Current Overall Favorites

La Shish Taouk – Shawarma Perfected

10352 Whyte Ave NW, Edmonton (780) 452-1333 http://www.lashish.ca I have been frequenting the ...

Tres Carnales – Finally, Quality Mexican Food in Edmonton

10119 100A Street (780) 429-0911 http://trescarnales.com/ At work several weeks ago we ...

Tzin – Something Big Somewhere Small

10115 104 Street (780) 428-8946 www.tzin.ca  My wife’s birthday was the excuse ...

Latest News

Poll Results: Where To Eat.

The results are in and Corso 32 is the winner, only barely beating out Pampas. Thanks for voting and I will try my hardest to get there and review Corso 32 soon. Keep checking back for the latest reviews.

The results were:

  1. Corso 32 (30%)
  2. Pampas (25%)
  3. Naanolicious (20%)
  4. Sabor Davino (10%)
  5. Sage, Bua Thai, and Taste of Ukraine (5% each)

Vicky’s Bistro & Wine Bar – Disappointing

501 Festival Ave #100  Sherwood Park
(780) 417-1750

My first time at Vicky’s was a couple of years ago at their old Wye road location. So when I was invited to join some friends and family at their new location I couldn’t miss the opportunity. All day I was excited to try their home cooked style food that Greek restaurants are known for. When we arrived we were very impressed with the amazing new location. The location was connected to Festival place and therefore shared a bathroom. Festival place just received a major face lift and adding Vicky’s to their business list was in all likelihood a major achievement for them. The new Vicky’s was a rich looking interior with a few separate dining area’s and amazing wine racks and stone walls separating the restaurant to allow it to keep that small space feel.

We heard that their portions were huge. No problem, I figured I would have some left overs for the next day. The group ordered their drinks, I got a pint of Grolsch, and we ordered our food. Our waitress was a bit clumsy as if she was new to the job. She spilled water all over the table and didn’t bother coming back to wipe it up. A little later in our meal, one of our friends was looking for a specific drink. The waitress said she wasn’t sure but would ask the bartender. I figured that was the best solution, but before she walked away she decided to tell him to look in the drink menu. Before he could explain that he did and it wasn’t in there, she bolted away and did not come back. He sat there for over 30 minutes without a drink. We decided that was the end of our night at Vicky’s.

The food is a whole other story. I ordered the full rack of lamb for $38, another guest ordered a 1/2 rack for $21. At $38 for my plate I was expecting a large meal. In comparison Katouki on Calgary Trail offers a Mesa platter for slightly more (last time I was there I think it was about $44). This is enough food for 4 people but is typically shared by two. I am a big eater and have never been able to finish it with two people. When our food arrived there was a horribly prepared rack of lamb. The fat was not rendered which left the lamb chewy. They pre-cut the rack but I assume they did so with a spoon since the meat was squeezed of all its juices and the pieces ranged from 1/4 cm in thickness to nearly 2 inches. The entire rack of lamb was about 5-6″, the half rack was about 1″ shorter. Both the full and half rack portions came with 1/2 a small potato, one small strip of red pepper, one piece of asparagus, and two thinly sliced carrot coins. The extra $17 I was paying compared to the half rack literally translated into two small bites more. If I would have known that, I would have ordered two half racks for the extra $3 and got a decent size meal. On the other hand, the salmon was very good, as was their souvlaki. The greek salad was probably the best I’ve eaten, but I was there for meat – not salad. After the meal I was still hungry.

Being horribly disappointed in the food, we decided to skip desert. I don’t think it would have mattered since one of our guests were still without a drink. We decided to get the bill. That was when we realized the Grolsch beer was $8.75/pint. That is more than a beer at Rexall. That is probably the most expensive amount I’ve ever paid for a commonly found beer.

This place is significantly over-priced for what they offer. Their quality is lacking in every aspect. The service wasn’t the worst I’ve seen, but it definitely wasn’t good. While the interior design may have improved drastically from their first location, everything else is an embarrassment to a restaurant that was one of the best Sherwood Park had to offer. It is highly unlikely that I will be back anytime soon. If I want Greek, I will drive further and go to Katouki or one of the many other quality and consistent places Edmonton has to offer.

