I get many questions this time of year from readers and friends who are looking for great spots to eat, grab a drink, or hang out with colleagues. Here are some of my recommendations!
If you are looking to savour a glass of wine after work, I recommend Bar Bricco on Jasper Ave. — this Italian wine bar doesn’t take reservations, which is actually a good thing because you are more likely to find a spot to sit as a walk-in. Bodega, just a few blocks away, is also a fantastic option. It is a Spanish tapas spot, and they have a wonderful selection of wine.
For cocktails, I would recommend the Confederation Lounge at the Fairmont. The décor is sure to put you in the holiday spirit, and they just launched a brand new cocktail menu with some great re-imagined classics.
If you just want to grab a beer after a long day, try Sherlock Holmes downtown with its cozy tables, or MKT on the Whyte Ave. side that has a huge number of taps, sports on their big screens, and lots of spots to sit.
Looking for a spot to grab some appetizers and catch up with your friends? I would recommend Ampersand 27 (&27) on Whyte Ave. They have fantastic small plates for sharing and their build-your-own cheese and charcuterie is perfect for large groups. They also have a wide selection of drinks, and tables that are perfect for group seating. Mercer Tavern on 104 St. has a lot of great options for sharing as well, is a bit more casual, and offers different sections that you can book for larger groups.
If a quiet meal for two is more what you are after, I would recommend making a reservation somewhere like The Marc, a fantastic French bistro, Woodwork across from Churchill Square, or Rosso Pizzeria on 109 St. if you are looking for something a little more casual. All three have fantastic menu items, and great dessert options if you want to indulge!
I get asked a lot about kid-friendly options, because it can be really hard to find somewhere that will work for the little ones as well as their parents — especially in the city centre. If you are downtown, I would head to Blue Plate Diner on 104 St. — it has a great atmosphere with lots of elevated comfort-food options for mom and dad. Tiramisu Bistro on 124 St. was created to be kid-friendly, but is modern, sleek, and has a fantastic menu. If you are near Whyte Ave., Chianti is a fantastic option. There is tons of parking nearby and the restaurant offers great options for both the young and old!
—Lindsay Shapka. As seen on Global News Edmonton on December 18.