Kensington is one of Calgary’s most vibrant communities. Just steps away from downtown and the bike paths that wind along the Bow River is a charming village with the total inner-city experience.
Over 250 small businesses line the streets in a four-by-four block radius, but don’t let its small size fool you. This wildly popular entertainment district packs a punch and is home to some of the city’s best restaurants, cafes, fitness studios and shops.
Neo is partnered with lots of great businesses in the Kensington area, including stores that are the talk of the town year-round as well as hidden gems. We’ve come up with a list of both, so you can set off on an adventure in Kensington and explore all the places that make the district so rewarding.
It’s all about fun and games at Hexagon. With over 400 board games to choose from, this modern upstairs cafe has everything you need for an epic game night. From strategy games like Settlers of Catan to classics like Scattegories, and everything in between, you’re met with options fit for any mood you’re in.
Location: 1140 Kensington Rd NW #200
Grabbing a bottle of red or white? There’s no better selection of wines than this corner market that’s been around since the early ‘90s. Their friendly staff know the perfect pairings to go with any occasion you’re toasting for and that’s not even the half of it; they’ve got an impressive lineup of scotch, whisky and craft beer to cover all your bases. Not to mention, Kensington Wine Market was named the second-best whisky shop in the world two years in a row! Sign up for their tastings and you won’t be disappointed.
Location: 1257 Kensington Rd NW
The sushi here is something to talk about. Globefish is your modern-day izakaya (casual Japanese tapas) that’s artistically curated and every bit delicious. You can choose from a wide range of shareable dishes on their menu, including creative speciality rolls, appetizers and sashimi that’s made fresh daily and spot on for your tastebuds. Best of all, they’ve got great gluten-free options. Give the Ghostbuster roll a try (it’s made with black rice!).
Location: 332 14 St. NW
It doesn’t matter if you’re an early riser or how late you get out of bed, Mat’s Diner serves an extensive menu of all-day breakfast (plus lunch and dinner). Their eggs benny and breakfast poutine are major hits if you’re craving something hearty. And they only use naturally raised and locally sourced ingredients. This rustic diner gives off homey vibes and is a great spot for a casual breakfast date.
Location: 1126 Kensington Rd NW
A great tasting sandwich doesn’t just happen by accident. Peppino is a family-owned and operated eatery with over 80 years of combined experience in the food industry. Come on down for one of their 42 different Italian subs or stock up on their homemade sauces and fresh pasta. Take home a little piece of Italy with you.
Location: 101-1240 Kensington Rd NW
This low-key Mexican restaurant is a hidden gem that serves some of the best authentic tacos in town at an affordable price. From their mouth-watering El Pastor tacos to their enchiladas verdes, and right down to how they gauge their spice levels, you’ll be wishing you had a bigger stomach to try everything on the menu. This just gives you all the more reason to come back.
Location: 318A 10 Street NW
Nellie’s is the kind of classic breakfast joint that’s decked out in fun decor and transports you back to camp days. Your eyes don’t leave the walls full of art, and it’s the perfect distraction for the little ones. Go for the fan favourite cinnamon bun french toast and wash it down with their bottomless coffee.
Location: 1414 Kensington Rd NW
This quaint, family-run restaurant offers traditional Tibetan cuisine that’s packed with intense flavour and quite frankly, deserves more praise. When you walk in, you’re greeted with the beautiful ambiance of Tibetan artifacts, design and culture. The momo platter is a must-try.
Location: 318 10 St NW
Shawarma King might be the best donair in the city. If you’re searching for delicious Mediterranean food that’s bang for your buck, look no further. The portions are big enough to last you the next meal and then some, and their chicken shawarma is easily their most popular dish on the menu. Bonus: they’re even open late for your spontaneous snack runs.
Location: 1423a Kensington Rd NW
Game day calls for Side Street. This local sports bar is a fan favourite for watching the Flames, fight nights, kicking it back with friends, or spending your lazy Saturdays chowing down on good old pub fare. They’ve got a wide selection of beer and their Maple Bacon wings are a must-try. Get there early on game days to snag the best seats in the house.
Location: 1167 Kensington Crescent NW
Despite being more than 100 years old, Kensington continues to be the lively shopping and entertainment choice for Calgarians. Neo is partnered with all these Kensington businesses and over 500 more around Calgary to reward our members with exclusive cashback offers that you can’t get anywhere else. Discover new experiences, support local and automatically get rewarded when you pay with Neo.