Discover European cuisine – awaken all senses

European food is one of the ideal destinations for travelers. Not only is there a unique culture, unique architecture, beautiful roads that Europe also has an interesting culinary style. European cuisine has become an attraction for tourists to come here every year. European cuisine is varied, luxurious and different. Compared to traditional meals of Asian countries, meat is served prominently and more importantly.

Beef steak and cutlet meat are especially popular dishes in the West. Western cuisine also focuses on alcohol and sauces such as spices and side dishes. They often use a large piece of meat, marinate with various spices. In particular, Europeans are very fond of products made from milk. Milk, butter, cheese are often tasted during cooking.

A formal European dinner is divided into several stages. Items will be brought in turn, in order. Usually cold, hot and salty, sweet dishes are served separately strictly in order: appetizers or soups, main dishes and desserts. Sweet dishes like cakes and ice cream are served at the end of the meal. Buffet service that diners can freely take food, as much as you like. This type was born from the French.

In history, European cuisine has been developed in royalty and palaces. European aristocrats have a gastronomic style with rural farmers. Tableware items are complex and sophisticated. Each knife, fork and cup is served according to different dishes. The way to eat, communicate on the table is also an art, need to pay attention.

French people are very respectful and also very sophisticated in their eating. At French parties, the most noticeable thing is how to present dishes and items on the table. So the eater must also show his politeness. In the minds of gourmets when they heard the names of Italian chefs, they all complimented them.

From simple ingredients like cereals, flour and other spices and fresh food to create a harmonious whole: keep the natural flavor of the ingredients and still create a unique taste of water Italy. So Italian cuisine always holds the leading position in European cuisine.

Kazoku Ramen

Ever since I had to say goodbye to the love of my life (i.e. gluten), I’ve had to make do with poor substitutes and laughable facsimiles. The gluten free landscape has become more bountiful as of late, but the realm of wheat-free ramen has been fairly disappointing. So, when I learned that Kazoku Ramen, a restaurant close to my new place of employment, offered gluten free noodles, I was desperate to give it a try. Edmonton has been raving about its ramen restaurants for the past year and I’d automatically assumed that my allergy would exclude me from indulging myself–thankfully, I was wrong.

Kazoku is a new restaurant located in Mayfield/Meadowlark in west Edmonton. They’ve been open since October 2015 but I hadn’t heard much about them, other than from Cindy’s review on Let’s Om Nom. Of course, moving to the west end for work gave me ample reason to browse the list of restaurants in the area–thus, my first visit to Kazoku.

The restaurant is cozy but with plenty of table space and featuring an adorable wall painting of a godzilla chewing on a piece of narutomaki. The menu is brief but well-stocked, featuring a handful of traditional Japanese appetizers (think gyoza and edamame), tempura, ramen bowls, curry, and rice bowls. The server was a little quick on the draw, asking us what we wanted less than one minute after handing us the menus, but I assume that’s because lunchtime at Kazoku brings in the hoard of regulars, each one knowing exactly what they’ll have that day. We needed a little longer to decide, finally settling on the gluten-free miso ramen with pork shoulder char siu and the Japanese char siu rice bowl. (Note: the miso ramen is the only soup that’s gluten-free. While they have gluten free noodles, the soup base for most ramen bowls includes soy. Celiacs should also note that the char siu marinade may include trace amounts of gluten, so this restaurant is much more suited to those who are gluten intolerant.) 

Miso ramen noodle bowl

For only $13, you get a huge bowl filled with delicious soup, noodles, delightfully salty meat, and all the fixings: a half soft-boiled egg, shredded nori, bamboo shoots, corn, toasted sesame, green onion, and narutomaki. Kazoku prides themselves on including fresh ingredients in all of their dishes, including hand-picked pork, free range chicken, and locally grown produce–and it shows. The flavours are amazing. My miso ramen, despite having a smaller portion of noodles than normal (thanks, gluten-free), was excellent. I couldn’t help but finish the bowl, even with the possible risk of me falling asleep at my desk afterwards.

