The top 100 best things to eat or drink in Edmonton

It’s done. The notes read, the obscure sought out for a taste test, the votes tabulated; you have chosen the Top 100 best things to eat in Edmonton.

Thank you to all who voted, campaigned for their favourites, and entered the debate with a sense of fun and discovery. It’s been a pleasure. To those nominated; long may you prosper.

Remembrance of dishes past: There were votes for the Carvery’s black bean soup, Pharo’s pizza, and the delicious and long-lamented stuffed radicchio from Il Portico. A Thorhild reader reminisced about her family’s buckwheat pie, an essential element of Alberta’s culinary history.

Corso 32's spaghetti Bolognese.
#1: Corso 32’s spaghetti Bolognese.

1. Corso 32 tops the list as the restaurant with the most dishes voted for overall. It was a toss-up between the goat cheese ricotta, and the salted hazelnut chocolate dessert; the chicken liver tortellini in brown butter with sage or the arancini, ravioli or short rib, but the soulful spaghetti Bolognese was number one. We also love Corso’s overall brio; their selection of aperitivo and amari, the pretty much all-Italian wine list and that crazy pasta with toasted rye crumble.

2. Three Boars Eatery changes its menu frequently, which makes it hard for fans to pick just one thing, so they didn’t. They chose fried mushrooms with egg and the ever-changing poutine.

3. The Marc’s frites with truffled mayo. Fall, no, leap off the diet wagon into a plate of these addictively crispy fries. Especially good with an Aperol spritz.

4. Dungeness crab cakes at the Harvest Room in the Hotel Macdonald.

5. King Noodle Pho Hoang’s Moustache Man is the face of King Noodle, but Chinatown’s most deliciously fragrant and fresh pho is made by his wife Hoa Sen Dao. Beef or chicken? You choose.

6. Cibo’s charcuterie (particularly the unusual porchetta di testa) and their unctuous beef cheeks, polenta fritta with salami, arancini. We also love their $10 lunch.

#5: King Noodle Pho Hoang’s Moustache Man.
#5: King Noodle Pho Hoang’s Moustache Man.

7. Matahari’s mango salad rolls burst with fresh flavours, and make a deliciously light starter while waiting for curried fish.

8. Canteen has been busy from the get-go turning out delicious plates with aplomb, notwithstanding the fact they have only been open for about three months. The bench strength in the kitchen is considerable, and the Moroccan lamb chops spectacular — proving once again that simple isn’t easy.

9. Beloved of football fans, firemen and Tomato readers, the foot-long Spinelli’s original sandwich from the Italian Centre Shop involves layers of Italian-style deli meats, provolone, Gloria spread, olive oil and dried oregano. Also in the running were the prima donna and smoked mozzarella cheeses.

10. Moriarty’s delicious and inventive charcuterie boards, with house-made spreads, interesting salumi and a good selection of cheeses, especially pre- and post-Citadel.

11. The double caraway rye and the challah were both mentioned as favourite breads at the Bon Ton Bakery. Scandinavian flavours such as caraway are on trend, and this loaf is fragrant with a deliciously chewy texture, excellent toasted. Available Friday/Saturday only.

12. At the Gramma Bears Home Baking stand in the Old Strathcona market the butter tarts always sell out before noon. Take a few minutes to chat with Evelyn Dickout and her husband Harold and pick up a couple of frozen pies too, we recommend the pumpkin.

13. Wor tip beef dumplings at Shanghai 456, aka the canteen of the Edmonton Flying Club.

14. How to pick a favourite at the Duchess Bake Shop? Many tried: Paris Brest, the Duke, macaron, their toothsome quiche, the Gruyere croissant. We narrowed it down to their incredible fruit pies, especially the sour cherry, with its perfect ratio of crust to juicy, not too sweet, fruit filling.

15. The cinnamon bun, lamb burger, and chicken and waffles at the Sugarbowl Café. The beer list gets an honourable mention for being fabulous and the first in town to really pay attention to beer.

16. Bonjour Boulangerie/Treestone Bakery has ardent fans especially of their rustic loaves (or large bun, which is how Drift food truck treats them, wrapping the crispy-crusted bread around their terrifically juicy buttermilk fried chicken).

