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New to Edmonton - need cheap recomendations!


I am a new grad student at U of A and need some food recs! I'm staying at a place near Corona station so anywhere near a c-train line or near the university would be awesome. I also don't have a car and I'm not a huge fan of bussing it just for a resto (unless its very worth it!)

some things I'm looking for is price (under 20 would be nice) and location

other than that i'm open to it all! I love all ethnic food but I also love some good western restos as well. i've browsed the forums and I got overwhelmed with it all lol.

One thing I couldn't find is if there is any hong kong style cafes that are relatively easy to get to?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. You could try:

    Zuppa (next to Grandin station) - wonderful homemade soups and Italian sandwiches (plus desserts look delicious, but I found the soups very filling so never tried the sweet stuff) - but extremely busy at lunch during weekdays.

    The lunch counter at Chancery Hall (around the Churchill station, close to the law courts and city hall) - I tried their gyro and it was good.

    Near university, try Da Capo - pizza, gelato, and coffee, plus big tv to watch soccer

    Chinese - you could take the LRT to Churchill station, and then walk to Chinatown area (97 Street). Maybe another poster can advise as to any HK style cafes in that area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Libertycafe

      if you're going to go to chacery hall- go a little farther - to the Courthouse and visit their cafeteria for lunch- and they have a pretty good breakfast menu too, and it's cheap for what you get. They serve two styles of lunch- one is your typical cafeteria type food- hamburgers, fries, onion rings, etc..., and the second type of lunch is an option- pick one of three different entres such as baked ham, poached whitefish, roast beef, (on wednesday or thursday roast turkey and stuffing which always draws a huge crowd), and two choices of vegetable- also cheap for what you get. people from city hall and surrounding businesses show up for the lunch.

    2. You must go to Praha bistro it is downtown but worth the drive

      1 Reply
      1. re: careme

        you don't need to drive to Praha - get off at central and it is less than 2 blocks.

      2. For Hong Kong Style cafes, I would try Spicy Garden in Chinatown (105 Ave & 97 St, walk north on 97 St from Churchill or catch the #3 on 97 Street) or Double Greeting Wonton House (96 St & 102 Ave, 4 blocks east of Churchill Station). Also Sam Wok on the southside (67 Ave? & Calgary Trail), but probably not worth the bus ride.

        5 Replies
        1. re: unclerufus

          Thought these places were Cantonese restaurants. Are they the actual Hong Kong cafes that serve wonton and brisket noodles and Hong Kong versions of Western food like peanut butter stuffed French toast and macaroni soup?

          1. re: pepper_mil

            Yeah this is more what I"m looking for. I would LOVE if I found a place that did baked rice

            1. re: marauder

              if you mean bo zi fan (煲仔饭), sam wok has it on the menu. I've never liked the food there though, and it is a bit out of your radius.

              There is also Phobulous across from the Garneau on 109th. Name and menu a bit too cute but the noodle bowls are good and well priced and I was really impressed with the drink menu which includes a sake list on the back (and weasel excrement coffee). The food is not better but it's cleaner and with a nicer atmosphere than most Chinatown Vietnamese places. Didn't try the pho but you can easily eat and have a glass of wine or beer plus tip for $20 or less.

              1. re: pepper_mil

                I actaully had phobolous recently! I kinda feel self conscious putting in my order (because of the weird/embarrassing names lol) but I wasn't a huge fan of the actual pho itself. The temperature was too hot and it remained too hot throughout the meal. Also i'm not sure if its just me or not, but the noodles weren't too good either as it was too sticky and tasted over cooked (probably from the overly hot broth). Also the broth was sweeter than I usually like but this is more a personal thing.

                With all of that said, I would probably go here lots! I'm sure if I ask them to reduce the temperature I would have liked it a lot more. I absolutely loved the artwork and a clean vietnamese resto is a rare thing (at least where I'm from).

                I also had the pho in the west edmonton mall (attached to T n T) and loved it. noodles were right on and the broth was more to my liking. But then again, that pho resteraunt is a huge chain for a reason lol

            2. re: pepper_mil

              Spicy Garden and the Garden Bakery (similar to Spicy Garden but not as polished and a little cheaper) has the wonton noodles and brisket noodles, along with other stuff like Hainan chicken rice, Yin Yang rice and the long donuts wrapped in rice noodles. I believe there is a limited amount of the HK western food however, but there are some dishes. Double Greetings has some of these but I can't remember which ones. You're not going to find an exact HK cafe in Edmonton - you'll have to go to Calgary or Vancouver for that.

              I used to eat HK style spaghetti at Taipan on 97 st years and years ago, but I haven't been there in at least 15 years so I have no idea what that place is like nowadays.

          2. Wow thanks everyone for all the help! I can't wait to try all the new food heh. I'm from calgary so we pretty much do viet food and surprisingly sushi pretty well. I hope to try new stuff while in edmonton!

            Also, quick question...where is chinatown ?

            1 Reply
            1. re: marauder

              97th street (and adjacent streets) north of 104 ave. the #5 bus will take you there from jasper or you could walk from churchill station.

