If there was any doubt that the talented people behind Tres Carnales could replicate their taqueria’s success with a new concept, it was quickly banished once Rostizado opened its doors last year. Named for the rotisserie-centric dishes on the menu, Rostizado’s homestyle Mexican inspiration shines through with every bite, creating the truest replication of an authentic Mexican dinner that Edmonton – and possibly Canada – has ever seen.
The appetizers, like the gorditas – with slow-roasted pork shoulder, salsa verde and salsa de rabanitos served on corn cakes – can send diners’ tastebuds sailing to sunny Mexico on even the coldest of Edmonton winter days. The succulent pork belly acts as a flavour bomb that sets the stage for spices yet to come. Expertly executed salsa verde and dishes laced with fresh herbs and spices accompany moist and tender slow-roasted pork and local Four Whistle Farm rotisserie chicken, served family-style with your choice of additional sides, the highlight among which has to be the roasted cauliflower. The family-style meals of this year’s best new restaurant are daunting in size – and flavour – so it is worth sampling the dishes over the course of a few visits. It’s either that, or bring plenty of backup. –Cory Haller
Right next door to the acclaimed Corso 32, chef Daniel Costa has expanded his brand to include Bar Bricco. The no-reservations policy fosters a more casual atmosphere, but the food is equally incredible.
Bar Bricco isn’t a place for gut-busting entres. Modeled after Italian spuntini bars, it’s a place to pop in for a glass of wine and light snack. Vases of grissini dot the tables and a cut of meat lays on the slicer, ready to make it onto the salumi tasting plate. Come here expecting to share – although the egg yolk raviolo is so good, you might not want to. –Adrianna Szenthe
Woodwork certainly lives up to its name. A wooden bar, wooden liquor shelves and wooden tables grace the narrow downtown restaurant, but it’s so much more than that. The name is also a nod to Woodwork’s wood-fire cooking and barrel-aged spirits, of which you’ll find plenty.
Wood fire cooks everything from meatballs to hanger steaks at this new addition to Edmonton’s food scene, but a real standout is the maple-glazed pork shoulder served with split peas and wilted market greens. With pork so tender and juicy your teeth melt through the meat rather than chew it, it’s almost a shame to douse the tastebuds with a smoky Scotch – almost. –C.H.
Eating at Meat is a social experience. You take your place at one of the long wooden communal tables, where other parties are also eating away. It’s the perfect setting for food that’s meant to be shared. You order the meat by the pound, and the brisket and pulled pork is as close as we’ve come in this city to true American barbecue. The house-made cherry barbecue sauce is tangy and goes so well with the brisket, which is crispy on the outside and warm and moist within. Pick a bourbon from the extensive menu and it’s a truly Deep South experience, only you’re in Old Strathcona.-Steven Sandor
As one of the newest additions to 124th Street’s plethora of eateries, it’s no shock that even the neighbourhood pubs have to step up their game. But Daravara is an overachiever.
Daravara’s elevated pub-style fare is certainly not healthy, but it is addictive. Don’t care for the usual pub food? Try the deep-fried chicken hearts for a surprisingly addictive snack. Hesitant to try a bar’s sausage board? Don’t be. Daravara makes its sausages in-house, and the selection varies weekly. One that has made it into the rotation in the past is an unexpectedly delicious seafood sausage with shrimp and scallops, which shatters your preconceptions of what sausage can be. Add in the pub’s signature smoked olives and you’ll forget you’re dining in a joint with charming Jameson whiskey-bottle light fixtures.
Did I mention the burger? Believe me. I should have. –C.H.