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In Edmonton and Calgary next week - budget recs, please?

Hi to the Alberta Chowhounds, I hope you can help an expat coming home for a week. I was born and raised in Edmonton, but my career took me a few thousand KMs east. I really haven't been home for more than a day or two in the past decade - so I suspect any of the places I knew and loved in my youth will have changed so much as to be unrecognizable.

I'd love to hear your recommendations of places to go (or to avoid) for low to mid-budget eats in Edmonton. I'm frankly less impressed by a hip vibe, than by a kitchen that actually cares about the food it's serving. Both lunch and dinner recommendations would be appreciated; also if anyone knows of a gem or two in the St Albert area, that would be great (since I have to get there to visit the inlaws anyways.)

Also, I will be in Calgary for a couple of days mid-week, any similar lunch or dinner places in the Southwest part of town would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance for all replies, I will post a recap on the ones I am able to visit.

--MarkhamDee

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  1. Red Door Bistro on 11th Ave SW is great and very affordable (try their consomme!), also Aida's on 4th St SW is a fantastic steal (I always get the muhammara and grilled cheese). Fiasco Gelato on 17th Ave SW apparently has fab takeout sandwiches too.

    1. I was raised in Edmonton too...as a matter of fact,I just returned from a visit there. Some of the spots I would frequent were Pagolac for Vietnamese food and banh mi, and Tau Bay for pho. Both are located in Chinatown. You might want to check High Level Diner and Cafe de Ville. I loved those places too, and they should still be around. Sorry I can't help with the St. Albert recs...I'm a southside girl myself.

      1. what do you mean by "southwest"? Almost all of downtown is southwest, but so are some far-flung suburbs.

        1. This e-town expat is looking forward to lunch at Culina during a similar visit this summer and breakfast or lunch at NY Bagel Cafe (full disclosure, I have worked there) For the food and because they are in the heart of areas that define Edmonton for me, 99th Street and Whyte. Also, a sandwich from the South Italian store and dinner at the circle ring Chinese restaurant just behind lucky 97 in Chinatown, which still ranks among some of the best sichuan style food I've ever had (I live in Sichuan). The menu can be confusing if you are not familiar with that style of food but try at least one 'fish-flavour' dish if you go.

          1. Well, I live in Edmonton and I would love to share my favourite restaurants with you. For Italian, you can't go wrong with Piccolino's which is in the mid-range (approx. 142 Street 91 Ave). The food is always great and fresh and Lino runs it with dedication and love. I rate his lasagna the best in the city. Be sure to make reservations. I've eaten there for lunch and dinner. Another place for good solid mid-range food is The Urban Diner (just off 124 street)). Very popular for home-style food in a comfortable setting. Our friends live in a highrise condo just behind the restaurant and they go there at least once a week. Last time I was there was for Sunday brunch and I had the eggs benedict, which I love even more than my own recipe. We often go to Cafe de Ville (Kenny, the waiter is a favourite) and don't forget Yiannis on Whyte Ave. It is still delicious. Vi's for Pies on Stony Plain Road has a nice lunch (homemade soups, filled buns, salads, entrees, and mouth-watering desserts.)
            Try The Italian Centre Shop (Little Italy or Southside) for a panini and latte. Inexpensive and a nice change. Jeffery's is a cafe and wine bar on 142 Street that serves a nice little lunch that is again, fresh and delicious. Nice comfy atmosphere, too. In the same cute little strip mall is DeLuxe Burger Bar that is very hip and sells yummy but very pricey burgers. Loads of food, though.
            In St. Albert, go to Nello's Italian place on St. Albert Trail. I work with a number of people who live in St. Albert and they swear by this place. Not too fancy but great food. Really, that's what really matters, isn't it. DO NOT go to the new Greek place next door to Nello's. I posted my horrible experience there on the Board last week.