Fresh air, fabulous friends, Bring Your Own Wine, and foie gras = not a complaint in the world. I’m a BYOB convert, plain and simple. Not that I’d ever need much convincing of BYOB’s greatness, but there you go. Edmonton is woefully lackingRead More
Istanbul Restaurant is somewhat of an anomaly. Located on the north end of 82nd Street between an Instaloans and a cigar shop, the restaurant isn’t exactly occupying prime foodie real estate.
The subtle location gives Istanbul Restaurant even more charm, though, affording it a ‘hidden gem’ status that Edmonton’s food-loving population so love to discover.
And yes, it truly is a hidden gem.
The first thing I noticed about Istanbul Restaurant was the décor – distinctly Middle Eastern, but with an abundance of Evil Eye talismans. Known as a nazar, the round blue amulets are traditionally used as protection against the Evil Eye…eerily unsettling, because the talisman itself looks like an eye. I first came across these decorations at a pub in the UK (called Evil Eye, no less), even though the pub itself primarily served south-east Asian cuisine.
Aside from the relief borne from the knowledge that you aren’t going to die a dreadful death by evil stares, the rest of the décor is lovely, with bold red elements and shiny, coppery ornaments.
As for food, Istanbul serves a variety of Middle Eastern specialities, including hummus, shish kebobs, kofte, and barbecued Turkish-style lamb chops. However, if you’re dating/dining out with someone who’s not-so-adventurous or picky about their food, the restaurant also offers some Westernized dishes, including pepper steak and Pacha-getti (spaghetti with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese).
I started my meal with a glass of Jackson Triggs Cabernet Merlot and the P.I. Mussels, which were rich, tasty, and so spicy that I broke a sweat. For $12, they sure do load you up! Taken out of their shells, the mussels are cooked in a rich, spice-filled sauce that offers just enough creaminess and plenty of herbs and vegetables. To be honest, I probably could’ve gotten this appetizer as my main course and been full. The mussels themselves, along with the side of pita bread, were plenty. I’d recommend them, but only if you like spicy food (and seafood, of course).
For my main, I had the Adana Beef Kebob, made from spiced ground beef and lamb and served with bulgur, salad, hummus, and fresh baked pita bread. The beef was spicy and tender, the pita bread fresh and warm, and the rice packed with plenty of heat. My fellow diners tried the Adana Chicken Kebob and the Pan Fried Sole, both of which were full of flavour and spiced to perfection.
The service was wonderful, with plenty of water refills to soothe our seared mouths. Entree prices range from $15 to $30, depending on whether you’re in the mood for spaghetti or rack of lamb. For two people without drinks and with appetizers, the bill will come to approximately $60, which is very reasonable for a taste of true Turkish cuisine.
I’m a huge fan of spicy food, so I’ll be sure to return to Istanbul Restaurant. I appreciate the fact that they’re so generous with their spices – the restaurant stays true to Turkish cuisine and doesn’t seek to temper the heat of the food or change it to suit a blander palate. If you can’t stand the heat, don’t bother with this place. If, however, you’re like me and crave the food of other continents, exotic spices, and something slightly out-of-the-ordinary, get yourself to Istanbul Restaurant post haste. Şerefe!
12918 82 Street
Edmonton, AB T5E 2T2
Mon to Sat: 11am to 10pm
Be sure to stop by for belly-dancing Saturdays!
The Century Hospitality Group is Edmonton’s boutique, casual fine dining restaurant generator. With restaurants such as MKT, Lux, Hundred Bar and Kitchen, and the Century Grill under their belt, it’s clear that their vision is to expand the contemporary, and invigorate Edmonton’s casual dining scene.
Delux Burger Bar is just another of Century Hospitality Group’s projects and the goal of this endeavour is simple: the new burger.
Delux offers traditionalist options, yes – but they also have a variety of new and innovative burger creations, including The Delux, which combines blue cheese, portabella mushrooms, and chipolte mayo, and the Bison and Brie burger, which has a bison patty topped with blueberry compote, brie, caramelized onions, and house made mayo.
You can also build your own burger using the checklist below. (And yes, that’s Buttered Lobster.)
