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Aug 14, 2008 02:12 PM

Edmonton, Canada.......

I plan to spend several nights in Edmonton next month. Would you kindly recommend 5/6 of the top fine dining establishments in your great city as well as a few casual places for lunch and/or dinner. Thanks.

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  1. Higher End

    Hardware Grill, Characters, Red Ox Inn, Sage, Jack's Grill, The Blue Pear, Madison's, Wildflower,


    Culina, Bacon, Skinny Legs and Cowboys, Suede Lounge, The Savoy, MOR,


    Bistro Praha, Rigoletto's, same Culina as above, Packrat Louie's,

    If you repost where you will be staying or visiting, whether you have access to a car or not, what particular likes or dislikes you have can pare down the list.

    Hope you enjoy your visit.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Mac

      I will be staying at Fairmont and I will have a car. Thanks. Bob Mac...........

    2. I would concur with all the suggestions from Bob Mac, except maybe Rigoletto's. But Edmonton also has great ethnic diversity in its dining options. So more info would help us make better suggestions.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pengcast

        For casual and if you enjoy Italian food, let me recommend TASTY TOMATO. All the basics, made by the owner's wife. Fair value. Bruscetta on request. But it is worth asking for. Located at 14233 Stony Plain Road
        If you like more Italian, PICCOLINO'S is in the same area.

      2. Bob Mac.......what's your two top fine dining the very best.....thanks..........

        4 Replies
        1. re: Littleman

          I concur with BobMac's list, however I would add Il Portico downtown for high end italian.
          For top 2 depends on the type of food you want. For steak hands down Sage, but it is a long drive from downtown. For modern cuisine, Blue Pear (set menu, check it out online at, Red Ox Inn would be next.
          Absolutely check out Culina for either dinner or lunch, they are great, more casual.
          Skinny Legs & Cowgirls is supposed to be fantastic, however there have been some complaints about service, make sure you have a reservation & time. I have yet to be here, but it is on my list.

          1. re: cleopatra999

            I have eaten at Hardware Grill (high-end prices but ultimately not good) and Piccolino's (not terrible, but extremely Americanized Italian food...they cook their pasta the day before, so it isn't exactly al dente) and recommend avoiding both (check previous posts for more info if interested).

            1. re: hornvixen

              how do you know they cook their pasta the day before?

              1. re: jim bachinski

                The restaurant does tremendous volume. How I know when they cook their pasta - ah whatever. For me to know. They do have big portions (quality is not a priority), and it is overcooked. It is what it is, but I do not understand why this place is a destination.

                I would make pasta at home and eat it the next day, so I'm not trying to say how unauthentic (I know enough that not everything is prepared from scratch instantaneously anywhere that's for sure!), nor am I trying to be rude to the restaurant or it's fantastic business, as it was extremely packed when I was there, and I understand it always is. Good for them. I am suggesting that perhaps there is somewhere else to go for a visiting chowhound.

                Bottom line - I did not find the food good regardless. Edible yes. Good, no. I would rather cook at home.

        2. I will be moving back to Edmonton in a few months, after having been away for about 4 years. Glad to hear The Blue Pear and Red Ox Inn are still so highly regarded. I've never been to the Hardware Grill, but my husband and I did have a couple of nice meals at Il Portico, so I will agree with a previous hound's recommendation of it.

          For lunch, I liked Da-De-O's - relaxed Cajun Creole food.

          1. If you are staying at the Mac (Fairmont), I think their Harvest Room is still very, very good. But it is very formal and heavy. And very good wine list.

            In that area, I also am a big fan of the service and food at the Madion's in the Union Bank Inn (about a block and half away).

            If you are interested in Vietnamese, Doan's downtown location is good.

            I would have to suggest that at some point in your visit, have a big old slab of beef as Alberta beef really is so much better than 95% of beef you will get anywhere. Also as there is a fair amount of bison raised in Alberta, you should try that too,

            6 Replies
            1. re: pengcast

              Doan's? I gave up on Doan's. The last time I went to the Downtown location with my SO the service was horrible- every bit of the experience took too long- we waited too long to be seated, we waited too long for our drink order, we waited too long for our meal order, we waited too long for our food, and we waited too long for the bill.

              We were not the only ones not impressed with the service. When the waitress brought a beer to a guy sitting at a table next to us, he refused to take it because he had been waiting too long for the beer.

              I have not been there in years, so i cant comment on the service these days. I would go back to give it another chance except that I have found much better Vietnamese places in Edmonton.

              1. re: jim bachinski

                I have to agree jim. A few years back, it seemed I was surrounded by friends and colleagues that would not stop praising Doan's. Even my folks, who aren't that into foodie gossip, were hearing about it. Unfortunately, for all of us, the experience was pretty bad. And like you, I have moved on to better Vietnamese restaurants. *shrug* Maybe it is worth a try again one day.

                1. re: raidar

                  i ended up there sort of by accident (people i was with) and it was not good. the lemongrass stuff was the best, but it rated only mediocre when compared with other vietnamese places in this city.

                  1. re: raidar

                    Raidar - it isnt worth a try again. I said that twice before i finally gave up. Stick to the other places you've found, they are much better :)

                    1. re: yen

                      I am with you all, I have not had a good meal there ever. even my local pho binh which we go to strictly b/c of location is better and I would call it average. the only other vietnamese that I have had that was worse is Phobulus in the University area. worst green onion cakes and noodle bowls ever, I did not think that you could screw those things up! And they charge more than other places!

                      1. re: cleopatra999

                        Oh I agree about Doans, tried both north and south locations and they have truly awful food. I do not agree about Phobulous. My wife has tried virtually every Asian noodle place in the city and she loves Phobulous. I have been there two or three times too (and do not purport to have my spouse's depth of experience) and loved it. I do chafe at the silly names each menu item has been given, but who cares as long as it is good.