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Best Eats in E-Town

by Jesse Ives

Human beings are creatures of habit, I get it. We have the same routines in the morning, take the same way to work, talk to the same coworkers, and go out for dinner at the same places month after month. Stop right there. No don’t stop reading….stop going to the same restaurants night in and night out. Did you know Edmonton has a ridiculous food scene with over 2200 restaurants? Seriously though, you have no excuse to keep going for dinner at the same places out of habit. Let’s take a journey. *Spoiler Alert*- I’m going to make your mouth water. Here are my Edmonton faves – sorted by the sound your stomach is making.

Stomach Status – Growling
Let’s kick it off with some wicked places for finger food and quick bites. You’re always on the go right? And who doesn’t like a good chase? Track down Bully Food Truck as it prowls around Edmonton streets looking to take your lunch money. It may look manageable, but the Bully Mac ‘N’ Cheese is a gauntlet of 6 different cheeses and a cheese sauce that’s to die for. They challenge you to lick your bowl when you’re done. Try and find the bottom of the bowl first, it’s no easy task. If you manage to finish that bad boy, chomp on some Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Stomach Status – “Ma! The Meatloaf!”
If your stomach needs a little more lovin’, pay a visit to The Common, an Edmonton gastro-lounge where pub food is elevated to a level you could only dream about. Order yourself a large Antipasto (Charcuterie plate if you’re more familiar), and sample from a delectable selection of cured meats, artisan cheeses, sides and preserves. While you’re at it, order the Chicken and Waffles as well. It might sound a little weird, but trust me, the combination of crispy chicken and bacon waffle just work together.

Stomach Status – Somebody Feed That Thing!
Best steak in Edmonton? Alright, this one is a runaway. The Marc takes this category, no contest. Imagine a 10-oz Heritage Angus ribeye, topped with foie gras butter and a massive side of frites to boot. Okay, now, don’t imagine it, go order it. Say hi to Patrick, the friendliest restaurant owner in Edmonton hands down.

Next up, Corso 32. Here’s the thing with this trendy Italian eatery, you can’t stop ordering. Seriously. You may go in there with the intention of ordering only one bowl of pasta, but you won’t be able to stop. Daniel Costa (head chef and owner) has somehow managed to make his food utterly addictive. Try the Roasted Game Hen, or maybe the Garganelli (traditional Bolognese)...nevermind, scratch that. Try everything. All of it. Invite me, I’ll move some things around in my calendar.

Stomach Status – Shark Week
You’re hungry. You’re so hungry, you could ride a horse. Or something like that. Listen, I understand, I’m here to help. I work downtown, and the problem is that one of my favourite places, Tres Carnales, is also downtown. This is an issue because I want to go every day. If you’re looking for amazing Mexican food (or just flat out amazing food) drop in at Edmonton’s only authentic Mexican street food joint. Personally, I love the fish tacos, but your best bet is to order more than you can eat and share like crazy.

If you feel like a hungry, hungry hippo, Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse might be just the ticket. Featuring a unique dining concept known as “Rodizio”, at Pampa, the food comes to you! You get to experience continuous table-side service with a huge variety of select cuts of beef, pork, poultry and lamb. From Beef Rib Eye to Bacon-wrapped Chicken Thigh, you’ll need your stretchy pants for this one. Oh, and did I mention it’s all-you-can-eat?

Stomach Status – Piece of Cake
It’s pretty hard to get me out of the house for dessert, but these next two places have no problem pulling it off. First up, Duchess Bake Shop. There’s good and then there’s Duchess. I’ve tried just about everything on the menu and have yet to find anything that isn’t mind-blowingly good. My personal favourites are the pistachio macarons which quite frankly, melt in your mouth. I also love the oatmeal milk chocolate cookies; they sound simple, but you’ll gobble these giant cookies down in no time. Really though, whatever you order from Duchess, you’ll be wowed. And hey, who said you can’t eat desserts for lunch and dinner.

My other choice? Block 1912. Not only do they have some of the best desserts in the city, their gelato is flat-out phenomenal. They have household favourites like lemon or chocolate – but they like to leap outside the box with outrageous flavors like salted caramel or mojito flavoured gelato. Even better is the fact that their gelatos are either made in-house or are imported from Italy. Don’t be afraid to mix and match flavours!

These are just some of my personal favourites. I could go on and on listing places and dishes because of how unique and bold the Edmonton culinary scene is. What are your favourites?