Best Restaurants: Best Hotel
Hotel restaurants are often hidden gems — these three shine brightly.
The Harvest Room at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is nearly a century old, but the menu is as fresh as the day it opened.
Photography by Curtis Comeau
First Place >> The HARVEST ROOM AT FAIRMONT HOTEL MACDONALD
If there’s one thing that stands out about a visit to the Harvest Room, it’s the attention to detail. The grand old room in the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, which will celebrate its one-century anniversary in 2015, definitely isn’t stuck in the past. The tender Dungeness crab cake, served atop a hearty broth filled with delicate soba noodles, is modern fusion cuisine done tastefully well. The lobster ravioli was on Avenue’s 25 Best Things to Eat last year, and you can’t get more decadent than butter-poached lobster sitting atop ravioli stuffed with more lobster. But, a look at the menu shows a wide variety of dietary choices — meals for vegans, raw-food enthusiasts, diabetics and macrobiotic eaters. The Fairmont chain made the move to offer these choices so people who have dietary needs won’t feel awkward about making special orders or substitutions. And, the room has just launched an Executive Lunch Bar, a lunch buffet filled with gourmet sandwiches and salads — a move aimed at stimulating weekday noon-time traffic. Execution and attention to detail are the strengths of the Harvest Room. And the view of Edmonton across the Hotel Macdonald terrace can’t be matched. (10065 100 St., 780-424-5181, fairmont.com) —Steven Sandor
Runner-Up >> SHARE AT WESTIN
Share is a restaurant with a split personality. You can sit in lounge area that’s basically an extension of the hotel lobby. Or, you can cozy up to the fireplace in the leather chairs that can be found in the dining room that’s tucked behind the lounge. The food is luxurious; the most notable item is the ribs, which come coated in a chocolate and whiskey sauce. The chocolate is surprisingly pronounced, so be prepared for a very rich meal. The Korean barbecue burger, with spicy kimchee as a condiment, is dense but sour and spicy at the same time. Share isn’t a simple steak and seafood hotel restaurant — and it’s a pity if only the hotel guests take advantage of it. (10135 100 St., 780-493-8994, thewestinedmonton.com/restaurants) —S.S.
Honourable Mention >> GLENORA BISTRO AT GLENORA BED AND BREAKFAST
At first, Glenora Bistro doesn’t appear to be in a hotel. The restaurant is accessed from the street, not the bed and breakfast it belongs to. So, it doesn’t have a stiff, hotel guests-only vibe. Instead, the open, sunny room has a relaxed feel with a smattering of art on the walls, an abundance of plants lining the windows and knowledgeable staff. The menu may not be large but there’s always the daily quiche, soup and fish special to throw into the mix. The sea bass and Arctic char fish special, which includes a firm, flaky fillet of each fish, plus rice and mixed veggies, is a must-try item. (10139 124 St., 780-482-3531, glenorabistro.com) —Sydnee Bryant