Ethnic Dining in Cochrane, Alberta

Cochrane Ranche Provincial Historic Site pays tribute to the area's ranching history

Cochrane Ranche Provincial Historic Site pays tribute to the area’s ranching history

Cochrane has gone from a history of tending cattle to one of raising families in a commuter community on Calgary’s northwest doorstep. It’s still a steak, pizza and fast-food kind of place, but some good ethnic eateries and coffee shops are adding to the increasingly cosmopolitan mix.

On the infrequent road-trip occasions when I dine at an Indian restaurant, I invariably go for a lamb curry or butter chicken. But  Mehtab East Indian Cuisine has such a long, diverse list of vegetarian dishes—okra or roasted eggplant pulp, anyone?—that I quickly shift gears. I mean, how can I resist this description of Daal Makhani: “Black lentils with kidney beans, simmered on a slow fire overnight and tempered with ginger, garlic and tomatoes, seasoned with butter and fresh cream.” All that slow cooking, with Indian spices, brings out the complexities of this first-rate, not-too-rich meal. I also get a requisite order of garlic naan that is light, flavourful and not swimming in butter. The prices are reasonable for Indian fare of this quality—about $12 for the filling, vegetarian meals and a couple of bucks more for those with meat. Of course, you can always sample a wider range of dishes on the ever-changing lunch buffet, for a bargain $12 or so.

A delectable daal dish and garlic naan at Mehtab East Indian Cuisine

A delectable daal dish and garlic naan at Mehtab East Indian Cuisine

Mehtab East Indian Cuisine
120 5 Avenue West, Cochrane
Lunch buffet Sunday to Friday 11:30 am-4 pm, dinner daily 4:30 pm-9 pm
Mehtab East Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

“This will warm you up,” my server Tim cheerfully says, on a winter’s day, as he starts assembling my chicken donair at hole-in-the-wall Donair on the Run in downtown Cochrane. It will certainly fill me up, I’m thinking, as I watch the “regular-sized” pita being mounded with slow-roasted, shaved chicken breast and my choice of lettuce, olives, tomatoes, pickles, radishes and parsley. Add some typical Middle Eastern sauces—tahini and tzatziki—along with Mama’s pungent, house-made garlic sauce and, after a minute or two in the panini press, I’ve got a substantial lunch for under $7. What really makes this beauty sing is the final topping: crunchy chunks of pungent, pickled turnip. “Here, have a piece of our baklava,” owner Camille Elain says as I skip out the door, ready to tackle the coming deep freeze.

Owner Camille Elain is making great, filling donairs and falafels at Donair on the Run

Owner Camille Elain is making great, filling donairs and falafels at Donair on the Run

Donair on the Run
407 1 Street West, Cochrane
Monday to Saturday 11 am-8 pm, except till 6 pm on Saturday. Closed Sunday
Donair on the Run on Urbanspoon

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