When our panel of judges meets to discuss the best restaurants each year, it is no surprise that Corso 32 is one of the first names on the list of candidates. It has held the spot of best overall in Avenue‘s Best Restaurants list in 2012 and 2013, and took third place last year. The reason? Consistency. Sure, it’s an honour to be raised up by a city as the gold standard, but that means that the public has an eye out for the moment when an eatery as popular as Corso slips up.
But chef Daniel Costa‘s downtown dining establishment has held steady like a rock, consistently producing exemplary Italian food. The service is always top-notch; from the moment your host takes your coat at the door to producing it as you leave, someone from Corso is always at the ready to ensure your every need is met. You are never left wanting or wondering to which dark corner your server has vanished.
The glasses are always full (or at least offered to be kept that way), and the dining experience is just that: A culinary journey through Italian village recipes. From the antipasti to the carne to the dolci, the simple plates shine with the same mouth-watering flavours as the day Corso 32 opened. –Cory Haller
10345 Jasper Ave., 780-421-4622, corso32.com
Stepping into RGE RD is like stepping back in time. One minute, you’re on a busy Edmonton city street; the next minute, you’re in a rustic cabin, surrounded by the smell of wood smoke and the sounds of friends sharing a wonderful meal.
Much has been made of chef/owner Blair Lebsack and partner/general manager Caitlin Fulton’s eatery since it opened in 2011, especially their farm-to-fork approach that sources seasonal ingredients from all over Alberta – so much, in fact, that the restaurant’s Questionable Bits appetizer, which uses cuts of meat other chefs wouldn’t dare serve, has become a must-have item.
But the menu goes so much deeper than that, with dishes like bison or the pig roast – with farm-raised pork served in a multitude of ways – delivering on big flavour without the pretense that usually comes with fine dining. –Glenn Cook
10643 123 St., 780-447-4577, rgerd.ca
Congratulations. You’ve got to the end of the section! And, no doubt, you’ve noticed that The Marc has made many appearances in the previous pages. Best French. Best Steak. Ranked in the Best Restaurant Desserts list, too. So, quelle surprise, The Marc appears in our best-of-the-best list as well. It’s consistently one of the best restaurants in the city, and its black-and-white decor with rustic wood accents still feels fresh. The service might be the best in the city, too. And a seasonally adjusted menu features contemporary dishes with nods to traditional French influences. –Steven Sandor
9940 106 St., 780-429-2828, themarc.ca
Head to Cibo on a weekend evening and the airy space is full, despite being located in Oliver Village, with no frontage toward the street. That’s because the work of chef Rosario Caputo is an advertisement in itself. The crispy-on-the-outside, earthy-and-delectable-on-the-inside arancini is worth the trip. And perfectly cooked pasta with accompaniments like lamb or oxtail shows that Cibo takes Italian cuisine and pushes the envelope. –S.S.
11244 104 Ave., 780-757-2426, cibobistro.com
Tres Carnales has made national best-restaurant lists; it’s truly amazing that a place with counter service is rated right among the big boys with their poetic names, wine lists and (sometimes) snobbery. The fact that Tres Carnales has earned a national profile is a testament to the attention paid to making exciting yet simple Mexican cuisine.
Tres Carnales has become a source of pride for Edmonton; it has allowed us to lay claim to the fact that this city is home to the best Mexican restaurant in the country. –S.S.
10119 100A St., 780-429-0911, trescarnales.com