Though it offers more than 100 types of wheaty, malty, and hoppy beers from around the globe, The Pourhouse Bier Bistro prides itself on more than just libations. Its chefs shun deep-fat fryers in favour of fresh, seasonal ingredients purchased from local growers and producers, elevating their traditional pub-grub recipes. In addition to flatbreads, sandwiches, and burgers served with sides such as honey-cumin slaw or sweet-potato mash, the eatery is known for its beer-boiled Coney Island dogs. Graham Hicks of the Edmonton Sun enjoyed the reuben dog's "homemade mustard-based sauce, beautiful onions," and "real bacon chunks slathered on top of a first-class jumbo hot dog," as well as the pub's community atmosphere.
Exposed-brick accents and a fireplace create a warm, welcoming vibe where family and friends gather, embodying what Hicks says "pubs are meant to be." Illuminated triangular and rectangular cutouts on the wall give the cozy space a retro '60s feel, and candle-like chandeliers add a touch of elegance. On warmer evenings, guests can sit on the south-facing patio to people-watch or high-five the pedestrians as they stroll down Whyte Avenue.
Determined to unearth the perfect recipe for pita bread, Sara Larsen made the arduous journey from Edmonton to her home village in Israel, where she spent days exploring the shops and sites of her childhood, tasting traditional cuisine and studying cooking methods. Sara returned to her bakery in Edmonton armed with two specialty electric pots, which she used to bake warm, fluffy pita breads, piece by piece. As the demand for Sara's authentic breads and dips grew, she moved out of her home kitchen and into her own shop, complete with a specialty pita oven and a 1,600-square-foot kitchen.
There, Sara bakes up the dozens of multigrain, whole-wheat, and fresh spinach pitas lauded by the Edmonton Journal. To craft her specialty dips, she peels garlic by hand, chops fresh dill, and grills eggplant on a smoky barbecue. Her corn and potato breads are completely free of gluten and foreboding fortune-cookie slips. She peddles her products throughout town, from specialty grocery stores to local farmers markets.
Continental Treat Fine Bistro's executive chef Elizabeth Palmowski changes her menu of European cuisine on a daily basis, incorporating seasonal ingredients from local markets whenever possible. She helms a diverse kitchen staff, which includes sous chefs from Hungary, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic who help bring her creations to life as well as craft hearty stews and seared meats that hail from their Central and Eastern European hometowns. Palmowski and her team can also accommodate dietary restrictions, offering entire menus of vegetarian and gluten-free meals.
Candlelight and live jazz bands help keep the mood elegant at dinnertime as guests sip Old and New World wines or one of many Trappist beers. To familiarize guests with its massive list of beverages, the restaurant hosts informational wine and beer nights, allowing partcipants to sample libations from around the world, expand their palates, and learn how to sophisticatedly perform the perfect spit-take.
At Cha Island Tea Co., it's not unusual to see short-sleeved musicians strumming acoustic guitars amid bongos and palm trees. Though this scene might seem out of place in the middle of an Edmonton winter, it's all part of the shop's year-round tropical atmosphere. Baristas keep shelves stocked with more than 100 loose-leaf and herbal teas, which they serve in bulk or by the press pot alongside french press coffee. They also pour local and international craft beers, which pair with a range of freshly assembled panini, soups, and sweet waffles topped with chocolate, bananas, or ginger. The small corner stage welcomes local and out-of-town acts ranging from hip-hop DJs to folk and Caribbean musicians.
A menu that mimics the front page of a newspaper addresses one meaning of The Free Press Bistro?s name. The sound of oil crackling on golden ciabatta crusts attests to the second meaning as cooks close hot presses on sandwiches. The warm pockets of bread cradle toppings such as time-tested pesto, bacon, smoked salmon, and capicollo as well as more adventurous strips of mongolian spiced beef, hoisin sauce, lamb souvlaki, and dill-and-lemon aioli. In lakes of dill and cream or carbonara sauce with bacon, forks tangle in pasta as though they were breaking up fights between strings of holiday lights.
White linens, floral-printed chairs, and brick floors set the scene for romantic meals at The Creperie. Wine bottles nestled in wall racks surround guests in the front dining room, symbolizing their selection of vintages selected to complement the country French specialties and signature crepes. The super-thin pastries sport a variety of toppings, including asparagus and brie for vegetarians, brandy-flamed shrimp and spicy tomato sauce for seafood lovers, or even vanilla ice cream and warm raspberries for sweet teeth threatening to walk out.