Food, wine and travel writer Mary Bailey is the editor of The Tomato food & drink magazine. Let her show you the best places to grab a bite, negotiate, network and close the deal in Edmonton. Want the latest Edmonton food and drink news delivered to your inbox weekly? Sign up for The Bite.
The more comfortable option of the business lunch is alive and well in Edmonton. Picture a well-appointed table in an attractive room with attentive service, even, perhaps, with a glass of wine in hand.
The Harvest Room at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald- 10065 100 Street
The best option bar none for a business lunch in this lovely room with a view is the Express Lunch (with a guarantee of in and out in 45 minutes for parties under four people). The seasonal menus offer a choice of three starters, a choice of four mains (one vegetarian) and a choice of three desserts. Expect professional yet friendly service in this downtown stalwart.
Must try: Westbury crab cakes, bison
Hardware Grill- 9698 Jasper Avenue
The restaurant, owned by Larry and Melinda Stewart, celebrated its 20th year in business and reopened for lunch this fall. Enjoy a sumptuous menu at well-spaced tables with unobtrusive service. The elegant, yet decidedly not stuffy atmosphere lends itself to the serious deal making or deal celebrating occasion. The award-winning wine list has depth in Burgundy, California and Okanagan Valley selections.
Must try: Korean Fried Cauliflower (KFC), truffled lobster mac and cheese.
Cibo Bistro- 11244 104 Avenue
Easy-going professional service, along with a stellar wine list and sweet patio for summer dining make Cibo a terrific choice for a more casual business lunch. The short menu of a daily sandwich, soup, salad, pasta and their signature arancini makes choosing quick and easy. The bonus? Owners Rosario and Lisa Caputo are in the restaurant every day.
Must try: Arancini, daily soup.
The Marc- 9940 106 Street (Sterling Place)
Owners Doris and Patrick Saurette are surely two of the most hospitable hosts in the city. Fewer good restaurants are open for lunch on Mondays, increasing the appeal of this comfortable and light-filled main floor space. Enjoy a variety of bistro classics such as daily fish and a delish croque madame — the friendly and professional service keeps things moving along at an appropriate lunch pace.
Must try: Steak au poivre, hand-cut frites with truffle aioli.
Sometimes the client relationship dictates a more casual approach. Edmonton boasts top-notch independent sandwich shops, chock full of personality and ideal for a walking or park bench meeting.
Farrow Sandwiches- 8422 109 Street
The tiny sandwich and coffee shop next door to sister resto Three Boars Eatery has become the go-to spot on the south side for a quick bite. The rotating menu is fun, clever and tasty; the coffee seriously good. Check out the whimsical videos on their website while you chow down on a "tofu-manchu" or a "rueben don’t take your love to town."
Must try: The grick middle, the coffee.
Sandwich and Sons- Two locations: 13119 156 Street & 10184 104 Street
Choose from six man-sized sandwiches — the grilled cheese is notable, the Montreal smoked meat makes Quebecers homesick, the mushroom makes veggie believers out of carnivores. The mustard, pickles and potato chips are made in house and the meats are by local meat guru, Jeff Senger. They deliver with skipthedishes.com.
Must try: The grilled cheese, the fried bologna (really).