These are restaurants, bars, and other spots that have a quality not completely defined by their food type or location. They are each outstanding in their own ways, which we try to capture in their descriptions.
Sidetrack Cafe 10333 112 St. The Sidetrack is one of Edmonton's premier live music venues, but it also serves food and drink from 4:00 PM onwards. Food is sensibly "Canadian", not too simple, not too extreme, and comes in good quantity. In summer, the shaded patio adds an enjoyable spot to enjoy your beer and newspaper. The dining room has a stage right in the middle, and the live acts it hosts are uniformly interesting, high-quality, and danceable.
These places may not serve the best food or drink of their type, but they suit the economy-minded. If you're traveling on a tight budget, you won't be disappointed.
Commercial Hotel - Blues on Whyte 10329 82 Ave. Rock-bottom prices on beer, with a crowd to match. The bar serves all the low-brow beers, and has a surprisingly good selection at the opposite end of the spectrum - at the best prices in town. You can get Guinness on tap at Edmonton's best price, as well as Strongbow cider and several of the Big Rock brews. Exotic micro-brews in the bottle include Quebec's power-packed Maudite (8% alcohol - beware) and the redoubtable La Fin du Monde (French for "The End of the World" - at an incredible 9% alcohol, so be careful!). Live blues music on stage weekday evenings, with a locally-famous open stage on Saturday afternoons (arrive early if you want your own seat).
Spicy Garden Restaurant 9700 105 Ave Great Chinese food at great prices.
Furusato 10012 82 Ave. The interior of this attractive Japanese restaurant is lined with wooden panels and roofed with thatch. Wooden floors and tasteful Japanese wall decorations round out the decor, which complements the family-run kitchen's fine food. Sample the special Volcano Rolls (a spicy, oven-hot sushi roll), or the Ika Kara-Age (breaded fried squid with a tangy ginger sauce), the best in town. All dishes are delivered quickly by friendly and competent staff. The restaurant doesn't take reservations, so try to avoid the frequent line-ups by visiting outside of the main dinner hours (5:30 - 7:30 PM). Visitors I've known from Vancouver claim it's better than most Lower Mainland Japanese restaurants, high praise from people who have a broad choice of Japanese restaurants at home.
Japanese Village 10126 100 St. The Japanese Village is an unusual three-story building in the heart of downtown. The main floor houses the sushi bar, tables, and a number of tatami rooms. Upstairs, a series of trepan-style cooking tables provide entertaining and tasty full dinners.
Mikado 2 locations - 10350 109 St and 1903 98 St. (In South Edmonton Common) The original Mikado was the first Japanese restaurant in Alberta. Their new downtown location is a high-ceilinged modern room, both noisy and energizing. Food is excellent, but quantities are a little smaller and prices a little higher than they used to be in Mikado's previous off-downtown location. Mikado has also recently opened a second restaurant in South Edmonton Common.
Shogun 10125 121 St. Shogun is a comfortable restaurant, low-ceilinged and pleasantly lined with dark paneling. The sushi and trepan-style cooking are as good as anywhere in the city, but Shogun is generally less busy than the restaurants right downtown and can almost always accommodate you without reservations.
Bul-Go-Gi House 8813 92 St. This Korean restaurant was Edmonton's first, and has deservedly outlived several competitors with its consistent good quality and reasonable prices. The dining room's style is no better than functional, but you don't visit for the decor. Try bulgogi, bibimbap, and the homemade kimchi at a minimum, and feel comfortable that you'll enjoy pretty near anything on the menu - even if you've never heard of it.
Korean Beauty 6516 118 Ave.
Korean Village 7729 85 St.
Thai, Malaysian, and Indonesian
Ban Thai 15726 100 Ave.
Bua Thai 10049 113 St. Located across the street from St. Joseph's Cathedral, Bua Thai serves up high-quality Thai food at competitive prices. Particularly good is their Beef with Basil, but nothing disappoints.
Krua Wilai 9940 106 St. Edmonton's most authentic Thai food. Incredible service at a reasonable price.
Padmanadi 10626 97 St.
The King and I 8208 107 St. Good Thai food, but it's always been a bit pricey, and the portions are somewhat small. You won't be disappointed in the flavours, though, and it still serves the best coconut rice in the city.
Tropika 6004 104 St. Malaysian food done right, with good portions and intense flavours, though some people find some of the dishes a little oily (but that's authentic...). Located in a strip mall with plenty of parking on Calgary Trail South. Fridays and Saturdays can be busy, especially around holidays, so phone ahead those times. Otherwise, there always seem to be one or two empty tables...
