Best Overall

Best Restaurants 2017

Photography by Curtis Comeau; Blair Lebsack


Rge Rd

Rge Rd has not only remained consistent since taking Best Overall in our 2014 issue, but has upped its game this last year. With the addition of an entirely new room to expand its kitchen and seating, as well as a butchery (called The Butchery, no less) which is open for private events and the sales of some of the restaurant’s meat creations, Rge Rd has proved that Chef Blair Lebsack’s vision continues to evolve.

And while we at Avenue have written ad nauseam about the creative plates such as the Questionable Bits (a sample platter of continually changing offal meats), some of the best dishes at Rge Rd are simple dishes done with creative flair and careful attention paid to the ingredients. You’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere in town that does octopus or mussels as well as this land-locked restaurant but, as the name suggests, its simple Alberta-inspired menu (that changes with what is available from local farms) is where it really shines. If you need proof, try the Nature’s Green Acres Pig Roast, a cut of succulent free-range heritage roasted pork loin, wrapped in pork belly and accompanied with charred leek tourtire and apple-carrot salad. Onion and apple always go with pork, but with this delightful presentation, it never looked so good, either. –Cory Haller

10643 123 St., 780-447-4577,

Rge Rd
Blair Lebsack
Solstice Seasonal Cuisine


Solstice Seasonal Cuisine

Solstice Seasonal Cuisine is the unsung hero of 124th Street, but word is spreading around town about this little establishment. Maybe you’re put off by the idea that its menu can be changed at any time without notice, but, rest assured, you shouldn’t. The ingredients change with the season, which means diners are often treated to the freshest in-season vegetables and dishes. Its steak is one of the best in town (see pg. 44), and dishes like the duck confit will certainly delight the senses. But, if you want to get a true taste of any season, try the chef’s soup, an ever-changing seasonal offering that is inspired by either spring, summer, fall and winter ingredients. Cory Haller

10723 124 St., 780-488-4567,

Hardware Grill


Hardware Grill

Let’s face it. It’s hard for older restaurants to earn the number of accolades the new kids on the block receive. If you’ve done something well for a long time, you get moved into the “old reliable” category. Well, this year, our judges were excited by what they sensed was a renewed energy from this Edmonton staple. Hardware is a downtown mainstay, with a history that spans more than two decades, and owner/chef Larry Stewart has helped launch many culinary careers. A dinner at Hardware Grill is a relaxed, yet refined affair. Start with an Old Fashioned that is like whiskey candy, and the Korean fried cauliflower that was brought over from the former Tavern 1903 Stewart had opened in the nearby Alberta hotel. The entres are classics that are done well, from the duck to the beef to the vegetarian offerings. This year, we were offered a reminder of why Hardware has been such an important part of Edmonton’s culinary evolution. –Steven Sandor

9698 Jasper Ave., 780-423-0969,

Honourable Mentions

Black Pearl Seafood Bar

You have to give the Crudo family credit; the Edmonton restaurateurs have stuck solidly to a vision of making a fresh seafood spot work in a city that’s in the middle of the prairie. But an excellent oyster bar, inventive dishes, and maybe the most underrated cocktail bar in the city make this a spot worth the splurge. The seafood mac and cheese and the jerk snow crab are highlights. That’s right – bringing Caribbean spice to a northern catch; that’s the inventiveness that makes Black Pearl so interesting. The atmosphere is decidedly, well, grotto. The fishing nets, barrels and reclaimed wood are anything but subtle; but that’s the point. I mean, if you’re going to embrace Pirates of the Caribbean, it has to look like a spot where seeing Jack Sparrow would feel like an everyday occurrence. –Steven Sandor

10132 104 St., 780-705-7887,

Cibo Bistro

Chef Rosario Caputo’s Oliver eatery has made regular appearances on this list since we started the Best Restaurants program. Homemade pasta and charcuterie make for a real Italian comfort-food experience, and the rotating entre menu offers old-world Italian cookery mixed with a nod to modern cuisine. Cibo is a great spot for a warm-up lunch or a smashing five-course dinner. While other spots might get talked about more, this has been one of Edmonton’s culinary jewels for years, now. –Steven Sandor

11244 104 Ave., 780-757-2426,

Corso 32

When it takes weeks to get a reservation as it does with Corso 32, that should be confirmation to just how good it is. Despite having two other restaurants, chef Daniel Costa’s chief restaurant continues to be the go-to for a fine-dining Italian experience. You won’t find pasta drenched in pasta sauce or pizza at Corso 32 (or any of Costa’s restaurants for that matter), but we’re OK with that. Instead, you’ll find simple Italian dishes with few, but tasty, ingredients. The House-Made Goat Ricotta, for example, is soft and fresh, drizzled with a rosemary oil and Maldon sea salt on a crostini. It’s so simple, but highly addictive. –Jasmine Salazar

10345 Jasper Ave., 780-421-4622,

Huma Mexican Comfort

Yes – a mom-and-pop shop is in the top 10, in the same rarified air as some of Edmonton’s most renowned chefs. But, for comfort food, our judges couldn’t stop talking about this south-side Mexican spot that offers a large selection of tacos, street food and soups. From the Mexican board games that are used to decorate the tables (the Mexican version of Snakes and Ladders, with images of children being maimed or being tossed in jail, is fun to stare at) to the bright, colourful, dcor, Huma has an airy, comforting feel. Just make sure to go hungry – the portions are huge. –Steven Sandor

9880 63 Ave., 780-433-9229,

North 53

North 53 is one of those places that has a little something for everyone. Are you a cocktail lover? It has plenty of inventive artisanal cocktails from which to choose. Do you want a little ambiance and delicious food for an early evening date? North has that going for it, too, with a delicately lit modern aesthetic and an ever-evolving menu filled with light snacks, shared portions and delectable mains.  And, even after a late night out, North 53 is there for you when you need that late night snack. It’s open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays – only closing for a short time before brunch lovers start filing in Sunday mornings. –Cory Haller

10240 124 St., 587-524-5353,

Red Ox Inn

The rustic wooden sign hanging outside of this Strathearn restaurant hints at what’s inside – an intimate, charming spot. Chef Sean O’Connor delivers all the flavours and techniques of fine dining with none of the pretension. The menu is small – about five appetizers and five entrees on any given day – and changes frequently, but you know that whether you opt for rack of lamb or duck breast, it will be flawlessly executed and paired with innovative sides and garnishes. –Adrianna Szenthe

9420 91 St., 780-465-5727,

XIX Nineteen

Since it’s tucked away in Terwillegar, many Edmontonians forget about XIX – and they shouldn’t. The service is impeccable and the fusion dishes crafted by chef Andrew Fung are consistently delicious. The double-smoked bacon-wrapped scallops – served with crispy risotto croquettes, tomato-bacon marmalade and roasted cauliflower puree – are the perfect flavour-packed appetizer to start your meal off right. –Adrianna Szenthe

5940 Mullen Way, 780-395-1119,

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