The Elk & Oarsman
119 Banff Avenue
Phone: 403 762 4616
Our plan had been to eat at The Keg in Banff, but unfortunately for them they are not open that early (3:45 pm). In need of something to fill our famished stomachs, we ended up at The Elk & Oarsman in the building next to The Keg.
The Elk & Oarsman is situated above some shops, and that offers a prime spot for people-watching on Banff Avenue. If the weather’s nice, you can even sit on the rooftop patio, with an even better view of Banff and the mountains.
The decor of The Elk & Oarsman has lots of wood with many antique objects. The result is a cozy and friendly feel. We grabbed a booth by the window so that we could enjoy the view.
The menu offers a good selection of dishes. As usual I wanted a burger, which meant a choice of Angus beef, buffalo, chicken, salmon,…but I went for the elk burger. My friend, on the other hand, looked in the fancy part of the menu and chose the elk rib steak, one of the more expensive items at $27.
With the burger you can choose two sides, so I decided to test the difference between regular potato fries and sweet potato fries. Next time it will be sweet potato fries hands-down. The burger was juicy and very flavorful, definitely a great value choice.
The much pricier elk rib steak was good but just similar to the burger in flavor. In fact, the burger tasted less “gamey”, so burger definitely wins over steak. The vegetables were also underwhelming. They were not fresh and kind of bland.
We had entered The Elk & Oarsman through the door on Banff Avenue. We went up a set of stairs to the pub, but nobody noticed us, and we didn’t know whether to sit or wait to be seated. We waited a bit and then asked. Alternatively, at the other entrance from the mall, there’s a sign that says “wait to be seated”. You’d have a better chance of being noticed that way.
Our waitress was somewhat patient in letting us take our time with the menu. She did forget to ask how the steak should be done, but she fixed that promptly.
Last thoughts: The Elk & Oarsman is a nice location to grab a bite or drink. The food is good, but make your choices wisely. I could come back here but not before trying other places in Banff, because it was also not that special.