Century Hospitality Group’s Birdog is open, their third restaurant in Edmonton’s core. Planned to complement the downtown food scene, this new upscale restaurant and bar has a cool – and warm - hotel lobby feel and a menu of “global fare”. Occupying Bottega 104’s old location, and with the 880º pizza oven is still in place, pizzas feature prominently, alongside steaks (a 44 oz bone-in Tomahawk with bone marrow!), salads, and share starters. There are cocktails and a curated wine list, and a private dining room for 12 people. 10181 104 Street.
Lebanon meets Italy at Edmonton’s Forno Flatbread Co. This clever new concept is based around man’ousheh – thin, baked flatbreads with crispy edges and your choice of meat, cheese, and veggie toppings. Also on offer are ten delicious 12-inch pizzas, Pick & Roll wraps in fresh pita dough, and a selection of bowls, and dips. 3418 99 Street NW.
Great things are happening after hours at Calgary’s Lina’s Italian Mercato. When the Elbow Drive store closes, there’s new life in the form of Lina’s Cucina – a Friday and Saturday night pop-up by Aussie pasta master, Christopher Hyde. He’s rightly very proud of his handmade pasta - it’s some of the best in the city! There are starters and desserts too, but we advise relishing as many of the superb pasta dishes as you can, you’ll thank us. And there’s more! After store hours on Thursdays, Pizza and Destroy pop up takes over the kitchen, and we were blown away by these deep-dish, Detroit-style pizzas (and we’re usually thin-crust pizza eaters!); there’s a noteworthy pepperoni potato salad too, and local beers.
Take a Hike Market is open in Canmore, the brainchild of Chef Jonathan Duguay and Amanda Winston, who are serving up comfort food meals as well as clever grab-and-go (just defrost and heat the bag in water) campfire-ready meals of brisket, lemon thyme chicken, and grandma’s meatballs, for your mountain adventure or in your cabin. Pick up charcuterie and cheese (try before you buy!) from the market, and grocery items from local chefs and artisans. They cater too in Canmore, Banff, and the Bow Valley. Inside Solara Resort and Spa at 269, 187 Kananaskis Way,
Edmonton’s Smokin’ Barrels has opened Tropical Sweets Café - but it’s not all sweet! This Mexican-Columbian menu includes hot dogs and tamales, arepas and empanadas, fresh-baked filled croissants, as well as sweet and savoury yuca waffles!
10235 124 Street, Unit 100B.
Bluebird Restaurant now offers daily breakfasts and lunch. Banff Hospitality Collection’s newest restaurant opened in September, and now we’ve visited ourselves, we can tell you about it! Built in 1908, the ex-Melissa’s Missteak house has had an extensive refurbishment, and is mountain chalet-chic gorgeous. On two levels, the beautiful 50-foot fireplace takes pride of place. There are two bars and a lounge, and upstairs can be sectioned into smaller private rooms. Montreal chef, Konstantin Chakhnovwhere has created the menu for this ‘wood-fired steakhouse’ overseen by corporate chef Justin Leboe, and steak certainly features prominently with prime rib the centrepiece, but crab and shrimp Louie, lobster bucatini, and wood-grilled arctic char are also calling our name. There’s a good choice of wine and local beer, as well as excellent cocktails, and now a hearty mountain brunch menu. 218 Lynx Street.
Chef Ryan Blackwell is back in Calgary and has opened a new restaurant. Named for the genus of olive trees, Olea is a new concept from the Sensei Bar team, focusing on cuisine from France, Italy, and Spain. With only nine months planning, Frank Architecture have captured the mood, with light wood and tiles, and an open kitchen with a Forno oven. Olea is casual and approachable, with something for everyone – including the kids - on the timeless sharing menu (don’t miss the mushroom baklava). The Neopolitan pizza dough gets a three-day ferment, and the pasta machine for all the housemade pastas was brought over from Italy. Amane Kanai has curated his small wine and cocktail program to complement the menu too, and there’s a west-facing, winterproof patio! 1520 14 Street SW.
Calgary’s Concorde Group is on a winning streak, and we’re sure new Barbarella Bar will be another huge hit. The old Scotiabank on 8 Avenue SW houses this casual, two-storey, ‘Amalfi Coast with a bit of California’ restaurant, totally transformed by Frank Architecture, with floor to ceiling windows that open onto the street and create a light, bright and airy feel; there’s a private dining room for 24 people, the “Living Room” has corner couches for 10 people, and there are three huge red fireplaces. Chef Jeremy Medina and his team have created a menu that everyone will enjoy, with in-house made pasta (the pasta making kitchen seats 11 people!) and pizzas. Brad Royale’s wine list tilts Italian and American, and there are 18 taps of mostly Canadian beer with 6 cocktails on tap too. Happy hour will be busy with 50 percent off the entire drinks list and half price pizzas, and in summer the 100+ seat wraparound patio will be the place to be!
Claudio and May Carnali are no strangers to Calgary’s restaurant scene. We’ve enjoyed Da Paolo, Il Gallo Nero, and Buon Giorno, and now they’ve taken over Bridgeland’s LDV Pizza Bar, where they’re serving traditional Italian fare of truffle pate crostini, Mozzarella Fritte, and Italian fries finished in the oven with rosemary, parmesan, and garlic (yes please!), as well as a handful of pastas and 10 pizzas (try the San Francesco and Crazy Calabrese!). Italian-trained chef, nephew Alessio, has joined the team in the kitchen too. Two 25-seat private rooms are ready for events… 916 1 Ave NE.
Calgary’s Winebar Kensington has a new look. After 14 years as a happy customer, Jerry Troha made an offer, and now has his first restaurant! Original Winebar chef, Phil Turner, is still here changing the menu often – sometimes daily - and making the bread and fresh pasta, preserves and pickles. They take what they do seriously at Winebar but don’t take themselves seriously; it’s unstuffy, and now more modern looking with new brickwork, furniture, décor, and local artwork on the walls.
New additional locations
A third Edmonton location for The Mash! Not content with five craft beer and pizza joints in Calgary and two in Edmonton, Cochrane’s Half Hitch Brewing’s, The Mash, is celebrated for using the spent grain from the brewing process for their pizza dough, and now they’ve added Old Strathcona to their roster, at 10402 82 Avenue. masheats.ca