Is Edmonton Canada’s next big food city? City takes 3 of top 10 new restaurants in Air Canada list

I was in Edmonton earlier this year and wrote about the great food scene for the Postmedia chain of newspapers. In case you missed it, I was raving about great food and drinks at places like Bar Clementine, Baijiu, Rge Rd and Rostizado.

The headline on the story? “Why your next foodie trip should be Edmonton.”

That was back on June 20. Here we are four months later and the folks at Air Canada seem to agree. The 2017 Air Canada listing of the top new restaurants in Canada names three Edmonton places: Bar Clementine fifth, Café Linnea in sixth and Alder Room 10th.

Toronto had two restaurants on the list, while Quebec City had one (Battuto, which came first). Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Ottawa each had one restaurant on the list, as well.

A nice dish served up at Clementine in Edmonton. – PHOTO COURTESY EN ROUTE AND AIR CANADA

“Edmonton felt like a different city than the one I’d visited on my four previous tours, and the new hockey arena is a game-changer,” noted author Andrew Braithwaite, who dined at 30 restaurants coast to coast for the study. “The cocktail scene has always been strong, and there’s clearly a passion for creating art on the plate, too.”

I agree. The new Rogers Place has made a huge difference in the feel of downtown Edmonton, with a good number of lively shops and restaurants on 104th St. Northwest. I had good food a years ago (especially at Tres Carnales, one of the best Mexican restaurants in Canada), but now it’s gotten crazy good. I didn’t get a chance to try it, but I hear good things about One Poke Co. on 104th, which specializes in Hawaiian-style marinated fish.

Rostizado is a wonderful restaurant in Edmonton. – JIM BYERS PHOTO

Here’s what Braithwaite had to say about the three Edmonton spots:

CLEMENTINE – The trio known as Volstead Act present a not-quite-French bistro-on-the-Prairies full of pleasing twists and turns. Case in point: The duck breast comes with oven-crisped leeks and shiitakes, in a duck broth unexpectedly spiked with Korean gochujang.

CAFE LINNEA – Experience an almost magical way with eggs by day. By night, sip a smoky dry cider from Brittany and cut into an impeccably seared pork chop partnered with creamed stinging nettles. Yogurt pannacotta spritzed with St-Germain is a choice closer, noon or night.

ALDER ROOM – Begin your evening snacking on quail eggs rolled in vegetable ash, marvel at more than a dozen inventive courses from the brick hearth and don’t miss outlandish house-made juices like Anjou pear, horseradish and black trumpet mushroom – the result of tireless experimentation at the juicing hands of chef Ben Staley.

Mighty inventive. And very impressive.

Here’s the overall list for the fifth annual Air Canada best new restaurants awards:

1. Battuto, Quebec City
2. Canis, Toronto
3. Bar Von Der Fels, Calgary
4. Mak N Ming, Vancouver
5. Clementine, Edmonton
6. Café Linnea, Edmonton
7. Riviera, Ottawa
8. Brothers Food and Wine, Toronto
9. Marconi, Montreal
10. Alder Room, Edmonton

Readers can see the full story and find out more about the winners in the November issue of Air Canada enRoute magazine, the pull-out Dining Guide in the November issue and online at CanadasBestNewRestaurants.com.

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