EDGED BY THE RIVER AND LEAFY TREES, THE MAGICAL SETTING OF PRINCE’S ISLAND PARK sets this restaurant apart. So too does its reverence for the environment and commitment to the exclusive use of Canadian and preferably Albertan ingredients — from Highwood Crossing’s grains and canola oil to Broek pork and beef from Black Diamond Land & Cattle. The dining room’s rustic décor highlights exposed wood, stone and brick, and the vintage sports equipment is a nod to local fishing lodges and mountain resorts, even as the glass-and-steel office towers of Calgary’s business centre loom across the Bow River. Chef Scott Mac- Kenzie and his team’s fast-evolving menus straddle these two Alberta realities, with seasonal offerings rich in rural flavours executed with urban finesse. The locavore culinary outlook makes for interesting experimentation, with sumac often standing in for citrus, and foraged ingredients making their mark on the evening tasting menu. Spurred on by lockdowns, River Café expanded its picnic program by offering takeout meals carefully packed for guests eager to explore the park. That said, it’s also worth staying in for an elegant summer repast on the patio. Sommelier Bruce Soley’s wine list is replete with obscure treasures from lesser-known producers.
Photos: Marnie Burkhart