Skip to main content

The beef tartare at Royale, served with pickles, fried onions and a smear of aioli, sets a new bar for Calgary for how a tartare should be prepared. The restaurant serves unapolagetically classic French cuisine in an stunningly opulent setting that will make you want to wear your best dinner clothes.

Jeff McIntosh

3 out of 4 stars

Name
Royale
Location
730 17 Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta
Phone
403-475-9457
Website
royaleyyc.ca
Price
$12-$85
Cuisine
Classic French
Drinks
Fairly extensive wine list and a short list of classic cocktails
Atmosphere
A very regal room with ornate design accents and subdued, but warm lighting in the evening. Plenty of smaller tables and booths for intimate dining
Recommendations
Tartare de Boeuf, Salade Lyonnaise, Côte De Porc Normande, Tarte Fine aux Pommes
Additional Info
This is a fairly high-end restaurant, so you may feel out of place dining here if you’re dressed casually

Many in the culinary world would agree that the foundation of an impeccable restaurant menu is the techniques found in French cooking. That certain level of discipline, the attention to detail and greats such as Jacques Pépin or Julia Child are just a handful of reasons why top chefs and home cooks alike use this style of cooking as a baseline when creating in the kitchen.

In a similar vein, Royale is a high-end restaurant that is focused on keeping things unapologetically and classically French in a contemporary atmosphere.

Situated in the heart of the oversaturated 17th Avenue, to say this newer concept from the Teatro Group (Alforno, Teatro, Cucina) has a lot of competition is an understatement. The street is ripe with buzz-worthy options such as the contemporary Korean fare of Anju, Ricardo's Hideaway's Caribbean small plates and the ever-evolving menus of Model Milk and Pigeonhole. With so many choices, is there room for a new dog that's deliberately doing old tricks?

Story continues below advertisement

Take a look inside Royale Brasserie

Earlier this year, the restaurant group announced it was taking over the space of a short-lived patisserie-restaurant concept. Its designers worked magic in a short period of time, keeping its predecessor's best interior elements, such as stunning ornate tile and orb pendants, and upped the ante. The result is a room that oozes class. Deep-blue cushy booths sit back-to-back surrounding a tall tree in the centre of the room, while a long ornate bar with red leather stools runs along the east wall and white-clothed tables fill the remainder of the space. It's a regal room – in fact, almost an opulent one – so dress the part if you're coming for dinner.

If you didn't earn top grades in high school French class, fully comprehending the menu here may require a touch of explanation from the service staff to fill in the blanks (although main ingredients are listed in English) – all of whom seem happy to do so. The friendly, yet proper staff do a lovely job of balancing the queenly essence of the room with their approachability. Sure, they may silently reset your plate and cutlery with intense focus and quietly float away, but they certainly won't scoff at you when you sheepishly mumble your way through "Côtes D'Agneau Grillées."

Saying the above will get you a duo of grilled lamb chops seasoned lovingly with herbes de Provence and a side of slightly overcooked carrots in cream sauce that proved saltier bite-by-bite.

A more carnivorous and rewarding plate comes by way of "Côte De Porc Normande", a bone-in, thick-cut pork chop smothered in a brandy mushroom cream sauce. Complete with the buttery potato gratin dauphinois, the juicy hunk of meat borders on obnoxiously rich, but your taste buds will convince you that you're foolish not to finish it.

Many other classics are more familiar to the eyes and well worth a revisit. Chef JP Charpentier's generous portion of beef tartare, topped with pickles and fried onions, served with a smear of aioli on the side sets a new bar for Calgary for how a tartare should be prepared. As well, the Lyonnaise salad with fried croutons, lardons, tomato, perfectly dressed frisée and a tenderly poached egg serves as a satiating reminder that there is no shame in having a salad for dinner.

But not all classic cooking applications seem to hold up in the modern day. The halibut cheeks en papillote, for instance, is one of the more forgettable dishes here. Steamed in a bag along with slivers of bell peppers and zucchini – and butter sauce aside – the small portion of tender halibut is more reminiscent of a low-cal diet dinner one might have on Tuesday night than a reminder of how great old school French cooking can truly be.

Story continues below advertisement

In the end, the difference between having a great dinner and a fantastic one at Royale comes down to what you're looking for.

Are you the kind of person who appreciates unabashed creativity and the (typically inevitable) ups and downs, hits and misses that go along with it? Creativity is deliberately not the restaurant's emphasis, so don't expect it.

On the other hand, if you are the type who likes a fairly unadulterated, yet delicious tartare, or ending your meal with a textbook example of a tarte fine aux pommes, then Royale offers this kind of cooking in spades.

Perhaps you're like me and a little bit of both. In which case, just skip the halibut cheeks, consider asking the talented barkeeps to mix you an off-the-menu cocktail and you'll have a very enjoyable time.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies