Balkan – Greek Restaurant in Banff

It’s been years since we’ve gone back to our favourite Greek Restaurant and it just happens to be in Banff, AB! It’s really nice as they have renovated the space to make it quite inviting – yet warm and intimate. It’s pretty neat, when you first get up the stairs, you’re greeted by beautiful piece of what appears to be a Greek imitation of their art on Ivory.

We came to this restaurant after watching the Santa Claus Parade that was held in Banff. It was quite spectacular as it was a night parade – which you normally don’t see. So, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to return here. This particular even, they were really packed as there were large families and parties going on – but we managed to make a reservation – so the food and service was still really good.

For drinks, I ordered a Virgin Pina Colada as it’s my favourite girly drink. It was really good and not too sweet, as some other places make it extra sweet – or there’s just no alcohol to make it bitter. We also had a bottle of Mythos which is Greek beer and it’s quite light and crisp.

For starters, they give you some nice fresh buns with Balsamic Olive Oil Bread Dip which is really nice! They do use a really nice Greek Olive Oil for this and it’s perfect for this application!

I ordered something I don’t normally, but for some reason, it really stuck in my mind that it was what I was going to get… so, I got it. I ordered the Arni Psito which was roasted lamb. The lamb was fork tender and it fell off the bone as I started eating at my dish. It was so good, I pretty much ate the entire plate before realizing we said we’d switch half-way to experience each others dishes.

The other dish we ordered was Greek Ribs and they were tender as well, lots of flavour and soft. It wasn’t fall of the bone ribs that are tender and juicy, but it sure is a different style.

Then, as stuffed as we were, we knew we wanted dessert from the moment we made a reservation to Balkans. We always order the Galactobouriko which is an amazing dessert that is really light, and not really sweet, warm, custardy with crispy phyllo pastry! To top it off, it’s topped with a decadent honey syrup and cinnamon.

Balkan The Greek Restaurant

120 Banff Avenue
Banff, AB
(403) 762-3454

Melati – London, England

While we were in London, we wanted to try some Malaysian/Indonesian Cuisine, and my brother-in-law recommended Melati on Peter Street in Soho, London. He’s got excellent taste for tasty food, and this location was no exception!

We walked into the restaurant, which looked quite big and was quickly greeted and seated. It was interesting, as one of the workers there started talking to us in Cantonese, and it was actually kind of strange he did that. Regardless, the hospitality in this restaurant was really hospitable.

This was a lighter dinner as we ate not long before this, and we were going to go for other snacks after this meal as well, so we just got enough to sample the goodies. I ordered a Lychee juice and my husband has a Sugar Cane Drink and both the drinks tasted delicious and was really refreshing – especially when used to cut some heat!

The most memorable dish for me was the Sambal Soton which was squid in Sambal sauce, which really means a chili based sauce. The squid was tender and soft but the sauce made it memorable. To my surprise, it wasn’t super spicy as the sambal sauce would make me think. It was sweet and spicy which was just what I was looking for, as we had some other dishes that was super spicy.

One of the super spicy dishes that we enjoyed was Kachang Panjan Belachan which was Malaysian long beans with dried shrimp paste, garlic and other spices. Belachan means shrimp paste, which is a common ingredient in Asian cooking – even the Chinese use and like it. It’s got a very distinctive smell and taste, which of course is an acquired taste like most other Chinese goodies! Most of the time, this isn’t this spicy, but the choice of chili’s and spices used by Melati made it the spiciest dish we enjoyed for the evening! The balance of flavours made this long bean dish really made this dish very enjoyable.

We often have a chicken dish, and for this meal, Kam Heong Ayam cooked with the chicken off the bone was what we ordered. The chicken is cooked in a mild Malaysian spiced dried shrimp sauce and this tasty dish is often enjoyed in Chinese and Malaysian cuisine. With the sauce over the chicken, I ate a lot of this dish with coconut rice. It really satisfied my belly.

The last dish we ordered would be Kari Kambing, which is your traditional lamb curry with potatoes. The lamb was cut into slices and was cooked to perfection – tender and juicy without to much “lamb” taste. The potatoes soaked up the delicious curry sauce flavour, and this was a very filling dish with rice, but well worth it!

There was no room for dessert this evening, as my sister was going to make us some scones with clotted cream for dessert! 🙂

Everything about the food at Melati was so good I would highly recommend this location to anyone who’s craving a bit of flavour in their lives! Bold flavour on top of a bed of rice – you can’t go wrong! We went for both coconut rice and jasmine rice and they both taste so good with all the flavours of Malaysia and Indonesia. The concept of this restaurant was well thought out, and the quality of food will please anyone!


