The Tomato

The 5th Annual Top 100

The fifth annual Tomato Top 100 brings us less candy, more stick-to-the-ribs dishes. Octopus is Edmonton’s new fave seafood, with three dishes on the Top 100. We’ve squeezed in as many dishes as could fit here.

Spaghetti Bottarga
Randee Armstrong photo

1. Spaghetti Bottarga, Uccellino. It’s a rare dish that can truly transport you somewhere else, but Uccellino’s spaghetti bottarga does just that—to the sea. e avours are oceanic—fresh, salty, briny—and the pasta always al dente. Bottarga, a specialty of the southern Mediterranean, similar to caviar, is fish roe that has been salted, pressed and cured by the sun—intensely fishy but in a good way. Best with a crisp minerally white wine from southern Italy.

BC Diver-caught Octopus

2. BC Diver-caught Octopus, Rge Rd Here is how Rge Rd does it: “We braise it slowly in a tomato stock,” says sous Davina Moraiko. “Then reduce the stock and serve with roasted hazelnuts, smoked butter, leeks and a garlic chip.” Divine.

Pollo all’ Aceto (Hen in vinegar)
Randee Armstrong photo

3. Pollo all’ Aceto (Hen in vinegar), Corso 32 Cooking in vinegar is a cooking technique found in most regions in Italy. The Corso kitchen uses a 35-year old Balsamico, with saba and pomegranate, charred radiccio and crisped lardo, creating a superbly balanced and flavourful dish.

Pappardelle

4. Pappardelle, Cibo. Cibo makes a beautiful pappardelle pasta, velvety–textured with just the right amount of bite. Often topped with Bolognese, it’s a rich and hearty dish with many fans.

Lemon Tart

5. Lemon Tart, La Boule The new La Boule garnered votes for the hazelnut tart, the passion fruit éclair and especially for the lemon tart. “I’ve had a LOT of lemon tarts, but this one takes the cake. Creamy, but not too creamy. Tart, but not so much that my face puckers, with delicate pastry holding it all together. It takes every bit of will power to not buy them all every time I visit. I have a new addiction.”
Amanda LeNeve

6. Nduja and White Anchovy Crostini, Bar Bricco. Hard to believe this
tiny morsel could pack so much flavour. So savoury—the taste rockets to the back of the palate while the shaved fennel provides counterpoint to the richness.

Local Omnivore Bacon

7. Bacon, Local Omnivore The ideal bacon in all its sweet, salty and smoky glory? Many think so. “The heaping amounts of cane sugar in our bacon rub is what really makes the flavour, that in addition to using a cold smoke versus a hot smoke,” says Ryan Brodziak, Local Omnivore.

Tuna Twists

8. Tuna Twists, XIX Tasty morsels of rare tuna. A perennial Top 100 favourite.

9. Smoked Gouda Miso Ramen, Prairie Noodle Shop Number one ramen again! Sylvan Star gouda, mozzarella, garlic puree, some heat from the chile oil and crunch from the veg. “Terrific flavours” said one nominator.
10. Beignets, The Marc People say consistency is the hardest thing to achieve in a restaurant dish. The Marc’s beignets, pillowy bits of fried dough, with two sauces for dipping, hit it every time. Hard to eat just one. The Marc also gets kudos from readers for having the prettiest patio in Edmonton.

Honey Rosemary Bar

11. Honey Rosemary Bar, Violet Chocolate Company. “Amazing, award-winning chocolate, not just nationally but also internationally. Once you eat these chocolates you are hooked. No other chocolate compares,” said one reader. Nominators were also partial to the pumpkin chai bar.

Arancini

12. Arancini, Cibo. Cibo’s arancini, crispy on the outside, deliciously gooey and
cheesy on the inside. Yum!

Cheese Burger

13. Cheese Burger, Glass Monkey The patties are made in-house from a
nice chunky grind of sirloin, grilled, and served with lots of cheese on a toasted bun. ‘Nice and burgery’ was one comment and we couldn’t agree more.

