While The Common has a reputation as a late-night hangout, it’s also a pretty happening spot in the middle of the day. If you’re not there soon after 11:30 a.m., you may not get a table to enjoy lunch there.
If you do get a spot, though, lunch at The Common is anything but ordinary. The menu offers a fantastic selection of dishes that are a step above that sandwich you might otherwise be eating at your desk.
Take, for example, the pan bagnat. It’s described as an open-faced tuna salad sandwich, but it’s so much more. The tuna salad itself is light on the mayonnaise, but the creaminess is made up with a soft-boiled egg on top. Bell peppers and green beans provide the crunch, while olives give a salty kick.
Or you can opt for the daily sandwich. The day my wife and I went, it was a “pork patty po’ boy,” but with a pickled carrot slaw, it was closer to a Vietnamese banh mih.
Whatever sandwich you go with, be sure to get the fries on the side. They’re thick-cut, crispy and salted just enough that the flavour of the actual potato still shines through. –Glenn Cook
9910 109 St., 780-452-7333, thecommon.ca
Opened in 1984, Zenari’s has been an Edmonton lunch destination for more than 30 years.
The mosaic tile-topped tables, ever-changing chalkboard specials and cafeteria-style setup make for a casual and quirky lunch spot. One of its specialties is the crostoni – a slice of homemade sourdough bread topped with anything from prosciutto to sundried tomatoes and grilled until the mozzarella is bubbling.
For those seeking a sandwich with a bit of a twist, look no further than the Italian loaf, a bread crust stuffed with Italian meats, cheese and mushrooms and baked. You’ll spot it by the telltale sprinkle of poppy seeds on top. –Adrianna Szenthe
10180 101 St., 780-423-5409, zenaris.ca
While Rosso is best known for its crisp wood-fired pizza, its antipasti, insalate and panuozzos are equally impressive.
The house-made ricotta fresca calda is light and airy, enhanced by the drizzle of rosemary-infused olive oil. For those seeking heartier fare, the panuozzos are the ideal solution. Rosso’s crudo classico combines Italian staples – like prosciutto, fior di latte mozzarella and tomatoes – into a simple, yet incredibly flavourful sandwich. The house-made artisan bread provides the perfect amount of crunch to balance the fillings.
On your way out, I’m not saying you have to stop and grab some gelato – but you really should. –A.S.
8738 109 St., 780-433-5382, pizzeriarosso109.com