Visitors worldwide flock to Banff and the neighboring emerald waters of Lake Louise. With an abundance of hiking trails, river excursions, and ski resorts nearby, it’s an adventurer’s dream. Couple that with 360-degree views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, and it’s no wonder Banff garners international attention.
While relatively small, this resort town feels very cosmopolitan thanks to its abundance of world-class eateries. This town’s compact size makes it easy to try a variety of options, even if you’re just passing through Banff for a day or two.
Banff Watering Holes
Banff’s pub and bar scene includes a mix of spots where visitors and locals alike congregate. For great daily specials, swing by the Rose & Crown. The Elk & Oarsman, with its signature stone fireplace, is another local favorite and has a great happy hour menu that includes food and drinks. In Lake Louise, visit The Outpost Pub in the Post Hotel and enjoy an upscale English pub experience.
Some fantastic breweries and distilleries serve up fantastic food alongside their brews, too. 3 Bears Brewery and Restaurant has the best pizza in Banff and uses a reverse ice water ferment for their dough, creating a flavorful, textured crust. For a locally-sourced campfire-inspired menu, try Park Distillery; it’s also an excellent place for a night out in Banff.
Mouthwatering International Options at Banff Restaurants
As a haven for international travelers, Banff offers many restaurants that appeal to various tastes.
When you’re craving sushi or Japanese-inspired dishes, check out Hello Sunshine for some retro sushi, Japanese BBQ, and karaoke. Or pop in at Shoku Izakaya—Banff’s first izakaya (Japanese for ‘bar’)—known for its authentic Japanese fare.
Do you want something spicy? Head to Magpie & Stump’s El Patio, a small but bustling Mexican establishment that’s warm and rustic. If you desire a more decadent escape after a long day on the slopes, try the Waldhaus Restaurant. Its Bavarian menu focuses on schnitzel and fondue. It’s located in the historic Banff Springs Hotel, just above the Bow and Spray rivers.
Support Local Producers with Farm-to-Table and Sustainable Choices
The province of Alberta is famous for its excellent beef and rugged farming culture. Banff benefits from its proximity to some of the province’s best artisans and farmers, with many supporting local producers.
The Grizzly House’s eclectic menu is designed for sharing with “fabulous fondues” and 14 varieties of hot rock, which include plenty of local game options. If you’re into meat, steak lovers absolutely must reserve a seat at Chuck’s Steakhouse. They serve only the finest Alberta dry-aged beef in a casually elegant atmosphere.
Then there’s Ticino Swiss-Italian Restaurant, one of the oldest restaurants in Banff and locally-owned. They source nearly all products from regional producers—including local beef and elk farmers—and you can read a list of their partners online before your visit.
The best breakfast restaurant in nearby Lake Louise is the Poppy Brasserie at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Enjoy locally-sourced honey and fruit alongside many classic breakfast staples. And if meat-free is your everyday diet, the quirky and intimate Nourish Bistro is the perfect option. They, too, emphasize local ingredients—even in their inventive cocktails—and are a great choice when you’re exploring Banff sustainably.
Banff Restaurants with Picture-Perfect Views
People visit Banff for its natural beauty. The restaurants in Banff National Park lean into the majesty of nature by putting it on full display in their dining areas. Soak in the mountain vistas by visiting a few notable restaurants strategically located near the rivers or on the mountain.
For the hands-down most breathtaking view, make a reservation at Sky Bistro. Not only are the views incredible, but you’ll also need to take an eight-minute gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain just to get to your table. Don’t let the views take away from the meal itself. Sky Bistro works with suppliers and artisans from across Western Canada to bring you exceptional bistro offerings.
The mid-century modern appeal of the cozy Cliffhouse Bistro blends in beautifully with uninterrupted views that overlook the whole of Banff and is the perfect little lunch spot. You will need to take a chair lift to access this establishment at Mount Norquay. Still, it’s a great place to come for a light lunch while enjoying the surrounding vista (especially if you need to refuel after your morning ski session).
Make sure to put the award-winning Eden on your list of must-tries. Nestled in the Rimrock Hotel and one of Banff’s best restaurants, this luxurious fine dining experience specializes in French cuisine inspired by local ingredients. They also boast a 17,000-bottle wine cellar and multi-course menus.
Another award-winning restaurant with a view is Juniper Bistro. Its focus is on Canadian cuisine, and it sources fresh local ingredients. Juniper is also a local favorite and considered a hidden gem—and has a fantastic brunch menu.
Nearby Lake Louise also has restaurants with picture-perfect views. Enjoy on-mountain dining at Whitehorn Bistro at Lake Louise Ski Resort. It has an extensive patio for dining al fresco and a menu of local and seasonal ingredients. For a romantic experience, Fairmont’s Chateau Lake Louise’s Lakeview Lounge allows you to take in the green waters of the lake and the natural beauty of the Victoria Glacier in a sophisticated atmosphere.
Experience the Best Restaurants in Banff During Taste for Adventure
The town hosts a Taste for Adventure dining series in November, where participating restaurants prepare set meals at great prices and showcase regional ingredients. Taste for Adventure is a great way to enjoy various dishes from some of Banff’s best restaurants and makes a night out at a fancy restaurant fun and affordable for visitors and locals alike. Many establishments also offer drink pairings as an add-on option, and it’s well worth the few extra dollars.
You can find some real gems in the offerings. For example, The Bison, one of the “Top 10 Fine Dining Restaurants in Canada” by Trip Advisor, is a regular participant. Booking a reservation during Taste for Adventure will allow you to experience what people are raving about without taking a big hit to your pocketbook.
The Radiant, a unique local live performance venue/cocktail bar, also gets in on the fun and offers a special “Live Show Menu” throughout the month. For a bit of a splurge, add drink pairings to your Taste for Adventure offering at Block Kitchen + Bar, a destination known for its creative cocktails.
From food to fitness and other fun things to do, Banff has it all. Check out our Banff Travel Guide for planning and travel tips and tricks before you visit this incredible destination.