Vicky�s Bistro & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Mercer Tavern – Great Place in a Bad Location

10363 104 St NW
(587) 521-1911
http://www.mercertavern.com

We arrived here after a night of drinking and pub hopping. We were full and just wanted to stop in to see it before ending our night. When we arrived the place was packed. We found a seat at the very back against one of the windows. The area we were in felt like it was a neglected spot in the overall design. The overall design was actually very nice. They really maintained a lot of the rustic feel of the warehouse. Really the only bad thing I can say about this building is that the area is very sketchy. Within a block of the place we witnessed two presumably homeless guys fighting over a bottle of booze and were asked for money by two people who told us off when we turned them down. Although I never give out money, not carrying any makes it much easier.

We had our pints which are deceivingly priced. While a pint of a great beer like Erdinger Dunkel would cost $7-8 in most pubs, here it was $5. It wasn’t until the much smaller glass arrived that I realized why  it was cheaper. I checked the menu and it does say it, but when every other pub that serves that – and most beers – in a 20oz glass, I think it is a unnecessary trick to make people pay more. I understand that they put the glass size in their menu which is great and most people will not make that same mistake again. But when you do the math, that $5 glass of beer is actually slightly more expensive than the $8/glass if you drink the same volume. I’m sure they would brush it off with “you should have read the menu”, and most of the time I would agree. I just think that if you are going to offer smaller sizes, than make the prices smaller as well – otherwise you are taking advantage of your inebriated customers. You know, the ones who make up the majority of your customers.

The night we were there, there was a live DJ. They did manage to keep the volume at a reasonable level which was actually a great thing after being deafened several times by the screeching piano player at OverTime (Sherwood Park). I did find the mass amount of cables running across the floor and the way the DJ table was literally a massive bottleneck in the place to be a concern. But it’s still a relatively new pub so I imagine these kinks will be worked out in time.

We weren’t able to get a very good taste of the place since we came and went in a short time, but we liked it and think there is a lot of potential for this place to be a great place to party. We will be back and can hopefully add a star or two to this review, the potential is definitely there. Apparently they have good food as well, can’t wait to try it.

Mercer Tavern on Urbanspoon

Kelly Pub (104 ST) – Great as Long as it isn’t Lunch

10156 104 St NW
(780) 451-8825
http://www.kellyspubedmonton.com

Every so often my wife and I like to wander around the pubs of Edmonton and try new ones or visit our older favorites. Kelly pub used to be near the Druid and we visited this place one night with some friends and had an amazing time. We went back a week later and the place was closed down. Finally after a long wait it is again open on 104th Street about half a block north of Jasper Ave. The night we visited it was packed. Our waitress was running around looking almost confused, but she was quick. We grabbed the only remaining table near the door, but the draft was a bit much so we grabbed the first table we seen that opened up. This place looked like an Irish pub meets a sports pub. There were old sporting relics and the traditional Irish design all blended into one.

We ordered some beers and some of the pulled pork poutine which the waitress said was her favorite thing on the menu. We were not disappointed. The food was served in a metal pail and was perfectly cooked. The pulled pork was slightly on the sweet side, which is exactly how my wife likes it. I, on the other hand, prefer deeper smoky flavors, but I wasn’t complaining – it was actually very good.

This was nearing the end of our night and we were in the midst of deciding to just finish the night off by staying here or moving on to our last planned pub. Then out of nowhere a couple of guys came in and sat at the table next to us making our decision set in stone. We were moving on. One of these guys smelled as if he was bathing directly in cumin, or for the non-chef’s out there, he wreaked of horrible body odor. This was like nothing I’ve smelled before. People started looking around with disgusted looks on their faces. Our waitress being one of them. Finally when our bill arrived she asked us if we smelled that. We unfortunately did.

I found this place to be exactly what you would expect from a quality Irish pub. Great food, an amazing beer selection, and a very high energy atmosphere. A perfect place to catch the Oilers game.

Then being so impressed by this place I took a co-worker here for lunch the very next day. We went early to avoid the rush and arrived at about 11:45am. The place was mostly empty except for two tables with one guy at each. Our waitress was slow and very cold. She made us feel like we were bothering her every time she spoke to us. We both ordered the club sandwich and were both disappointed. The bun that sandwich was on was overdone to the point of being dried completely. It was the type of bun that one bite would result in the bun shattering into a hundred pieces, each one destroying your gums as you chew. The fries seemed stale or re-fried since they were hard as a rock and in no way resembled the fries I had the night before in the poutine. It almost seemed like they had their “B” team working for lunch that day.

