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You can experience the attractions, historical sites, museums and art scene of a destination, but you can never really know a place until you become acquainted with its cuisine. In Edmonton, Alberta’s multicultural capital city, there are literally hundreds of dining options to choose from — so it takes a while to really get to know the city. Here are some great spots to recommend, whether your client is looking for the ideal restaurant to schedule a business lunch, is in search of a great Sunday brunch or wants a unique fine-dining experience. But be warned: Your clients may have to loosen their belts after the visit.
Top EatsLocated in a renovated former hardware store near the downtown business district, the Hardware Grill is hard to beat when it comes to progressive Canadian cuisine. The service is fast, and the fare is traditional comfort food with an innovative twist. Everything is made in house, from the breads to the sausages.
If your clients are looking for a spectacular traditional Sunday brunch, the Empire Ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald serves up one of the area’s best. Or, for a unique and delicious Sunday brunch you won’t find anywhere else, try Culina Muttart inside the giant botanical pyramids of the Muttart Conservatory. Culina focuses on locally produced foods and even features vegetables and fruits grown inside the botanical gardens.
When it comes to fine dining, Corso 32 is arguably the hottest restaurant in the city. Opened in 2012, the restaurant has received numerous awards and accolades, but the best indicator of the quality of the dining experience is that it takes at least one month to score a reservation. Chef and owner Daniel Costa is dedicated to the concept of fresh, local ingredients and home-style Italian cooking. The menu is inspired by the flavors of southern Italy and is constantly changing.
Three Boars Eatery is another hot dining spot that is receiving awards and attention. Three Boars has a great selection of small plates that can be enjoyed with craft beers and fine whiskeys and is a good choice if you didn’t have time to plan a month or more in advance.
Empire Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel MacDonaldwww.fairmont.com
Three Boars Eaterywww.threeboars.ca
Poutine: Hand-cut French fries, fresh cheese curds and gravy are the key ingredients in poutine, a French Canadian specialty that really is a must-try for any visitor to Canada. In Edmonton, the best spot to sample the dish is a restaurant called La Poutine, which serves 15 different variations. www.la-poutine.com
Market-Fresh Veggies: The Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market is the best spot in town to purchase fruits, veggies, locally grown foods and crafts right from the suppliers who produce them. It runs year-round every Saturday in the heart of Edmonton’s historic Strathcona district. http://osfm.ca
Vegan/Raw Food: Noorish is an Edmonton cafe that describes itself as a “conscious eatery and superfood elixir bar.” The cafe specializes in raw food and vegan dishes, and the food is wonderfully presented and delicious. It’s a great lunch spot whether or not you are on a vegan diet. http://noorish.ca
Steak: Alberta is known worldwide for its beef, and there are about 2 million more cattle in the province than there are people. There are plenty of wonderful steakhouses in Edmonton, but one of the best is Sage (www.rivercreeresort.com). For something a little different, try Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse (www.pampasteakhouse.com).