Doan's 2 locations - 10130 107 St and 7909 104 St. Doan's runs two establishments in town. The downtown one occupies a fancy space (for a Vietnamese restaurant) and is popular with businesspeople at lunch. The south-side restaurant, a couple blocks south of Whyte (82nd) Avenue, is more conventional in its interior and layout. Both restaurants serve good quality Vietnamese food at good prices, and both are popular. They don't stand ahead of the other restaurants in this section, but they are reliably good.
Golden Bird 10544 97 St. Operated to high standards by a single family, this restaurant serves some of the best crispy spring rolls in town. Mom runs the kitchen, Dad and son will serve you in this colorful room. The menu has dishes not found at other Vietnamese restaurants in town; notable items include peppered squid and those served with sugar cane.
Lemongrass Cafe 10417 51 Ave. This restaurant is newer than most of the others, with a clean, crisp interior design. It's still friendly, though, and the food is prepared with care and attention to details.
Pagolac, 2 locations - 10566 97 St and 9642 54 Ave. Situated in the heart of Chinatown, this restaurant serves a wide variety of hearty Vietnamese dishes. The fare is a little cruder than Thanh Thanh's, but the prices are a little lower as well. A bowl of duck soup with noodles, gently spiced and swimming in a rich brown broth, will fill you for the rest of the day. Come early for lunch or be prepared to share a table.
Thanh Thanh Oriental Noodle House 10718 101 St. This cheerful restaurant serves some of the best Vietnamese food in the city (a Vietnamese friend of mine claims it's the "most authentic" in Edmonton). Prices have gone up in recent years, but quantities are still large and two can dine well for $20. The spicy satay beef noodle soup is a terrific cure for winter, and the extensive menu ranges from spice-free to mild to lively curries and satay dishes. There's a crush most lunch hours, so head over early.
Breakfast and brunch
High Level Diner 10912-88 Ave. This is a wonderful restaurant, a nice cozy atmosphere with a fine selection of food that comes well presented. In summer there is a small patio area which gives a nice view of the surrounding area, good for people watching. The best long island iced tea in the city (made from scratch).
Silk Hat 10251 Jasper Ave. This restaurant, one of Edmonton's oldest, is a proud promoter of the almost-vanished "greasy spoon" style of dining: booths down one side, a long bar with stools down the other, and good cheap food.
Barb & Ernie's 9906 72 Ave. This German restaurant is family-owned and operated by husband and wife duo, Barb & Ernie, and serves hearty portions of delicious breakfasts. Be sure to order the Eggs Benedict, the best in the city!
Marco's Famous 10526 (Whyte) 82 Ave.
Block 1912 10361 82 Ave. Located in the heart of Whyte (82nd) Avenue, this coffee shop is a favourite for late night dates, chatting with old friends, and family gatherings, and offers a variety of home-made desserts, gourmet coffees, and healthy lunch and dinner items. There's even a built-in gelateria for those who crave a delicious taste of Italy. If you've got a sweet tooth, you will find some of the best desserts in the city including chocolate cheesecakes. The excellent chai lattιs are made from scratch. You'll love the eclectic dιcor; you can't miss the enormous desert painting in the back corner.
Bistro Praha 10168 100A Street, 424-4218. The Bistro is one of the longest-established restaurants in Edmonton. Its menu and ambience have remained as they were when it opened in the mid-1970's: really - why change? Business people in the lunch hour, and the arts crowd from local theatres and concert spots in the evening, fill this wood-paneled room enjoying crisp wiener schnitzel, roast goose, terrific steak tartare, and other eastern-European treats. The liquor markup is reasonable, beer selection features hard-to-find European brews, service is professional, and food is consistently excellent. $6-$10 (lunch), $12-$20(dinner).
Milan's Restaurant Bar 8223 104 St. Located a half-block north of Whyte (82nd) Avenue, this bistro has a warm, wood-paneled main room with a small bar for those awaiting company or a table. There's also a cheerful west-facing (sunny!) four-table patio in the summer. The menu features wiener schnitzel, other Eastern European meat dishes, and hearty salads at good prices. European beers on tap and the busy street scene make this the perfect Fringe Festival patio break.
Jewel of Kashmir 7219-104 St.
Khazana 10177-107 St. At one time a few years back (late 90s), Khazana was *the* East Indian tandoori restaurant in the city, but its high-style, high-quality presentation and delivery has been its undoing. Still competent in many respects, its amazing lunchtime buffet has been replaced by a much more lackluster offering (sweet-and-sour chicken? are you kidding me?), and there is no menu service at lunchtime. Still, the decor is outstanding and the evening meal, with careful selection, can be quite good.
