It's that time of the year again — after 12 months of sipping and sampling, the three members of CBC Edmonton's intrepid restaurant review panel have convened once more to share the best of Edmonton's food scene from 2015.

Want to skip to the finish and see which is closest to you?

The judges

Twyla Campbell@wanderwoman10

Food explorer, world-wide wanderer, and Edmonton AM restaurant reviewer.

Phil Wilson, @baconhound

Food writer at baconhound and host of the Off Menu podcast. Cheese fries are not poutine. 

Adrienne Pan@adriennepancbc

On-duty newshound and off-duty food fanatic. On the hunt for the perfect bowl of ramen. 

Best new restaurant of 2015

Cured Wine Bar Edmonton

The olive and pickles platter from Cured Wine Bar. (Cured/Facebook)

Adrienne: Cured 

I couldn't be happier this great eatery has opened in the semi-food desert that is the southwestern edge of Edmonton. While their spread of house-made charcuterie is impressive, I am in love with the crispy garlic ginger wings. These babies are brined for 24 hours and really pop with a squeeze of charred lemon. I must also mention the restaurant is super stylish, all the way down to the rose gold cutlery. Location: 2307 Ellwood Drive, Edmonton

Phil: Little Brick Café 

This café in a beautifully refurbished historic house in Riverdale is the bright spot of 2015 openings. The small lunch menu highlights quality ingredients and includes unique selections such as ricotta tartine and duck breast with crispy potato pavé. Not exactly what you'd expect from a neighbourhood cafe. Location: 10004 90th Street, Edmonton

Twyla: 12 Acres Restaurant

Chef Cory Rakowski has a true passion for creating honest but interesting food. Every meat on the menu is sourced from their partnered farm north of St. Albert, and the menu changes depending on what's available — but if you can get the buttermilk fried chicken, go for it. Location: 8 Mission Avenue, St. Albert

Best breakfast/brunch spot

Ampersand 27

The caramel whiskey banana bread with in-house maple candied bacon from Ampersand 27. (Ampersand 27/Facebook)

Adrienne: The Manor Bistro

Eggs Benedict are my go-to morning meal, and nowhere else in Edmonton makes them better. The hollandaise is buttery and flavourful, the eggs are always perfectly poached (I like mine medium), and the accompanying potatoes and couscous aren't throwaways like they are in many other places. Also, love the banana bread with the pecan butter. Location: 10109 125th Street, Edmonton

Phil: Ampersand 27

Fantastic corned beef hash, delicious lemon ricotta pancakes, and some of the best scones I've had in Edmonton. Location: 10612 82nd Avenue, Edmonton

Twyla: Juniper Bistro

Go for four things: the hand-held Benny, fresh baked goods, the chai latté and the owners' no-nonsense, fully transparent approach to what they're serving up. Location: 9514 87th Street, Edmonton

Best restaurant for date night

North 53

Crowds gather at North 53 for its lively atmosphere and impressive cocktails. (North 53/Facebook)

Adrienne: Canteen

I've been here a lot, and have never been let down by the food or service. The dishes are inventive, but never tortured — and the space is just big enough to give you the buzz of a busy restaurant while still feeling intimate. Address: 10522 124th Street, Edmonton

Phil: RGE RD

It's a cool room with great food, and it's dark enough that you won't even bother trying to get a picture of your meal — so the phones stay in the pockets. You should be paying attention to your date, anyways. Address: 10643 – 123rd Street, Edmonton

Twyla: A tie

Want to cut loose and get crazy? North 53. Want to test the waters with deep conversation? XIX (North or South). Either way, you're going to have good food and drink. Address: North 53 is at 10240 124th Street, Edmonton and XIX has two locations — 5940 Mullen Way, Edmonton and #104, 150 Bellerose Drive, St. Albert

Best cheap eat

Portuguese Canadian Bakery

A sampling of snacks served at the Portuguese Canadian Bakery. (Portuguese Canadian Bakery/Facebook)

Adrienne: The Soup and Sandwich Shoppe

This tucked-away lunch spot in Sherwood Park is made for soup lovers. They have at least five house-made soups on offer every day from hearty stews and gumbos to creamy concoctions like bacon mac'n'cheese. Sop it up with the plenty of bread and enjoy a full belly for under $10. Address: #4, 140 Athabascan Avenue, Sherwood Park