Japanese char siu rice bowl

The restaurant does, however, close on Tuesdays–holding inconsistent weekly hours is just one of the things smaller, independent restaurants tend to do. When I showed up there on a Tuesday at lunch, it was entirely my fault for not checking the hours beforehand. That still didn’t keep me from being disappointed that I wouldn’t get an excellent bowl of ramen that day (though I have learned my lesson since then).

In any case, if you’re in the area or feel like making the trek to the west end, I recommend you swing by Kazoku, say hello to the naruto-nibbling godzilla, and sit down to a steaming bowl of delicious ramen.

Kazoku Ramen
16518 100 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5Y 4Y2
(780) 483-0448

3.5/5

Narayanni’s

I can’t say I had ever tried South African food until last night, which, as I quickly discovered, has been a deplorable loss on my part. I’ve been completely missing out.

Narayanni’s, a Whyte Avenue staple since 2010, serves up some of the finest curry I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. While the food is primarily Indian cuisine (as a result of immigration in the late 19th/early 20th centuries), it comes with a delightful South African twist: fewer dairy-based items, roti instead of naan bread, and a subtle European spin on items like the braised kale and cabbage. It’s the kind of cuisine that will leave you feeling content and full–warm and fuzzy–without weighing down your stomach with starches.

The restaurant itself is really hard to miss, once you know where you’re going. Just head one block south of Whyte at 101 Street and you’ll find yourself in front of a bright red door and panel, with a huge sign right above it. Inside, Narayanni’s is homey and comforting, with relaxed ambient lighting and the friendly murmur of other guests filling the spacious room. The buffet stands at the centre, with dishes lined in a circle around a barista used to make their signature hot chai drinks.

They have a neat selection of South African wines by the bottle, giving diners the authentic cuisine experience. We were recommended a bottle of the Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon (2010) by daughter and Front of House manager Youmashni Naidoo; to our delight, it was amazing. Similar to a full bodied malbec but with less powerful tannins, this wine paired beautifully with the spicy curries on the menu. The only danger lies in the wine’s drinkability–we had polished off the bottle before we knew it.

The food–oh, the food–was delightful. It’s strange to enjoy a meal that’s both hearty and filling and yet not feel sluggish afterwards. The majority of Narayanni’s menu is dairy free, many items are gluten free, and vegan options are abundant (they even offer a vegan buffet on Tuesday nights). My favourites were the chicken curry (moderately spicy), the grilled masala chicken (tender and flavourful), and the braised kale and cabbage (surprisingly spicy).

While Narayanni’s has only opened for dinner in the past, Old Strathcona residents and employees can now rejoice in the fact that the restaurant will be open for lunch Tuesday to Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The lunch buffet features four gourmet South African Indian courses: home-cooked soup, salad, chicken curry (local, free-range, hormone/antibiotic-free), and three vegan entrées for only $12 a person. If I worked anywhere near Narayanni’s, I’d make this lunch buffet a weekly routine. For the quality of food you’re getting at that price, you’ve really got no excuse.

One of the things that makes Narayanni’s such a genuinely friendly restaurant is that it’s completely family owned and run. The Naidoo family, also the proprietors of Whyte’s Block 1912, are the brains behind Narayanni’s South African Indian cuisine. In one of my tweets during the visit, I likened the restaurant’s chicken curry to my own mother’s excellent curry–unsurprising, really, since the curry at Narayanni’s was cooked by the mother of the Naidoo family and co-founder of the restaurant, Selva Naidoo. We also finished off the meal with some cinnamon-infused rice pudding, prepared by Narayanni’s dessert master and father, Daya Naidoo, as well as cups of regular chai and pistachio chai.

Along with their new lunch buffet ($12), vegan nights on Tuesdays ($15), and lamb items in the buffet on Saturdays ($25), Narayanni’s is currently also holding a spring special on Wednesday nights, offering the dinner buffet at $15 a person, rather than $20. To be honest, even $20 a person for an all-you-can-eat buffet of this quality is extremely reasonably-priced. You’ll be hard pressed to find the same quality of food at a better price at any other Indian restaurant in the city. At $15 a person, it’s a bargain!