Beef Short Rib with Wild Mushroom Risotto

14. Beef Short Rib with Wild Mushroom Risotto, XIX. The XIX kitchen does an amazing job with braising. Readers also love the hoisin glazed short rib and the lamb shanks.

Edgar Farms asparagus

15. Asparagus, Edgar Farms. “Asparagus isn’t even supposed to grow well in our province. The hard work and dedication of these family farmers makes it possible. I’m glad we have people like this living and working in Alberta. A highlight of every June for me.” Barbara LeFort.

Bar Bricco Uovo Raviolo

Bar Bricco Uovo Raviolo

16. Egg Yolk Raviolo, Bar Bricco “The house-made pasta is tender, the egg yolk is perfectly cooked, it is filled with the right amount of ricotta and it is covered in Parmesan. To die for!” says Carly Strong.

17. Sourdough Rye Pancake with Jambon de Paris, Bar Clementine. “A savoury small plate of Meuweley’s shaved ham on a thin crepe. A delicious bite,” says Shauna Faragini.

Smoke & Oak Cocktail

18. Smoke & Oak Cocktail, North 53 North 53’s riff on Old-Fashioned remains top cocktail. Victoria Oaken Gin, smoked maple syrup, orange and angostura bitters, plus a spritz of orange oil to trap the smoke of the burning blue spruce. By Brendan Brewster.

19. Christopher’s Moscardini, Uccellino Chef Christopher Hyde’s toothsome octopus dish, redolent of a long braise in red wine and served with charred bread. Perfect.
[huge_it_gallery id=”3″]

20. Smoked Meat Sandwich, Sandwich and Sons. All their sandwiches garnered votes, but none more than the smoked meat—makes Quebecers homesick, the mustard, pickles and potato chips are made in house and the meats are by local meat guru, Jeff Senger.

21. Broke Back Breakfast, Local Omnivore Imagine all their meats, with eggs and many, many fans. One of those fans, Keith Farquarson, calls this the best breakfast in the city.
22. Seoul Fried Chicken & Northern Chicken We’re calling it a tie. Seoul Fried Chicken’s OG, Grana Padano and Lime Cilantro versions all garnered noms as did their delicious corn fritters. Northern Chicken’s toothsome fried chicken (available in extra spicy too) has gained a rabid following.

Handheld Bennie

23. Handheld Bennie, Juniper Bistro Amanda Clements Harvey calls the handheld bennie at Juniper Bistro the perfect food. “A balanced delight combining the creamy goodness of homemade hollandaise with the bitter-crunch of arugula, a perfect poached egg and fresh bun.”

24. Green Onion Cake, Culina Muttart. Green onion cake with barbecue braised pork and spicy kimchee ‘I think about this dish whenever I drive by the Muttart; it takes Edmonton’s favorite festival food to a better level,” said one nominator.

Perfect Pear Newget

25. Perfect Pear Newget The seasonal combo of white chocolate, rosemary, pistachios and a generous amount of dried pear makes for one deliciously chewy nougat.

26. Poutine, Café Bicyclette “The portion is big, the fries hearty, the curds plentiful, and the gravy has a sweet touch of maple. Eating this on the patio in the winter or summer is Edmonton at its best!” Jill Thursby
27. The Negroni Cocktail, Cibo The Cibo Negroni is the best in the city, according to Mike Maoine, because of the spherical ice they use—less dilution equals more flavour.

Devil’s Butter

28. Devil’s Butter, Kitchen by Brad Light-textured, with a perfect balance of seasonings and spice. Slather on bread, steak, potaoes, broccoli. Try not to scoop it up with your fingers.