I will definitely be back, but probably not for lunch.

Kelly�s Pub on Urbanspoon

Cask & Barrel – Great Spot for a Drink


10041 104 St
Edmonton, AB

I originally visited this pub in the summer and made my way back here about a week ago. As you walk in, the first thing you notice is the unbelievable wood work. It is very rustic but blends in well. As a wood worker myself, this gave me plenty of great ideas for around my house. There is a nice couch style seating area that contrasts nicely with the rustic feel. The couch area provides an excellent and cozy location to sit and drink for hours with friends. They even have a small, but rare in Edmonton, patio for those warmer summer days.

As is usual in Edmonton, we entered through a cloud of smoke from the smokers standing at the door rather than the 5 meters required by law. I can’t blame the business for some douchebag customers though, so I digress.

We found the last seat which happened to be squished tightly between a small wind blocking wall and a horribly located ATM. Our waitress was quick and even let us know about the drink deals. We had a few pints and decided to get a small plate of their Mexican style chicken nachos. The nachos were amazing, but like most quality nachos the sauce ran out long before the nachos did. The beers were cold, what more could we want?

After a few pints and before moving on we decided to use the bathroom. The bathroom was down what appeared to be a long shared hallway with other businesses. The bathroom itself was filthy, it smelled, and it was not stocked. Fortunately I am a guy. I only hoped my wife was more lucky than me.

This place is a great spot for a drink. They have a couple of items on their menu that are well done, but the majority of the menu is extremely weak with items like “panini’s”. I understand food is not their primary source of revenue, but don’t just start putting crap on your menu to appease the many tastes. Keep the menu smaller with only the truly quality items and you will have a lot more happy customers. I will definitely be back here for a drink, the bathroom quality will dictate if I stay. I will eat at the place I go to after or before visiting this place.

Cask & Barrel on Urbanspoon

Wendy’s Location Boycott (198 Ordze Ave, Sherwood Park)


198 Ordze Ave  (Sherwood Park)
Strathcona County,AB T8B1M6
(780) 467-3924
Every so often we come across that one place that does something so horrible and so disgusting that we vow to never return. Unfortunately, there are people like myself who get lazy or forgetful and return – not realizing our mistake until it happens again. Well I found one of these places and despite not typically writing about the big chain fast food places, I decided this one was well worth it. In fact, I find this a perfect way to begin my “Boycott” category
Like most big chain fast food establishments I eat here when I am lacking time, or when I decide to pull a long night playing video games. Occasionally it is used as my own personal cure for the hang-over. With that, I am realistic and expect to get stale fries from time to time. I expect to get a dried burger patty, or bun, or both from time to time. I even expect to get a completely wrong order from time to time. I’m realistic that I am getting what I pay for, and at these places I am not paying a lot.
So my story begins about 5 months ago. While at the drive-thru ordering my usual – spicy chicken combo biggie sized with coke and a junior bacon cheeseburger – I was given some seriously stale fries. Fortunately, I always check the bag to make sure it is all there and always taste a french fry because stale fries are disgusting. I knocked on the window unsuccessfully for a few minutes. Finally on the third attempt I got the drive-thru ladies attention. I explained my fries were stale and asked if I could have some fresh ones. She told me they were fresh as if I was stupid enough to believe it. Just to make her as certain as I was I handed her a few fries from the top of the container. She walked away without saying anything. A couple minutes went by and an asian fellow, who I assume was the manager, came to the window and asked me what the problem was. I explained my fries were stale and I wanted some fresh ones. He explained that the lady told him they were freshly fried. So I handed him the container and told him to check for himself. He did reaching in and grabbed a few fries.
At this point a simple fix of making me some fresh fries is now a trial on whether these fries are in fact stale. The verdict came back and the manager agreed to re-make them. He asked me to pull around to the side and he would bring them out. He turned around and put them on the counter beside the heating area for fries. I thought that was a little odd so when I pulled around front I parked where I could see that container of fries. I waited five minutes and didn’t look away, sure enough he grabs that container of fries and puts it in a bag and brings it out. I stop him and explain what I seen. Of course he denies it completely. I grab a fry and sure enough it is now icy cold. I ask him if this is how fresh fries feel. Busted he tries blaming the fryer claiming it must be broken. He grabs the fries and rushes in telling me to wait.
Two minutes later he comes back out with burning hot fries. Unfortunately they were clearly double fried. Meaning he through my already stale fries back in the fryer for a couple of minutes to heat them up. At that point I decided I would cut my losses and just never come back.
Skip ahead 5 months and I forgot my earlier boycott at this place. In fact I was here a few times before I remembered. I finally remembered when I was checking my fries before leaving the drive-thru and found them to be stale. The moment I felt stale fries it clicked. I thought “oh crap, I boycotted this place”. I asked the lady at the window for some fresh fries and once again she argued that they were. Once again a manager came to the window. Once again they made me pull around to the side while I waited. This time the fries came out hot, but like the first time it was because they were double fried. For those who don’t know how to tell, it is really simple – the outside is overly crispy and the inside is almost completely hollow. You can usually shatter double fried fries rather than just breaking them.  I didn’t want to argue so I asked for my money back. I know it was only a couple bucks, but better than dealing with this again. My boycott was re-established and hopefully this blog will help me remember.
On that note, I would love to hear about your own personal boycotts. Send me a message or comment on this blog and let me know.
Wendy's (Ordze Ave) on Urbanspoon

