They'd kindly agreed to leave the gift card at the hotel for us. As it happens, the hotel driver bought it with him so I was given it in the car from the airport. It's only when I opened the envelope that I shriek with delight; the restaurant is at the super-fine Hyatt Regency hotel! The brand is very familiar to me via many visits, professional and personal, to the hotel of the same name in Birmingham. Indeed the city's only 5* star at the moment. So it's not just a local cafe, it's a 5* star hotel restaurant! We duly popped in to book our table for 29th October, still not quite believing what we'd been offered.
What we'd been offered was an eye-popping meal made with local ingredients, backed with amazing service from the person who made the booking, our server and one of the managers who spotted it was my birthday and bought over a couple of glasses of bubbles. I was looking at the Canadian wines on the menu but the lightweight that I am, I can only really take one glass so the wine will wait for next time! We ate our perfect 3-course meal with a beautiful amuse bouche for good measure in modern surroundings but with beautiful old school charm. We had huge wrought iron chandeliers above us and I had to get a photo taken (not shown) with the large canvasses depicting Calgary's traditional ranching lifestyle and cowboy heritage by local artist Joanne Meeker.
I've since found out the building used to be a book store. I so want to go back.
Overall, 5* for food, service and ambience. One of the meals of the year (and we've had some great ones in different countries!)
Follow me on Twitter for more travel exploits @RickieWrites