One thing to note, though – Delux’s burgers don’t come served with a side. You can, of course, always add on a side of french fries if you wish. We decided to start with some of Delux’s starter-sized salads, which were a refreshing choice for dinner on a patio on one of Edmonton’s hottest summer days.
For the Canadian traditionalist, the menu offers four different kinds of poutine. I opted for The ‘Cowboy’ poutine, which comes with fresh cut fries, Nathan’s Famous hot dog, cheese curds, and gravy.
We’ve all had excellent poutines (we do live in Canada, after all), but this one was fantastic. Loaded with gravy and cheese curds, as well as little pieces of quality hot dog, Delux’s poutine is good enough to remind you that you actually don’t give a damn about counting calories, and that Canadians are pretty amazing people to come up with such a dish. Cheese! Fries! Gravy! Genius.
Even though I chose to eat at a burger bar without actually ordering a burger, Taner saved the day by ordering an ‘Out of the Water’ burger: Stella Artois battered halibut with creamy coleslaw, red onion, and tartar sauce. This overlord of Filet-O-Fishes might not have been the biggest fish burger in the ocean, but it sure as hell was tasty.
I must admit that I was sceptical in trying Delux – I’m generally much more of a steak/noodles/pasta kind of person, and burgers, though delicious, aren’t usually part of my cravings compass. I was pleasantly surprised.
If you’re in the mood for casual fine dining and want something quick, different, and reasonably priced, then try Delux. Let me know how the Bison and Brie burger tastes and be sure to enjoy your complimentary cotton candy at the end of the meal.
Delux Burger Bar
Parkview – 9682 142 Street
Location also in Riverbend/Terwillegar (14111 23 Avenue)
I’d never been to or heard of Soda Jerks until the other day, so I don’t know what I was expecting. Something similar to Fatburger, perhaps?
I was pleasantly surprised. Soda Jerks is a delightful, modern restaurant that – simply put – sells great burgers. They don’t have any claims to pretension, and they definitely don’t put on any airs. They’re a diner. And they have a large selection of bottled sodas and uniquely-flavoured milkshakes.
One of the first things I noticed about their menu was their Big Kid (a.k.a. alcoholic) milkshakes. I was instantly in love. Who wouldn’t want to try a Captain Nut, a butter pecan shake with a shot of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum? And who isn’t curious about mixing cookie dough vodka with a banana shake?
I ordered a small mint chocolate shake (sans alcohol, I’m afraid, because it was a work day), which was deliciously creamy and minty. The milkshakes at Soda Jerks aren’t quite as thick as the ones at Fatburger but they’re cheaper and they have a better selection to choose from. Blue raspberry, cappuccino, peanut butter and jam, pink lemonade…you name it.
And, obviously, as the name entails, they’re known for their sodas. The restaurant offers: Dad’s, Jones, Stewart’s, Boylan, The Pop Shoppe, San Pellegrino, Bawls, Koala, Orangina, Grizzly Paw, Fentiman’s, and Coca-Cola products, all in glass bottles.
Their food menu is just as extensive. We opted for the regular burgers rather than the Build-Your-Owns that the restaurant is so famous for. I tried the Black and Blue burger, with Cajun spice, blue cheese, a beef patty, bacon, and vegetable trimmings, and Taner had the Buffalo Chicken Burger, with hot sauce, mozza, bacon, and vegetables. Both burgers were served with delicious hand-cut fries, and we both opted for a side of their poutine gravy (I liked it, although Taner didn’t).
Customers can opt for a gluten free bun, if they like, which I thought was a nice recognition of varying diets by a restaurant that serves a traditional meat-bread-potatoes kind of meal.
I’d recommend Soda Jerks to any fan of a good burger. The food was delicious, the menu extensively customizable, and the service friendly and efficient; likewise, the 50’s diner concept offering is modernized by the restaurant’s attention to modern dietary concerns. Huge, huge kudos to Soda Jerks for paying such attention to nutritional detail. And it’s reasonable, at approximately $15-20 per person.
Be sure to Instagram your burger for the chance to win a $50 gift certificate!
Soda Jerks Burgers and Bottles
17520 100 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5S 2S2