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Non-Fine Dining in Edmonton

It sounds like my expense account doesn't measure up to the previous topic post, but I'd still really appreciate suggestions for reasonably priced, interesting restaurants other than Italian, which is often a family compromise at home. I've seen recommendation in old posts, but given how fast a restaurant scene can change, I thought I'd better check.

I'd also love to hear ideas on great bakeries, coffee places and breakfast spots (I'm being put up at a chain hotel...let's call it the Bays Inn...and can't see myself eating the processed offerings and average coffee there every morning!)

If I were to splurge on one nice lunch, where would I go? And finally, what's the verdict on Glenora Bistro?

Thanks from an Ontario mother who wants to make the most of a few days on her own in a new city!

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  1. It really depends on where you are staying (not familiar with many of the hotels in town) but some favorites in the good but not too expensive category for dinner are:
    Sofra - Turkish food, downtown
    Bua Thai - obviously Thai, also downtown
    Langano Skys - Ethiopian, in Old Stratchcona, and probably my #1 choice in town these days

    As for a nice lunch...because of the labour situation, the better restaurants aren't open for lunch. But I think the Hotel MacDonald would be a good choice, not too expensive for lunch.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Dan G

      Make sure you have time when you go to laguna skies. The service is like molasses. I think my friends and I were were one table of four out of three tables and we were there for a one course meal for two and a half hours. So if you are eating alone bring a book. Very good food though and authentic.

      1. re: Bryn

        I've haven't had a service problem there.

        1. re: Dan G

          The service hasn't been bad for me but I agree it is very slow. We also had a one course meal for 3 people and it took 2 1/2 hours on a thursday night. I think it's a staffing problem. There was only one server for about 9 tables including an 8 person table and no bartender or hostess. A friend who goes all the time said the service is always slow like that.

          1. re: rob1234

            My friend is engaged to a man from sudan and she is going to send out two sets of wedding invitations one for the africians that say two hours earlier than the actual wedding and the other set for her friends and family. It's African time they run on.

        2. re: Bryn

          Thank you both--I really appreciate it. I'm not familiar with Turkish food, so I especially like the sound of Sofra. I'm staying in the south central part of Edmonton next week, which looks to me like it might be verging on suburban sameness, but I guess I'll find out!

          1. re: freshbread

            For south central, whyte ave has lots of good choices.

            Dadeo's for cajun
            Leva or De Capo for the best espresso and gelato
            Uppercrust for great salads and sandwiches (get one of the daily specials)
            Culina for great breakfast/brunch (or dinner)
            O'Byrnes for good irish pub food
            Phobulous is ok vietnamese
            New Asian Village for Indian buffet.

            1. re: freshbread

              To be honest, the Edmonton scene doesnt change that quickly. Places i've been to recently that are both good, and on the previous lists you've looked at include:

              Culina, Sofra, Dadeo's. All are excellent. On that Whyte Ave strip there are a bunch of other options as well. I like the much maligned Oodle Noodle Wok Box for a quick, cheap, reasonably tasty meal. Many people like Flavours Bistro, though i find it a bit overpriced. Packrat Louie is decent for flatbread, and is in the general vicinity too.

              If you're staying at the new Bay's Inn on the south (right next to the Tim Horton's), then there are a few choices just north from there. For breakfast, no place better than NY Bagel Cafe - Egg's Benedict all the way. For coffee, you'll be closest to Transcend, which has amazing coffee. If you love coffee, don't miss this. Baked goods, try the Italian Centre on the south side, which only opens at 9am, but is worth it. Interesting? Syphay, on Calgary Trail South, has good Thai and Laotian food - better than Bua Thai.

              Also near you, on the slightly less affordable side, is Park Allen. Lebanese food, with a good wine list.

              All of these are on the southside with the exception of Sofra, which is downtown.

              Sorry, but im in a rush and that's all i can think of off the top of my head. If you have more specific questions, and you have a better idea of where in the city you want to go, let us know.

        3. It's been a while since I've been back, 2 of my faves were Bistro Praha and the High Level Diner...are they still around...are they still good?

          4 Replies
          1. re: robgm

            High level is still there and busy. I'm not a fan but lots of people like it.

            I forgot to add Cafe Mosaic for good vegetarian.

            1. re: rob1234

              Yeah, Mosaic has the best falafel town, I think.

              As for some of the recommendations in a post above, I always forget Upper Crust. I'm often at things they have catered and love it, but seldom go to the restaurant. Good recommendation.

              And I prefer Dawat over New Asian for Indian buffet.

              1. re: Dan G

                I was almost going to put daawat as well. The 2 times I've been there were good but I still liked New Asian Village better as far as the buffets go. I haven't ordered off the menu. New Asian Village has a bigger selection. I've only been to the 34ave locations though, not the whyte ave ones. Either one will be good.

                1. re: Dan G

                  I just got back from Daawat on whyte for lunch and I thought it was the best Indian buffet I've ever had. Shame we were the only ones in there the whole time.

            2. Thanks again to everyone--this is so helpful! I never really trust the tourism material to pick an interesting restaurant, and it's unlikely I'd run across some of these places on my own, so I truly appreciate your suggestions. Any thoughts on Glenora Bistro?

              3 Replies
              1. re: freshbread

                My family just stayed at the Glenora B and B and liked the breakfasts at the Glenora Bistro. I understand that Normand (of Normand's and Copper Pot) has taken over the Glenora Bistro, so I would think that bodes well for tasty bistro style food. The menu looks interesting (though small). I would give it a try.
                I'd also recommend next door, Cafe de Ville, as a very good, not terribly expensive, dining option, especially if you stick to a couple of appetizers.
                Someone asked about Bistro Praha - it's completely unchanged, still around. Still good schnitzel and dessert crepes. I'm not a huge fan of the menu, but love the ambiance.

                1. re: MrsCris

                  Not a fan of the menu? What you can't get behind a fried cheese and potato salad combo? Its my idea of the ultimate comfort food. And their coffee is lovely.

                  1. re: pengcast

                    Well, that's true, their coffee IS lovely. And it would be rare that I could pass by fried cheese! But I'm just not fond of their potato salad, which is served with just about everything - I guess that's why I'm not a bigger fan. The steak tartar is very good, and they usually have a fish special which I've had on occasion and was also very good.