The pandemic has affected dining in thousands of ways – one of the most impactful in a winter city like Calgary is a move to more outdoor dining. This is a trend we love and a new restaurant on 17th Ave. in the old Melrose Place location is one of the first to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor dining for a year-round oasis. Designed by Fort Architecture, Porch is bright, airy, fun and moves easily from indoor to outdoor with a covered, heated and well lit patio good to -10 C with a retractable roof that let’s the sun shine in in the warm days of summer. With private porch swings and intimate tables mixed with a long bar captained by Beverage Director Jimmy Nguyen where patrons can share a drink with strangers (complete with its own set of swings, affectionately called the Swingers’ Club) this restaurant is a great destination for date night, a business lunch or a night out with friends.
Under the leadership of Chef Dylan Sexton (Elbow Room, Elate, Melrose), the food is what we’d call California comfort with light, fresh ingredients combined into a variety of shareable plates as well as some heartier meals for the hungrier diner. Start with the gorgeous roasted garlic and beet hummus with crispy pita and crudité. We loved the perfect-for-sharing seared tuna “snacker”– a crispy flatbread topped with tuna, pickled jalepeno, avocado crema and scallion. If you’re in for lunch, enjoy the Picnic at Porch featuring sammies served with choice of fries or salad and dessert. The curry-hinted chicken salad was delicious. Also try the warm potato salad for a sort of Mexican take on a comfort-food classic.