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For a long time, the typical Albertan menu would list beef, beef, and more beef, with a side of potato, and -- What's that? Greens? Who needs that, we've got beef!

Thankfully, things have changed; particularly as the cities have become more cosmopolitan and sophisticated (not to mention moneyed), the depth and breadth of cuisine has taken off.

Both Calgary and Edmonton now claim restaurants that are among the most innovative and creative in the country; and while beef still figures into a great many menus all over the province -- and rightly so, as Alberta beef has legitimately gained a reputation as some of the best in the world -- restaurants here were among the first to whole-heartedly embrace local-eating food trends, as well as exotic game meats.

Conservative Alberta has very much embraced the major contemporary food trends, and you're the beneficiary. It's hard to find a higher-end establishment that doesn't list entrees of bison or elk -- both mild red meats with considerably lower fat content than beef -- and makes a point of the provenance of each ingredient, many culled (seasonally, at least) from local farms and markets. In addition, you'll find a vast array of ethnic cuisines, from Middle Eastern to Asian to African, that reflect Alberta's burgeoning diversity; in the cities especially, there's something for every taste.

In smaller centers and in the heartland you'll likely find yourself relegated to meat and potatoes -- or, at worst, chain-style restaurants like Earl's and Moxie's, two Alberta staples that are actually quite good. But in urban centers like Calgary and Edmonton, or well-trod tourist destinations like Banff and Jasper, be sure to consult the dining guide for some remarkably cosmopolitan, sophisticated, and creative options.

There's far more to be found in these places than a superlative steak (though there's still plenty of that to be had, thankfully); even the most demanding foodie will find themselves satisfied, if not actually thrilled, at some of the offerings.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.