My experience at Narayanni’s was excellent and beyond expectations. The friendly, welcoming atmosphere, the unbelievable food, the clear passion each member of the family has for the business they’ve created–every aspect of this restaurant appealed to me. They’ve made it very easy for me to give a rave review because, quite simply, Narayanni’s is wonderful. And I cannot wait to go back.

Narayanni’s
10131 81 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
(780) 756-7112

5/5

Urban China

Growing up (half) Chinese, I had my fair share of exposure to dim sum over the years. It was always a weekend brunch activity, where myself and my parents, or sometimes a huge portion of my Lee family clan, would head to our favourite dim sum restaurant and satisfy our cravings for bite-sized shrimp and pork dumplings. Siu mai was life.

And yet, never in my life did I have dim sum for dinner until February of this year. In a world where you can get a Tim Horton’s double double at any hour of the day, or go to the gym at 2:00 a.m., it can come as no surprise that dim sum, traditionally served for brunch, is now served all day at a number of restaurants. I’ve never even considered eating it past the early afternoon, but when my friend Dana suggested we grab dim sum for dinner, I was intrigued.

Enter Urban China. I’ve heard great things about their dim sum but have never managed to make it out on the weekend. An evening meal was the perfect time to try out their dumplings.

The restaurant is well taken care of, with white tablecloths, plenty of traditional decorations, and a nice, relaxing atmosphere. It’s a little classier than many of its Chinatown competitors and the price point reflects that–it’s a few dollars more per dish than restaurants like All Happy and Garden Bakery, but the food is made fresh and the service is much more attentive. While I do love the occasional greasy spoon, Urban China is about midway between the bustle and bluntness of All Happy Family Restaurant and higher-end Asian restaurants like East. It honestly just depends on your mood.

And we happened to be in the mood for dinnertime dim sum. Do you know why there are no pictures of siu mai in this post? Because we ate them much too quickly for me to even grab a photo. They’re delicious. Firm, non-greasy, and tasty–a dumpling to write home about. The har gow (which, despite having gluten, never seem to affect me) were little pieces of heaven, wrapped firmly in dough that held together steadily when picked up by chopsticks. The sticky rice was delicious, but could have contained a little more meat for my liking.

One thing about going for dim sum in the evening is that, without the constant train of carts, you select only the items that you know you like. We didn’t waste space on trying out something new; instead, we indulged in multiple orders of our favourites (two pieces of siu mai is never enough for one person).

Overall, I was impressed with the food and the service at Urban China. It’s a little pricier than my usual dim sum haunts, but I’d rather pay a few dollars more for fresh, non-greasy siu mai, since the alternative can be extremely unappetizing (i.e. pre-closure Mirama). I probably wouldn’t go there if I was starving and looking to down a million pieces of har gow, though–those beautiful little dumplings just go down way too easily.

Urban China
10604 101 St NW
Edmonton, AB T5H 2S1
(780) 758-1888

3.5/5

Brunch at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse

If I’m going to be honest with myself, whenever people ask me about my favourite restaurant in Edmonton (which they do a lot, since it comes with the food blogger territory), I always say Pampa. I’m not sure if it’s due to my weakness for savoury red meat or my fondness for dining experiences that allow me to eat myself into a coma. Either way, Pampa is always top of mind when recommending restaurants to my carnivorous friends.

I recently had the pleasure of trying Sunday brunch at Pampa for the very first time. We had gone to the restaurant for the Downtown Dining Week special, which unfortunately wasn’t offered on Sundays, but we ended up staying for brunch instead (which offered a greater meat selection, anyway).

All about that rump

Salad bar offerings

A brunch dining experience at Pampa is almost identical to a dinner service, although at a more reasonable price–$29.95 per person, rather than the usual $49.95 for the full dinner. Brunch runs from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every Sunday, with the regular all-you-can-eat salad bar and five cuts of meat: signature rump steak, top sirloin, chicken drumsticks, pork belly, and pork sausage.

