The countdown to New Year’s Eve is on, and in my opinion, Alberta’s vibrant cities and quaint mountain towns offer some of the hottest spots for celebrating 2017. As many of our resolutions will include healthy eating, I say let’s close out 2016 with an astronomical gastronomic adventure. Start planning by priming your taste buds with this foodie’s favourite haunts.
A flawless feast
Discover farm-to-fork fine dining amidst a scenic wonderland at Calgary’s Bow Valley Ranche, in Fish Creek Provincial Park. Located in a beautifully restored historic ranch house, this landmark restaurant serves up classic cocktails and creative cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. The special five-course New Year’s Eve menu, reasonably priced at $79 per person, offers a choice of four entrees, and three starters, appetizers and desserts. Highlights, include rabbit ravioli with sautéed mushrooms, Sungold Farms braised lamb shank, and a seasonal crème brûlée.
After-party: Ring in 2017 at The Smith Restaurant and Bar in south Calgary. Live music care of Metro Beat and signature craft cocktails are the perfect start for a memorable new year. Tickets, priced from $15 per person, are selling quickly, so be sure to reserve yours in advance.
A skyline supper
At Sky 360, Calgary’s dazzling cityscape provides the ultimate backdrop for toasting 2017. Soaring 155 m (508 ft) above downtown, the Calgary Tower’s revolving restaurant boasts breathtaking panoramas of the city’s glittering lights. Indulge in your choice of starter, appetizer, main course and dessert from the pre-set four-course menu. Before – or after – dining on delectable dishes, like jumbo prawn and lobster ravioli, sous-vide beef tenderloin, and milk chocolate pâté, head one floor up and drink in the view. The tower’s observation deck is open until 9:00 pm and elevation is complimentary, with the $85 per person dining experience.
After-party: Swing by Last Best Brewing & Distilling for craft beer and hand crafted cocktails. NYE 2017 will be in full swing with a DJ, dance floor and complimentary champagne at midnight.
Contemporary Canadian cuisine
Culinary magic awaits you at the Hardware Grill in downtown Edmonton’s historic East Jasper district. Since first opening its doors 20 years ago in the beautifully refurbished Goodridge Block, this fine dining restaurant has captivated guests with its contemporary Canadian cuisine. Fan favourites include crispy pork belly, hand rolled butternut squash and mascarpone tortellini, and porcini-crusted sea bass with lobster-truffle potato crepes. Chef Larry Stewart is still putting the final touches on the multi-course New Year’s Eve menus, priced from $125 per person.
After-party: Dance away those extra calories at CRAFT Beer Market’s Best of 2016 New Year’s Eve extravaganza. Space is limited, so reserve your tickets soon.
Kitchen party kick-off
Experience rustic, French Canadian style cuisine at Chartier’s in Beaumont, just thirty minutes south of Edmonton. The Globe and Mail recently recognized this cozy brasserie, which opened in 2015, as one of Alberta’s top restaurants. For New Year’s Eve, owners Sylvia and Darren Cheverie are throwing the ultimate kitchen party. Throughout the five-hour affair, priced at $150 per person, revellers will graze on bite-sized versions of Chartier’s signature dishes – think smoked meat, tourtière and poutine. And with live music from Les Bûcherons and champagne at midnight, there’s no need to seek out an after-party.
Elegant mountain meal
In Banff National Park, the Maple Leaf restaurant on Banff Avenue pays tribute to Canadian culture, cuisine and wine. Expect an elegant and intimate chalet like setting and an inventive menu featuring local and in-season ingredients. Chef Sal Polizzi has outdone himself with the New Year’s five-course menu, which offers a variety of selections that promise to please every palette. Highlights include roast beet carpaccio with honey whipped goat cheese, ravioli of veal cheek and bone marrow and caramelized white chocolate pudding.
After-party: The Fairmont Banff Springs is throwing an epic New Year’s Eve Gala priced at $149 per person. Dress to impress, as the party will be an elaborate affair with live music, a host bar and midnight buffet.
A wild night
Party in Jasper National Park surrounded by pristine wilderness at The Moose’s Nook in The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Best known for its beautiful presentation of wild game, organic meats and local seafood, this classic chophouse offers a sophisticated alpine setting to enjoy its excellent cuisine. With live music from the Flextime Trio and the choice of an à la carte, or plated five-course menu, New Year’s Eve will a night to remember. After dinner, wander over to the bash at the Beauvert and dance the year away.