Pub 1905 – A Good Dive Bar


10525 Jasper Ave NW

While living downtown this place became our neighbourhood watering hole. Years later and living half the city away we still frequent this place.

The food is, and always has been, mediocre. The decor is nothing to brag about. The bathrooms are hardly the cleanest in the city. So why do we like this place? Because it is the least pretentious place in a downtown loaded with pretentious places. It is that nice place to grab a beer before a hockey game and still be close enough to the LRT without having to sit in stabby-ville (aka 118th Ave). If you aren’t going to the game they always have it playing on one of their many TV’s. No sports on that you like, well there is always pool.

The seats are comfortable, the beer is cold, and the food is edible. It is a place you can go into wearing a suit or joggers and no one will bat an eye.

The service, like the food, is mediocre. I don’t mind mediocre. In fact I prefer it during those times I want to go grab a pint and watch the game. Nothing like an over-attentive waiter constantly bothering you while you are trying to catch some hockey.

This place will be a hang-out for me for some time to come.

Pub 1905 on Urbanspoon

DeLux – Mmmmm Burgers


9682 142 St NW
Edmonton, AB
http://www.centuryhospitality.com

Like most guys I am crazy about a good burger, so my wife introduced me to Delux. This isn’t your typical burger joint. In fact it is more gourmet dining than a soda shop atmosphere. We went to the location on 142nd ST for our first time. This place is small but very nicely laid out. We went early and it was a good thing because by noon it was packed to capacity with people waiting.

I ordered a beer and a Kobe beef burger. My wife went with a veggie burger (what was she thinking?). We decided to split a half/half order of fries and sweet potato fries. My burger was extremely juicy and very thick. It took me a handful of napkins before I made it through the thing. My wife claims the veggie burger was the best she’s ever had – whatever that means. Our fries were also home made and perfectly cooked.

Since that day we’ve been back about a dozen times, each time equally as impressive as the last. The servers are quick and attentive and the beer is icy cold.

This place is a regular spot for me and where I schedule as many business lunches as possible. If you love burgers than you haven’t tried a good burger in Edmonton until you’ve tried this place.

Delux Burger Bar (142 St) on Urbanspoon

MRKT. Not to be confused with MKT.


10542 Jasper Ave
http://mrktcafeteria.com/

We discovered this place about a year ago as we sat across the street in one of our favorite dive bars, Pub 1905, having a beer. We decided to go over and see what it was.

As we entered we immediately loved the interior design, a good mix of modern and retro with the wood in subway style. The place was dimly lit, which I think all restaurants and lounges should be and even though the place was fairly empty with only one other couple in there, it still had a nice feel to it. We ordered ourselves a nice bottle of wine and spent the next hour or so enjoying this place. We enjoyed it so much that we felt a return trip for dinner was necessary – since we already ate that evening.

