At some point in world history, a day as important as the invention of the printing press, someone said, “How can we make meat…better?” Then they minced the meat, added spices and other flavour-boosters, and tied it all together in a simple casing that could be cooked in a variety of ways. And, so, maybe the greatest comfort food of all, the sausage, was created. At Otto, chef Steve Furgiuele has concocted some fabulous flavour mixes, with influences from around the world. When the lamb and beef merguez is on the menu, trust me, it’s got just the right amount of spice to keep you interested, but doesn’t overpower the filling. And it’s all served in a relaxed atmosphere, a place that feels like it could be your local pub, with a bevy of Alberta-made craft brews available. – Steven Sandor
11405 95 ST. NW, 780-477-6244, OttoFoodAndDrink.com
Is there a more established, Edmonton restaurant institution than The Lingnan? It would be tough for any other restaurant to compete, given its 75-year head start in the same location one block northwest of Rogers Place (its original location, on Jasper Ave., opened in 1947).
When it comes to service and vibe, it’s a standard-setter for any style of restaurant, in that it’s an immersive experience as soon as you step through the door, where a gold warrior statue stands, spear to his side, stroking his beard. The timeless interior decor reminded us of an awesome ’80s movie we couldn’t quite place (but probably starred Eddie Murphy), and the service was as excellent as it no doubt was a lifetime ago (our water glasses never emptied).
Conveniently, I work with Steven Sandor, who might be the restaurant’s most regular modern-era customer, so I asked him what I should get. “Crispy lemon chicken,” he immediately replied. It was delicious, as were the Cantonese Special (chow mein with shrimp, pork and chicken) and Vietnamese spring rolls. But with three-quarter century’s worth of experience emanating throughout the establishment, there’s no bad dish on the menu. – Cory Schachtel
10582 104 ST. NW, 780-426-3975, TheLingnan.com
Located on the edge of Garneau, Sugarbowl is a quaint space offering hearty brunch, lunch and comfort food. It has served customers since 1944 and the menu has evolved to reflect the welcoming, easygoing vibe of the place. You might have to wait a bit to snag a table on the patio, or even a seat inside, but the Sugarbowl Benny or the creamy Mac’ & Cheese are worth every minute. While you wait for your food, sip on one of the hand-selected craft local or Belgian beers on the menu. Or, take your food to go thanks to an adapted take-out option. Sugarbowl offers comfort food, no matter how you experience it. – Katrina Turchin
10922 88 AVE. NW, 780-433-8369, TheSugarBowl.org
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This article appears in the March 2022 issue of Edify