I headed to Banff and Jasper National Parks for the majestic views but was amazed by the delicious food options I enjoyed. In fact, while the views were beyond spectacular, I would go to both parks just for the food.
I visited in March and it was still winter there. It was cold but sunny and bright outside. I was there with six other travel writers. We ate at restaurants in both Jasper and Banff. Every single restaurant provided a delightful treat for the tastebuds.
Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit hosted my visit. All opinions are my own.
Let’s check out the restaurants I enjoyed and would happily return to for another tasty meal.
We stayed at the historic Mount Royal Hotel on Banff Avenue and Brazen is within the hotel. Brazen has a bold dining concept honoring the spirit of Banff’s explorers and mountaineers. They serve contemporary dishes of seasonally inspired Canadian fare and classic cocktails with a taste of old-world style.
The restaurant walls are dark wood with low lighting, adding to the old-world atmosphere. They also have a patio and a direct entrance from Banff Avenue.
Brazen is one of the newest Banff restaurants and I had a fantastic dinner there. Every dish was insanely delicious and the creative craft cocktails were a delectable mix of sweet and sour.
Our host ordered several appetizers and small plates for our table to share. We tried the hummus, pork belly, stuffed mushroom caps, truffled parmesan potatoes, charred broccolini, green tea muscles, swordfish, and ginger beef.
Brazen has the most delicious ginger beef. The Angus beef hanger steak with blistered shishito and onions drizzled with a delicious gingered onion sauce was both sweet and savory. The flaming presentation was over the top as well.
I have to admit, Brazen was my favorite restaurant of all that we enjoyed. The food was so delicious that I returned on my last evening before flying home and ordered the ginger beef again. It was every bit as delicious as the first evening. I understand why it received the OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award in 2022.
What To Order At Brazen
Starters: Pork belly with carrot ginger puree, pickled mustard, and sour maple
Main Entrée: The ginger beef; get your camera ready to video the flaming delight when it’s delivered to your table. The presentation is gorgeous.
Sides: Truffle parmesan potatoes served with honey butter and the charred broccolini drizzled with miso nori butter and sesame seeds.
Dessert: The creme brulee includes a touch of coffee, cookie crumbles, and white chocolate.
Drink: The watermelon basil margarita or the “Smokin Warden”
2. Farm & Fire
At Farm & Fire, they use only the freshest ingredients from local Canadian farmers to create their menu items. Everything is slow-roasted and wood-fired to bring out the natural flavors. Their motto is, “Good food doesn’t have to be complicated.” The restaurant is a relaxing casual spot with an outdoor patio showcasing incredible mountain views.
We ate breakfast at this restaurant. I wish we could have returned later in the day for some of their flatbreads cooked over an open fire. Everyone we talked to raved about them. They recently received OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award for 2023.
What To Order At Farm & Fire
Breakfast: The Classic Breakfast includes two eggs, crispy garlic potatoes, bacon or sausage, toast, and preserves.
Lunch: The pulled pork sandwich with apple slaw and house barbecue sauce or one of their famous flatbread pizzas.
Dinner: The pork chop with pineapple salsa or the Sweet & Salty Pig Flatbread slathered with house tomato sauce and topped with pulled pork, mozzarella, sage pineapple, jalapeno, and sweet chili sauce.
3. Sky Bistro
The most wonderful thing about Sky Bistro is the setting. The astounding view while dining is like no place else. It is known as the “Dining Sanctuary in the Sky.” It’s one of the most memorable restaurants in Banff; the view is stunning and the food is elevated like the spectacular surroundings.
Your dining pleasure begins with your journey to the top of Sulphur Mountain. The spectacular 8-minute gondola ride delivers you to the Sky Bistro.
The Canadian menu consists of award-winning unique items inspired by local farmers and suppliers.
What To Order At Sky Bistro
Soup: Roasted red pepper soup
Salad: The Sulphur Mountain Salad includes red chard, arugula, and radish drizzled with the maple bourbon vinaigrette and sprinkled with Sky Trail Mix. You can add chicken, pulled bison, or Arctic char.
