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The menu and daily specials at Teatro are created by one of the region's top chefs. The varied selections feature the best of the predictable and the unusual, including items like risotto of Chanterelle, butternut squash and ruby chard. The Mediterranean-inspired market cuisine is a favorite of the loyal downtown business lunch and pre-concert crowd. The decor still holds a hint of its roots; the building originally housed the old Dominion Bank. By combining the warmth of the original stone walls and wood floors with a few modern touches, a hip and elegant dining atmosphere was created.
There is no shortage of Italian restaurants in this city, but most are rather nondescript. Bonterra Trattoria is an elegant exception. The interior is beautiful with huge iron chandeliers, stonework, fresh flowers, a romantic courtyard and a charming Wine Room for private parties. The menu features fine Italian classics such as antipasti, thin-crust pizzas, pasta, risotto and entrees like osso buco, beef tenderloin and halibut. Each menu item includes wine suggestions and the wine list itself is a joy: extensive, eclectic and full of tasting notes. Bonterra is cellular-free which is another good aspect.
La Chaumière, Calgary's most prestigious French restaurant, is where the Mercedes-Benz crowd heads for power dinners and special occasions. The menu is an exotic blend of the traditional and the adventurous, such as roasted breast of pheasant or sauteed ostrich medallions. Set in brick and stone quarters, the restaurant also features a wine menu with more than 450 selections. The decor offers an elegant chateau-room feel, with meals served on fine bone china and wine in crystal glasses. Do not show up wearing jeans if you want to get past the front door.
A southwestern and California cuisine restaurant may now be a cliché, but this place was one of the first and the food is consistently wonderful. The wine list is extensive, with more than 20 wines available by the glass. The decor manages to be both casual and elegant, and the secluded patio is one of Calgary's best. This is a perfect spot for a quiet dinner.