While The Common has a reputation as a late-night hangout, it’s also a pretty happening spot in the middle of the day. If you’re not there soon after 11:30 a.m., you may not get a table to enjoy lunch there.
If you do get a spot, though, lunch at The Common is anything but ordinary. The menu offers a fantastic selection of dishes that are a step above that sandwich you might otherwise be eating at your desk.
Take, for example, the pan bagnat. It’s described as an open-faced tuna salad sandwich, but it’s so much more. The tuna salad itself is light on the mayonnaise, but the creaminess is made up with a soft-boiled egg on top. Bell peppers and green beans provide the crunch, while olives give a salty kick.
Or you can opt for the daily sandwich. The day my wife and I went, it was a “pork patty po’ boy,” but with a pickled carrot slaw, it was closer to a Vietnamese banh mih.
Whatever sandwich you go with, be sure to get the fries on the side. They’re thick-cut, crispy and salted just enough that the flavour of the actual potato still shines through. –Glenn Cook
Opened in 1984, Zenari’s has been an Edmonton lunch destination for more than 30 years.
The mosaic tile-topped tables, ever-changing chalkboard specials and cafeteria-style setup make for a casual and quirky lunch spot. One of its specialties is the crostoni – a slice of homemade sourdough bread topped with anything from prosciutto to sundried tomatoes and grilled until the mozzarella is bubbling.
For those seeking a sandwich with a bit of a twist, look no further than the Italian loaf, a bread crust stuffed with Italian meats, cheese and mushrooms and baked. You’ll spot it by the telltale sprinkle of poppy seeds on top. –Adrianna Szenthe
While Rosso is best known for its crisp wood-fired pizza, its antipasti, insalate and panuozzos are equally impressive.
The house-made ricotta fresca calda is light and airy, enhanced by the drizzle of rosemary-infused olive oil. For those seeking heartier fare, the panuozzos are the ideal solution. Rosso’s crudo classico combines Italian staples – like prosciutto, fior di latte mozzarella and tomatoes – into a simple, yet incredibly flavourful sandwich. The house-made artisan bread provides the perfect amount of crunch to balance the fillings.
On your way out, I’m not saying you have to stop and grab some gelato – but you really should. –A.S.