Eat Local in Edmonton: 9 Restaurants for 9 Occasions

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I love knowing where my food comes from! So when I dine out, I absolutely love supporting restaurants that go out of their way to source ingredients from local farmers, producers, growers, distillers, brewers and more!

There are so many incredible ingredients produced in Alberta, the more we as diners value locally-sourced food, seek that out, and spend money at places that showcase local ingredients, the better our food systems will be.

Each year in August, there’s an annual Dine Around food festival put on by Alberta on the Plate, that showcases that incredible bounty that is grown and produced in the province, that celebrates local food and drink, but this of course isn’t the ONLY time you can eat local in Edmonton!

As an Alberta on the Plate Ambassador, I wanted to showcase just a few Edmonton restaurants where you can Eat Local for different types of occasions year-round!

This list *obviously* does not capture ALL of the amazing local restaurants in Edmonton who prioritize and showcase local ingredients in their dishes, but it’s a great place to start!

The photos featured in this post are from each restaurant’s 2021 Dine Around Festival menus which I had the pleasure of digging into as an Alberta on the Plate ambassador, but even if these specific dishes aren’t available for your visit, please know you’ll still have amazing, locally-focused options to order when you go.

Eat Local in Edmonton: 9 Restaurants for 9 Occasions

This post was developed as part of a partnership with Alberta on the Plate

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1. Catch-up with Friends: Culina To Go At The Muttart

Culina To Go at the Muttart Conservatory is part of the Culina Family of restaurants, who are well-known in the city for creating delicious dishes with an emphasis on local ingredients from local producers.

Find local coffee, tea, hot and cold sandwiches, local gelato, fresh salads, soups, and hot lunches featuring local ingredients, that makes a perfect meal for a catch-up with a friend!

The beautiful patio is fully licensed and you don’t need admission to the Pyramids at the Muttart to take advantage of their fast, fresh comfort food, though you might as well get some tickets for a fun afternoon out.

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Eat at the Pyramids!
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A great spot to catch up with my friend Razanne!

2. Place with a View: Fairmont Macdonald (patio)

You really can’t beat the view on the patio of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. Experience a fantastic meal featuring local ingredients, as you overlook a fantastic view of Edmonton’s river valley. Be sure to buffer time for browsing the beautiful gardens just steps off the patio!

I absolutely love the Fairmont Mac’s cocktails (including non-alcoholic options), which often utilize their Mac Honey (they have an on-site apiary home to more than 200,000 honeybees!) or other local berries and seasonal herbs hand-picked from their garden.

Executive Chef Jiju Paul is a big proponent to farm-to-table, and the service is always fantastic here. They are also generally really great about accommodating dietary restrictions.

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Just the best view on the Fairmont patio!
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Find fresh, local fare at the Fairmont!
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Delicious Alberta chicken!

3. Quick Service / Take-out: Say Uncle

Say Uncle is a made-from-scratch Southern BBQ joint along the 4th Street Promenade in downtown Edmonton, serving up mouth-watering smoked meats, sandwiches, and starters you won’t want to share, plus a big selection of local beer and signature cocktails. It’s a great option for a quick service meal or take-out and their warm potato salad with local bacon, corn and dill is incredible. 

If you plan your visit for a weekend, the promenade is usually quite hoppin’ with activity, which would absolutely add to the vibe of your overall outing.

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Grab some quick and tasty eats from Say Uncle!
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This potato salad was to die for.

4. Family Friendly: Highlevel Diner

Bring the whole family to the Highlevel Diner, a favourite local restaurant for many that has been part of the Garneau community in Edmonton for nearly 40 years, a period of which they’ve always tried to feature local suppliers on their menu.

This is a legendary local spot for breakfast and brunch (plus famous housemade cinnamon buns!) but whatever the meal, you’ll find a ton of tasty and comforting options (including gluten-free and vegan), suitable for everyone (kids meals included! My friend Gina met me with her sweet daughter Hannah and it was nice to have additional, kids-focused options for her to order). 

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Try the Highlevel Diner's dinner options!
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Gruger Family mushrooms at the Highlevel Diner.

