Let's chat about exactly how "Eating Calgary" is set up, and what some of those strange signs and symbols mean:


You will notice that some restaurants are listed more than once. That is because we are rating either different parts of the establishment or different aspects of the food. For example, with "The Keg" we rate both the bar and the regular restaurant, while at the "Regency Palace", we judge the buffet and the regular menu meals separately. And some reviews are location specific, that is to say that we find one site is much quite different from others of the same chain. 

And remember that we always judge restaurants by what they are supposed to be. Thus a fast food establishment may receive a rating as high as a gourmet dining salon, because as a fast food restaurant is it excellent in its class. We don't mean to compare the two, and say that a hot dog from a street stand is the same as a gourment French meal.

You're right; we don't have many low-rated restaurants, because we enjoy eating out, and thus see no reason to torture ourselves while doing so. But if you want to, go ahead.

We also don't show sample menus  though you may go to a specific restaurant's site to have a peek. We know that some restaurant review web pages do have sample menus for people to peruse, but we avoid this, because for us one of the most exciting moments in eating out is opening the menu and being surprised by the contents. That element of the new and unexpected adds to our experience, so we don't want to spoil it for you by revealing too much in our reviews. We would rather that you get out there and share the fun of discovery.

Signs and symbols

Vegetarian  Most restaurants have some vegetarian dishes, but those with the "Good vegetarian selection" notation make a special effort in this area.


This indicates that we have a favourite dish or two that you might want to try.

This sign indicates an attached map. If the restaurant is on a numbered or main street or if it is in a large mall, we don't include a map, because if you can't find it there, you probably shouldn't be out on your own anyway.

Clicking on www will take you to a web page run by the restaurant being reviewed. We don't send you to other review pages, because we wouldn't want you to be misled by misinformation.


shows the top restaurant in a category. Sometimes this symbol does not appear either because the top establishment has been visited only once and we may wish to try it again before declaring it magnificent, or it may be that no eatery in this group is really worth elevating to splendiferousness.

Up arrow

means that the score of a particular establishment is on the rise. This is a good thing.

shows that the chef tries to use locally grown produce as much as possible.


means just what it says: Orgainically grown products are featured in restaurants displaying this symbol.

indicates that easy–to–access free Wi-Fi is available here if your dining partners are uninteresting, or if some major dispute needs to be settled on Wikipedia.


invites you to tell your friends where you are on Facebook.

shows that the restaurant has a twitter account. Be amazed; be really amazed.

warns you that cell phones are discouraged so you may enjoy that perfect romantic meal and show that you know the difference between work and play.

Okay, just guess what this one means.

Gets you ready for video fun.

Just Eat

Gluten–Free food is available to a point where you won't feel left out eating at this location.

Click on this if you don't want to go out, and would rather order your food for delivery on the internet. The advantage to this is that the dog gets it right from the table rather than out of a bag.

This shows that and app is available for this restaurant. Usually these provide an ability to order ahead is you’re planning a night out or to order takeout if you want a quiet night at home.

Some tiny things that make a big difference

Dorothy always tastes the coffee, and Grant watches for frequent refills. And to those restaurants that don't give free refills: "Don't be so cheap."

Is there enough butter to generously cover the buns or bread offered?

Is the soup hot?

Is as much attention paid to the style and quality of the vegetables served as to the meat selection?

Please, do not ask us if we want pepper for our food. This means either that you don’t have pepper in the kitchen where it should be or that the chef doesn’t know how to season the food properly. 

After we show that we have finished, does it take another half hour to get the bill? 

If we return to the same restaurant several times over a short span, is there some recognition of our obvious appreciation of the place? (No, we do not want to be recognized as reviewers or fawned over like long–lost wealthy cousins. But a smile or word of acknowledgment is always appreciated.)

Above all, keep in mind that most of these reviews are based on more than one visit, so we aren't persuaded by the old "The cook is having a bad day." excuse. But also we won't hold it against a place if they are having trouble and admit it. For example, if Milly has just called in sick, and one server is having to do the duties of two people, we just accept that as something that happens and may even be more generous seeing work being done above and beyond the call of duty. But if every time we go, we hear the same excuses for poor food or bad service, we do become a bit suspicious.

All in all, we enjoy eating out, and we hope you will too.

Grant and Dorothy Dawson


© Grant and Dorothy Dawson 2019