I love underdog cities, they tend to be friendlier and more interesting. Edmonton has character and a personality that is different than big brother Calgary. I had a great time discovering the best Edmonton restaurants.
While it was once called Deadmonton, that couldn’t be further from the truth. People are doing some really cool things here and it’s worth checking out.
Unfortunately, when the famous West Edmonton Mall moved into town it crushed the downtown. It’s a story that I’ve seen in cities all over North America.
But in the last few years entrepreneurs have worked together to rebuild a flourishing downtown, making it more interesting than ever.
Best Edmonton Restaurants
Located in the heart of Old Strathcona, I love everything about NongBu Korean Eatery.While vintage Korean films are projected on the wall, that’s the only thing you’ll find that’s old.
Owner John Ahn went to Korea to seek out what Koreans are eating now and is serving modern Korean street food and sharing plates.
Without a doubt it’s a must visit.
Our final and favourite stop in Edmonton, Bar Bricco reminded me of Toronto – small, dark and awesome food. Yet it didn’t have a bunch of people needing to “be seen” so maybe a better version of Toronto.
A 28-seat Italian wine and spuntini (snack) bar, you must get the Eggs Moliterno ‘Cacio e Pepe’ Crostini. This is a must-visit.
I loved the minimalist design in this locally owned and operated smokehouse in Old Strathcona, Meat is very popular for brunch. If you don’t like eggs benny you can also catch the regular menu.
I loved the beef brisket with sautéed onions, pickled and horseradish mayo. If you like quirky hats ask friendly staff to buy one of the trucker hats that say MEAT.
There’s nothing better than a good sandwich.
It’s easy to be suspicious of the hype when you see a line-up out the door but Farrow has killer sandwiches.
An efficient team of three man the shop offering a few sandwiches that can change as you’re in line based on availability.
Unbelievably in the first 10 months they were open they served over 100 different sandwiches.
Normally I’d be wary of a taco joint in a smaller city but this is the real deal. Tres Carnales is run by 3 “homeboys” or carnales in Mexico, it’s a fun but authentic take on Mexican street food.
Sorry TexMex fans there are no nachos or burritos here.
I devoured the tacos al pastor; smaller, doubled up tortillas just like in Mexico. No soggy tacos here like at home.
Rostizado literally means roasted; this restaurant is the second venture of the guys from Tres Carnales and we loved that they opened a family style rotisserie.
It turns out everyone else loves it too, be sure to book a reservation as without one you may have to wait for dinner.
The cocktail craze has also made its way to Edmonton. While the city isn’t one that is open late into the run North 53 serves some of the best cocktails around the world and food until 2am.
A great place to stop for a drink and a bite, with an extensive cocktail list and a wood fired oven.
Woodwork is located in Edmonton’s historic McLeod Building, the interior is very modern with an open kitchen. Food is self described as a blend of southern US, French and barbecue.
Chef Daniel Costa’s first restaurant, Corso 32 is located next door to its sibling Bar Bricco. It is considered one by many as one of the best Edmonton restaurants.
The restaurant is small, intimate and always full so be sure to get a reservation well in advance. It’s hard to pick a favourite dish as Chef Costa does everything so well.
“At the Intersection of Farm, Food, and Friends,” Range Road is well known for its participation in the farm to table movement.
It opened it 2011 and quickly became a favourite, focusing on seasonal cuisine from Alberta farms.
Best Edmonton Restaurants We Missed
I really wanted to come here but ran out of time. Locally inspired small plates, and a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’d love to come back on a Sunday or Monday for its Industry Night.
Prairie Noodle House
I have a lot of heart for restaurants that also started as pop-ups, unfortunately Prairie Noodle House was not open yet during my visit.
Getting Around Edmonton
Like Calgary, Edmonton is an orderly city, which makes it easy for a traveler to understand where they are.
The axis of the city is 100 Street and 100 Avenue; as you go north the avenue numbers increase, as you go West they increase.
Edmonton has both bus and light rail transit (LRT). If you’re heading to the airport you can take route 747 by public transit, one of the shuttles or a short taxi ride.
Where To Stay in Edmonton
In the heart of downtown The Matrix Hotel has large modern rooms and an amazing breakfast buffet. I prefer to walk as much as I can and this was a great home base.
And if you’re also heading to Calgary don’t miss my Best Calgary Restaurants Guide.
What best restaurants in Edmonton did I miss? Where should I go next time?