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Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the best patio in Canmore


Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the best patio in Canmore! Chez François is a local gem with an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, as well as an iconic panoramic view of the beloved peaks that surround the town. While the interior is cute and cozy, as the warmer weather graces us with its presence, there is nothing I love more than sipping a mimosa alfresco on an alpine terrace after an early morning hike. If said terrace comes with a backdrop of the Three Sisters in her still snow-capped spring prime, then…well…it will be a hard task to keep me away!

Long-time Bow Valley residents will likely already have visited the long-established eatery, which opened its doors 34 years ago in 1990. Back then, as the name might suggest, the restaurant had a more European-inspired focus thanks to owner-chef Jean François. These days, not only is it in a new and more idyllic location for mountain gazing, Chez Francois focuses on catering to the daytime crowd. Lunch offers up soups, salads, poutine, burgers and well-filled sandwiches like a good hangar steak or Montreal reuben. While these are solid offerings by anyone’s watch; breakfast is when this spot really comes alive.

Filled to the brim with delicious platters of crepes, pancakes, fresh fruit, bennys, sizzling steak and eggs served straight from the grill, waffles, French toast, croissants, bagels, omelets, if you can name it, there a good chance you can have it! With that in mind, one of the best things about the abundant menu is that it is accessible to all styles of eaters with plenty of options for those with dietary restrictions.

My boyfriend and I opted for three full breakfasts, two mimosas and four coffees between us because I take my research as seriously as he takes his inhuman ability to polish off a plate at lightning speed. He also takes to being an Albertan man with a particular aplomb, therefore he deeply delighted in a breakfast dish named after his people. “The Albertan” is a 6oz steak served with eggs of your choice, toast, fruit and home fries, and will definitely set you up nicely for the rest of the day. Across the table, the sun shone on my huevos rancheros, with the warmth of the patio and the rich flavours of the dish momentarily transporting me to Mexico. Arriba!

Chez François is known for both his home-made lamb sausage and his hollandaise, so naturally we placed an order for both. Did we dip the sausages straight in our buttery sauce and runny egg yolks? Yes. Yes we did. #NOREGRETS.

While the fare was indeed hearty, the most compelling asset to this Canmore staple is the friendly staff and local spirit. Manager Gabriel greeted us with a smile and a jaunty eggs and bacon button-down shirt; if that isn’t commitment to breakfast culture, I don’t know what is! Gnomes and artwork made by local artisans are on display inside the restaurant, which is also a cute touch. Most notably: truly everyone serving and dining just seemed so happy to be there! Sure, the sun was shining on one of the first warm mornings of the year, but there is a light about this place that I imagine shines bright year-round.

For reservations, menus and further information visit

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