Here’s the thing about Banff: it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Check out the National Geographic Instagram account – it is flooded with photographs picturing Canadian Rockies’ wild life and spectacular views. It is also one of the best ski resorts, a place where one of the few grizzly bear populations are left in North America, and one of the eco resorts worth the travel.
This is where we headed not only to enjoy the nature, but also to explore local cultural life and museums. Our first stop was at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, a cultural hub bringing together dozens of artists and cultural professionals for residencies, conferences, workshops and art exhibitions. Emerging artists come here for studio practice and mentorship; established artists come to exhibit their work and expand their practice through creative exploration and collaborations. Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity occupies a huge space, combining several buildings and including libraries and archives, an art gallery, conference halls and artist residencies. It also has some very good cafes and restaurants. To be precise, three of them.
Maclab Bistro was our first choice for dining. And there are several reasons why we advise you to go check it out. First one is, of course, the view. You simply will not believe such views actually exist until you see it with your own eyes. Now – imagine sitting in a patio and contemplating this beauty while having a morning coffee before hiking, or a glass of red wine to wrap up the day?
Reason number two: the visitors of the bistro. Lawrence Kan, Small Outlets Manager, comments on this: “Every year, Banff Centre welcomes thousands of artists, leaders, conference guests, and members of the public to our campus in the Canadian Rockies. These make up Maclab Bistro's average visitors, along with Banff Centre staff members.”
Indeed, it’s a different vibe when you share the space with artists and people from creative industries. We enjoyed chatting with other visitors about the upcoming exhibition at Walter Phillips Gallery, the weather, grizzly bears, Banff’s history and future, programs and funding for emerging artists…
We really loved the menu too. Notably, the design of the menu belongs to the artist Samantha Metcalfe. “She is a Banff-based contemporary illustrator, - Lawrence continues. “The menu features native alpine plants, all of which are found in the Butterfly Garden at Walter Phillips Gallery here on campus. It is printed on the recycled paper”. The menu offers a variety of organic salads, soups and burgers.
“Maclab features healthy, creative comfort food inspired by fresh local ingredients. Our signature dishes include house-made burgers, flatbreads, salads, plus vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The post popular food item on the menu is the Maclab Cobb Salad, followed closely by the Alberta Bison Burger (both of which are available gluten-free). Maclab also offers espresso bar, craft beers, and an expansive wine list. Our most popular drink item on the menu is a double latte - we've sold 6,200 from January 1, 2016 until now! Maclab is surrounded by stunning mountain views, and our patio is top-notch! We often have live performances, making Maclab the perfect place to grab a meal with friends or meet up for a lively evening”.
The food at Maclab’s was as good as the surroundings. We recommend this place for a truly relaxing experience and unforgettable surroundings.