Banff recommendations for a Berserker

I’m taking the family to Banff next week for a vacation. I’m looking for any recommendations as far as anything, but particularly:

(1) Good restaurants

(2) Good wine shops or other places to buy wines, particularly better Canadian wines

(3) Any recommendations for Canadian wines I should try while there, especially producers or bottlings that are likely to be available somewhere I could shop or dine in Banff

(4) Any information about corkage policies at Canadian restaurants


It’s been a while, so I can’t help with restaurants, but if you play golf, play the Banff Springs course and make sure that you play the nine with Devil’s Cauldron. The photos do not do it justice and it is a beautiful course overall.

Headed there for our 12th trip in September.

The Banff Wine Shop isn’t bad. Canmore Wine Merchants (Canmore is a nice town just outside the park boundaries) is also pretty good. I have not kept up well on Canadian wines lately, so any advice on specifics would be outdated.

Saltlik and Bison are two good restaurants in Banff. Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company is out favorite casual place in Canmore, but it gets really busy.

Can’t help with wine or food, but I’ve always wanted to see White Goat Wilderness area, which borders to the northeast.

Regarding corkage, I think you can forget it. Not many places in AB believe in BYOB unless you are very well known at the establishment.
Regarding wines, are you looking at red or white? Pinot Gris from the Okanagan is exceptional…Cedar Creek, Sandhill, Mission Hill.

Bob (or anyone else knowledgeable in Canadian wines), I’d love any recommendations you wanted to share, both red and white - particularly things I have a reasonable chance to find in the town wines shop and restaurants while I’m there.

And it’s good to know not to bother with corkage.

I normally travel everywhere with a Wine Check full of bottles from my cellar, but in this instance, I’d like to use the opportunity to explore Canadian wines a bit, since hardly any make it down to the US.

Has been a few years for me too. Banff Wine shop as David mentions would be best. They’ve been around long enough when AB went private, they kept their import licence along with retail licence. You’ll likely see more BC wines than anything niche from Ontario, but you never know. Don’t consider Banff in anyway great for dining choices. Maybe have tea or a drink at the Rundle lounge in the Banff Springs. Otherwise, the only must stop would be to drive up to Lake Louise and have dinner at the Post Hotel. Deep cellar, very good food.
Worth exploring Canmore on review sites. Things probably change a bit more often there.

I was last there in 2014. Canmore was still OK, but nothing blew me away. The Flatbread Company is still my favorite. O Bistro in Canmore was pretty good, but they closed at the end of 2014.

In addition to Saltlik and Bison (good pizza joint) to eat I would add Maple Leaf Grille- excellent food and extensive wine list. We were just in Banff towards the end of June but spent more time in Jasper. Had a few wines by the glass from British Columbia and overall the wines are sufficient but they aren’t going to be mistaken for Napa Valley, more like Washington but a bit more soft.

The Post in Lake Louise is exceptional.

There’s also good wine shops in Calgary if you are stopping there.

Problem with The Post is if you explore the wine list it is hard to drive back to Banff.

We were in Banff in April and inquired about corkage at a few restaurants, including Saltlik, and had no luck. We love the Post, having dined there twice in December and twice in April. In the Banff Springs Hotel is a wine store which has a good selection of Canadian wines, IIRC.

Happy to help, amigo! Banff, eating at The Post restaurant is pretty much a requirement (it’s in Lake Louise), the wine menu is unbelievable, and the food is superb. A night you won’t forget. Heard Bison is very good too.

My west coast trip TNs included a day in Okanagan (the Mike on Tour back in May), from there I can recommend:

Moon Curser for their Tannat
Black Hills for their Nota Bene and Syrah
Le Vieux Pin for their Sauv Blanc and their Ava (Viognier-based blend)
Terravista for their Figaro (Rhone white blend)
Culmina for their Decora Riesling, though make sure you give it some air

Cedar Creek stuff has been good but not mindblowing. I didn’t get to try Meyer or Syncromesh, but I have heard only good things.

Thornhaven’s meritage is very good too, though younger vintages would definitely need aeration at this point.

Will you have any time in Calgary? If yes, some superlative stores to shop at while there—Kensington Wine Market, Metrovino and Willow Park Wines are the top 3 for me. The restaurant I love there is Thai Sa On—probably the best Thai I’ve ever had, and that includes Mengrai Thai here in Toronto AND LOS in Vegas.

I’m only giving you BC wines since it is likelier you will get access to those out there. For Ontario, Pearl Morissette and Hidden Bench remain top of table. Two Sisters is making some big-ass cab-based stuff too.

Have fun and take a camera—ALL of Banff is utterly beautiful. If you don’t get eaten alive by the bugs and are a photo buff, the area around Vermilion Lakes is stunning.

Maybe PM Hank Gillespie—he may be able to assist also…

Jay, with luck, I’m taking my dad out next year to play a round for his 80th b-day. really want to play that course.


My wife spoke at a conference there about 10 years ago - rented a bike at a local shop and spent the days cycling while she was stuck at the meeting. Some amazing scenery, went a good chunk of the way to lake Louise and back. There was this killer hill that I had to walk the bike up at one point, and was screaming so ferociously down on the other side that I lost a contact lens and had to go the rest of the way one-eyed.

The only restaurant I recall was a hole-in-the-wall Greek place near our hotel - we stopped in for a quick bite and the stuffed grape leaves were amazing, think we went back three times just for them -

No shit!

“Equinoxe” Le Vieux Pin, Okanagan, BC - One righteous Syrah

We played Silvertip and Kananaskis the other time I went to Banff. Both great in their own ways - Silvertip kind of almost exaggeratedly scenic (sort of like playing Princeville, if you’ve played there - holes are great individually, but overall it’s kind of too much of a good thing), Kananaskis much more of a conventional but good golf course that just happens to be in a beautiful setting.

It will be me, my wife, and our 8 and 11 year olds this time, so I don’t see golf happening. But I’m sure I’ll cast some wistful glances at the courses as we pass by.


Will you be spending any time in Jasper?

Played Banff and Kananaskis in the 90s and really liked both courses.

The Jasper Park Lodge course is amazing as well. I played it twice in 2000. The views are amazing, and the course challenging, especially when an elk plays through on the green.

I played there about 15years ago. Incredible course. Love the free drops when you hit OOB due to the bears. Speaking of bears, one of the girls in our group was out for a walk around the lake one morning and a bear chased her down the path for about 5 minutes. Scared the living crap out of her.