Sandwich: A Pulled Bison Bun is a whole-grain bun topped with juniper-braised bison, crispy fried onions, and pickled cucumber.
Dessert: The chocolate includes a milk chocolate torte and white chocolate mouse with artisan gelato.
Drink: The Sweet Georgia is a mix of vanilla vodka, St-Germain, Saskatoon berry, pineapple, and cranberry juice with a fresh lime.
If I had dinner there, I would order the pork chops. They start with a brined maple glazed pork chop topped with pickled onions, dried blueberries, and smoked apples. It sounded delicious.
4. Hearthstone Lounge
After a day of adventure, we dined at the Hearthstone Lounge in the Forest Park Hotel on our first evening in Jasper. It has a warm and rustic environment. We were seated near the working fireplace, where it was warm and cozy.
Their menu features mountain-inspired cuisine, including burgers, small plates, salads, pizza, and various entrées. They serve local craft beers, ciders, and a variety of cocktails.
Many around the table shared several Detroit-style deep-dish homemade pizzas with some local brews or cocktails. One of the most popular pizzas is topped with potato chips!
I enjoyed a salmon entrée smothered with lemons and had the featured blue cocktail.
What To Order At The Hearthstone Lounge
Lunch Or Dinner: Pizza; they have quite a variety.
Drink: The featured cocktail changes, but you can be sure it is created with fresh ingredients and will be decadently delicious.
5. Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen
The Wilderness Kitchen serves as part store — the tour group meeting place for the guided ice walk — and part restaurant. It boasts a working fireplace inside to keep you toasty warm and a wrap-around deck for outdoor dining during the summer months.
It’s rustic yet modern with a menu inspired by the canyon, which is rich in history, exploration, and adventure. The Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen serves up made-from-scratch smokehouse-flavored items from locally sourced producers.
A lunch at the Wilderness Kitchen is included when registering for the guided Maligne Canyon IceWalk from Pursuit.
What To Order At Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen
Sandwich: Smoked brisket with red peppers, smoked onions, and gouda or the open-faced crispy chicken with arugula, tomato jam, white barbecue sauce, and pickled onions
We enjoyed two meals at the fabulous Terra in Jasper. We ate breakfast and dinner at this rugged yet refined restaurant. Breakfast was delicious, but dinner was heaven for the tastebuds.
Everything used in the inventive menu, including adult drinks, is locally sourced from the area. Their menus are always in a state of change as they try to incorporate the current natural and local ingredients that are available.
When we arrived for dinner, we were seated in a private dining room with a fireplace and a chandelier of tree twigs. Our host dined with us and ordered various small plates and larger dishes for us to share. I tried bison for the first time when a bison tomahawk steak was delivered to our table.
What To Order At Terra
Starters: Roasted rainbow carrots and the corn ribs (both from British Columbia)
Sides: Fried fingerling potatoes and charred asparagus
Main Entrées: Riccioli pasta, trout, or the farmers cut; the night we visited, the farmers cut was a bison tomahawk steak.
Dessert: Rhubarb strawberry panna cotta
Drinks: The Pear’d, made with prickly pear vodka, or the Lemon Shandy
7. Walter’s Dining Room By Pursuit
What To Order At Walter’s Dining Room By Pursuit
Breakfast: Overnight oats with toasted almond brittle and coconut milk or the Mountain Parfait, which includes granola, raw honey, apple, vanilla yogurt, and prairie grains. Both items are gluten-free.
Of course, they have a variety of eggs and bacon dishes, and there are always potatoes included with your meal.
Aalto is Jasper’s newest dining experience that just opened this month, located at the Pyramid Lake Lodge. Hugging the pristine mountain lake and the magnificent Rocky Mountains, it offers “lake food” — seafood that highlights Jasper’s regional flavors.
Aalto serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week with indoor and outdoor seating. They also have a grazing menu.