            2. Avenue Pizza is across the street to the east of the U of A Hospital in Newton Place, 8519–112 St, on campus. They have surprisingly decent pizza, loaves and burgers. And the prices are student friendly. It used to be a lunch favourite when I worked in Med Sci.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cdnprairiedog

                University area & whyte ave has tons of 'cheap' options:
                high level diner
                cafe mosaic
                oodle noodle

              2. Close to where you, at Jasper and 109, there is a place called Mucho Burrito (see this thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/536730) that is good cheap fast food

                1. Kabsa is on Jasper, a few blocks east of Corona. It's a casual eat-in/take-out place. I usually get their lamb kabsa (which comes with stewed veggies, rice and potatoes). Portions are pretty large, so you could always have some leftover for lunch the next day.

                  Famoso pizza is a quick bus ride west of you.

                  I'm not such a big fan of the food immediately around the University. DaCapo has good coffee, Sugar bowl has good selections of beer and wine by the glass. If I'm in need of a quick bite on campus, I usually head to a little family-run Indian place in the north end of HUB (I think they're closed or renovating for the summer).

                  Try to make it out to Langano Skies and Churros King eventually (both on Whyte).

                  What do you mean by 'good Western restos'? Steak and burgers?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: littlegreenpea

                    How long has that Indian food place been in HUB Mall?

                    Twenty-five years ago, HUB Mall was a place for variety of foods to try, ranging from wonderful greasy and messy mushroom burgers, decent pizza, the perogy place with the best beet borsch I have ever tasted, Korean food, etc. Even the Chinese takeout place had better food than the typical Western Chinese restaurants. All independent little food places that satisfied students.

                    Now, I don't recognize HUB with all the chain fast food places in there. Anything else in HUB that people would recommend?

                    1. re: Libertycafe

                      I'm not sure how long it's been around. It seems to be the only place there that matches your description of the old HUB though. Unfortunately, there's nothing else that I can really recommend in HUB. A cookie from Cookies by George is a nice (but not super cheap) mid-aft pick-me-up, but it's not lunch.

                      I think the Italian cafe has decent wraps, but it's been a while since I've had one.

                    2. re: littlegreenpea

                      I guess what I meant by western food was more like cafe/up scale diner food. I don't think I can afford to eat steak out heh. I guess someone suggested high level diner and that should probably fit the bill?

                    3. u must b fr clg in e'ton it's called the LRT. If you are by the U of A and like Japanese try Kyoto off 87 Ave. Prices are pretty reasonable for Japanese foood.

                      1. If you are looking for a excellent pasta experience in Edmonton, you have to go to The Old Spegetti Factory. They are near the city center, so you will be able to take the train. The building does have a old theme, but it is clean, and has great food for great prices. The Olive Garden is also good, but I find that the flavors are much nicer in the Old Spegetti Factory.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Zero200

                          Good italian is difficult to find in Edmonton, at any price, but the likes of Old Spaghetti Factory and Chianti are the bottom of the barrel, you will be better off with a can of Chef Boyardee. I have not been to the Olive Garden and I doubt I'll ever will. If you are looking for best value try the Sunday lunch at the Santa Maria Goretti Community Centre

                        2. Also Pagolac, Thau Bay, Ninh Kieu, Golden Bird, Saiwoo in Chinatown. La Shish in Oliver, Pharos (for a few more months) at the south end of the high level bridge

                          5 Replies
                            1. re: ihatepickyeaters

                              It is my understanding that this Edmonton landmark will close its doors before the end of the year.

                              1. re: felix the hound

                                I looked it up. January 2009 it will close. I'm in mourning.

                                1. re: felix the hound

                                  I looked it up. January 2009 it will close. I'm already in mourning.

                                  1. re: felix the hound

                                    What? Nooooooooooo! I love their pizza! :(

                              2. Academy Pizza in HUB mall is pretty good for the price. Hard to beat the daily pizza special or the baked lasagne. the Marco's Burgers in SUB (and else where in the city) make great burgers and donairs. My personal favourite in the mushroom burger because in has both mushroom sauce and sauteed mushrooms.

                                Walking distance downtown would also take you to Kyoto at Jasper and 109, which I like. Also Doan's (Vietnamese) on 108th just south of Jasper.

                                I also think that the Garden Bakery and Restaurant has some dishes that as close to Hong Kong style as you will find. It may be a bit of a walk though.

                                1. I am Chowhound's new heel, so read carefully.

                                  Old Spaghetti Factory is a joke. If you hate food and yourself, at least it will make a turd.

                                  Bistro Praha is more expensive than you are looking for, and inconsistent. I like the pork hocks, but besides that, it will make a turd.

                                  If you're scared of Chinatown you can have some watered down pho at Phobulous. Guess what? It will make a turd.

                                  If you make it to Chinatown but then get lost, you might end up at Pagolac. This den of nothingness is easily avoided by dodging the laughing cow. Yeah, he mocks you for eating inferior soup, but it will make a turd.