#9: The Italian Centre Shop's foot-long Spinelli’s original sandwich.
#9: The Italian Centre Shop’s foot-long Spinelli’s original sandwich.

17. The brand new B.C. import De Dutch garnered several votes for their pannekoek, the plate-covering Dutch pancake, rich and eggy with a depth of flavour provided by a whisper of buckwheat in the mix. It’s hard to find behind the Jasper Avenue construction but worth the search.

18. We love our sweets, with several cookies in the Top 100. The Dauphine Bakery’s elegant reinvention of the peanut butter cookie takes it from after school staple to Paris café delicacy — luscious peanut butter cream between two crisp and nutty sable cookies. Also mentioned: lemon tart, almond tart, rochers, and their tasty sunflower bread.

19. The Feta-terranean (grilled peppers with feta cheese and a frisky balsamic dressing) at The Hardware Grill is a menu classic with ardent fans. Also the liver and onions; somehow Hardware’s talented kitchen makes liver taste good.

20. Nineteen has vocal supporters already, especially for the ahi tuna twist appetizer. Other faves: chef Andrew Fung’s tender sous vide pork rack and the deeply flavoured lamb shanks, a perfect winter dish.

21. The carbonara at Cafe de Ville.

22. Wild Tangerine’s frog legs. Actually, pretty much anything cooked by Judy Wu.

#12: Gramma Bears Home Baking stand in the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market and their butter tarts .
#12: Gramma Bears Home Baking stand in the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market and their butter tarts .

23. Potato-crusted fish and chips from Madison’s Grill in the Union Bank inn, “especially with the garlic aioli,” said one email.

24. Chicken balls at Lee House.

25. Downtown’s favourite taqueria, Tres Carnales, is the place for tacos al pastor and fish tacos, recommended by several readers.

26. The Manor Café’s Alstroemeria cocktail.

27. Three BoarsFor Peat’s Sake cocktail.

28. The Manor Café’s Norfolk Flip cocktail.

29. Gold Forest Grain’s Steel cut oats and Red Fife flour pancakes. Now, that’s a breakfast.

30. Mighty Trio’s organic cold–pressed canola oil.

31. Greens Eggs and Ham’s duck eggs.

32. Culina Millcreek’s lamb bolognese with semolina rissole and lemon confit.

33. The Common’s gluten free poutine with Korean-style braised pork.

34. Tasty Tom’s garlic mushroom burger.

35. The Jackie Bar by Jacek Chocolate.

36. Bistro Praha’s fried cheese.

37. MoJo JoJo‘s salted pear caramel butter.

38. Café Leva pizza, particularly the mushroom and potato.

39. Noorish’s Bodhi burger, trio of life salad followed by chocolate mousse cake.

40. “Any Irvings sausage — the leek, pan fried with mushrooms, the maple with pancakes, the chili zinger made into a spicy pasta sauce.”

41. Planet Organic’s Hail-to-the-Kale salad. “Kale, shredded cabbage and carrots, tossed with an Asian dressing and pumpkin seeds, yum and healthy!”

42. New York Bagel Café’s eggs benedict.

43. Guru’s vegetable samosas.

44. Mundare Sausage House’s borscht: “the best ever.”

45. The Dish and Runaways Spoon’s deep dish fish pie with fresh dill.

46. Tropika’s Sambal bunchies.

47. Sugared and Spice’s peanut butter, chocolate chip and bacon cookie.

48. Unheardof restaurant’s seafood bisque.

49. Planet Organic’s curry mango pasta salad.

50. Kitchen by Brad’s bacon jam.

51. “The prime rib at Vons Steakhouse and Oyster Bar — it’s melt-in-your-mouth delicious.”

52. Sylvan Star’s Old Grizzly gouda.

53. Famoso’s margherita pizza.

54. Happy Camel hummus.

55. The Bothy Wine Whisky Bar’s Robbie Burns: haggis and hanger steak over roasted veggies.

56. Won Jung’s Jjambbong (spicy seafood noodle) and kan poong gi (deep fried chicken).

57. Latuca greens: What’s not to like about these super-fresh greens from the backyard sold from a box on a bike? Word has it that a few more backyards have been pressed into service for the summer and maybe even a back 40 on the edge of town (well, more like a back five) Long live the urban farmers.