Phil: Sunbake Pita Bakery

This is my hidden gem for a simple and inexpensive lunch on the run. I always get the cheese pie, which is baked on a flatbread and folded in half, making it easily portable. It's loaded with gooey cheese, and has a great crispy crust. At under $5, it's a steal of a deal. Grab a bag of pillowy soft pita to take home, too. Address: 10728 134th Avenue, Edmonton

Twyla: Portuguese Canadian Bakery

Soup and a sandwich costs only $7. The soup varies, but what you really want to go for is the pork bifana — marinated, tender, fried pork pieces on a made-in-house bun. Can't even describe how good it is. Address: 5304 118th Avenue, Edmonton

Best spot to splurge

The Marc

Just add frites and beer to complete this mussel dish served at The Marc. (The Marc/Facebook)

Adrienne: The Marc

It's hard for me to go to this restaurant and not have a three-course meal with wine. Their fresh take on french bistro fare and daily specials always keeps me interested and coming back. Their fish dishes and beignets continue to be particular highlights. Address: 9940 106th Street, Edmonton

Phil: Corso 32

By splurge, I mean you might order the entire menu. I've simply never had a dish that wasn't fantastic, but if you're on a diet or maybe just out for a second dinner, order the goat ricotta, arancini, and whey braised pork shoulder. Address: 10345 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton

Twyla: RGE RD

If you're going for ambience, fantastic wine and above all, some of the best food and service in Alberta, Chef Lebsack is arguably the finest chef in the city. Address: 10643 123rd Street, Edmonton

Best place to go with a group

Rostizado

Rostizado's meat platters are primed for sharing. (Rostizado)

Adrienne: North 53

This place has undergone a lot of change in the two years it's been open, and luckily, its latest incarnation is a success. I had my birthday meal here with seven people and enjoyed the shareability of the dishes. Loved the tourtiere and whole roast chicken, both of which were very original takes on classic recipes. By the way, kids are welcome until 10 p.m. Address: 10240 124th Street, Edmonton

Phil: Rostizado

Dining with a group can be tough, but Rostizado has a large, semi-private communal table available to reserve, and their platters of rotisserie meats are great for sharing with a group. Even their crispy churros come in batches prepped for sharing, though you may not want to. Address: #102, 10359 104th Street

Twyla: Meat

Bourbon and platters of succulent, barbecued meat. That's all you need to know. Address: 8216 104th Street, Edmonton

Best spin on a traditional dish

The Downtown Diner

The Downtown Diner's "hot dog," as featured on You Gotta Eat Here! (The Downtown Diner/Facebook)

Adrienne: Shanghai 456

We all know Edmonton is home to the green onion cake — here, you get a great variation of it with the Shanghai chive and egg pancake. It comes crispy and stuffed full of chives, and cheap. Address: 14456 118th Avenue, Edmonton

Phil: The Downtown Diner

I debated between the diner dog or the shepherd's pie burger, but this "hotdog" is just too cool. It's a pork cutlet pounded flat, stuffed with cheese and bacon, and rolled up like a hotdog, then panko crusted and fried. Ridiculous. Address: 10209A 100th Avenue, Fort Saskatchewan

Twyla: Bar Bricco

Bar Bricco's Eggs Moliterno 'Cacio e Pepe', otherwise known as scrambled eggs with salt and pepper, is not to be missed. If you could eat cute cat videos, they would taste like Daniel Costa's Eggs Moliterno. The best thing ever. Address: 10347 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton

Best Ramen

Prairie Noodle Shop

The roasted barley chicken ramen served at the Prairie Noodle Shop. (Prairie Noodle Shop/Facebook)

Adrienne: Kazoku Ramen

I love that this food trend has finally hit Edmonton, so I tackled my research on this category with fervour. However, I haven't found a perfect bowl of ramen yet. The best overall is Kazoku — it has great broth and comes with sesame seeds to grind into your soup. Prairie Noodle Shop has the best meat, both in quality and quantity. Yuzen's noodles have that perfect chew and curl. Address: 16518 100th Avenue, Edmonton

Phil: Prairie Noodle Shop

Had they opened a little earlier, they might be in the running for best new restaurant — but Prairie Noodle Shop is still my pick for favourite ramen all the same. The shocker, coming from a guy named baconhound, is that I think the best bowl is the vegetarian, which has a miso broth and is topped with smoked gouda. Address: 10350 124th Street, Edmonton

Twyla: A tie

I'm torn. I want to break out of the box and say Prairie Noodle Shop, but the conservative, rule-oriented German in me says Kazoku. Prairie Noodle Shop wins for space design and back-story, but I'm a traditionalist, and for me, Kazoku offers a more time-honoured version of the soup. I'm going to lose sleep over this one. 