                                  If you want the real deal try King Noodle on 97st around 105 ave. It's on the east side of the street near a vacant lot. Their soup has great body, but it is sometimes a little underseasoned. There's sauce on the table though, so adjust to your liking. Get the #2 special your first time, unless you are ravenous then get the #1.

                                  I only choked down the food at Kabsa once. The rice was dry, and the meat bland and tough. It will make a turd.

                                  Not mentioned, but dangerously close to you is Sultan's Palace. The hummus was straight from the refrigerator, and the stale pita was served in the bag it was bought in. They give non Lebanese bagged french fries instead of rice. They don't even warrant a cutting remark. Still, in the end, it will make a turd.

                                  Try La Shish (118st just north of Jasper) instead - same same but different. What's different is how delicious their housemade shawarma is, and the fine seasoning of the kebabs. Order a plate to go and save the leftovers for a second meal. The sandwiches are decent, but not the reason to go iyam.

                                  You might as well enjoy Fat Frank's while it's summertime. My favourite is the honey ham smokie, with hot sauce, horseradish mustard, and onions. They insist on mutilating the sausages before serving them, but nobody's perfect.

                                  Downtown is kind of sad for food unless you have no taste or go to the ghetto. The #5 will probably be your go-to bus for these trips, because there is really nothing both cheap and good within walking distance.

                                  The only place I can think of is Moonlight Cafe on Jasper between 106 and 107 streets. I have never been, so why don't you try it out and report back for the benefit of other hounds. If it's bad, remember that it will make a turd.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: itwillmakeaturd

                                    wow thanks for, as the kids say these days, "keeping it real" lol

                                    it seems like there is a buttload of places to try! I'm going to try to cook for myself (I live right by the safeway on whyte ave) to save money and be healthier but for sure I'll report back on the food I've had.

                                    I also ate at phobolous as I've reported earlier in this thread and it was clean and nice place. taste wise however, not that great...but due to convenience I'll probably frequent that spot

                                    1. re: marauder

                                      Hey did you move? Your first post said you were by the Corona station.

                                      1. re: Hugh Jass

                                        Yeah, I had a place near the corona station (that jasperoneleven condo complex) but for some reason the application messed up so now I have a place near campus (110 st and 82 ave).

                                        But holy crap rent near the university is bad!

                                    2. re: itwillmakeaturd

                                      I second King Noodle for soups ( King Noodle House Pho Hoanc,10613 97 Street ), they used to be located in an old gas station lot on 107 Avenue, according to the owner their broth recipe has been in the family for generations. My wife refuses to pick up take-out there ( or eat their food) because "it [the place]smells like urine". Granted, the bathroom door opens directly into the dining room, but the soups are worth the risk. After a few tries with other items i don't order anything but the soups.
                                      As for Pagolac, like many recommended restaurants, should be recommended only for certain dishes and for being inexpensive. When I find myself there I enjoy their grilled lemon grass chicken on Vermicelli (#70?) and their Bon Bo Hue. Their fish hotpot used to be good but not any more since the price of sea bass skyrocketed. I no longer try different items from the menu as I have often found the results inedible. If we are going for Vietnamese we often end up at the Ninh Kieu, which is a shadow of its former self (when it was owned by the woman who started it in the basement at the corner of 97 and 107 Ave.) or the Golden Bird ( known for its unconventional spring rolls and Huang's moody service). An option for soups is the Thau Bay ( another restaurant relocated from 107 ave, from the current Acajutla location). It only does soups and has no Bon Bo hue. It appears to be marginally cleaner than King's Noodle but you might find it less flavourful
                                      BTW, has anybody tried the Vietnamese restaurant next to Golden Bird lately? (immediately North) It has changed ownership many times since it was owned by the man with the amputated arm. Everytime we mean to try it we end up next door.

                                        1. re: anonymoose

                                          Yes , that's the one, have you tried it?

                                          1. re: felix the hound

                                            Sorry, I haven't. And I can't really comment because I know someone related to the owners....

                                      1. re: itwillmakeaturd

                                        We've been to the La Shish just off Jasper a few times. Never again, though. I used the washroom the last time and it was so incredibly filthy it almost made me sick. Instead, we go to the west end La Shish in Mayfield Common. It is new, clean, and we love the food.

                                        1. re: Cheers


                                          Thank you for the tip. I was not aware that La Shish also had an outlet in the Mayfield Common.

                                          It is usually a place I studiously avoid but I have been to their Joey's [yeah, yeah I know Chowhound is not generally a place to discuss the chains] the past few week-ends since they have a good wine list and their indoor/outdoor patio with its large water table is a good spot to relax at.

                                          I have another reason to go to the area apart from Dawaat [sp?] which I keep meaning to try at least for take out.

                                      2. What about the Commodore downtown on Jasper Ave beside Audrey's bookstore- is it still open? I haven't been there for years, but I remember it was a great deal for what you got. "Cash only" if i remember correctly.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jim bachinski

                                          I am Chowhound's new heel, so read carefully.

                                          Commodore is still open, and will probably be longer than you or I are alive. It's going to be the next Silk Hat. They are eternal, and make good milkshakes. I haven't eaten anything else there, but it is cash only.