58. Prairie Mill‘s jalapeño-cheese bread (oh yes!).

59. The Hardware Grill’s beef carpaccio “it’s so unbelievably decadent and tasty, I can’t even describe it.”

60. The Cheese Factory’s cheese curds from the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market “where you can get the fresh cheese curds that are at room temperature…delicious!”

61. The Next Act Pub’s Director burger. “Stewed green chilis on a burger? Yum!”

62. The Next Act Pub’s Editor burger.

63. The Red Ox’s steak tartar.

64. Blue Plate Diner’s veggie burger.

65. Remedy’s chai.

66. Trowlesworthy Farms Bacon. “Best bacon I have ever had, and I’ve had a lot of bacon. The problem is: it’s so popular that it’s pretty hard to get it.”

67. Irvings Farm Fresh ham. “Cooked for a Christmas dinner, with the crispy skin? Unbelievably good!”

68. Handy Bakery’s Portuguese custard tarts.

69. Drift Food Truck’s pork belly sandwich with fries.

70. Ragazzi‘s Godfathers Choice pizza.

71. “The vegetarian chicken and potato curry at Padmanadi. Eating this mildly spicy, creamy and filling dish with a side of coconut rice is guaranteed to warm your bones on a cold winter’s day. It is loved by both vegetarians and meat lovers.”

72. Cookie Love’s your chocolate is in my peanut butter cookie.

73. Newget’s Salted Karamel newget. “So delicious. Addicting and amazing and wonderful.”

74. “When my baba passed away, my mother kept the tradition alive of making the soft, delicious Ukrainian dumplings known as perishke. Similar to the common pyrohy, filled with a puréed potato and cheese filling. The dough however differs greatly, as it is more like a fluffy bread dough than a soft dumpling dough. Perishke dough is stuffed with filling, and baked in the oven. After baking to a golden brown, you begin work on the creamy sauce by frying onions in butter, then adding cream. You then add your baked buns to the cream and fold in fresh dill at the end. My mother makes delicious fresh perishke only twice a year, and Two Babas and a Stove‘s booth at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market Saturday morning is a close second.” Amanda MacRae.

75. Confetti Sweets’ peanut butter cookie. We are fans of the coconut as well.

76. Bloom Cookie Co.’s double chocolate mint cookie.

77. Serben Free-Range’s pork maple sausages.

78. Elm Café’s chicken and waffles, and a latté.

79. The Blue Chair Café’s pad thai.

80. Hakone’s spider roll. “Crunchy, creamy, yum!”

81. East Old Town Chinese’s KL Hokkein noodle and the egg floss.

82. Sundog Organic Farm’s greens and celery. We pine for the fresh vegetables from Sundog Farm.

83. The Cheesiry rustico pecorino. All of their cheeses, really.

84. Four Whistle Farm’s lamb chops.

85. The Art of Cake’s old-fashioned coconut macaroons.

86. Under the High Wheel’s breakfast, all of them.

87. Nomad’s kasekrainer (cheese sausage).

88. Morinville Greenhouse’s’ fresh herbs, especially their gorgeously fragrant fresh basil.

89. Pinocchio Ice Cream, bacio and coconut flavours.

90. Wildflower Grill’s braised beef short ribs.

91. Kim Tuyet’s banh mi (10645-97 Street).

92. Sunworkschicken.

93. Zinter Brown’s garlic and onion spread.

94. Blue Kettle’s asiago caesar dressing.

95. Nomiya’s egg ramen.

96. Hazeldean Bakery’s cinnamon buns and their apple fritters — exactly what fried dough should be: crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside. With donuts poised as the next big trend, expect to see some $5 donuts that cannot hold a candle to the $1.25 fresh-made daily offerings from this humble south-side neighbourhood bakery.

97. Gull Valley Greenhouses’ spectacular tomatoes.

98. Evoolution’s garlic-infused oil and the 18-year dark balsamic.

99. “My YEG-specific fave is the Jam Lady‘s Scarlett O’Hara jelly, excellent on homemade biscuits; rhubarb ketchup made by the Fruits of Sherbrooke. I put it on everything. Their chipotle ketchup is fantastic, too.” Wendy Benson, Alberta Pulse Growers.