Five Edmonton restaurants land on OpenTable's prestigious top-100 list

Five Edmonton restaurants have cracked a prestigious list of Canada’s top 100 dining establishments.

Edmonton dining establishments highlighted amongst Canada's best restaurants

Ernest's at NAIT made OpenTable's 100 Best Restaurants in Canada list for the second year in a row. (Ernest's at NAIT)

Five Edmonton restaurants have cracked a prestigious list of Canada's top 100 dining establishments.

OpenTable is a reservation service that releases a 100 Best Restaurants list annually. This year, 17 of those restaurants are in Alberta.

Ernest's at NAIT, The Marc, Sabor Restaurant, Tzin Wine and Tapas and vivo ristorante are the Edmonton restaurants that made the cut — some for the first time.

Italian eatery vivo ristorante is a new addition to the list.

Italian restaurant vivo ristorante is a newcomer to the list of Canada's top 100 restaurants. (vivo ristorante)

"It shows what our staff do every day and the hard work they put in and their dedication," said Gregg Kenney, the restaurant's managing director.

The west-end restaurant opened in 2011, and Kenney said its family-style Italian vibe hasn't changed over the six years it has been open. That, combined with the use of high-quality local and regional ingredients, is likely what helped vivo ristorante claim a coveted spot on the list.

More than 2,000 restaurants eligible

More than 2,000 Canadian restaurants were eligible for spots on the list. The rankings are based on more than 500,000 customer reviews, the OpenTable website said.

"It's one of those lists that mean a lot because … it's made from what our guests vote on and their feedback," Kenney said.

He said he's proud vivo ristorante is in the company of the four other Edmonton restaurants that received the honour.

Ernest's at NAIT made the list in 2016, but this year's recognition is just as thrilling.

"We're over-the-moon excited," said Mitch McCaskill, a maître d' at the restaurant, which features dishes prepared by students in NAIT's culinary program.

Landing on the list gives restaurants significant exposure, he said.

All of the dishes served at Ernest's at NAIT are prepared by culinary students. (Ernest's at NAIT)

Receiving the honour two years in a row is particularly exciting, McCaskill said, because Ernest's at NAIT is run by up-and-comers in the culinary industry.

"Students wanting to succeed really helps with the food they create and the hospitality that they provide to compete with industry-leading restaurants in the country," McCaskill said.

Some of those students move on to establish eateries of their own, which McCaskill said contributes to the vibrancy of Edmonton's fine-dining scene.

"It's definitely growing and there's a lot more foodie places coming up," he said.

The growth started a few years ago with the development of several fine dining restaurants across the city, Kenney said. Now, it seems Edmontonians are willing to pay a little extra for a finer dining experience, he said.

"It's starting to come together for everybody," Kenney said.

Eleven Calgary restaurants and one Banff restaurant were also featured on the list.