29. French Crullers, The Art of Cake. So delicious! Check out the Art of Cake’s new location, 11807C – 105 Avenue.
30. The Big Italian Sandwich, the Italian Centre Shops Legions of firemen and football fans agree: the iconic sandwich, chock full of deli meats and cheeses with a slick of oregano-scented dressing, remains the favourite offering, especially at the downtown location.
Hardware Grill’s Sea Bass

Hardware Grill’s Sea Bass
Merle Prosofsky photo

31. Sea Bass, Hardware Grill Luxurious, delicious, just the right amount of over-the-top describes this bravura dish; with porcini mushroom-dusted crust, arugula and white corn sauté, truffled lobster potato crepes and slightly charred prawns.

32. Complète Galette, Café Linnea “The crêpe is buckwheat with ham and eggs, some gruyere cheese and a bit of salad; all in all a delicious dish,” said one nominator.
33. Questionable Bits, Rge Rd RgRd is as serious as you can get about whole animal cooking and nowhere is this more evident than in the Questionable Bits—where the kitchen team creates gastronomic gold out of the parts of the animal that usually get thrown out. “We want people to ask the question ‘what is that and how did it get here?’ It’s our philosophy on the plate,” says chef/owner Blair Lebsack.
34. Crispy Chicken Biscuit Burger, North 53 Served southern style with country gravy, bacon and either potato hash or greens, guaranteed to banish any sort of hangover.
35. Rosso, Rosso Pizza: The namesake pie with spicy soppressata and Taleggio cheese.
The Bianca Rucola (white pizza with generous heaps of arugula) is also a favourite. What is Rosso’s secret to outstanding pizza? It’s the dough— flavourful, sturdy, never soggy, a little bit chewy, with just the right amount of char.
36. Beaumont Smoked Meat Sandwich, Chartier House-smoked slow-cooked brisket on sourdough bread with thyme-scented Dijon mustard, yes!

Riccota Crostini

37. Ricotta Crostini, Corso 32 House-made ricotta on charred crusty bread. Simply delicious.

38. Grilled Octopus, Cibo Bistro “Oh so tender.”
39. Moules et frites, The Marc The Marc’s rendition of the French bistro dish is always just right.

Alfajores

40. Alfajores, Melt Confections A delicious take on the Argentine classic— dulce de leche sandwiched between two cookies — and made right here in Edmonton.

Coconut Cookie

41. Coconut Cookie, Confetti Sweets Cookie lovers can’t get enough of the jumbo soft cookies in the see-through bags with the clever handle, like a little purse. Coconut rules with chocolate close behind.

42. Caprese Salad, Vivo Ristorante has garnered many fans. There is sure to be even more with the opening of the second restaurant downtown.
43. Bison Mini-Yorkies, Confederation Lounge, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald Best snack at one Edmonton’s best spots for after work drinks
44. Porchetta, Italian Centre Shops Meat Counter The ready-to-go Italian-style pork roast is perfect for entertaining.
45. Lamb Burger, The Sugarbowl One delicious burger.
46. Blackened Chicken, Belgravia Hub Nominators liked the crispy slaw and mash served with as much as the chicken, always a good sign.
47. The Duke, Duchess Bake Shop This cake is perfect.
48. Egg and Toast Soldiers, Café Linnea A grown-up take on a child’s favourite—soft-boiled egg with house-made sourdough soldiers with herbed butter and a red wine vinegar shallot dipping sauce.

Morroccan-Spiced Pickled Carrots

49. Morroccan-Spiced Pickled Carrots, MOJO Pickles Who can stop at just one?

50. Rosemary Gruyere Biscuit, Lock Stock Coffee This cheesy herbed biscuit is just one of the delish go-withs for coffee at Lock Stock, the tiny perfect coffee shop on Jasper Avenue.
51. Salumi, Cibo
“This chef really knows how to do it right. I haven’t tasted anything like it since my father used to make it in the basement of our home in Italy,” Mike Maione.
52. Pressed Spicy Tofu, Ying Fat Tofu Products
Or, try the tofu pudding. “I brought home an unsweetened tofu pudding, added maple syrup and I’m hooked. This is a perfect combination of east meets west to enjoy after a spicy meal, or any time,” Robin Slater.
53. Lemon Gelato, Uccellino
“There is something magical about the creamy texture of the ricotta mixed with the tartness of the lemon. Ridiculously silky texture.”
54. Veggie Shepherds Pie, Blue Plate Diner
“The combination of black beans, quinoa, vegetables, arugula, butternut squash and mashed potato tastes like no other,” Jen Meers

