Good food and a great view, the dream destination for foodie vacationers. It can often be difficult to find good options that offer both exquisite cuisine and scenic views. In Banff and Lake Louise, Canada, it’s common to have a fine dining experience with floor-to-ceiling windows framing gorgeous rugged views of the Rocky Mountains.
With views of Banff National Park and beautiful Lake Louise, dining has never tasted better, and never tasted better. Below are nine of the best restaurants with a view in and around Banff. Restaurants are listed in no particular order.
Note: Some information in this article was obtained through a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are my own.
1. The Vermillion room
Stroll through the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, where you’ll be transported back to a time when traveling was an elegant endeavor. Visible around Banff, the Fairmont rises from the pine forest with all the grace and beauty of a grand dame. It is a wonderful destination for a special occasion or celebration.
The Vermillion Room at the Fairmont Banff Springs is a quintessential Banff dining experience. Fix a romantic table near the window. There you can enjoy views overlooking the lawn with the rugged peaks of Banff as a backdrop. The view is eclipsed only by the exquisite cuisine.
The beef tartare is a perfect starter, served with a smoked egg yolk, black garlic aioli and toasted sourdough bread. Alternatively, roasted beets with an amazing orange ricotta and fennel jam will warm up your appetite. The selection of starters will take some time to peruse – the perfect opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine. Alberta braised beef ribs are melt-in-your-mouth and mushroom gnocchi are delicious. Leave room for coffee and dessert – like the delicious creme brulee – to top off a relaxing culinary event.
Pro tip: Another amazing restaurant at the Fairmont is their 1888 Chop House.
2. Fairview Bar and Restaurant
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known for its elegant appointments and exemplary service, a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a treat.
Their Fairview Bar and Restaurant is one of the best places to enjoy stunning views of Lake Louise. Whether you’re visiting for dinner or stopping in for a grown-up drink, the Fairview is a must-do on your Lake Louise itinerary. Expertly crafted regional cuisine will entertain all your senses and stimulate your gastronomic exploration.
Appetizers like mushroom au gratin with parmesan served with creminis, garlic butter and baguette; and the albacore tuna crudo with pomegranate seeds and jalapenos are delicious decisions to start your culinary journey. Go ahead with the Burnt Cedar Planked Sockeye Salmon or Buffalo Rib Eye to complete your steakhouse-style gourmet cravings. The extensive wine list will provide options for the perfect bottle to complement your elegant dinner.
Pro tip: Short-notice reservations can be difficult to obtain. If you don’t have the opportunity to dine, do not hesitate to have a drink at the bar.
3. Maclab Bistro
In the heart of the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity is the charming Maclab Bistro restaurant. The bistro’s modern style with floor-to-ceiling glass walls brings the outdoors next to the table, or you can opt for alfresco dining with stunning views of the patio. The simplicity of the bistro decor allows the decor to capture and hold your attention.
The house specialty is the Cobb salad, a huge plate of fresh greens topped with avocado, goat cheese, chicken, hard-boiled eggs and other assorted goodies – delicious comfort food. The Classic Maclab Burger is a local favorite – stacked with bacon, mushrooms, onion marmalade, cheddar cheese and other burger staples. You can understand the appeal of the burger.
A Banff resident said, “Maclab Bistro is just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Banff village, but it’s only a short walk away — it’s our favorite getaway restaurant.
Pro tip: Maclab Bistro is the perfect stop if you’ve just finished hiking the nearby Tunnel Mountain Trail.
4. The Terrazza
Italian cuisine is always a crowd pleaser and La Terrazza is the best place in Banff to experience Italian cuisine in a unique greenhouse-inspired dining room. Located in the Banff Park Lodge in downtown Banff, La Terrazza’s lush tropical garden ambience sets the tone for a sumptuous dining experience. Views through large windows and ceiling glass provide diners with beautiful views inside and out.
Start with the lobster bisque served with savory basil whipped cream or the steamed mussels with ‘nduja marinara sauce and garlic bread. Follow your appetizer with La Terrazza’s signature dish, Rosellini. It’s a gorgeous rose plate of ham and cheese stuffed pasta swimming in a light tomato sauce. It’s perfection on a plate!
