Great food and a lovely view, an ideal destination for a foodie holiday. It can often be a challenge to find great options that offer exquisite food and panoramic views. In Canada’s Banff and Lake Louise, it’s common to have a fine dining experience with picture windows framing beautiful, rugged views of the Rocky Mountains.
With views of Banff National Park and beautiful Lake Louise, dining never tasted and looked so good. Below are nine of the best restaurants with a view in and around Banff. The restaurants are not listed in any particular order.
Note: Some information in this piece was obtained during a sponsored press tour, but all recommendations are my own.
1. The Vermillion Room
Stroll through the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, where you will be transported back in time when travel was an elegant endeavor. Visible from around Banff, the Fairmont rises from the pine forest with all the grace and beauty of a majestic parable. 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. Get a romantic table by the window. There you can enjoy a view overlooking the lawn with the rugged peaks of Banff as a backdrop. The view is only overshadowed by the exquisite food.
The beef tartare is the perfect starter, served with smoked egg yolk, black garlic aioli, and grilled sourdough bread. Alternatively, the roasted beets with amazing orange ricotta and fennel jam will whet your appetite. The entree selection will take time to explore – the perfect opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine. The braised Alberta beef short ribs melt in your mouth and the mushroom gnocchi is delightful. Leave room for coffee and dessert – such as the delicious creme brulee – to finish off a relaxing dining 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 elegant appointments and excellent service, a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a special treat.
Their Fairview Bar and Restaurant is one of the best places to experience breathtaking views of Lake Louise. Whether you’re visiting for dinner or waiting for an adult drink, Fairview is a must-see on your trip to Lake Louise. Artisan regional cuisine will entertain all your senses and excite your food exploration.
Starters include the parmesan gratin mushroom served with creminis, garlic butter, and baguette; and the albacore tuna crudo with pomegranate seeds and jalapenos are delicious choices to start your culinary journey. Move on to the cedar plank seared sockeye salmon or the bison ribeye to complete your steakhouse cravings. The extensive wine list will offer options for the perfect bottle to complement your fine dining.
Pro Tip: It can be difficult to get a reservation at short notice. If you don’t get a chance to dine, make a point of enjoying a drink at the bar.
3. Maclab Bistro
In the heart of the cultural Banff Center for Arts and Creativity is the charming restaurant, Maclab Bistro. The bistro’s modern style with floor to ceiling glass walls brings the table side outside, or you can choose to dine al fresco with stunning patio views. The simplicity of the bistro’s decor allows the views to catch and hold your attention.
The specialty of the house is the Cobb salad, a huge plate of fresh greens with avocado, goat cheese, chicken, hard-boiled egg, and various other goodies – delicious comfort food. The Classic Maclab Burger is a local favorite – piled high with bacon, mushrooms, onion marmalade, cheddar cheese, and other burger staples. You can understand the appeal of the burger.
A Banff local said, “Maclab Bistro is far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Banff Village, but it’s only a short walk away – it’s our favorite go-to restaurant.”
Pro Tip: Maclab Bistro is the perfect stop if you’ve just finished walking along the nearby Tunnel Mountain Trail.
4. La Terrazza
Italian food is always a crowd pleaser and La Terrazza is the best place in Banff to experience Italian fare in a unique greenhouse-inspired dining room. Located at Banff Park Lodge in the heart of Banff, La Terrazza’s lush tropical garden house atmosphere sets the tone for a luxurious dining experience. Views through the large windows and glass ceiling offer diners beautiful views inside and out.
Start with the lobster bisque served with flavored basil whipped cream or the steamed mussels with ‘nduja marinara sauce and garlic bread. Follow your appetite with La Terrazza’s signature dish, Rosellini. It’s a lovely plate of pasta roses stuffed with ham and cheese swimming in a light tomato sauce. It’s perfection on a plate!