For those of you who have never tasted the delights of Pampa, meal service is run in a Rodizio style–you help yourself to the cold salad bar, sit back down at your table, flip your little card over to green, and wait as gauchos with sizzling meat on rotisserie sticks swing by and offer you a variety of options. They slice the meat from the rotisserie for you right at the table, never giving too much (so that you have room to try everything), but always being generous if you favour a particular cut. It’s indulgent and delightfully salty, thanks to the beautiful rock salt they use to season their meats.

Salad bar offerings

A nice selection of cheese and greens

Salad bar offerings

A great addition to the meat roster was the pork belly. Not for those who don’t like fat on their meat (if those people actually exist), the pork belly was tender, juicy, and covered with a small portion of delicious crackling, adding a nice crunch to the overall texture. These pieces weren’t served on a rotisserie stick but rather on a plate and with a slice of lime.

My favourite, as always, was the rump steak. Ever since they took ribeye off the menu–which was based very much, I’m sure, on the high cost of that cut–rump steak has been my welcome alternative. While the top sirloin is still tasty, it has a tendency to run a bit dry, whereas the rump steak is consistently juicy and flavourful.

Pork belly and lime

Try the ceviche–trust me

Local oils and balsamics from Evoolution

The salad bar offerings are not to be sneezed at, either. My favourites include the whole roasted garlic, sliced pineapple and capicola, a great selection of olives and imported/domestic cheese, and the ceviche (fish marinated in citrus juices). Of course, all of these delicacies are nothing without the accompaniment of a big glass of red wine–thankfully, wine is also 10% off on Sundays and sangria and mimosas are only $7 a glass.

As always, the service was top notch. I’ve never had bad (or even neutral) service at Pampa–each server comes to your table with a wealth of menu and drink knowledge and each Rodizio gaucho is supremely accommodating with their meat. If you’re looking for a particular cut and simply mention it to them, they’ll send it over as soon as possible. It’s perfect–service at Pampa is a well-oiled machine. And, when you’re filled to the brim with meat, you flip over your card to the red side and your server will bring by a visual demo tray of their many desserts (all of which are fantastic, by the way).

Cheesy goodness

If you’re new to the Rodizio experience and aren’t sure if you’ll enjoy it, I strongly recommend trying Pampa for lunch or Sunday brunch so that you get a taste of the experience without paying the full dinner price. The cost of the full dinner is a fairly significant deterrent for many people, so trying the restaurant for lunch or brunch is a good way to dine at Pampa without making the full cost commitment. There’s a parking lot underground that you can reach from the back alley and which offers free parking for restaurant guests (but I believe this is only on weekdays and after 6pm). Personally, I try to get to Pampa at least once every few months for my Rodizio fix. I simply can’t get enough of that rump.

Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse
9929 109 St
Edmonton, AB
780-756-7030
Make reservations online

5/5

BRUNCH AT HOTEL SELKIRK (FORT EDMONTON PARK)

I haven’t been to Fort Edmonton Park since I was just a teenager, which is something that I plan on rectifying this year once the weather gets a little nicer. Taking a step back in time and providing a living history experience is Fort Edmonton Park’s specialty—and nothing beats stopping in at The Midway for a selection of old fashioned sweets and treats.

I was lucky enough to be invited to try winter brunch at the Park recently, a weekly event held every Sunday in Johnson’s Café within Hotel Selkirk. Guests are required to pre-purchase tickets and reserve a place at each Sunday sitting, at which the hotel lays out the full gamut of delicious brunch offerings, from domestic and imported cheeses, to a full-service omelette station, regular brunch items like bacon and eggs, and a pork shoulder carving station complete with mustard, horseradish, and apple gravy sides (although I believe the carving station rotates its meat, since Linda had roast beef when she visited).


