I'm looking for the coolest, tastiest, hippest restaurants in Edmonton and Calgary
Do they need to be all three at once? Because I know many of the tastiest may not necessarily be the hippest or coolest, and vice versa.
Hip but not tasty: Nellie's, Wicked Wedge, Met Grill
Tasty but not hip: Vagabondo, Jonas, Atlas Pizza, Silver Dragon
Hip, cool, and tasty: Divino, River Cafe, Murietta's
Capo: fabulous, and fabulously expensive, Italian. Small, very popular, excellent service, very good wine selection. Closed most of August. http://www.caporestaurant.ca/
River Cafe: on Prince's Island downtown, amazing regional food (lots of organic choices, small producers) excellent service and wine selection, beautiful to sit inside or out. Until Capo opened, consistently the best restaurant in the city, now it's a close call.
Saint Germain: at the Hotel Arts (hip boutique hotel), excellent and expensive French. Or Raw Bar at the same hotel, where you can eat very creative "Pacific Rim", lots of raw dishes (hence the name), at the bar or around the pool
Divino: downtown wine bar and bistro, excellent wine selection, cheese selection, appetizers or full meals
Living Room or Cilantro: both on 17 Ave SW ("the Red Mile"), trendy location, great patios, quality food and service
The "Blue Willow" restaurant is the best chinese I have ever tasted. The establishment is small, tables are tightly packed in, but the food is too die for!
The "Blue Willow" was frequented by "Wayne Gretzky" while he was an "Edmonton Oiler."
The owner of the "Blue Willow, Mr. Vic Mah" has many photos of "The Great One" posted up in the lobby.(Small as it is.) Some even with the Stanley Cup.
Blue Willow Restaurant
11107 103 Avenue Northwest, Edmonton, AB T5K2P1
(780) 426-0498 (fax)
I have to disagree with the person who said the Blue Willow is the best restaurant in Edmonton. We were in Edmonton and asked our concierge for a recommendation and he recommended the Blue Willow. We ordered in and it was like WAY overpriced raman noodles. We were disappointed but we have laughed ever since about how incredibly bad it was!
As a new resident in Edmo from Calgary, may I suggest:
Calgary: yeah Teatro is world-class, but they know it with a vengeance. Try Il Sogno for ravishing decor and a restrained but inspired italian menu -- the best italian i've had since Rome.
Edmonton: can't argue with the Hardware Grill. Elegant, sophisticated yet comfortable ambience, distinctly canadian prepared with care (not too much bravado or fuss) with pristine ingredients. It may seem vulgar to note that portions are very generous -- you will be encouraged and should not decline or be ashamed to take home your leftovers.
Pagolac was mentioned for first rate vietnamese food but no decor. The food is brilliant, the menu extensive and actually the decor is perfect. You will not find this kind of "authenticity" in the chinatowns of most cities -- its old and grotty and thoroughly delightful.
Teatro, for upscale Italian-influenced cuisine, with a great wine list
The River Cafe: Canadian cuisine in an idyllic setting in Prince's Island park (note: closed in January)
The Belvedere: great food in an urban, dark environment
Piq Niq: an excellent cafe with live jazz downstairs thurs-sat
The Living Room: groovy food for sharing; a cool environment too
And this is just a taste ...
Let us know if you want suggestions for ethnic food as well ... there's lots of that about too
Edmonton is a great food city; here are some faves:
* Top slot goes to the Hardware Grill (they have a website at www.hardwaregrill.com). Truly fabulous, innovative Canadian cuisine, and wonderful wine. I particularly like the planked salmon, the bacon-wrapped scallop appetizer, and their steaks. Great decor too. Don't miss it.
* I used to love the River City Grill, but thought it had gone out of business. News on this would be welcome if anyone knows....
* Jack's grill is out toward the suburbs, and to me has less character and depth than the Hardware. But it's good.
* The 'Grills' are all high-end (though in Edmonton that's still pretty reasonable: appetizers are $12-18 Cdn, and mains $16-24). For cheaper eats, I'm a fan of Kyoto for very reasonably priced sushi lunches; The King and I for extremely good Thai; Cafe de Ville , Packrat Louis' and the Manor Cafe for fine-ish dining; and New Asian Village for Indian.
Enjoy! And let me know what you discover....
For the best and probably most expensive, hit the Hardware Grill (appropriate attire of course!). Rivercity grill or Jack's grill is also good.
Creperie or Normand's (french), the king and I (thai), kyoto(sushi) or Japanese Village (teppan grill upstairs), khazhana or murya palace or new asian village for indian, pagaloc for vietnamese (no decor, but great food), bistro praha for czech food.
That's just off the top of my head!
Try Savoy's, Bagel Tree, Sorrentino's(if you have extra cash), Cafe Mosiac's-mainly vegetarian but beware the service is so-so, New York Bagel-don't blink;it's a hole in the wall and Tasty Tom's.
All these restaurants are on the main part of Whyte ave or little bit off of the main ave.