Of course, the handmade pasta at Corso 32 is cooked to perfection. And the chocolate torta is the stuff of legend. These are things we’ve come to expect from chef Daniel Costa. But it’s the things you wouldn’t expect that have kept Corso 32 atop the Best Italian category for four years running.
Take, for example, the speck on the antipasti menu: Salty pork, tart apples and spicy horseradish living in perfect harmony. Then there’s the gnudo, a massive ricotta dumpling filled with an egg yolk that creates a delicious sauce. You might not expect whey-braised Berkshire pork at an Italian restaurant, but there it is on Corso’s menu in all its fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth glory. You might not expect to finish your meal with cheese, but the fried taleggio might rival the torta as a final course.
Every year, expectations for Corso 32 keep going higher and higher. And every year, Costa and his staff continue to live up to them. –Glenn Cook
10345 Jasper Ave., 780-421-4622, corso32.com
The items on chef Rosario Caputo’s menu aren’t always the same – the lunch menu changes weekly and the dinner menu changes every few months. But, with every change, diners can always expect the same thing: An expertly combined take on modern and rustic Italian cuisine.
There are a few staples diners should always be on the look out for. The coda di bue, for instance, is a tender, juicy portion of oxtail, which rests in a creamy sunchoke puree, topped with succulent beach mushrooms and coated in a flavourful Barolo rosemary reduction. If the juicy, fall-off-the-bone portion isn’t your thing, remember that Cibo cures its meats and makes its own pasta in house, which makes for inventive pastas, charcuterie and all-around authentic flavours. –Cory Haller
11244 104 Ave., 780-757-2426, cibobistro.com
Cafe Amore Bistro
There is something that’s wonderfully Manhattan about Cafe Amore. Once you step inside, you’re greeted with a dull roar of conversations from people seated back-to-front. Honestly, how do the servers navigate through all these packed tables? Chances are you’ll be greeted with a hearty hello from a member of the Crudo family. It has a strong “where everybody knows your name” vibe.
There’s no rocket science to the menu: You will find Italian classics, done very well. If you were a movie location scout looking for the quintessential Italian place in Edmonton in which to shoot, you’d pick Cafe Amore. And you’d stay for the conversation and the delicious plates of pasta. –Steven Sandor
10807 106 Ave., 780-477-7896, cafeamorebistro.ca