The charm and rustic interior of the café adds a unique touch to the brunch experience, with solid wooden tables and the 1920s style of Hotel Selkirk. The quiet and classic environment of Fort Edmonton Park is a nice change from the bustle of our city.

I was pleasantly impressed with the food, particularly the carvery pork shoulder. Among my favourites were the Guinness-braised beef ribs (not entirely gluten free but I couldn’t help myself), the selection of cheeses, and a salmon fillet in a creamy sauce. There were so many delicious things to choose from that I filled my plate the first time around, leaving no room for a custom omelette—on my plate or in my stomach. The next time I visit, I plan on making a beeline to the omelette station at once.




The dessert options were also endless. Fruit, homemade caramel fudge, cakes, mousse—everything looked amazing, with full bowls surrounding the hotel’s main dessert centrepiece: the chocolate fountain. What’s the perfect way to finish off a decadently indulgent brunch? Why, with freshly-made chocolate covered strawberries, of course. Of the dessert offerings, I thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate mousse and the orange rosemary and pernod shooter (I don’t usually like anise, but this was refreshing).

While some brunch buffets really fail to push the boundaries of imagination in their selection, Hotel Selkirk does quite the opposite, offering a little gourmet something for everyone. Chefs were constantly coming out from the kitchen with new platters to replace dishes that were only half empty. The attentiveness to items like the scrambled eggs and the fruit was impressive—everything was kept fresh and well-stocked, never left out long enough to grow even slightly stale.

The price is reasonable for an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet, as well. At $32.95 per person (adults), you get access to a delicious menu within a spacious and comfortable dining area—that’s significantly less costly than brunch at La Ronde, with more room and a fresh, modern selection of food. If you have a special occasion coming up or just fancy an outstanding Sunday brunch, then Hotel Selkirk is the place to be!

Make a Sunday brunch reservation here.

Johnson’s Café, Hotel Selkirk
1920s Street
Fort Edmonton Park
(780) 496-7227 ext. 1


5

Cured Wine Bar

A great charcuterie is a beautiful thing. And its recent popularity, Edmonton’s growing need for meat, cheese, and selected accompaniments, has stemmed additions to menus all across the city. Every aspiring restaurant, pub, and gastropub has a variation of charcuterie on offer—and the sad thing is that many of them are supremely disappointing.

I mean, sure, you can stick a few slices of salami and a chunk of cheddar on an oddly-shaped slab of wood and call it whatever you like, but a great charcuterie—a charcuterie you go 25km out of your way to enjoy—is a work of art.

Cured Wine Bar, a recent addition to south Edmonton’s Ellerslie and Summerside neighbourhood, clearly takes pride in their art. Similar to Ampersand 27 on Whyte Avenue, Cured offers a build-your-own charcuterie and cheese board, with a variety of cured and dried meats, seafood, paté, and imported and domestic cheeses to choose from. Partner that with a selection of shared plates, from simple olives and pickles to clams with double smoked bacon, squash salad, and phyllo-wrapped brie, and you’ve got a well-rounded menu to appeal to even the most pretentious self-proclaimed foodie.

The restaurant also offers an excellent wine list, including two bottles of red priced at $1000 for the big spenders and an enomatic wine system, which allows them to offer small (as tiny as 1oz) tasters of select fine red wines.

I’ve dined at Cured twice now and each time I have been wholly satisfied with their charcuterie. While Ampersand charges per item, Cured lets you choose five meats for a set price and an addition of cheese at $5 an ounce. The “small” board (1-2 people) is $32 and the “large” (approx. 3-4 people) is $46, although you can get all of the meats on one board for $125. Each board automatically comes with accompaniments such as crostinis, condiments, and dried fruit, so you don’t have to pay extra for mustard like you would at Ampersand (thankfully, since Cured’s mustard is unbelievable).

Between my two dining experiences at Cured, I’ve decided that my favourite meats were the spicy soppresata, smoked salmon, and smoked duck prosciutto. I’ve yet to try one of the patés, though, and am dying to give the rabbit and blueberry terrine a taste.