30-31 Peter St
(020) 7437 2011

Colonial Fusion Cuisine – Calgary, Alberta

We drove by Quarry Park randomly and saw Colonial Fusion Cuisine and immediately we knew it was a location we wanted to try. We were excited about fusion restaurants as we always hear about them, yet we never go in to try. The fusion was a mix between Vietnamese plus Thai and some French, which is kind of awkward if you think about it – but they seem to make it work with subtle modifications to traditional Vietnamese recipes for most items on the menu.

We started the evening with Mango Salad Rolls which takes a spin off your regular Vietnamese Salad rolls, as the rice papers are stuffed with mango, prawns, vermicelli, vegetables and herbs. It also comes with a coconut hoisin sauce to dip. This starter is really different as you do taste the mango, but it is a delicious combination of mangoes into the traditional rolls. I actually didn’t taste any coconut in the dipping sauce, so the coconut taste was really subtle against the mango. It is really light and refreshing appetizer.

For the main course, I ordered Caramelized Salmon – salmon with fish sauce and jalapenos, severed with rice and vegetables. The salmon was cooked perfectly, and it tasted so good, I ended up just eating the entire piece of salmon! 🙂 It had the perfect amount of heat and sweetness what was really special!! Great flavours, and great dish altogether!

We ordered the Mahogany Quail which is quail glazed in honey, garlic, onions, coconut juice and served with coconut rice. This dish was quite far from ordinary, which was really special! the quail was chopped into quarters, and smothered in their honey garlic sauce, with sauteed onions! This dish, you definitely had to eat with your hands, and the waitress realized that and brought us a bowl of water, with a beautiful flower floating in the bowl for us to wash our hands. The rice and the sauce that was eaten afterwards went in perfect harmony as well!! In more traditional Vietnamese locations, the quail would just be deep-fried so it’s crispy. Their spin here was the sauce which was really delicious!

Curry Stir-Fry with Chicken and vegetables served with rice was the last entree that we had, and it was really flavourful. The bowl of curry was really large, and it wasn’t filled with all sauce. It almost seemed like the pile of rice was too small for the amount of curry that was given! The chicken was tender and juicy, and had great flavours of curry, and a hint of ginger.

We ended our night with Iced Coffee which was really different than the traditional iced coffee. In my optional, in this case, I prefer the normal iced coffee. This glass was filled with ice, and it didn’t have sweet condensed milk, which is what I like!

We ordered dessert, a Mango Creme brulee which was your typical creme brulee, but with mango puree. I can’t say that I would get this dessert again, as it wasn’t a nice brulee texture. It wasn’t smooth, creamy and thick. It was like a pudding with a sugar topping, instead of a custard. They probably put too much milk or cream in, but it tasted a lot like mangoes! 🙂

Overall, this is a very fancy Vietnamese restaurant, and the seating, ambiance and quality of food was really good. The price tag to the dishes seemed a little high for what it is, but we had a wonderful experience. In actuality, I’m undecided if I will return! Go figure…

Colonial Fusion Cuisine

163 Quarry Park Blvd. SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 723-6669

Chez Francois – Canmore, Alberta

We made it to Chez Francois one long weekend evening, and it turned out to be a fantastic place to eat!! We sat down, pretty late, and no one gave us any problems for coming in an hour and some before closing!

They started our evening with an awesome greeting from their friendly staff, and gave us some bread with duck pate. The bread was really fresh, and the pate was really tasty, smooth, and creamy! It was quite delicious.

We started off with FeuilletĂ© d’Escargots which were escargots in puff pastry with a creamy herbs & garlic sauce, and it was really wonderful!! It’s been awhile since I had great escargot, and Chez Francois prepares it to perfection!

For the main, I enjoyed the Saumon Colbert which was poached salmon topped with shrimp and scallop mousse glazed with a Hollandaise sauce.

We also ordered the Poulet au Vinaigre de Framboise grain fed chicken breast light creamy raspberry vinegar sauce

With such a wonderful experience, we definitely will be returning, as we didn’t order a dessert since it was getting quite late. The best thing about Chez Francois, it’s opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We’ll find another opportunity to return again!

Chez Francois

1602 Bow Valley Trail
Canmore, AB
(403) 678-6111

Giorgio’s Trattoria – Banff, Alberta

Giorgio’s is a really good location for Italian cuisine in Banff, AB. It is located right on Main Street, which makes it really convenient if you’re just walking up and down the street trying to find something really good at a reasonable price. Sure, I haven’t been there for awhile now, but I remember my dinner well — so it was really a positive experience that is memorable.

I love shrimp and I ordered the Seafood Linguine, and as you can tell, it’s quite large in portion as I’ve eaten some before the picture was taken. The shrimp wasn’t bad at all, but it’s not the best either! You can see it as they do camouflage with the tomato sauce!

Very memorable, we had the braised rabbit, which doesn’t seem like they have that item anymore. It was really soft, tender, fall of the bone and juicy!! It was something I would have had again, but now we’ll try to find braised rabbit at other locations.

Giorgio’s Trattoria
219 Banff Avnue
Banff, AB