Original Redhead Condiments Salsa Verde

55. Salsa Verde, Original Redhead Condiments
Dogwood Café chef Stuart Whyte produces several spicy condiments. The salsa verde is a classic blend of tomatillos, jalapeno, garlic and cilantro, yum. The Thai-chile based Original Red Head sauce garnered several votes as well.
photo attached

56. Pork, Irvings’ Pork
Everything by Irvings,” said voters. That would be the delectable English-style sausages, the bacons and pork roasts.
57. Chicken and Waffles, Tzin
Braised chicken thighs with peppers, onions, olives. Chef Corey Maguire is a flavour maven, everything he turns out at this jewel box of a wine bar tastes delicious. Watch his twitter feed for specials.

Upson’s Classic

58. Soda, Upson’s Classic Named for the originator of lemonade and made by chefs Shaun Hicks and Will Kotowicz right here in Edmonton. Try the lavender grapefruit with gin, or the classic lemonade, rose lemonade and the new apple spice flavours.
photo from Feb issue

McKernan Food Works Vinegars

59. Vinegars, McKernan Food Works Vinegars
Living vinegars made from apples and honey, unfiltered and delicious, by chef Allan Suddaby.
photo from 2015 top100

60. Carrots, Sundog Farm
Only a few more months to wait!

Cake Club

61. Cake Club, Sugared and Spiced Baked Goods
Amy Nachtigall’s baking has loyal fans. And, it’s about to get loads more with the opening of an actual bakeshop (10330 Whyte Avenue) facing the Old Strathcona Farmers Market.

Butter Caramels

62. Butter Caramels, Caramia Caramels
Hand-made caramels, soft not sticky: fleur de sel, Srirachi roasted almond, smoked maple bacon, London Fog latte and the original butter.

63. Chicken and Blueberry Sausage, Otto
“You wouldn’t expect a chicken and blueberry sausage to be so savoury, but it is,” said one nominator.
64. Beef Shortrib, Canteen
A hearty winter dish with bone marrow jus, carrots and king oyster mushrooms.
65. Corn Fritters, Belgravia Hub
Just as tasty as last year.
66. Mixed Vegetables on Injera, Walia Ethnic Restaurant
“I want to single out their mixed cooked vegetable platter; beets, red cabbage, green cabbage, lentils. Those aren’t glam foods, but they’ve never ever tasted so good — spicy, crispy, so sensual and flavourful. The injera here is delicious – light, not too sour. Absolutely delicious,” Paula Simons.
67. Fresh corn, Riverbend Gardens
“I say it every year, Riverbend’s fresh sweet corn is so good,” Cindy Jewell.
68. Sea Salt Caramels, Cococo
Rich chocolate, toothsome caramel, crunchy salt crystals, available in both milk and dark chocolate.