Cheese-wise, you can’t go wrong with favourites such as the smoked gouda, seven-year aged cheddar, and gorgonzola. The highlight of the cheese section, though, was the saganaki. We saw the server walk by with a sizzling, fiery pan of some kind of cheese and knew we had to try that for ourselves. It’s a beautiful addition to any charcuterie and I strongly recommend you give this cheesy Greek delicacy a try.

It should be noted, however, that Cured only takes walk-ins and the dining area is fairly small. We’ve never had any issues going before 6pm or going a bit later in the evening, but it fills up fairly quickly during peak hours, particularly on the weekend. It is a beautiful dining room, though, and the ambience is romantic, slightly bustling, and perfect for any number of occasions, from date night, to work meetings, to drinks with a close friend.

Cured Wine Bar
2307 Ellwood Drive
Edmonton, AB T6X 0A9
(780) 756-3722

5/5

97 Hot Pot (Lunch)

Hot pot. I can never get enough–especially once the cold weather hits (although I’ve never been one to turn down a summer trip to Chili Hot Pot). I usually don’t branch away from my favourites but, when I heard that 97 Hot Pot offered a pared down version of hot pot for lunch, I knew I had to try it out.

One of the most glorious and gluttonous things about hot pot is that generally, you eat your fill. Each hot pot restaurant charges a set price (usually $25-$30) and you indulge in a hedonistic all-you-can-eat extravaganza. Lunch, on the other hand, doesn’t quite give you the food baby you’ve come to expect from a hot pot experience…and that’s probably a good thing.

At 97 Hot Pot, $12.95 gets you your choice of broth, five items from their menu of entrees, and a bowl of mixed vegetables. Definitely not all-you-can-eat, but not exactly Weight Watchers, either.

Sauces

My go-to soup (satay) wasn’t on the menu, so I chose the Szechuan spicy chicken, which was delicious and had the perfect amount of spice–I still like to be able to feel my tongue afterwards. For entrees, I went with the sliced sirloin beef, sliced lamb, winter melon slices, Japanese crab sticks (some of these aren’t on the full menu but they’re on the checklist you’re given), and fish balls. The mixed vegetable bowl came with broccoli, a portion of corn on the cob, squash, sui choy, bok choy, and a handful of enoki mushrooms. And, since going back, I’ve tried the handmade fish mash, which is also very good, although I’d prefer a shrimp mash if it was an option.

Szechuan spicy chicken soup

Overall? I was really impressed. You get a significant amount of food for half the price of regular hot pot and it’ll leave you feeling full and satisfied, but not uncomfortably stuffed, which is perfect if you have to go back to work afterwards (as in my case). The food items aren’t as fresh as Chili Hot Pot, but everything was still extremely tasty and the service was lightning fast. But seriously, how can you go wrong for only $13?

Sliced sirloin beef and sliced lamb
Fish balls and Japanese crab sticks

I’ve been back since and will be going again next week, so I’d say 97 Hot Pot is onto something smart by offering a lunch version. Asian Express Hot Pot is currently also offering lunch, but I haven’t seen anything yet from Urban Shabu or Chili Hot Pot (though the latter might be a little too out of the way for a lunchtime excursion). In any case, I’d recommend this restaurant if you want a quick, tasty hot pot lunch but would defer you to Chili Hot Pot if you want to invest more time in an evening hot pot experience.

97 Hot Pot
10602 92 Street
Edmonton, AB
(587) 521-1888

4/5

Product Review: Bacon-Wrapped Boneless Turducken Roast with Italian Sausage Stuffing

A short while ago, a representative of Echelon Foods reached out to offer me a chance to taste something I’d only heard about in TV shows and through word-of-mouth: a turducken. Not quite the same as Ted’s “turturkeykey” (a turkey stuffed with another turkey) in How I Met Your Mother, a turducken utilizes a similar concept, combining turkey, duck, and chicken meat in one complete and boneless roast.

