Foodie alert! With its deep ethnic and rural roots, Edmonton celebrates its diversity with down-to-earth comforting prairie food with a twist. Farms and market gardens surround the city, so it's no surprise that local, seasonal ingredients remain a priority.
My husband and I love to seek out unique eateries, where top chefs turn out everything from lamb confit poutine to delicate handmade pasta and world-class pastries.
Self Directed Culinary Tour
Friday and Saturday nights you’ll typically find us on a self-guided restaurant tour with friends. We'll duck into a lush little wine bar like Tzin, before heading to one – or more – of the many independent restaurants, where owners like Patrick and Doris Saurette of The Marc, Larry Stewart of Hardware Grill, or Frank and Andrea Olson of Canteen are always there to welcome you.
At The Marc, duck confit with local beets, artisan greens and lentils is a must. Hardware Grill highlights Edmonton area produce with features like 60-day-aged local Spring Creek beef and bacon-wrapped elk. As for Canteen, we’re usually so enamoured with the appetizers and dessert options that we typically end up just sharing a main.
Small Plates and International Fare
Sometimes we’ll jostle for a seat at the little Three Boars Eatery to get a taste of Brayden Kozak's small plates – think spicy lamb meatballs and lentils or lamb neck confit poutine. If we’re craving Mexican then it’s Tres Carnales Taqueria for fish tacos and house made guacamole.
When I can’t get Indian of my mind, we’ll grab a table at Guru and devour plates of butter chicken samosas, shrimp pakora and beef vindaloo. For authentic Italian, Corso 32’s carefully curated menu can’t be beat. As with many of Edmonton’s top eateries, the menu changes with the season, but if you happen upon the handmade gnocchi please consider it a crime to pass it by.
Neighbourhood Restaurant Crawl
Next week we’re touring Edmonton’s trendy 124 Street – a charming neighbourhood, where art galleries and eclectic shops share space with lots of new restaurants. We can't go wrong. Although I’m leaving the planning to my husband there are two high profile spots that I think – and hope – will be on the itinerary.
Duchess Bake Shop is the first. Lemon meringue, rhubarb galette, shortbread and a rainbow of macaroons, among other sweet indulgences, are beautifully prepared and presented in this darling bakery. I have a feeling we might become regulars here.
My guess is that the critically acclaimed RGE RD will be the second. Chef Blair Lebsack, the owner of this farm to fork restaurant, is passionate about creating innovative dishes using only local and seasonal ingredients. After scanning the menu online, it’s the Grizzly Gouda potato perogies and Pilatus Farms Bison with hazelnut spatzle that are calling my name.