Pro Tip: The BPL-52 is a specialty dessert cocktail that is strong and delicious. Featuring Godiva White Chocolate Liquor, Tia Maria, and Hennessey VS Cognac, the sweet grown-up confection is finished with a liquor infused cream. It’s dessert in a glass.
5. Sky Bistro
Take the Banff Gondola up to the top of Sulfur Mountain for a panoramic view of mountaintop dining. The Sky Bistro patio is perfect to enjoy a brew and a nose while enjoying the beautiful, panoramic views. The option of indoor or patio dining makes Sky Bistro accessible in any weather. Carefully selected, locally sourced and expertly crafted food awaits your arrival.
A lunch with a northern flavor profile might include the spicy elk bolognese with local bucatini or a cold smoked salmon open face sandwich. For dinner, start with the oka, a fried Canadian cheese with gooseberry chutney. Follow that with the Alberta braised short ribs served with charred broccolini and baked corn polenta – a hearty meal to fuel your hiking plans.
Pro Tip: You need a separate ticket to ride the Banff Gondola up to Sky Bistro.
6. Whitehorn Bistro
Enjoy a gondola ride up to the top of the Lake Louise Ski Resort to experience spectacular views. At the top of the mountain, dine at Whitehorn Bistro. This lunchtime location is the perfect place to share a Swiss classic — cheese fondue — with your bestie. In true Alpine tradition, the fondue is served with fingerling potatoes, artisanal bread, gherkins, pearl onions, and various accompaniments.
Pro Tip: Check the website for seasonal hours. It is open for a period during the short summer months.
7. Juniper Bistro
Located on top of a hill at the Juniper Hotel, just outside Banff Centre, Juniper Bistro offers beautiful mountain views while you dine. The brunch menu is small but powerful, perfect to fuel you for a day of exploring Banff National Park.
The sliced avocado toast, with the unique addition of charred corn and goat cheese, is accompanied by a poached egg, all playing well together on delicious sourdough toast.
Juniper Bistro is also open for dinner offering delectable items like their beet burger crafted with organic beets and classic burger fixings. If you ask, “Where’s the beef?” check out the Juniper Burger made with Alberta beef and smoky cheddar cheese.
Pro Tip: The Juniper Hotel is a fairly long roadside walk from Banff Village. This is one place you’ll want to splurge on a Banff taxi.
The luxurious Eden restaurant, located at the Rimrock Resort Hotel, provides diners with stunning mountain views and multi-course tasting menus. The option of a three or eight course menu – and a vegetarian option – is made even better by the addition of a specialist wine pairing. When you sit back and let the chef manage your meal and the sommelier manage your wine, you expand your culinary adventure by eating out of your comfort zone. It can be surprising and enlightening to taste-test someone else’s choices.
The grand, eight-course tasting menus include chef-driven delights such as sour cherries, spring pea ravioli, smoked elk tartare, seared scallops, dry-aged duck, wagyu strip, brie cheesecake, and ending with a chocolate wonder.
Pro Tip: Diners will explore the flavor of the Canadian Rockies and expand their culinary repertoire while enjoying the majestic views.
9. Cliffhouse Bistro
Cliffhouse Bistro at the top of Mount Norquay is a fun spot for a casual lunch. The Cliffhouse offers a wonderful view of Banff and the surrounding mountain peaks. Accessible by North American scenic chairlift, you’ll love the charming decor.
Enjoy a salad or sandwich with a local brew as you kick back and soak up the beautiful scenery. 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 great culinary options on offer. When you combine great food with gorgeous, over-the-top scenery, it’s a win-win. Dining in Banff should never be boring. With restaurants that run the gamut from bistro to fine dining, you’ll find something to fit 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 hear are worth checking out 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 Distillery Restaurant and Bar Park for some great Canadian food on Banff Ave.
Visit the Banff & Lake Louise Tourist Office; the best place to find the latest information about the area.
Check out the beautiful Calgary scenery that surrounds Banff: