A tempting selection of the best restaurants in Canmore
As I turned down the lane to Mount Engadine Lodge, I got an immediate sense of its character. It was a quaint wooden cabin, where shoes were taken off at the porch and the beckoning smell of a log fire emanated from the chimney. At first glance, I immediately felt at home.
But I wasn’t there to stay. Though the lodge provides snug accommodation for backcountry ramblers in the Kananaskis Country, I was here for the food.
Mount Engadine opens daily from 2 to 5 pm for afternoon tea; a mouthwatering charcuterie board followed with classic Canadian pastries. This offering has become increasingly popular since the lodge came under new management in January, says manager Eric Lekun.
I had a look around while my charcuterie board was being prepared. The interior is homey, with cozy couches, bookcases and antique ski poles mounted on the walls. Staff members wear red plaid shirts and stoke fires while chatting with guests, who eat together in a communal dining space.
The feel of the place enthralled me, but then the platter arrived I was distracted by coppa ham, charcuterie salami and smoked bison from Canmore’s Valbella Gourmet Foods. The meats had delicate peppery flavours that paired perfectly with the brie, cheddar and gorgonzola blue cheese.
In the centre of the log board was a bowl of Kalamata olives. Usually not a fan of olives, I approached these with caution, but they tasted sweet and were surprisingly addictive.
While I ate, Eric told me about the genius behind the food. Local skier-turned-chef Gerard Garnier has a flair for dishes inspired by home cooking. He often uses family recipes passed on from staff, including the recipe for the light, sugary shortbread I sampled after the charcuterie. It accompanied a tasty turtle bar made with caramel, chocolate and pecans on a cookie base.
Full as I was from the afternoon tea, Eric’s description of Mount Engadine’s evening menu had my thoughts turning to dinner. The lodge serves intimate evening meals that are open to the public from 7 pm each night. Bookings should be made 24 hours in advance and there is no set menu. Just like family meals at home, you’ll be served the chef’s choice of tender-cooked meats with assorted vegetables. Eat at family-style communal dinner tables and relax with a drink by the fire.
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