We asked three of our resident foodies to rate the best of the Edmonton restaurant scene in 2014. Lean back, loosen your belt and start planning your next night out on the town.
Food explorer, world-wide wanderer, and Edmonton AM restaurant reviewer.
A picnic outside. A glass of wine. A chunk of warm, chewy bread with butter melting into it. A perfectly-formed sentence. Just a few things this food blogger and CBC journalist appreciates.
Adrienne Pan (@adriennepancbc)
CBC News Edmonton Television Host who spends a lot of time eating and figuring out where to eat!
The reviews are you! Are you ready?
Best restaurant that opened in 2014:
- Twyla: Rge Rd – Blair Lebsack gains my respect for three reasons: 1) for fostering relationships with farmers and growers, 2) for using the whole animal and 3) for consistently delivering fantastic food.
- Stephanie: Rostizado – The meat is so tender and flavourful – and generous! A great casual spot with excellent service to boot.
- Adrienne: North 53 – I love the all-Canadian focus on the ingredients, and the cocktails are inventive and delicious. There is a new head chef at the helm, and I am looking forward to trying the re-vamped menu.
Best established restaurant that keeps you coming back:
- Twyla: Rosario Caputo opened Cibo Bistro three years ago, stumbled at first, made necessary changes and then came back better than ever. It's the best kept Italian secret in the city and constantly changes things up with unique, made in-house items: truffled salami, rabbit mortadella, and Grilled Octopus with Limoncello Vinaigrette.
- Stephanie: Bistro Praha – It’s an Edmonton institution, but the schnitzel is still fresh and perfect.
- Adrienne: Red Ox Inn – This intimate eatery has modern comfort food, knowledgeable servers and a great wine list. I'm a big fan of the duck dish of the moment.
Best restaurant for romance:
- Twyla: North 53 – After opening a year ago, North 53 has already gone through a major reinvention, including a new head chef and new menu that reflects cultural diversity of staff. The three-hour tasting menu is gone – in its place, plates to share. Sexy setting, stellar cocktails.
- Stephanie: The Marc – You get a warm, professional greeting and the service is top-notch. The appetizers and mains are consistently excellent, and it has a nice, understated atmosphere so you can actually hear what your date is saying!
- Adrienne: The Marc – A good first date restaurant should have great food, but also a great atmosphere. The Marc is casual but upscale at the same time. The favourite is the Entrecote (Steak) Frites, but I also love their fish dishes and beignets for dessert. This is a solid downtown lunch spot as well.
Best restaurant for when you’re celebrating:
- Twyla: Sage at River Cree – Chef Shane Chartrand has turned Sage into a destination. He’s smart, intuitive, and creative. Eat, drink, stay at the attached Marriott hotel.
- Stephanie: Rge Rd. – A lovely, cozy room with local farm food that’s paired in new and inspiring ways. The Grizzly Gouda and potato perogy in white onion cream with bacon and warm dill slaw might just blow your mind.
- Adrienne: Narayanni’s – Edmonton's only Indian/South African restaurant. The numerous vegetable dishes on the buffet really shine here. The family-run restaurant is warm and welcoming, and the perfect place to satisfy the varying tastes of large groups.
- Twyla: Duchess Bake Shop – Pastries and coffee for breakfast; sandwiches or the potato and onion tartiflette for lunch, plus the best desserts in the city.
- Stephanie: Tres Carnales – Tacos for the people to take out on a picnic! We always like the slow-roasted and marinated pork, and the poblanos and veggies in adobo make for a fine quesadilla.
- Adrienne: Urban Greek in City Centre Mall – I happily eat the generously-portioned Greek Salad several times a week for lunch. If I ever ate anything else here, including their weekly lamb special, I'm sure I'd love it.
- Twyla: A Taverna – This is pure Portuguese, and the only European restaurant in Edmonton that feels like you’re actually in Europe.
- Stephanie: Swiss 2 Go – Let the Italian Bride sandwich woo you in ... think of a great circle of soft bocconcini sitting on a homemade pretzel bun with a big mountain of prosciutto.
- Adrienne: Dang Good – This northwest Edmonton Vietnamese restaurant isn't really a hole-in-the-wall, but it is affordable with big portions. I usually get the Mango Salad to start, then the 3 Beef Pho with beef brisket, beef tendon, and beef ball, and for dessert – the Banana and Jackfruit roll.