With Canadian Thanksgiving on the way, I thought it would be a good time to give a turducken a shot. Here are my thoughts.

Product: Bacon Wrapped Turducken Premium Roast, stuffed with Italian Sausage

Cooking Time: Approximately 4 hours

Result: Taking no longer to cook than a roast leg of lamb or a hearty Sunday stew, the turducken goes in fully seasoned and requires only very minor cooking adjustments before pulling it out and letting it rest under tin foil. I was amazed at how easy it was to cook, especially compared to some of my turkey preparations in the past. And oh, the aromas that filled the house while it was in the broiling stage!

Even though it doesn’t seem like a huge roast, it’s easy to see how this turducken could feed ten people. Each sliced was filled with generous helpings of turkey, chicken, duck, and Italian sausage stuffing, all wrapped with layers of perfectly crisp bacon. Two generous pieces are enough to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites, which means plenty of leftovers for the family if you’re only serving up to five people (we were serving three, so you can imagine how much we had left over).

Not wanting to outshine the turducken, and knowing that there was enough protein at our fingertips, we made simple sides for the meal: garlic mashed potatoes and a medley of roasted vegetables. The turducken left plenty of juice in the pan–enough to make a gravy or simply drizzle over the meat itself.

As for taste, I was impressed. While many people overcook turkey, leaving it dry and tasteless, the turducken was moist and flavourful. Each bite revealed a different kind of meat, which added to the variety of the meal and was, to be honest, completely delicious.

Based on the ease with which the turducken could be cooked, cut, and served, as well as the delicious meal that resulted from it, I would strongly recommend this product to any family looking to serve a big meal around the holidays.

You can purchase a turducken from Costco or learn more about it on the Echelon Foods website. Enjoy your holiday dinners this season and be sure to comment below if you decide to try a turducken for the first time!

Buco Pizzeria + Vino

A great pizza is a wonderful thing. With Neapolitan style on the rise (think Famoso and Rosso), it’s only natural for more pizza places to pop up throughout the city with their own attempts at a traditional Italian pizza.

Buco is St. Albert’s iteration of this trend. A branch of the Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group, Buco held its grand opening on July 26th, where they invited media guests and bloggers to enjoy a variety of appetizers and pizza, and to watch the owners as they cut the ribbon and officially declared the restaurant open.

I’ve been back once since the grand opening–I wanted to make sure I’d tried enough to give a trustworthy review, since they didn’t serve gluten free pizza at the event–and I can say in full sincerity that I’ll be back. Often.

The restaurant itself is a stylish and boutique little pizzeria located at The Shops at Boudreau in St. Albert. Ceiling-to-floor glass covers half of the restaurant, which is filled with a mix of modern furniture and traditional elements (olives, olive oil, and more). There’s a small, heated patio that’s great for a summer drink and bite to eat.

Food-wise, they’re excellent. The charcuterie is amazing (that cacciatore!), the caprese salad offers just the right amount of flavour with a beautiful dash of pesto, and the gluten free pizza (while a bit tough to cut) was delicious and covered in high quality toppings. Nothing has passed my lips at Buco that didn’t delight me–from prosecco to the warm spiced olives.

Drink-wise, they’re even better. I’ve often lamented the lack of restaurants that featured a BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine) special in Edmonton. Montreal spoiled me for them, since they were everywhere. I was very excited to see that Buco offers this special on Mondays–a perfect reason to grab some friends, enjoy some amazing food, and drink your favourite wine at cost. Buco also has $5 2oz cocktails every Wednesday; I’m dying to check out their version of the Negroni.

I’d easily situate Buco as better than Famoso and on par with Rosso. The fact that they offer much more than pizza is a great selling point, but it’s also in the fact that their execution is so well done. It’s not kitschy and it’s not cheesy. It’s a classy pizzeria that offers exactly what you’re looking for if you’re a fan of pizza a la Naples. Good job, Buco. See you next Monday.

Buco Pizzeria
The Shops at Boudreau
St. Albert, AB
(780) 569-2826

4/5