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“Good food, loud atmosphere” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Balkan Restaurant

Balkan Restaurant
Ranked #10 of 142 Restaurants in Banff
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $27
Cuisines: Mediterranean, Greek
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Kids, Special occasions, Romantic, Large groups
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
63 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Good food, loud atmosphere”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2013

We chose this restaurant for our 10 year anniversary. We are Montrealers, and are used to eating good Greek food. The food was authentic, quite tasty. The restaurant was not full, but very loud. My husband and I were having trouble hearing each other. This is a good place to come as a group, not as a couple on a "date night"
Service was good, but SLOW!

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank MacFamily7777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,005 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
Brisco, Canada
Level Contributor
79 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Great lunch, terrific service.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2013

Stopped in for lunch, had heard great things, had to try it out. The service was unreal! The young man who served us put a lot of experienced servers to shame. He was perfect, attentive, speedy and helpful. The food was great, loved the chicken souvlaki, authentic tasting and priced right. The pulled lamb sandwich was good as well, too much fatty chuncks for my liking but the meat tasted delicious. Will most definitely be back for Greek in this clean looking establishment.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank ilovefromage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“great lunch spot”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 19, 2013

came with my bf for late lunch, very welcoming,i ordered chicken stuffed with spinach nd cheese, really good, his salmon with herb taste a bit too fishy for me. but, overall pretty good.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Parfum2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ucluelet, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“fantastic family run resturant”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2013

We were recommended by the B&B that we were staying at to visit this restaurant so glad we did as we were certainly not disappointed, starting from the service the quality of the meal was outstanding, the best meal we had during our 3 week stay in Canada, would recommend you go there you'll not be disappointed

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank 953Steve688
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary
Level Contributor
23 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Great Food, Atmosphere & Service , but Titanic Portions”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2013

This is a delightful Greek restaurant in the heart of Banff, with authentic food and tasteful décor that is transporting but not kitsch.

We had dinner here in the first weekend of October. We were 20 minutes late for our reservation time, so they had understandably given our table away, it being a Saturday night. However, they made an effort to fit us in, and half an hour later we were back for our dinner.

We were by the bar, which has a big sports TV, but I won’t complain about this as they did us a huge favour just by fitting us in. I would, however, say that the restaurant side is more spacious and graceful, with Grecian urns here and there, and frescos. In several spots there are tasteful black and white photos of rustic Greece, and with the white-washed rough walls, it has a feeling of modern Greece with a traditional undertone.

Our server, Heather, was the perfect professional: knowledgeable about the food, the flavours, but moreover about portion size, which proved to be the most poignant thing. She was also friendly but discrete, and attentive.

Bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil was the first thing to arrive. I used to work for a good bread company so I know a thing or two about it. There was nothing Greek about what we had, but we were given warm, crispy-on-the-outside but soft inside dinner rolls that are professional classics. And who doesn’t love warm, fluffy bread dipped in oil and vinegar?

As a starter for 4 of us we ordered the Pikilia Share Platter plus the flamed kefalograviera cheese (Saganaki). Both were delicious. The former features spanokopita, keftedes (on the menu as meat balls), tzatziki, olives, calamari (a little too bready for my liking but clearly not out of a box), dolmades with a meat filling pita. It was all full of flavour and the different textures added pleasing interest. The cheese dish was flamed at our table, and was delicious.

Heather had said that the share platter was big and she was right. Our mains were full of sumptuous flavours but no-one ate more than a third of their meals, and to me, the sheer size was off-putting. I ordered the lamb chops which come with a side of orzo, lemony roasted potatoes and various other bits and pieces, and what arrived was five chops plus huge sides. Seriously? My plate could have fed four people, with its mountain of pasta and potatoes, and all that meat. It was undeniably delicious, with the pool of green, herby sauce beneath the perfectly rare lamb (lemony, garlic-kissed), and I wanted to eat all of it, but the portion was so huge I felt faintly bilious. Maybe I’m missing something here, but am I the only one vaguely appalled by a massive heap of food that I can only hope to make a tiny dent in? Don’t think I’m a person who eats like a bird… I can pack away a lot if the flavour is there, but when we walked out of the restaurant with all the leftovers, my husband, carrying the bag said, “This is heavy.”

Back to flavours. One companion had the lamb shank, listed as being ‘cooked for 12 hours’ and indeed the tenderness and unctuous taste of it was all there. Another had the spatchcocked game hen, rubbed with paprika and other spices and scents, which was juicy and well-flavoured except for a distinct lack of salt. Luckily there was salt on the table.

Balkan has the flavours, traditional food and atmosphere exactly right, but the portion sizes are way off. The price is great: I’m going home with dinner for two nights.

I’d like to caution the owners that they might go out of business simply due to the food walking out the door. Ask your servers, because they know.

Summary: don’t go if you’re a light eater. Do go if you’re prepared to take or leave a large amount. Go if you want big, authentic flavours.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank katyfox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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