69. Fried Green Tomatoes, Have Mercy

“Such an amazing dish! said Ryan Little.
70. Spinach and Caramelized Onion Pita, The Happy Camel “Locally made and not something that is available from anyone else.”
71. Pot Stickers, Furusato
Subtly-spiced nuggets of flavour with a tangy dipping sauce
72. Butternut Squash, Narayanni’s Restaurant
“Butternut squash, mustard, cumin, cilantro, with maple syrup that is not too sweet and chili that adds a nice kick,” says Marina Michaelides. “Heavenly.”
73. Spicy Peanut Ice Cream, Revolution Ice Cream
“Small-batch artisan ice cream with non dairy and vegan options. It tastes amazing!” said one nominator.
74. Lobster Risotto, Sabor
We think Sabor’s annual seafood fest deserves a shout out too.
75. The Rye and Speck Crostini, Bar Bricco
House-made ricotta and pork speck on crispy rye toast with shaved Napa cabbage and Pink Lady apple is a standout among the many wine-friendly plates served at the atmospheric Bar Bricco.
76. Jelly-filled Bismarks, Empress Bakery
Get there around noon, while they are still warm.
77. Tonpei Yaki, Izakaya Tomo
Savoury shaved pork with cabbage, egg and a drizzle of okonomi sauce.
78. Shook Pie, South Island Pie Company
“Incredible crust. Great flavour, “ Darrell Pydde.
79. Vietnamese Five Star Noodle Bowl, Golden Bird
80. Flatbread, Anatolia Food Market
A taste of Turkey in a cheap and cheerful lunch.
81. Cinnamon Bun, The Sugarbowl
Get there early for the best bun in town, sold in half and full sizes.
82. Grizzly Gouda, Sylvan Star Cheese
The aged gouda from Lacombe’s Sylvan Star is one of Canada’s best cheeses.
83. Chipotle Rhubarb Ketchup, Fruits of Sherbrooke
“The main ingredient is local rhubarb! All not for profit! Delicious and versatile!” said the tweet.
84. Almond Meringues, Polish Food Centre
“The extraordinary almond meringues at the Polish Food Centre. My find of the year,” said Paula Simon.
85. Roasted Caraway Loaf, Bonjour Bakery
Wholesome and chewy with the surprise of roasted caraway seeds.
86. Bavarian Pretzel, Artistic Bake Shop
Chewy salty goodness; have with a smear of butter and German mustard.
87. Grick Middle Sandwich, Farrow
Best breakfast sandwich in the city? You bet!
88. Margarita Pizza, Italian Centre West End
Sometimes the simplest things are the most delicious.
89. Nutella Brownies, Canova
Nominators also wax rhapsodic about the vanilla creme-filled cornetti and the seasonal panettone.
90. Meatatarian Pizza, Love Pizza
“It’s delicious, hot and tasty!” Karen Peltier.
91. Cinnamon Bun, High Level Diner
“Should be called Sin Bun. Soooooo good,” says Tammy Pichler.
92. Jerky, Big G
“The jerky are absolutely incredible. Big G puts the time and effort into making his food. Hands down the best!” Jeff Heimbecker.
93. French Onion Grilled Cheese, Juntos Bistro
People also liked the bourbon pulled pork sandwich at this casual lunch spot in St Albert.
94. Pita, Sofra
“The pita is what I dream about; thin, made-to-order and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Paired with Ezme, a creamy feta dip with a kick of garlic, this is my top dish in Edmonton,” Jill Thursby.
95. Barbacoa Tacos, Calle Mexico
“That being said everything there is good,” Dustin Carlson.
96. Coconut Margarita, El Cortez
97. Wings, Beer Revolution
“These wings are delicious and have made Beer Revolution my number one place to go and grab a drink,” Sarah McPhee.
98. Mama Lee’s Kitchen Squid and Pork. This spicy, tangy, just-the right-amount-of-greasy take-out specialty delivers knock out umami; you’ll crave it at the most unexpected moments.
99. Auntie Muriel’s Peanut Brittle, MMS Brittles
“This stuff has become a Christmas tradition in our family. As a snack it is super. It is comical, how quickly it disappears when we put it out for friends and family.”
100. It’s a tie: “Fudgalicious (Sherwood Park Farmers Market) makes by far the best fudge in Edmonton and I am a fudge connoisseur. My favourite is the maple walnut, “said one nominator. Auntie Jean’s Fudge (Old Strathcona Farmers Market); Phil’s Fudge Nanaimo Bar flavour, “so creamy, chocolaty, I never thought that fudge would taste like a nanaimo bar!”

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