5. Late Night: The Common

It’s hard to find a vibe cooler than The Common’s in the city, especially late at night, which is why this is a perfect spot for late night local eats and drinks. Whether you’re on the patio or inside their vintage-modern (that’s a style lol) space, DJ playing, lights twinkling, The Common aims to be a place to come together and typically, a fun gastro-lounge mixing nightlife with delicious drinks and local dining.

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Inside The Common.
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All the good vibes at The Common.
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Cheers to a great late night spot.

6. Week Night: Dalla Tavola

Dalla Tavola Zenari is a BEAUTIFUL restaurant in the heart of downtown Edmonton just off Rice Howard Way. It’s a perfect spot to grab a weeknight, after work bite. Choose from pastas, salads, sandwiches and other small plates, highlighting local producers.

The love of local here has been a family affair, as Dalla Tavola Zenari is a spinoff led by children of the original Zenari’s, which had been serving delicious Italian classics to the community for over 30 years before it closed in 2019. The restaurant’s name means “from the Zenari table” so you’re basically part of the family when you pop in (or take-out!)

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Inside the beautiful Dalla Tavola Zenari.
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A porchetta sandwich (local pork) with local beets.

7. Date Night: Tryst Wine & Small Plates

Head to downtown St. Albert for a special and delicious date night at Tryst Wine & Small Plates, a lovely, small family owned and operated restaurant that values supporting local in everything they offer, both for food and drink, to custom-made dishes and menu boards right down to the paper and cleaning products they use!

Find a heated patio or an intimate dining room and impeccable service for your date night out. The point here is to share so be sure to try a few different small plates between you, and of course, keep the drinks flowing.
Service here is also fantastic!

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Tryst Wine & Small Plates is a must-visit!
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The crispiest pork belly at Tryst!

8. Patio: Glass Monkey

The Glass Monkey Gastropub delivers a delicious dining experience every single time. They’re focused on ‘fresh’ and flavourful, with quality food and drink inspired by local ingredients and family recipes. I love their beautiful, enclosed, outdoor patio (feels like a lovely little backyard, with hanging flower pots and wooden fencing).

The Glass Monkey is known for a lot of things, from burgers to pappardelle to bread pudding, also pizzas! And I love their ‘Monkey’ -themed cocktails (making use of banana and chocolate). If you hit up the patio in the evening, twinkly lights get lit for an even more magical dining experience.

Their menu is also so varied, giving you a lot of reasons to come back and try something different each time! During the pandemic they were also focused on creating rotating themed menus for take-out, so they’ve really got the tasty take-out concepts nailed down too (but, if you can, patio!)

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Perfectly braised pork cheeks!
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Great drink options at the Glass Monkey.
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A sign of a delicious meal!

9. Special Occasion: The Butternut Tree

The Butternut Tree is home to a beautiful dining room with floor to ceiling windows, and a Canadian cuisine concept that makes it a popular spot for special occasions (is this cheating—my ninth occasion in this list is a blanket special occasion? lol).

Chef and owner Scott Downey is known for making vegetables the star in his dishes (there’s meat and seafood options too though if you’re not big on veg but this is one of those restaurants where you actually would be excited about all the vegetables and their unique and flavourful preparation). With quality drinks and service, in addition to the quality food, every time I’ve suggested The Butternut Tree as a spot for a special occasion, people always come back to tell me what a fantastic experience they had.

And if ever there was a spot that focuses on local ingredients, it’s The Butternut Tree—whose literal mission is to replace global sources of familiar flavour with unique ingredients from Alberta (and Canada).

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Stone fruit starter at The Butternut Tree.
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A delicious summer squash entree.

I hope that gives you just a few ideas for some Edmonton area restaurants that focus on local ingredients on their menus!

There’s lots more locally-focused restaurants worth visiting too that I just couldn’t get to (one person can only eat so much in a week! lol) that participated in the 2021 Dine Around Festival which you may also want to consider.

If you have other suggestions for local eateries with a focus on local ingredients, let me and other readers know in the comments below!

Linda

Disclaimer: I was hired as an Ambassador for Alberta on the Plate to dine at and promote local restaurants featuring local ingredients. This does not impact opinions stated in this post. As you know, I am a big proponent of local food and businesses!

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