After sleeping off our escapades from earlier that day, we went for supper at the Grizzly House on Banff Ave. We didn’t book reservations even though they recommended it, as we were there at 7:30pm. I would highly suggest getting reservations if you’re planning on dining during peak supper hours (between six and seven) or if you’re in Banff during their peak season weekends.
The Grizzly House is a place that definitely appeals to certain types of people. It’s a fun, rowdy restaurant that is what it is and doesn’t care what you think – since 1967. Unique and memorable, I would recommend everyone to try it once. We spoke with a couple there who come to Banff just to dine at the Grizzly House; they love the atmosphere.
The restaurant has many sections available to sit, some of which are private. The back is the darkest. There is a phone at each table and on the back of each placemat are phone numbers to the other phones so you can call around and talk to other people in the restaurant. You don’t know who’s calling and they don’t know you, but you can have a conversation with someone new while waiting for your next course of fondue. We never had to wait long though, because the service was efficient. The waiters are similar to the restaurant: they are who they are and you’re going to have a good time here.
There are tons of food options on the menu: appetizers, individual fondue, complete fondue, steaks, and side orders. I probably wouldn’t recommend this place to vegans, as they have little in the way of non-animal product food, with mostly cheese or meat dishes. But for meat lovers, this is the place to be. They have a fondue where you can sample a wide variety of exotic meats, which is the dish I tried as my main.
Derek and I decided to spring for the four course fondue because why not? Starting with a soup or salad, then moving on to a cheese and bread fondue or a veggie and broth fondue, it is similar to other fondue restaurants. The cheese fondue was delicious. The waiter scraped the bottom of burnt fondue pot for us after as he bragged this was the best part to eat. He was right: gooey, cheesy goodness.
For the main course, each person chooses their own and can pick between a hot stone plate and an oil fondue. Our waiter recommended the hot stone, which really brought out the flavours in the dishes we chose. As I mentioned, I chose the Exotic Fondue Dinner, and Derek went with the Hunter. I sampled bits of shark, alligator, rattlesnake, ostrich, frog legs, buffalo, and venison, most of which I had not had before. Derek’s plate had buffalo, wild boar, and venison. My favourite was the alligator, surprisingly. They were all rather unique, and definitely better than main stream meat. The shark had a fish like texture but was tastier and meatier, and the frog legs tasted like chicken. The buffalo and venison of course was sumptuous. The sauces they offered were unnecessary for flavouring the already flavourful meat, but they were an excellent pairing all the same. Derek really enjoyed trying the wild boar, which is like pork, but better. Many people say venison is too gamey, but we both have a taste for it.
For dessert, everyone receives a chocolate fondue from a melted Toblerone chocolate bar and a variety of fresh fruit for dipping. Out of all the chocolate fondues we’ve had, we found the Toblerone is the best. It is far better than using fondue chocolate; I will be using it at one of my own home fondue sessions in the future.
My overall experience of the restaurant was fantastic. I was glad we tried it and I would urge everyone to try it if they’re looking to treat themselves in Banff. After dinner, I loved walking Banff Ave at night. The streets are quiet and the mountains can be seen on clear nights. The air is fresh and aids in a good nights’ rest.