Best meat or charcuterie

Bar Bricco

Bar Bricco serves up a variety of spuntini dishes for group snacking. (Bar Bricco/Twitter)

Adrienne: Glasshouse Bistro

Since I've already mentioned the excellent charcuterie at Cured, I am going to give some love to this St. Albert eatery in the meat category. I have had seriously tasty meat, fish and pasta dishes here. The Friday Night Fresh three-course set menu features local ingredients and the price can't be beat at $35. Address: 101 Riel Drive, St. Albert

Phil: Bar Bricco

If all you've ever had is grocery store prosciutto, do yourself a favour and try Bricco's Prosciutto Di Parma. It's so buttery soft it melts in your mouth, and the rest of the meats impress just as much. A plate of mortadella and some breadsticks makes a great snack with a glass of prosecco. Address: 10347 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton

Twyla: Bar Bricco

Nobody can touch the selection here, and the quality is phenomenal. Culatello, porchetta, mortadella all melt in your mouth and will make you weak in the knees. Address: 10347 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton

Best food truck

S'wich

The S'wich food truck is known for its sandwiches made daily from fresh ingredients. (S'wich/Facebook)

Adrienne: The Pie Eatery

I discovered this food truck at this year's Taste of Edmonton. Their pork and apple hand pie was my best bite of the festival. To do a pie that good — out of a truck, no less — is truly impressive. 

Phil: S'wich

Everything is homemade except the napkins. The Chinese pork and Korean beef sandwiches are standouts, but the star of the show may actually be the outstanding house-made breads. 

Twyla: S'wich

Owner Lex is a baker extraordinaire, curing his own meats and marrying flavours like no one else in the city. The good news is you can still get his food on MacEwan Campus after the food truck season ends. 

Best coffee shop

District Coffee Co.

District Coffee Co. serves up coffee, baked goods and snacks in its downtown location. (District Coffee Co./Instagram)

Adrienne: Remedy

I realize A LOT of new coffee shops have opened up in Edmonton recently, and I honestly haven't tried many of them. I will say, though, that I frequent Remedy downtown and I enjoy the drinks, food, and atmosphere. Their Chai tea and butter chicken with rice make a rich and satisfying meal. Address: Downtown — 10279 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton; South Side — 8631 109th Street, Edmonton

Phil: District Coffee Co.

With Credo, Lock Stock, Trancend, Elm, etc., Edmonton is blessed with an abundance of excellent choices — but if I can only pick one, I go to District Coffee Co. more often than any other. They've got great coffee and excellent baking to pair it with. Address: #101, 10011 109th Street, Edmonton

Twyla: Little Brick Café

Another Nate Box venture, this place has it all: history, comfort, great coffee, wonderful baked good, and merchandise for sale in the 'general store' section. Address: 10004 90th Street, Edmonton

Best cocktail

North 53

When it comes to cocktails, two out of three reviewers listed North 53 as the place to visit. (North 53/Facebook)

Adrienne: El Cortez

There are fancier cocktails to be had at places like Woodwork, but I am a tequila fan. El Cortez's coconut margarita is the most perfect tequila cocktail I have ever had. Drink a few of those with a grilled pescado taco and Valentina's fried cauliflower. You won't regret it. Address: 8230 Gateway Boulevard, Edmonton

Phil: North 53

Order the Smoke and Oak Fashioned. Watching this cocktail get made is a show unto itself, and the first sip backs up those theatrics with complex flavours. Though Edmonton now has a lot of top notch cocktails, this one still holds top spot for me. Address: 10240 124th Street, Edmonton

Twyla: North 53

Nobody comes close. If you haven't tried the Smoke and Oak Fashioned, you haven't lived. And, this just in: They've announced a new cocktail list! You'll find me at the end of the bar doing research. Address: 10240 124th Street, Edmonton

Where to go

Use the map below to find which city gems are located closest to you: