Daniel Costa‘s downtown gem shows no signs of slowing down. You still need to call weeks ahead to get a Friday or Saturday evening reservation, and enRoute magazine placed Corso 32 in its list of top 10 new restaurants from across the country. All we can say is … believe the hype. An ever-changing menu, fresh ingredients, commitment to a theme and meticulous preparation make the restaurant stand apart. From the antipasti to the carne to the dolci, Costa uses Italian village recipes, demonstrating that the old can indeed be new again.
He’s so dedicated that he closed the restaurant for two weeks last autumn and took his staff on a field trip to Italy. He wanted them to learn about the place that inspires the food they serve. If you haven’t tried Corso 32 yet, put it on your list of things to do. Book now and you should be good for mid-April. -Steven Sandor
10345 Jasper Ave., 780-421-4622, corso32.com
There’s a Mad Men quality to the sparse black, white and silver interior. But the food is truly French – carefully cooked and impeccably presented. The soft and zesty steak tartare is the best in Edmonton, and entrees such as the tender pork shoulder confit will likely be the topic of your dinner conversation. Servers here know each dish down to the spice and can pair it with a wine that seems bottled just for this meal. The mid-range prices don’t reflect the high craft, rich flavours and spot-on service. –Omar Mouallem
9940 106 St., 780-429-2828, themarc.ca
THE BLUE PEAR
Chef Darcy Radies and co-owner Jessie Radies, a culinary power couple, make a true event out of eating at this cozy high-end restaurant, with a rotating menu based on available fresh ingredients. For $89, patrons get a five-course meal – an appetizer, soup, tasting plate, entree and dessert – and can add wine pairings to the festivities (or create their own with free corkage Wednesdays). Option “Baby Blue Pear” pares it to three courses. There is an la carte menu, but the first bite will likely convince you to go big. –O.M.
10643 123 St., 780-482-7178, thebluepear.com