An excellent Greek restaurant can be surprisingly difficult to come by. We unexpectedly found what would become a favourite in Banff, Alberta. The Balkan is so good we never have a hiking trip to the Canadian Rocky Mountains without finding time to drop in and eat ourselves into a food coma. In fact, the only reason we ever really set foot in the busy, touristy town of Canmore is to eat here. It's a popular spot with considerable space, often seating enormous multigenerational Geek families. Even with all that space, reservations at peak hours are a good idea.
During each of our visits, a lamb shank special was available. The one photographed below is wonderfully scented with rosemary and fall-off-the-bone tender. It comes served in au jus with roasted potatoes and veggies on the side.
Another exciting special was a braised rabbit. Rabbit is so rarely seen on menus that we never miss the opportunity when it presents itself. It came served with the braising liquid and vegetables on a bed of grilled zucchini with some roasted spuds.
Their warm halloumi salad is a standard order on all of our visits. Hot cheese sits on a bed of grilled bell peppers, onions, and zucchini. Lettuce is topped with loads of almonds and walnuts, a few cherry tomatoes for good measure, and liberally drizzled with a balsamic reduction. We're so in love with this dish we started to make it at home.
And then there's the pièce de résistance - their incredible moussaka. Every single time we go to Balkan, one of us orders it and reluctantly shares. Beautifully spiced ground beef, layered roasted eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes, baked in a creamy béchamel until it achieves spectacular crunchy caramelized bits. To be clear, we aren't generally fans of eggplant, but in this instance, it is nothing short of divine. This is the best moussaka we've ever had! When a trip to the mountains is approaching, we spend days leading up t it just as excited about the moussaka as we are about the trails.
We generally don't have room for dessert by the end of our meal. However, there was one visit that actually left us with enough room to share a sweet ending. Galactobouriki is a light, baked lemon custard cake with filo pastry. It's drizzled in honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon. We enjoyed it at Banff's Balkan Resturant with a glass of Greek dessert wine.
120 Banff Ave, Banff
Trip Advisor: Tripadvisor.ca/Reviews-Balkan_Restaurant-Banff_Banff