Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
I know this photo is blurry, but they spelled medium "meduim", so it works.
I've always heard good things about District - poutine... fresh oyster bar... "where foodies love to drink"... Helloooo! I'm not sure what stopped me from going there, but perhaps rumours that it's busy/hard to get a seat or that it was expensive (I don't know where I heard them...) It's only a few blocks away from where one of my friends works (name omitted so they won't get in trouble for drinking during lunch hour), so we went there to grab some lunch on one of my "Lemonade Thursdays".
District is in many ways classy yet casual. The decor has a very vintage look, with wood-panelled booths, exposed brick, jars of pickles lining one wall and chalkboards everywhere. They make a concerted effort to source from local producers, making gourmet versions of pub favourites like wings and burgers. Large windows right next to the entrance reveal a tiny brewery, and District recently hosted a "Live Cask Night" to reveal a new beer for this season, Ambush Pale Ale, which, like all their other drinks, are served in mason jars.
I'd erroneously thought that because it was a "pale ale", that it would be similar to something like Alexander Keith's, but it was more like some of the "red" beers that you would find on the market today. I really enjoyed it - it had a deeper flavour than a lager, but not as bitter as a traditional ale.
I wasn't in the mood to make all the decisions involved in ordering a poutine (size? toppings?) so after moving around in my booth to catch a glimpse at all the chalkboards, I just settled on one of the first interesting items that I laid my eyes on, which was the cranberry brie burger.
Despite having only eaten one burger, I'm going to take the leap and say that I think District makes one of the best burgers in Calgary - my burger was charred and crispy on the outside, and pink and juicy in the middle - it was so messy! I think I had napkins flying everywhere! Perhaps Gwendolyn might disagree, but I think the burgers at District have the ones at Chuckwagon Cafe beat.
Toppings-wise, I could barely taste the brie in the burger (though I could see it melting and dripping everywhere) but the cranberry sauce was a nice sweet-and-sour foil to the savory burger.
I was feeling virtuous that day and had a side of salad with my burger (instead of the other options that the waitress listed to us... we stopped her before she could finish; I hope I didn't stop her before she could say something like sweet potato fries.) It was the usual affair of spring mix with a raspberry vinaigrette.
My companion ordered the three-cheese grilled cheese, which they enjoyed, though they couldn't distinguish the three different cheeses as they were all overpowered by the bacon (!) that was also in the sandwich anyway. My companion was also feeling virtuous and had salad as a side.
The service at District is friendly, but in some ways inconvenient. When you arrive, you are asked to seat yourself so I grabbed a booth near the door so that my friend would be able to see me. It wasn't until after my friend arrived that the waitress had noticed us and brought us our drink menu - the food "menu" is whatever is listed on the chalkboards scattered around the restaurant, and it can be confusing as there are lots of them and some are repeats. If you seat yourself in a place where the menus aren't very visible you might miss something - it was only at the end of the meal that my friend saw something written on the bottom of the menu that was set up by our booth (one that I hadn't noticed anyway because my back was toward it) that they would've ordered instead of the grilled cheese. Still, I can definitely see myself back at District - the food and drink are both excellent and I'm sure once you have a few favourites you won't really need the menu anyway (though you might miss out on the latest in-season special!)
607 11 Ave SW
Calgary AB T2R 0E1
Open Mon-Wed 11:30 AM-11 PM. Thu-Fri 11:30 AM-Late. Sat 5:30 PM-Late. Closed Sundays.