If you have been away for four years I expect that the list of of popular and/or recommended restaurants has not changed all that much.
Hardware Grill, Jack's Grill, Characters, Sorrentino's Downtown, The Harvest Room at the Macdonald Hotel, Il Portico and the like occupy the top "celebrating" tier.
The next grouping which is purely arbitrary on my part and which could as easily be here or above, or indeed if based solely on my personal tastes even lower on the "taste measuring stick", would include, Red Ox Inn, Hy's, Ric's Grill, Four Rooms, Lux, Century Grill, Normand's, Murrietta's Grill, Sawmill [Moose Factory], Louisiana Purchase, Packrat Louie's, Mayfield Grill...gawd there are an awfull lot of grills in this city...
Lots and lots of Asian influenced restaurants. I cannot recommend a sushi place off hand. One, because I do not eat it as often as I used to, and secondly, I find many places in this city try to be everything to everyone. As a result you have a mixture of Korean, with Chinese, with Thai, with Japanese etc.. The old adage of "jack of all trades, master of none" often applies.
They will definitely be others here who can better suggest asian fare than I.
If I am eating Japanese I usually end up at Kobe in the west end because of location. When I used to live in Old Strathcona Furusato on Whyte was good. Others will recommend Mikado, etc.. Sushi or at least restaurants that purport to be specialize in sushi "spring up like dandelions" out here.
We have lots of eastern European spots like the venerable Bistro Praha, Milan's and others.
One of my favourite "neighbourhood" spots is Culina on the southside in what used to be occupied by Bruno's.
We are still a city dominated by the big chains and apparently a "testing ground" for many of the same. As a result we have lots of Earls', Moxies, Joey's and the like. Earls is "tire kicking" the public appeal of an Asian influenced "OPM" which I am told may be their "take" on the US Southwestern chain, P.F. Changs. They also tried a pub, "Republik" without success.
If you have any more specific queries I would be pleased to try to assist.
re: Bob Mac
re: Bob Mac
Bob Mac has done a good job of summarizing the Edmonton non-ethnic food scene - Just a couple of additions:
Having recently been to West in Vancouver I should mention that the Blue Pear in Edmonton comes closest (albeit not enough)to the type and quality of the food I had there.It is a "fixed" menu restaurant with some choices.
Sankyou is a "New Japanese" restaurant serving good quality traditional sushi as well as some innovative dishes
One more.. The Blue Chair, only been there once but I will go back. Eclectic but more than competently executed menu.
When it comes to Greek I usually go the restaurants operated by the Greek-Cypriot "Godfather"...is that an inappropriate blending of Mediteranean stereotypes?...of Edmonton Greek dining, Yiannis Psalios.
My personal favourite is Koutouki Ouzeria out in the west end which is operated by his son Theo.
I am not sure if the US Food Network picked it up or not but the family, [father, mother, son, daughter, prospective son-in-law] and their restaurants were featured in a multi-show series on Food TV CANADA. I think it was called "Family Restaurant" or something to that effect. Apparently the production company is doing another season culminating with the big family wedding back in Cyprus...them and "4,0000" of their closest friends.....I may have got the number wrong but it was some astonishing figure that was mentioned in the Journal...the war in Lebanon better be over or there will not be enough room in Cyprus.
He also has one or two on 124th Street. He opened Souvla across the street from another Koutouki and a lot of people wondered why he was apparently going into competition with himself until the lease expired on the latter.
He also has a third on Gateway Blvd. attached to one of the motel/hotels [Travel Lodge perhaps] south of the Whitemud.
He was the one who opened Theo's, then Yianni's on Whyte Ave in the "bad old days" where like the old adage about the sixties, "if you remember them you were not there". Man nor beast were not created to consume that much retsina.
Most Greek restaurants in this city pretty well follow the same formula. Greek salad, roast lamb, pork, beef, chicken and lamb souvlaki, various dips, calamari, dolmathes, keftedes, some with octopus...nothing too out of the ordinary.
Others in town are Cosmos also on 124th Street [not the infamous Cosmos where Louisiana Purchase now is], It's All Greek To Me on Rice Howard Way along with another Cosmos, the aforementioned Theo's and Yianni's which are more "party-drinking" spots than restaurants, Syrtaki in the west end, Grub Med [formerly part of Spartacus Pizza which you may remember from your days in Edmonton].
I would "kill" for a Greek fish taverna like those I remember from Parc Avenue in Montreal. Fresh fish grilled over charcoal with just a sprinkle of lemon. Mind you I probably could not afford to eat in a place like Milos, whether on Parc or on 55th Street in NYC.
You mentioned OPA. If it is what I am thinking of, it is a fast food souvlaki chain. I think there is one just at the northeast corner of 104 Street and Whyte Avenue in the new building that went up after the fire that destroyed Uncle Alberts, Carol's Sweets and some other businesses there.
Thanks you are a great foodie! No I didn't see the Food Network special, I think some of the programming is different. I am certainly familiar with Yiannis, love it..didn't realize that they a mini empire in Edmonton :=) A wedding special in Cyprus...I can only imagine (Three colleagues of mine relocated in November- its wonderful, but as you said hopefully the current situation improves!)
All of your imput has been extremely helpful...thanks so much!
If you ever need NYC input let me know!
in terms of japanese food in Edm I highly recommend Wasabi in the Ledrum strip mall (down the way from Jack's grill). They are one of the few restaurants operated by actual japanese people. They have a great beef sashimi and udon dishes and their grapefruit jelly is amazing. I recently went back to Furosato after a long break and was disappointed. In the past there was always a line to get a table without fail and on a Fri night there were several empty tables. The chirashi we ordered was definitely smaller then I remembered it being. Mikado has since opened up a second location in South Edm common - the sushi is OK, they do however still have more grilled selections that some of the other restaurants don't offer.
Thanks for the comments about Wasabi. I know my brother-in-law and his wife have enjoyed meals there but we have yet to go. Maybe the next time I am out that way checking out the selection at Cristall's.
With the beef sashimi and noodle dishes there will be something for my "better half" who will not eat fish...sounds like I need to try the grapefruit jelly!