I really like the Rose and Crown pub in Calgary. I had a Christmas party this weekend at the Rose and Crown in Banff which I had read only shares the name - not owners and was not as good. What I didn’t realize was just how bad of euphemism “not as good” was. All in all the most positive thing I can say about my experience there was “at least it didn’t suck” or “it was edible food and I didn’t get food poisoning”. I put up with much of it as I was under the assumption that I was not going to be paying and such didn’t pay attention much to price as much of what I was ordering was something similar to what I and my fiancee would order in Calgary. So my expected price with everything all told would be ~$45 tops. It should be noted that I’m quite easy going on food quality as most things taste quite good to me.
I ordered a Crown Float ($8), a Sleeman Honey Brown ($7), a double Jack and Coke ($11.51), and a glass of Robinson Wine Shiraz that was given to me. Of the four, my water ($0.00) which wasn’t even listed was the best tasting drink and I think had the most alcohol. The double Jack and Coke which cost $11.50 tasted like it had double coke to half a shot of Jack. The Crown Float tasted like warm Guiness and slightly cool Strongbow Dry Cider - making neither taste any good. The Sleeman Honey Brown tasted decidedly flat and was hard to stomach at best. Whereas the Robison Wine Shiraz (RSA) tasted like a wannabe fruit bomb - not terrible but decidedly not good. So the
My fianceé ordered Mussels ($10) as an appetizer and the Rueben ($11) with French Onion Soup ($3 extra) as her main course. I ordered the Maple Salmon ($15). The prices weren’t absurd and relatively close to what I would have expected in Calgary - the quality however was decidedly “it doesn’t suck - it tastes like barely decent British Pub Food”.
The Mussels were thankfully plentiful (with a lot of empty shells) and were decent - not good, not bad. Just satisfactory. I’ve had better many times and worse a couple times as well. The Reuben was not Montreal Smoked Meat - it was just a swack of Pastrami with some partially melted Mozzarella on some bread with a decidedly soft pickle. Really disappointing but it was food and it didn’t suck (but that means it was far from good). The French Onion Soup ($3 extra) was bland, boring and utterly and totally forgetful - so much so I don’t remember my two spoonfuls whatsoever.
My Maple Salmon is best described as decent. With Basmati Rice and vegetables the best portion was the steamed pea pods accompanied by well steamed carrots. The rice was unseasoned, plain and completely forgettable. The Maple Salmon was seared (pro), but lacked much in terms of texture and taste beyond a very subtle maple taste as if the scorch marks on the salmon contained the maple sauce retrieved from the grill. Forgetful at best, unsatisfactory at worst.
The worst portion of this whole debacle was the resulting price - after a 15% tip, tax the total came to just barely shy of $80 ($79.95 for those keeping count). Was the evening worth even close to $80? Or heck worth $40? (Barely the latter IMNSHO). The value was appalling especially when considering the drink total ($31.80 with tax and tip) was a complete and absolute regrettable wash. The food ($48.15 with tax and tip) also did not measure up in value. At half the price it might be acceptable in terms of value.
Shockingly, the atmosphere can also be described as “it didn’t suck” - nowhere near good and not terrible. Just barely adequate. It was very loud, dimly lit and not conducive to talking to anyone more than half a metre away from you. It’s very similar to other pubs I’ve been to but somehow a step or two worse without being outstandingly crappy.
To close up this review I end with the most positive aspect of the evening at the Rose and Crown: the service was prompt and just what would be normally expected. Nothing exceptionally or above what should normally be expected from a waitress at a pub. The exception was it took a couple minutes to track her down in order to pay the grossly overpriced bill.
It’s not only just barely adequate in terms of quality of food, a complete waste in terms of alcohol, and acceptable in terms of service - it’s absolutely terrible in terms of value for money.So in summary, for the love of God and all that is holy avoid the Rose and Crown in BANFF.
The Rose and Crown in Calgary is awesome and not affiliated with the Rose and Crown in Banff. Thank God.