A week later my wife and I went downtown specifically to eat here. Fortunately for us it was lamb chops being features. We ordered some bacon mussels to start. A flavor combination that I thought was impossible to fail, somehow they managed to make it fail. The bacon was smokey and over powering. In fact it was the only flavor in the dish. Normally for me this would be great to have nothing but bacon flavor, but in this case it was simply too much. We decided to share the lamb chops since we planned on going out afterwards and didn’t want to fill up without leaving room for drinks. The lamb chops came out on top of a couscous salad. The couscous salad was excellent and we have since recreated it at home. The lamb however was three pieces of the ugliest lamb chops imaginable. These are the type of chops that Gordon Ramsey would call you a donkey if you tried to serve them. Unevenly cut and mostly gristle. On each chop we were lucky to salvage a single tiny bite.

Up until that point our service was excellent, however once the lamb chops were dropped off our waitress disappeared. We reluctantly finished our meal while we waited for our waitress to come back. About 20 minutes after we finished she came back. She cleared our plates and asked if we wanted desert. We did. She explained she would be right back with the desert menu and that was the last we seen of her. 30 minutes later, no desert menu, and only 8pm in the evening and still no sign. Our wine is empty at this point, forget the fact that the bottle we received was full of cork from someone unable to properly open the bottle. We waited a total of 45 minutes, 15 minutes after our wine was done, before we seen someone. It wasn’t our waitress, it was the also invisible bartender. I ran over and asked her for our bill, she went and got our waitress from whatever hole she fell in.

Our lamb chops were $24.95 and our Mussels were about $16. Neither were worth it.

After paying our bill and stupidly leaving a small, but still undeserved tip, we left and decided that would be our last stop at this place. Too bad, I thought it really showed potential. Maybe some day when we’ve been to every other place downtown we might give them another chance. On the plus side, it appears that the owner went back to her specialty of soups and deli, at least according to other reviews. Maybe that is the change they needed.

Mrkt on Urbanspoon

MKT Fresh Food and Beer Market – Options, Options, Options


8101-8135 Gateway Blvd
780-439-2337
http://www.centuryhospitality.com/mkt.php

Finally, a place on Whyte Avenue with a great beer selection.

I got to try this place out several times before writing this review, so I think I have a well rounded impression of what this place has to offer currently. The positives are obvious immediately upon walking in where you see the amazing interior of this great building. The beer keg wall lets you know that beer is what this place is all about, the rotisserie chickens just make you hungry. There is an oyster bar which seemed “unused” the night we were there. The beer and food menus are both massive, the food menu is well thought out with a great variety that is sure to please every appetite. The beer menu is decently laid out, but I have seen better organization on large beer menu’s in other similar sized lounges. Every meal we ate here the three times we visited was cooked perfect and I would not hesitate to say the burger is a top5 in the city – but from the company that owns Delux I didn’t expect anything less.

The negatives of this place are without a doubt the service. Very unfortunate because they are taking orders correctly, which is a large part of service. There was a unique problem every night we were there. Night 1 we had about 8 servers in a little over an hour and even then we sat without drinks for more than 30 minutes 2 times. The second and third times we had very grumpy servers who only smiled as we paid our bill. These ladies were very cold and basically rude with how they brushed us off. It got to the point where if I would ask for another beer, they would take off before the other people at our table had a chance to order one. Our last time there was on the patio and the second waitress we had was very good and very friendly. It sounded scripted, but who cares as long as she is attentive and polite instead of the opposite.

The one issue that really bothered me was that we were there from 5pm, happy hour was 3pm-6pm and we asked if there were any deals and she said it was cheap pints after 7pm since it was a Thursday. When we left a little after 8pm we noticed that no happy hour prices were on the drinks prior to 6pm, and no “Tap That” prices were on the drinks we ordered after 7pm. We mentioned it to our waitress and she said there must have been a mistake with the system, but did not offer to correct it. By that point we were a little intoxicated so we figured we misunderstood the deal due to that and left. It wasn’t until the next morning that we realized we should have been charged much less.

Overall I think this place definitely has the potential to get higher ratings on all blogs and reviews, but they need to spend more time training their wait staff and finding a way to make them at least appear happy. I also think their prices for beers are extremely high. Food prices are decent, but for a beer that I can get at my local pub for $5.50 a pint, it is being sold for $8.75 at MKT. I understand that building and the reno’s must have cost a lot, but those prices are high. On the positive side of that, it does keep the younger university crowd relatively low for a Whyte Ave pub.

I will definitely be back, if only for a meal before finding a more affordable and friendly place to drink. The food alone is worth it.

MKT Fresh Food & Beer Market on Urbanspoon