New Asian Village 10143 Saskatchewan Drive. One of the "old men" of East Indian cuisine in Edmonton. The food is excellent, the lunchtime buffet, while limited in selection, is adequate, but the ?la carte portions are rather meager for the price.
Haweli Fine East Indian Cuisine 10220 103 St. Good deal on the weekday lunch buffet. Try the butter chicken and the naan bread.
Creperie 111, 10220-103 St. A warm and cozy French-style eatery specializing in crepes, true to its name. The crepes there come with interesting (and tasty) fillings such as seafood Americane, jambalaya, beef stroganoff, and salmon. Other fine foods can also be had there, such as filet mignon and cedar baked salmon. Popular with romantic couples, it has won several awards for being the most romantic restaurant in Edmonton.
Greek and Eastern Mediterranean
Koutouki 10704 124th St.
Symposium 2nd Floor, 10439 82nd Ave.
Yiannis Taverna 10444 82nd Ave.
Chianti's 10501-82 Ave. Chianti's is housed in an attractive space (the recycled shell of the historical former Post Office), and offers cheap and cheerful Italian pasta and meat dishes. Service and ambience are professional enough to impress your boss, but prices low enough to allow treating your friends to dinner. The patio is very pleasant on warm summer evenings.
Il Portico 10012 107 St. Situated downtown, a block south of Jasper Avenue at 107th Street, this restaurant has first-class food, service, and setting. The wine cellar is extensive, as is the menu, and you may be able to celebrity-spot in this popular room.
Packrat Louie 10335 - 83 Ave.
Sorrentino's Bistro-Bar 3 locations - Sorrentino's Downtown 10162-100 St, Sorrentino's west 6867-170 St, Sorrentino's little Italy 10844-95 St. These local restaurants are an Edmonton tradition. Each of them offers a slightly different variation on comfortable Italian fare. Some are more formal settings than others, but all of the restaurants offer competent cuisine at pretty good prices.
Piccolino Bistro 9112 142 St. The personable staff, headed by the owner/operator Lino, complete the personable atmosphere of this restaurant. The food is awesome, featuring daily specials including risotto. And the homemade tiramisu is the best to be found anywhere. Reservations on Friday and Saturday are recommended.
Sicilian Pasta Kitchen 2 locations - 805 Saddleback Road and 11239 Jasper Ave. Great atmosphere, generous portions, scrumptious appetizers, and to-die-for desserts. For seafood lovers, try the Linguini Granchio or the Penne Alla Diavola. Make reservations well in advance, especially on the weekend.
Mexican, Latin American
Acajutla 11302-107 Ave. Acajutla is a Salvadorean/Central American eatery with functional decor, good food and low prices. If you're expecting a variation on Mexican, you may not recognize the menu -- sausages, for example, play a prominent role, and we're not talking chorizo! Nevertheless, the food is good and the prices are suitable for the starving-student crowd.
Julio's Barrio 2 locations - 10450-82 (Whyte) Ave and West Edmonton Mall(Bourbon Street). Julio's serves good Mexican food and lots of it. The menu is extensive, the servings are generous, and the food is the best Mexican fare in town. The restaurant's interior is colorful, although the tables and chairs - leather-covered stick furniture in most cases -- are somewhat eccentric. Fresh home-made salsas, in every temperature from mild to "salsa of mass destruction", accompany free bowls of corn chips before dinner. The bar stocks several Mexican beers as well as the usual domestic brands, and has noticeable automation in place to speed the creation of marguerites. With friendly but professional service, Julio's is one of Whyte Avenue's busiest eateries, and justifiably so. There's also a Julio's in West Edmonton Mall's Bourbon Street.
Padmanadi 10626 - 97 Street Phone: 780-428-8899 Entirely vegan. Even meat eaters can appreciate the 'fake' meat and veggie dishes.
Cafι Mosaics 10844-82 Ave.
Oriental Veggie House 10586-100 St.
Maxs Light Cuisine 7809-109 St.
Gini's 10706 142 St.
Hardware Grill 9698 Jasper Ave.
Jack's Grill 5842 - 111 St.
La Boheme 6427 112th Ave.
Madison's Grill 10052 Jasper Ave (in the Union Bank Inn).
Normand's 11639A Jasper Ave.
Red Ox Inn 9420 - 91 St.
Unheardof 960282 Ave. Probably one of Edmonton's finest food establishments, although be wary of the high price attached. The meal will cost you a flat $60 per person, but if you are looking for excellent eating, and the price does not faze you, look no further than Unheardof.
Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License
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