There are good on-mountain dining options at all three ski areas, those at Lake Louise are described in the separate entry.
At Mount Norquay all facilities are located within the large base lodge facing the slopes as you arrive. On the main floor you’ll find a deli and cafeteria much like any other regular ski area dinery. On the second floor is the Lone Pine Pub and Restaurant which provides a table service of hearty mountain cuisine.
There’s a bigger choice of course at larger Banff Sunshine Village where the selections run from 'quick eats' to fine dining. In the former category you can get a coffee boost and soup and snack at the Java Lift in the main building from as early as 7am. The Burger Shack, also in the main building, opens-mid morning and serves up gourmet burgers. The Creekside Bar and Grill, again in the main building, is open from breakfast to après ski with food including Tex Mex on offer. Upstairs, The Alpine Grill on the second floor has hot breakfasts and family lunches. Another floor up (third) the Lookout Lunch has great views or big screen TVs if the views aren’t good when you visit. It provides a “Lunch in the Sky" buffet and an a la carte appetizer menu.
Elsewhere on the mountain Goat's Eye Gardens by the Express Lift is a cafeteria that sometimes has an outdoor barbecue, weather permitting.
In Sunshine Mountain Lodge, the Chimney Corner restaurant provides full service breakfast, lunch or dinner and has a fireplace and outdoor terrace. The lodge’s fine dining establishment is the Eagle’s Nest Dining Room which serves nouveau cuisine.
Restaurants In Town
Banff has an excellent selection of restaurants with virtually all tastes catered for, and all budgets. Many of the dozens of establishments are located within a few hundred metre square block in the heart of the town, so you can peruse menu boards and make your choice at your leisure – that is except if you’re visiting during busy periods when the best establishments tend to get booked up and you're wise to reserve ahead. Big steaks are a key feature at many of the restaurants, although you can buy most other kinds of food, from pizza to gourmet.
With such a big selection of excellent eateries it's almost unfair on the many not mentioned to select a few, Melissa's Restaurant (218 Lynx S; +1 403 762 5511) is located in a town landmark, a 1928 log building, and serves up big Alberta steaks and the signature stew as well as salmon from just over the border in British Columbia. The wonderfully named Tooloulou’s Bistro (537 Banff Avenue; +1 403 762 2201; rundlestone.com) is located within the Rundlestone Lodge and serves up “Canadian food with Creole flair” around the large open fireplace).
If you’re looking for a particularly special gourmet meal then fine dining is offered within the Banff Springs Hotel (405 Spray Ave, +1 403 762 6860). This contains a number of good options, but the 65 seat Banffshire Club is one of the most exclusive, serving French-influenced modern Canadian cuisine. The Three Ravens Restaurant (St Julien Road; +1 403 762 6300) also has a strong reputation for its epicurean delights with fresh, local, seasonal cuisine its tour de force.
The two main supermarkets in town are Safeway (318 Marten St; +1 (403) 762 5378) and the giant deli-style Nester’s Market (122 Bear St; +1 (403) 762 3663) which has an in-store bakery, deli and loads of fresh produce and is open from 7am – midnight daily. There are also several convenience stores and half a dozen liquor stores.
There are half a dozen shops selling sweets and chocolate. Arguably the best is Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut (111 Banff Ave., + 1 (403) 762 4106; bernardcallebaut.com) where Bernard has been making exquisite chocolates for more than 26 years and shipping them around the world as well as selling them in his shop.