The restaurant most worth going out of your way to get to:
- Twyla: Glasshouse Bistro at St. Albert’s Enjoy Centre – Their motto is “fresh, local, thoughtful" – and that says it all. It's also in one of the prettiest settings in the province.
- Stephanie: The Bruce Hotel – Hop in the car (or truck) and drive an hour and a half through rolling prairie farms to get to the small town of Bruce and experience the Bruce Hotel’s restaurant. You have to reserve ahead but their steak nights are worth it: set prices for medium to gigantic steaks alongside an all-you-can-eat, down-home salad and dessert bar.
- Adrienne: Wing Chicx Kal Bi Que – Best Korean food in Edmonton and worth the drive to the south edge of the city. I love so many of the dishes here ... Jumbo BBQ Kal Bi Beef Rib, Fried Chicken, Stir Fried Sweet Potato Noodle, Original Kimchi Stew, and the Seafood Pan Fried Pizza. Embrace Kimchi!
Best place for sharing a dish:
- Twyla: Bar Bricco – Daniel Costa does it again, this time next door to Corso. Eggs Moliterno is one of the best things to eat in the entire city. Egg yolk raviolo, ridiculously good. Costa is magic.
- Stephanie: Cavern – Descend into the basement and get a cheese and charcuterie board. Now, nibble away and don’t forget a glass of wine.
- Adrienne: Shanghai Grill – My current favourite bite of food in the city is the Xiao Long Bao, or Shanghai Style Juicy Pork Buns, at Shanghai Grill. Handmade in-house, imagine a perfectly seasoned, delicately wrapped pork dumpling filled with delicious soup. There's an art to successfully eating these ... tweet me for tips!
- Twyla: Izakaya Tomo – Enthusiastic owner Tomo makes the best gyoza in the city. His spicy tuna roll is addictive and the taco yaki (deep fried octopus balls) are a must-have. Also has the best selection of sake and shochu in the city.
- Stephanie: Sushi Wasabi – From the pastel Japanese decor to the warm towels they bring to start, it's like going back to Japan. But best of all, of course, is the food: the fish melts in your mouth and the chefs obviously know what they're doing.
- Adrienne: Japonais Bistro – The sushi here is always fresh. White tuna is my favourite and the Golden Crunch and Cherry Blossom rolls are perfect. Also give the Tuna Nachos a try – and don't ignore the hot menu! The Spicy Mango Prawns and Grilled Miso Black Cod are outstanding.
- Twyla: Million Thai – Home cooked authentic Thai food. The Som Tum (Papaya Salad) with Prawns is fresh and layered with flavours and the Ginger Milk Tea refreshing – plus, it helps tone down the spiciness of the dishes.
- Stephanie: Syphay – My friend spent months living in Thailand and now recommends Syphay. She was right.
- Adrienne: Ban Thai – I love soup ... and one of the best in the city is the Coconut Soup at Ban Thai. Get the Toam Gati Kaa Gai if you want chicken, or the Toam Yum Talay Tong if you want seafood.
- Twyla: Farrow – Owned by the people behind Three Boars. The ingredients here are top notch, the menu tiny, and the sandwiches perfect.
- Stephanie: S’wich Food Truck – Rootbeer brisket, smoked pork, Kardashian ice cream brownie ... Lex has a gift with putting just the right things together to make an outstanding sandwich – hot or cold. S’wich is at MacEwan in the winter, but I can’t wait for them to come back downtown in the summer.
- Adrienne: DaDeO New Orleans Diner & Bar – The Po'Boys here are all delicious but I have a soft spot for the Fried Oyster. Make sure to get the addicting sweet potato fries and cherry or vanilla coke.
- Twyla: Rosso! Love the crust and their interesting topping combinations. Two ways to go: rosso (tomato sauce) or bianca (without tomato sauce). They have breakfast pizzas, too. Bonus.
- Stephanie: Rosso Pizzeria – Order the Salsiccia pizza with taleggio cheese, homemade fennel sausage and roasted peppers. I dream about this pizza.
- Adrienne: Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria – I'm going to give a little love to a chain restaurant right now. Famoso's Margherita pizza is my go-to. Simple perfection. Now, about the service ...
What do you think – did our reviewers nail it? Or did we miss a hidden gem? Have your say in the comments below!