Behind the Name: Calgary's Gorilla Whale

How this funky fusion eatery got its name

To name a restaurant after a fictional monster that rises from the ocean may sound a bit odd–and also might result in some copyright issues. However, naming a restaurant after two vastly different animals that are often used to describe the famed monster Godzilla might just work.

Calgary’s Gorilla Whale was opened in 2018 by Dean Symonds and Brendan Bankowski with the vision of combining Japanese and Western cuisines and cocktails together in an unapologetically fun space.

“The direct Japanese-to-English translation of ‘Gojira’–which is the Japanese for Godzilla–is a portmanteau, or clipped compound, of gorilla and whale. Gorilla Whale...So eventually [the name] stuck,” explains Symonds.

As mentioned earlier, an initial name choice for the eatery was Godzilla, but both Bankowski and Symonds anticipated legal issues and dug deeper, eventually winding up with a very unique name that a Calgarian won't soon forget.

Gorilla Whale is open for in-person dining as well as takeout from Wednesdays to Sundays.