If you’re reading this, you’re probably planning or thinking about planning a trip to Alberta, Canada and are wondering where the best places are to eat in Banff. Well, everyone has different tastes, but I can guarantee you won’t be at any shortage for amazing cuisine while you’re there. No matter your food preferences, there’s something for everyone.
The trick, though, is eating on a budget.
Budgeting for the Best Places to Eat in Banff
The truth is, Banff can be as expensive as you want it to be. You can stay at the swankiest chateaus and eat at the highest end restaurants. OR, you can do like my husband and I did and explore some more reasonable joints. While Banff can get expensive, it can also be a really reasonable trip if you plan correctly.
Where you eat can either make or break the bank on your trip to Canada, but you don’t want to skimp out on the dining experience while you’re there either. The good news is, you don’t have to choose. There are some really great places (most of them where the locals eat) that are both delicious and budget friendly.
The Best Places to Eat in Banff, Alberta
Alberta Wing Shack
Alberta Wing Shack is my number 1 recommendation without a doubt…and I’m not typically a fan of wings! Victor and I discovered it on our first trip to Banff when we asked one of the locals helping us at the gear rental shop for recommendations for cheap eats. We proceeded to eat Alberta Wing Shack wings and fries for the next two or three nights straight, and it was one of our first stops on our second trip to Banff this past December.
Alberta Wing Shack looks like a hole in the wall and is in the industrial area of town, so when you think you’ve made a wrong turn, don’t worry, you’re probably headed in the right direction.
The service is unmatched. One of the employees even gave us a map and charted out a scenic drive for us! And the wings are out of this world! My personal favorite are the teriyaki wings, but I have heard nothing but good things about all the flavors. I would also recommend ordering the potato wedge fries. Hands down my favorite fries ever. I mean ever, ever.
If you’re like Victor and me, you won’t be able to go just once.
Eddie Burger Bar
The Eddie Burger Bar is another must-eat joint in Banff. Located in the heart of downtown, Eddie Burger Bar serves the best burgers and shakes in town. They have lots of fun burger options as well as a build-you-own option. Their fries and salads are delicious, too. And be sure to order a milkshake while you’re there! Even if it’s freezing cold outside, the milkshake is worth it. Victor and I shared an Oreo milkshake and it was to die for.
One of my favorite parts of Eddie Burger Bar was the atmosphere. It’s a small shop with a welcoming, warm atmosphere. The service was excellent and the space clean. The place was full but somehow didn’t feel overcrowded, and we enjoyed are corner seat with a view of the streets.
I highly recommend going to Eddie Burger Bar for lunch one day if you don’t want to wait a long time. They stay busy even during the day, but at night, you’ll definitely be fighting crowds. If you do decide to go for dinner, though, it’ll certainly be worth the wait!
Mountain Restaurant at Lake Louise
Another great stop is Mountain Restaurant at Lake Louise. This restaurant has all the best views and a great environment without the sky high prices of the restaurants in the Chateau at the lake. The menu has a wide variety of options, and everything I’ve had there is delicious. This is another spot that Victor and I visited on our first trip to Banff and made a point to eat at again on our second trip.
I definitely would recommend trying out their vegetable soup, especially on a cold day. The last time Victor and I ate there, we shared a pizza, and it was fantastic, perfect for sharing. Their steak is also really good as are their burgers (though I would save eating a burger for Eddie Burger Bar personally!). They also have some Asian inspired dishes on their menu. Victor nor I have tried any of the Asian dishes, but if it’s anything like the rest of their food, it’s bound to be good.
The best part about Mountain Restaurant, though, is the view. While you’re not directly on Lake Louise, you get a stunning picturesque view of the moments from a little bit of a distance so you can really appreciate the beauty of the range. On top of that, the restaurant is never overcrowded. You’ll get to enjoy a meal with some peace and quiet away from the other tourists who tend to book their meals at the Chateau. Be sure to ask for a table by the window for the best views in the house.
The Old Spaghetti Factory
The Old Spaghetti Factory is a great Italian dinner option in the town of Banff. I ordered the chicken parmesan, and Victor had the steak, and we were both very pleased with our meals. The best part about it, too, was that the meals were all inclusive, so they came with a salad, bread, a drink, and desert on top of the main dish. We already thought the prices were reasonable, so we were really happy when we found out what all came with the meals!
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The Old Spaghetti Factory is located on the second floor of one of the indoor malls in town, so it allows for a really neat view of the streets if you get a seat by the window like Victor and I did. The atmosphere of the restaurant is really nice and makes for a great romantic dinner or would be good for a group or family outing, too. The service was great, and our waiter was particularly friendly and helpful.
Magpie and Stump
Victor and I ate at Magpie and Stump on our last night in Banff on our most recent trip. While the food wasn’t quite up to par with some of the other places we ate, the atmosphere and energy of the place was a lot of fun. Magpie and Stump is a Tex-Mex style restaurant with lots of menu options. The chips and guac were great, though don’t expect traditional authentic style chips. All of the food definitely takes on more of a southwestern flare. I ordered the enchiladas and, while I enjoyed them, would probably go for a different dish next time. Victor had the tacos and said he would go for a different option next time, too. Based on reviews, it seems the burritos are a popular menu item as are the quesadillas. Next time we go, I’ll be asking the waiter for his/her recommendation, as well.
The biggest appeal of Magpie and Stump, though, isn’t the food. It’s the atmosphere. It’s got a sports bar vibe and is always loaded with people with plenty more on a waiting list. It’s a great spot to go and catch a hockey game if you can’t make it to a live one while you’re in Canada. But if you’re like Victor and me, you probably won’t want to hang out a Magpie and Stump too late into the evening as things can get a little rowdier than your typical nice family restaurant. But for lunch or early evening dinner it’s a great spot with a fun atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else in Banff. In the summer, they also have patio seating that adds even more to the awesome atmosphere.
Victor and I ate Tim Hortons for breakfast every day in Banff and even double dipped some days for an afternoon pick-me-up of coffee and donuts. Tim Hortons is the Starbucks of Canada but with more reasonable prices and a wider selection of options, probably more comparable to a Dunkin’ Donuts. The Tim Hortons in Banff is located just outside the center of downtown and gives some of the best mountain views you’ll be able to find. They have great breakfast sandwiches, donuts, and bagels as well as delicious coffee choices. I also really enjoy their hot chocolate for an afternoon warmup in the winter. Tim Hortons is by far mine and Victor’s favorite spot in Banff to hang out and get geared up for the day or refreshed after a full day of activities.
Other Cheap Eats
On top of the local joints, it’s also good to know that there’s a Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Subway all right in the middle of Banff. So, if you’re looking for something you’re familiar with, something quick to eat on the go, don’t hesitate to swing in one of these places. There are also a couple of good grocery stores around town that are worth popping in to stock up on snacks. On top of that, be sure to check out some of the countless little coffee shops and desert shops around town. You won’t want to leave without trying some delicious beaver tail (a funnel-cake type desert covered in chocolate, caramel, you name it!). There’s lots of places to pick one up around town, so you won’t be at any shortage for sweets!
Know of other good places to eat at in Banff that won’t break the bank? Leave us a comment!