. Super casual atmosphere, no reservations needed, huge table turn over. Somewhat recommended if you are in the mood for a fast and casual meal. Accepts all major credit cards. Free delivery anywhere in Banff (if you don't feel like leaving your hotel room). Limited on the street parking.
Coyote's - 206 Caribou Street, Banff – (403) 762-3963
Located 2 minutes from the Fairmont on the corner of Caribou and Buffalo Street. Coyote's is a local eatery that refers to itself as a deli & grill, serving southwestern cuisine with a Mediterranean influence – I wouldn't go that far. Small, bright, light-interior establishment. One waitress for about 15 tables and counter seating, with lots of locals and one chef . The menu was fairly small and the waitress didn't appreciate many questions or allowed for any substitutions. The breakfast menu had omelets, frittatas and a section for "sides" which was where you'd find items like individual eggs, a side of bacon or a multi grain bagel with cream cheese for 2.50 CAD. The bread was multi grain, unless you requested otherwise and even then your only other choice was sourdough. 7.95 CAD got you two eggs, sausage or bacon with potatoes and toast. We were charged 2.50 CAD for 2 pieces of sourdough bread after I tried to return seeded multi grain bread that came with the eggs. The bacon was Canadian bacon (obviously) which is basically ham to people from the states and the sausage was a Chorizo which was very spicy but also very good. The orange juice was fresh-squeezed. Our bill was 21 CAD. Limited on the street parking. The lunch/dinner menu includes items such as; soups, salads, quesadillas, pizza, pasta and grilled entrees. No reservations for breakfast but they say reservations are recommended for dinner, another come as you are kind of place. Food was good (hard to mess up eggs), with some interesting breakfast options but the service was borderline rude. Open for breakfast from 7:30 -11 am, Lunch 11:00 am - 4pm and dinner from 5 pm. Accepts all major credit cards, children welcome. I read on a website somewhere "jacket and tie optional" - if that isn't the biggest joke I have ever heard. Would you wear a tie to your local diner/TGIF's? Somewhat Recommended.
Melissa's Missteaks Restaurant & Bar – 218 Lynx Street, Banff – (403) 762-5511
We went to Melissa's for breakfast after we decided that there had to be somewhere with friendlier service than Coyote’s. A log-cabin like place with dark wood tables and chairs – no frills. Ceiling to floor windows that face the street and the Banff Park Lodge. It seemed like the kind of place where there was always a crowd. Eggs, steaks, omelets, rancheros, waffles, french toast and cereal were the bulk of the menu. They offer many combos and omelet options. Prices ranged from 3.95-18.95 CAD for (breakfast) steaks.
Another place where multi-grain bread is the standard bread served, other options are sourdough muffins and plain bagels. The waitresses walk around with pitchers of fresh squeezed juice which I found hilarious – as someone who does not drink juice myself, I was convinced to get a glass because it smelled so good. Open from 7 am to 10 pm daily, breakfast until 11:30 am. Casual dress code, local place, accepts all major credit cards. The staff was large and pleasant and the restaurant was very large with plenty of seating. The dinner menu included 8-20 oz steaks (15.95-25.95 CAD), salmon (18.95), trout, lobster (22.95), pork, chicken (18.95), burgers (8.50), pizza and one pasta dish (13.95). Good place for kids and groups. Weather permitting they have patio seating as well. Limited on the street parking. Recommended for breakfast.
The Grizzly House – 207 Banff Avenue, Banff – (403) 762-4055
Known for their fondues and hot stones, with a log-cabin setting and an overwhelming smell of oil from the minute you walk in. A very dark atmosphere with wood furniture. The (lunch) appetizer fondues/hot rocks are 16-23.95 CAD and soups and salads range from 5-11.95 CAD. The "hot rock" meals are what we ordered for lunch. It’s an extremely hot piece of slate that is served with raw and marinated meats. The waiter brings the rock, slathers it with garlic butter, provides some guidance and leaves you to cook your meal. A cute gimmick that could be either fun or annoying depending on your point of view. I will say though - kids will love it! We ordered the sea and land (15.95 CAD) and the chicken (13.95). The lobster and steak were cooked almost immediately but I found the chicken to take much longer. I didn't realize how fast the rock cooled and towards the end of my meal I had to wait what felt like forever to cook my chicken. The waiter said he would come back with another rock – which he neglected to do. I also found it interesting that with four tables seated it took almost 20 minutes to have our essentially raw meals served in the first place.
The plates included the raw meat, salad, veggie of the day and rosti which was basically hash browns. Other entrée choices were steak, meatloaf, burgers, smoked buffalo, eggs benedict and sausage of the day, ranging from 9 - 24.95 CAD. Dessert didn't interest me; I was annoyed at how long it took to cook my meal and the overwhelming smell of old oil which I equate with the place being dirty. Dessert options however included; cheesecake, fondue (of course) and parfait. The dinner menu includes "complete fondue dinners", 35.95-54.95 CAD which comes with soup or salad, cheese or veggie fondue, one main course and one chocolate fondue for dessert. The main course options are beef, chicken, ostrich, lobster, the "hunter" (buffalo, wild board and venison) or the "exotic fondue" (shark, alligator, rattlesnake, ostrich, frog legs, buffalo and venison). A minimum of two orders per table is required for the fondue.
Overall the service was fine but slow, which for four tables, I can not understand. There are phones at every table which I still am confused about. Wine list includes about 100 choices and outdoor (street-side) seating is available in warmer months. Large seating inside, no reservations needed for lunch although the restaurant does recommend them for dinner. Very casual, family dining. Accepts all major credit cards. Limited on the street parking, located two minutes from the Fairmont. Overall, I thought a fine choice for lunch, but seemed a bit expensive for dinner. Recommended.