My first dinner in Banff was a special one, a true testament to the potential for last minute meet-ups! An hour before my dinner reservation I was able to connect with an old friend who I went to school with at the University of Guelph. Lia Wozny and I hadn’t seen each other since we both graduated from our Hotel and Food program in 2007! It just so happens she had recently moved out west and was working at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Low and behold she was free to play the part of my dinner date. Any opportunity to avoid eating alone on the road makes me giddy with delight!
The Grizzly House is an absolute must for fans of fondue. In operation since 1967, this landmark restaurant has been a culinary destination for thousands of visitors to Banff National Park. At the time it was Western Canada’s first disco and was known for its touring bands and go-go dancers! Initially all of the food was delivered through a hole in the wall from a neighbouring Chinese restaurant. A few months after the Grizzly House opened their Chinese neighbour closed so management had to find a new way to comply with the liquor laws that required food service in order to serve alcohol. Staff brought in their own fondue pots – and so a restaurant tradition began!
The restaurants interior is entirely kitschy and immediately makes you feel as though you are sort floating through a a 70′s fondue party hosted in a Swiss alpine lodge. In the summer the spot is totally packed out so do make sure to make yourself a reservation.
We started off by sipping a local honey wheat beer produced just down the road in Canmore by Grizzly Paw Brewing. After a quick thirst quench we placed our order and spent the next two hours catching up over a four course feast. We started off by sharing a tossed salad and French Onion soup followed by an eager moment of fromage baguette plunging. We selected Alberta beef for our main course which involved slathering garlic butter on a hot stone tableside while watching our steaks sizzle. A metal plate featuring five sauces offered us ample opportunity to plunge our perfectly browned medium rare beef into a swath of flavours from creamy horseradish to sesame and soya asian inspirations. Last but not least, a petite pot of bubbling chocolate fondue (made of melted Toblerone bar, omg) provided a decadent finish to a memorable meal time.
Special thanks to Banff and Lake Louise Tourism for hosting me as their guest.
Grumpy Bear Honey Wheat by Grizzly Paw Brewing Co. Canmore AB
Gewurztraminer by Gray Monk Estate Winery, BC
House Salad with Grizzly Dressing
French Onion Soup
shiitake mushroom gravy
Neuchatel Cheese Fondue
roasted garlic, baguette, bundnerfleisch
alberta sirloin beef served with special sauces
melted toblerone, fresh fruit, biscuits