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Nov 17, 2009 12:53 PM

Formal dining in Edmonton

Odd request, but my wife's work xmas party has been cancelled, so she and one of her colleagues still want to get all dressed up... so, where's a good spot in Edmonton for them to wear party dresses, the guys to put on suits...

Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything...being Edmonton, I feel comfortable in most places in jeans (Red Ox), or no more dressed up than khakis (Blue Pear)...

what am I missing? any recommendations for a spot where we won't be conspicuously overdressed? Of course, we want very good food.

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  1. Oh dear. Dan G asking for formal dining suggestions. :) I say this in all good humour, as you are someone who already eats at the Ox and the Pear, I don't know where to suggest. Maybe the Creperie, for some of that romantic vibe (I still don't know how they win this award every year). What about Characters, or Hardware? Maybe find an old school Christmas sweater and go for the rotating meal at La Ronde.. L2, I know it's new..maybe it's worth a go?

    2 Replies
    1. re: raidar

      Yes, I knew this request would be a bit unexpected! I'm just not a formal type of person, so don't even think about these things (much to the chagrin of my wife!) Hardware might be a good choice - I should give it another try.

      1. re: Dan G

        Nothing says a good time like the unexpected. I just always pictured you answering this type of question. Seems like a good list of suggestions though.

    2. Dine in one of Characters' private rooms and you can make it as formal as you want.

      7 Replies
      1. re: S_B_Russell

        I second Hardware or Characters.

        What about the Harvest Room or Ruth's Chris?

        Haven't been to Wildflower, what is the dress like there?

        1. re: cleopatra999

          +1 for Hardware Grill, +1 Harvest Room, +1 Ruth's Chris.

          Places i feel weird wearing jeans at include Unheardof, Lux, Madison's Grill in the Union Bank Inn.

          1. re: foodosopher

            Will probably end up at Hardware, though may look into Characters. Wildflower is one I want to try soon, but I don't think it is as fancy as we are looking for.
            Not a big fan of Harvest Room, going to Madison's on xmas day, and not really into steakhouses. Unheardof...too many mediocre to horrible experiences, so it is off my list.

            What's Lux?

            1. re: Dan G

              Lux...think Century Grill....a steak house. Owned by the same people as Century Grill and DeLux burger I think.

              Century Grill & Bar
              3975 Calgary Trail, Edmonton, AB T6J 6S6, CA

              1. re: foodiesnorth

                given my experience at Century Grill, I think I'll be passing on Lux...

                Century Grill & Bar
                3975 Calgary Trail, Edmonton, AB T6J 6S6, CA

              2. re: Dan G

                Sorry - missed the part about very good food - only saw the dressed up part. Should read more carefully next time.

                Strike all the previous ones i mentioned. The best restaurants in Edmonton are all pretty casual :) I actually think Hardware is overpriced and average, and have not enjoyed my last few experiences at Characters, Harvest Room, or Lux. I will not go back to RC on the account of corn fed, wet aged, USDA Prime served at Dry Aged, Grass fed, Canadian beef prices.

                Now, anyone been to Jack's Grill since it was sold by Peter? It was getting pretty shabby at the end, but it might have improved since?

            2. re: cleopatra999

              We've been to Wildflower twice and were very impressed both times. It would be a good option for Dan G I think - they can dress up as nice as they like there. It has what I would term as a 'hip and happening vibe' and most people were very dressed up.

              One of our visits was last Valentine's day, always a challenge for the restaurant, and they did a really great job. Excellent meal - perfectly cooked tenderloin and a beautiful dessert. I've also had the sea bass there and it was absolutely delicious, with a gorgeous beurre blanc and crab on the side.

          2. At the risk of raising the ire of some, I support the Hardware Grill and Characters (in the elevator room and tell them to hold off on the salt!) but the Harvest Room? No flipping way. Bland poorly executed corporate fare. I have whined about these guys for years, keep being dragged back and hating it more each time. Ruth's Chris is a good dress up place but only for over priced, underseasoned meat. Not for this lad.

            I still like the much underrated, under used Pradera. The place gets smaller and smaller, but the food is always excellent. Ask for the table behind the fireplace. I keep expecting it to close down as there is rarely anyone there. It is a good dress up place. The one server has been there some crazy amount of time (20 years I think, can't recall his name at this moment). We had one of the most memorable meals of our lives there some years back. It has never disappointed us....well, except the first time and that is a long sad and funny tale for another day.

            One other idea is the unHeardof. I have not been there in a while (and I still remember the tiny wonderful hole it once was where no one would DARE show up wearing anything casual ) as David would like tell them to go away!). I alwasy felt that David would "permit" you eat there.The food has remained excellent all these years even if it lost much of it's warmth when it grew...Lynn is a phenomenal cook. It is far less formal these days, but a dress up night would work well. I really need to get back there.

            So my yes votes for (in order) Pradera, unHeardof, Hardware Grill and Characterrs (hold the salt). My no votes..Harvest room and Ruth's Chris. Abstain on LaRonde and L2. May I call the question now?

            2 Replies
            1. re: foodiesnorth

              unHeardof has been going down hill I think. I went about every 4-6 months from about 2002 - 6 months ago, and the last 3 have been terrible. Can't see me ever going back, which is a shame because it was a good spot (and fit the bill for what I am looking for right now).

              I'll look at the Pradera website...

              but what about Normands? never been there, so don't know the atmosphere - would it be suitable?

              1. re: Dan G

                Normands never disappoints me and although suits are a common site there, it is not necessary. Not a bad option.

                I am sad to hear about unHeardof...I think I am swayed by the years of excellent food and service...must be colouring my views!

            2. I say just go to Blue Pear, and dress up anyway!

              Blue Pear Restaurant
              10643 123 Street, Edmonton, AB T5N 1P3, CA

              3 Replies
              1. re: anonymoose

                Yeah, probably should go to BP, but last time we were out with this couple that's where we went, and I already have plans to go there with another couple some time before xmas. What I need is a cheap fast train to Calgary - more choices there.

                1. re: Dan G

                  Dan G:

                  Read your reply before anonymoose's OP and thought you were suggesting that you should go to "Boston Pizza".......

                  1. re: Bob Mac

                    Come to think of it Dan G, there are probably more suit/dress clad youths at BP's than many other restaurants in the city. Although they tend to congregate around 2 am during the months of May and June. :)

              2. My office did the same thing a few years ago and we had the private room at Century Grill and it was lovely. Was recently at an event in the private room at the Hardware Grill for a chef's tasting menu -- very, very good. But I think it was very pricey.

                I like Madison's alot, particularly for the service.

                Century Grill & Bar
                3975 Calgary Trail, Edmonton, AB T6J 6S6, CA