For awhile I’ve been planning on doing a series of feature columns celebrating summer. I started referring to them as ‘patio columns’, but after some thought, and amusing input from my followers on Twitter about the definitions of: Patio, Deck, Lanai, Veranda, and Porch, I decided ‘patio columns’ wouldn’t quite cut it. There are far too many outdoor dining opportunities that simply can’t be encapsulated by the term ‘patio’, as the subject of this review proves. So, with that, I welcome you to the inaugural column in my summer series on ‘Outdoor Dining Options’. For the next two months, I’m going to review places where one can eat outside in some form or another. Whether or not I manage to exercise these outdoor options will depend solely on our weather. If I can’t eat outdoors, you’ll read about my view of the patio/deck/lanai/veranda/porch through the window from the warm, dry interior of the establishment.
Fortunately, the weather was pretty good the day I visited Angel’s Drive In. It’s been there, all cool and retro-fifties-looking, on a prominent corner in Bowness for years, but I couldn’t recall having been there before. It definitely isn’t part of a chain (though their website does mention that they have a location in Raymond, Alberta), and it’s obviously institutional in the neighbourhood. Since it offered the choice of eating outside at picnic tables, in addition to inside the diner or in your car, it fit my purposes nicely.
Angel’s menu is pretty extensive for a drive-in. They have over 10 different burgers available as singles or doubles, sandwiches, fried chicken, donairs, retro entrées like hot turkey or beef dinners, breakfasts and shakes, sundaes and other ice cream treats. From these, we chose a Bowness burger, a cheeseburger, fries, onion rings and shakes.
True to their old-school style, Angel’s actually makes their food to order, so waiting at the window, though it takes awhile, smells heavenly. Happily, we had our milkshakes to enjoy while we waited. Though they have a good selection of flavours, adding real fruit is an option only with some. For obvious reasons, my mint shake wasn’t one of them, and it was delicious as-is. Mom’s mango shake was also really good, though had there been some real mango thrown in, it wouldn’t have hurt it any.
Sadly, the burgers were a little less thrilling. The patties were quite thin (and as result pretty dry), so the buns and generous toppings overwhelmed them. Of the two, the Bowness burger was best. The melted cheese on the burger mixed with what the menu describes as ‘mayo-based sauce’, and made a sort of sauce with cheese curds in it. Despite my unpleasant-sounding description, it was actually quite tasty.
As for the sides, neither the fries nor the rings were overly greasy, which was nice. Beyond that, both were fairly unremarkable. The fries were the crinkle-cut variety you buy in the freezer section, and they used seasoning salt rather than plain table salt on them. It’s not gourmet, but for less than $20 total, it is a lot of food.
Overall, our visit to Angel’s wasn’t a bad kickoff to summer. I even picked up a tip for any readers who happen to be car buffs; each Wednesday night, Angel’s hosts a show with classic cars and hot rods.
On the ratings scale:
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Outdoor dining option:
Picnic tables or your car
Angel’s Drive In
8603 47 Avenue NW