For wine drinkers who like their swank on the refined side, Moriarty’s Bistro and Wine Bar is the perfect place to drop in and envelop yourself with the warmth of a rich, full-bodied red wine. Or a crisp clean white. Whatever your preference, Moriarty’s will no doubt have something to satisfy your palate, with 24 wines by the glass (in two sizes for each drink) and many more by the bottle, especially in the $30-to$45 range. There’s also a good selection of local and imported beer and signature cocktails.
On the food front, small plates like the gold beet chips with avocado dip ($6) and charcuterie plate ($16) are perfect for sharing. The chop chop salad ($13) has a fresh, clean flavour – and for the mains, the root beer short ribs ($23) and the coffee-crusted lamb rack ($26) are classic comfort foods with modern twists. With just six items, the dessert menu is small, but it’s creative, with such offerings as apple and pear tart with red wine caramel sauce ($11) and root beer crme brle ($11).
Located downtown, next door to its sister restaurant, the Sherlock Holmes pub, Moriarty’s is an upscale, elegant complement to the casual and occasionally boisterous pub and the perfect place for a pre- or post-theatre outing. –Jennifer Hamilton
Hat in Hand
There are a lot of reasons to go to The Hat Resto Pub: to lunch on a signature burger, to watch the game, to stand at dark high-top tables and meet its bold and beautiful clientele on Friday and Saturday nights, when this Oil City Hospitality bar fills up and would-be patrons have to line up on Jasper, shivering in their stockings, waiting for space to open up.
But the best reason is the starters menu.
The 20 appetizers on the menu sit somewhere between comfort and gourmet food. The spicy crab cakes ($12.75) are crispy on the outside and flaky in the middle, and the panko crusted goat cheese ($12.75) is glazed with a balsamic reduction that gives the creamy filling a tangy touch. While the sage and white wine prawns ($12) and baked Brie with a strawberry coulis ($11) pair nicely with imported wine, the prime rib sliders ($11) go down best with imported beer.
With so many ways to graze, you can maximize with the Hat Trick – three of almost everything for $28.75 until 8 p.m. The best part of the trick is the puddles of aioli and reductions that allow you to smear, dip and experiment with deliciousness. –Omar Mouallem
To Kilt For
Let your fork crack the crust of the steak and mushroom pie, and you’ll forget that you’re back in a place that offers a $280 glass of Bowmore Black 1964. Yes, with an Enomatic wine system and over 130 single-malt whiskies, The Bothy Wine & Whisky Bar takes libations very seriously. But the food, too, is seriously good.
Chef Angela Counsel prepares a range of Scottish fare from a careful selection of locally sourced ingredients. There is, of course, a whisky haggis ($18) served with mashed potatoes and turnips, or as the Scotch call them, “tatties and neeps.” But the highlights are the house-made pies, including steak and mushroom ($17) and chicken and leek ($16).
Bothyists like to begin with a charcuterie platter. Starting at $13 for two items, you can choose from a list of Albertan and international cheeses and meats. The smoky meats come paper-thin and delicate, served with an arugula pesto and clumpy sweet onion and damson plum chutneys from The Jam Lady.
Those who want more meat and cheese, perhaps layered between ciabatta breads, will be drawn to the four sandwiches on the lunch and dinner menus. Like the Lorne sausage sandwich with three-year-old cheddar ($14), they include many of the same delights as the charcuterie menu. –O.M.