The Bison

211 Bear Street # 213, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Best known by locals for its stunning views of the Canadian Rockies (nab a seat by the giant windows to make other diners jealous!), the Bison’s best-kept secret is its addictive dinner and Sunday brunch menus. Chefs Liz and Kirk are geniuses at creating special dishes that show off the region’s bounty, like bison carpaccio, venison striploin with maple parsnip purée, and a bison breakfast sandwich with bison sausage, fried egg, and foie gras butter. Ask the servers for help pairing the perfect regional beer or national wine with your order—they know their stuff.

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Canadian Comfort Food Goes Luxury

It’s rare that a restaurant can accommodate hikers, businessmen, and couples on a date all at the same time, but downtown Banff’s Bison manages to do just that. Its comfortable dining room with a large open kitchen looks out over a quiet side street in Banff, mountains soaring overhead. Everything is locally sourced from Alberta and British Columbia, and the menu reflects the diversity of Canadian food. Butter buns come straight from the oven to the table, served in a mini pan. The generously sized beet salad and peach salad arrive perfectly dressed with simple dressings that let the ingredients shine. The bison ravioli and scallops made for an innovative surf-and-turf appetizer, the gamy texture of the bison pairing well with the flawlessly cooked scallops. Bison shines in the main courses—not surprisingly, given the restaurant’s name. Bison short ribs, an entrée that has been on the menu since the restaurant opened, fall off the bone into the cast iron skillet they’re served in. A bison rib eye came with a pot of scalloped potatoes which rivaled those on my grandmother’s holiday dinner table. If you still have room for dessert at the end, the slice of birthday cake that is sometimes on the menu will make the evening feel like a celebration. The wine list is full of bottles from the Okanagan Valley and everything is served with a smile to make a just about ideal evening. [Travel courtesy of Travel Alberta]

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