Pro tip: BPL-52 is a potent and delicious specialty dessert cocktail. Made up of Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, Tia Maria and Hennessey VS Cognac, the sweet adult treat ends with a liqueur-infused crema. It’s a dessert in a glass.
5. Sky Bistro
Ride the Banff Gondola to the summit of Sulfur Mountain for panoramic views of mountaintop dining. Sky Bistro’s patio is perfect for enjoying a brew and a bite to eat while enjoying the beautiful panoramic views. The option to dine indoors or on the patio makes Sky Bistro accessible whatever the weather. Carefully selected, locally sourced and expertly crafted cuisine awaits your arrival.
Lunch with Nordic flavors could include the spicy elk bolognese served with local bucatini or the cold smoked salmon open sandwich. For dinner, start with oka, a deep-fried Canadian cheese served with red currant chutney. Follow that with Alberta braised ribs served with charred broccolini and cooked corn polenta – a hearty meal to fuel your hiking plans.
Pro tip: You need a separate ticket to take the Banff Gondola to Sky Bistro.
6. Whitehorn Bistro
Enjoy a gondola ride to the top of Lake Louise Ski Resort for spectacular views. At the top of the mountain, dine at the Whitehorn Bistro. This lunch spot is the perfect place to share a Swiss classic – cheese fondue – with your best friend. In the purest alpine tradition, the fondue is served with fingerling potatoes, artisan breads, pickles, pearl onions and assorted accompaniments.
Pro tip: Check website for seasonal hours. It is open for a while during the short summer months.
7. Juniper Bistro
Perched atop a hill at the Juniper Hotel, just outside the center of Banff, Juniper Bistro offers beautiful mountain views while you dine. The brunch menu is small but mighty, perfect to fuel you for a day of exploring Banff National Park.
Smashed avocado toast, with the unique addition of charred corn and goat cheese, accompanies a poached egg, all playing well together on a delicious sourdough toast.
Juniper Bistro is also open for dinner and offers delicious dishes like their Beet Burger made with organic beets and classic burger toppings. If you ask, “Where’s the beef?” Discover the Juniper Burger made with Alberta beef and smoked cheddar cheese.
Pro tip: The Juniper Hotel is a fairly long roadside walk from the village of Banff. This is one place you’ll want to splurge on a taxi from Banff.
The luxurious Eden Restaurant, located in the Rimrock Resort Hotel, offers diners stunning mountain views and multi-course tasting menus. The option of a three- or eight-course menu – and a vegetarian option – is even better with the addition of expert wine pairing. When you sit down and let the chef control your meal and the sommelier control your wine, you expand your culinary adventure by dining outside of your comfort zone. It can be surprising and instructive to test someone else’s choices.
Eight-course tasting menus include chef’s specialties like sour cherries, spring pea ravioli, smoked elk tartare, seared scallop, dry-aged duck, wagyu strip, cheesecake with brie and end with a chocolate marvel.
Pro tip: Diners will explore the taste of the Canadian Rockies and expand their culinary repertoire while enjoying the majestic scenery.
9. The Cliff House Bistro
Cliff House Bistro at the top of Mount Norquay is a fun spot for a casual lunch. The Cliff House offers magnificent views of Banff and the surrounding mountain peaks. Accessible by the North American tourist chairlift, you will be seduced by the enchanting decor.
Enjoy a salad or a sandwich with a local beer while you relax and take in the wonderful views. It’s one of those places where you make fun memories.
Pro tip: Visit Jolene’s Tea House in Banff Village after sipping your favorite brew atop Mount Norquay.
Explore Banff and Lake Louise
Foodies will love Banff National Park and all the wonderful culinary options available. When you combine great food with gorgeous, over-the-top views, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Dining in Banff should never be boring. With restaurants ranging from bistro to fine dining, you’ll find something for your budget in a place where you can breathe in the fresh Bow Valley mountain air and fall in love with the scenery.
Pro tip: Other restaurants in the Banff area that I think are worth visiting include: Nourish Bistro on Bear Street, The Maple Leaf on Banff Ave, Tooloulous on Caribou Street, Block Kitchen and Wine Bar for great poutine, and Park Distillery Restaurant and Bar for some great Canadian cuisine on Banff Ave.
Visit the Banff and Lake Louise Visitor Center; the best place to find last minute information about the region.
Discover the beautiful Calgary landscape that surrounds Banff: