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Dec 1, 2008 02:15 PM

Special Dinner Out in Edmonton

My husband and I will be celebrating our first anniversary later this month. One of the things we love to do together is go out for dinner, so that is how we will be marking this day.

We moved to Edmonton about three months ago so we don't know the restaurant scene all that well. We're looking for a nice place to go that has delicious food, good service, and a nice atmosphere. We've enjoyed the Sugar Bowl, High Level Diner and the Blue Plate Diner, but are looking for something new. We also love ethnic food, especially Japanese, Indian or Thai, but are really up for any type of food.

We haven't decided exactly how much we can spend - what matters most is that it is a truly wonderful meal. Something in the range of the Hardware Grill would probably be out of our price range, but I'm interested to know people's recommendations for restaurants such as that anyway. Which ones might be really worth the splurge?

The only other thing is that we live downtown and we don't have a car - so the best areas would be downtown near Hotel Mac, near the University or an easy bus or LRT ride.

Thanks for reading, I look forward to hearing peoples' thoughts!

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  1. Red Ox would be my first thought, but it is on the other side of the river. Nice little place, interesting menu, not as expensive as Hardware. Probably wortha taxi ride.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Dan G

      for something downtown, maybe Table de Renoir, French restaurant, enjoyable. You may also enjoy Culina, it is on 99th street & about 86th ave. I would think there would be a fairly easy bus ride. I have also heard positive things about Madison's Grill in the Union Bank Inn, although I have not been there myself.

      Sofra has been highly praised on this site as well (Turkish), and it is downtown.


      1. re: cleopatra999

        I had thought of mentioning Madison's, but I've only eaten there once and that was last year for xmas dinner and find it hard to recommend based on a specialty menu.

        Sofra: having been there several times, I would say it ranges from good to great food but I don't think the atmosphere (kind of bland design, mediocre service) or the unpredictability (some nights are great, others much less so) make it a place I would choose for a special night out. Definitely recommended, but more as a place to go with friends for a fun evening.

        1. re: Dan G

          Thanks for giving more details on Madison's and Sofra, I have not actually been to either, but they are mentioned often on this site.

          what about Wildflower Grill? Another that I have yet to be to, it has had good reviews as well. I am not sure if it would be out of the OP's price range.

        2. re: cleopatra999

          So sad! I am pretty sure Table de Renoir closed down. I tried going there the other day, and although it looks the same it was closed during normal hours. If I had known I would have gone there every day for a week to fill up on their cream brule.

        3. re: Dan G

          My husband and I LOVE Red Ox Inn for special occassions. I also like Normand's for wild game. We tried Glenora Bistro for my b-day a couple weeks ago. Previously had mixed experiences, but that was before the new ownership. I reviewed both Glenora Bistro and 4th and Vine (another fav.) on my blog ( if you want to check them out.

        4. Mikado
          I would suggest Ernest's at NAIT but they close for Christmas break soon.
          Maybe someplace over on 124th St like Matahari or Cafe de Ville?

          1 Reply
          1. re: anonymoose

            I like Anonymoose's recs - the Mikado could be great fun in your private tatami room.

            My hubby and I went to Cafe de Ville for our anniversary some months back and thoroughly enjoyed it. Romantic setting (though the tables are a bit close to be TOO romantic) and really good food, excellent service. Hubby had also arranged for flowers on our table (he's a good guy). It would be easily accessible by bus, or a very short cab ride.

          2. I've always enjoyed meals at Madison's Grill and Cafe de Ville. I've been to Sofra once and really enjoyed it, but I'm not really sure if it would qualify as a "special dinner out". I had an excellent meal at Wildflower Grill, although I did find it a bit pricey.

            What about the Copper Pot? I've never been there, but it is easily accessible via the LRT and is supposed to have some lovely views of the legislature.

            1 Reply
            1. re: llkerr

              cafe de ville is a great suggestion, I also love manor cafe. however they are further than walking distance.

              Copper pot's view is the only thing it has going for it. the menu is archaic to say the least. great place to take grandma, but not for a night out.

              I am sad about table de renoir too, I only got there once, would have loved to go back!

            2. My two top picks for you would be Gabbana, Jasper/113th, or Wild Tangerine, 104th Ave/113th St. Both are good and are a notch less expensive and slightly closer than some of the other choices that have been mentioned like Manor Cafe, Glenora Bistro, or Cafe de Ville (although all those 3 are good and recommended by me as well).

              I'm a huge Culina fan and I think it would be accessible with 1 bus ride for maybe 10 minutes. Red Ox might be a little tougher to get to.

              Have not been to Madison's but it is slightly more expensive as well. Wildflower would be a great choice but again, a little more pricey.

              I would avoid Copper Pot. Ditto earlier comments about the great view but I found the food, while good, was overpriced for what it was. Lots of other places made me say "wow" for less money.

              4 Replies
              1. re: egon61

                Good to know about the Copper Pot. I won't waste my time going there the next time I'm in Edmonton.

                Culina is another great suggestion. Great food & a more intimate atmosphere due to the size of the place.

                1. re: egon61

                  Thanks for all the recommendations! I think we have pretty much decided on Red Ox, as long as it's not too difficult to get to. It seems like the kind of place we would really like. But I'm also intrigued by Wild Tangerine - their menu looks very interesting - Gabbana, and 4th and Vine, both of which I had never heard of. Any other thoughts on those?

                  We will definitely have to try Cafe de Ville sometime too. So many good-looking restaurants out there!

                  1. re: thelittleredkitchen

                    wild tangerine is very enjoyable, however it does not seem to be a special place to me, it is very open, modern place. do try it another time though...

                    I have not been to 4th & vine for ages, since they changed management a couple years ago. If anyone has feedback I would love to hear about it.

                    Red Ox is a fantastic choice, you will not be disappointed. It has it all, food, service, atmosphere...enjoy, and do report back!

                    1. re: thelittleredkitchen

                      The Red Ox is only 1 bus that you can catch from the stop across from the Mac. Once you get to the top of Conner's Hill, it is a short block in. Or a couple of bucks cab from the Mac.

                      The Red Ox has a long history in Edmonton and its current owner and chef (Frank Olson) and its first owner and chef (Bernie Peck) have always turned out consistantly tasty and caring food and service.

                      If you have never been, go and enjoy yourself. Small quaint neighborhood restos are a brilliant thing to be exhaulted.

                  2. If you do choose Red Ox Inn, be sure to book in advance (and order the bread pudding). They may be closed or fully booked for private functions due to Christmas as OpenTable was not able to find a table for two until after January 4th!