HicksBiz Blog

Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks Weekly Dish: Avila Arepa an example of “soul” BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2017

Avila Arepa Urban Venezuelan Kitchen 780-328-7887 Myavilaarepa.com @AvilaArepa Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Mondays Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $18; loaded, $35 Food:  4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns  It’s so easy to say a restaurant lacks soul, far more challenging to define just what soul is. Well here’s a restaurant that, by its very being, is chock-a-block full of soul. We walked into the small, maybe 40-seat Avila Arepa close to the 109 Street end of Whyte Avenue, to be warmly greeted by a middle-aged fellow in a clean black T-shirt and a red bandana wrapped around his head. Could we have a table as far as possible from the restaurant speakers’ music, we asked. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I’ll turn down the music.” Which he did, immediately. Rolando Sandrea was obviously the owner, manager and order-taker. Despite working som ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Edmonton Fringe puts you close to a food cornucopia BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2017

Starting Thursday, it’s Fringe time. Fringe time means Old Strathcona time. The kids – university students, the party-till-you-drop group – know Old Strathcona well. They go dancing, drinking and snacking from bar to bar – from The Pint to O2’s to The Black Dog … The rest of us, when we head down the Whyte Avenue strip, it’s more to dine than to drink — although the occasional $3.50 happy hour pint is attractive. There’s an unbelievable 60-plus food joints, along or on either side of, Whyte Avenue (82 Avenue) from 101 Street to 107 Street. Sixty! And that’s not counting the restaurants further south between 103 an 104 Streets. If you’re planning to Fringe, here’s the Weekly Dish Guide to Old Strathcona’s good eats, based on past Weekly Dish reviews, or reports from trusted friends. Pubs, bars and coffee shops have been excluded, unless they are known for decent food. Tier 1 Packrat Louie: This lovely restaur ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Steakhouse or Seafood? BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 08, 2017

Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse Ellerslie 9626 Ellerslie Road SW 780-249-2000 Pampasteakhouse.com Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Friday to 10 p.m.) Saturday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: $100  Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Sabor – Seafood Festival to Sept. 3, 2017 10220 103 St. 780-757-1114 Sabor.com Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $60, loaded $120  Food:  4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns   Seafood or meat? Why be forced to choose? Go out twice, enjoy the best of both! Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse – firmly established after six years downtown – has just expanded. Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse Ellerslie is in a new, spacious, stand-alone buildi ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: YEG Sushi showdown - Sumo Sumo versus Takami Sushi BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 01, 2017

It’s testament to the growing popularity of Japanese cuisine, when two new, full-service sushi houses open minutes away from each other in a part of the city already near-saturated with Japanese restaurants. Sumo Sumo has long been popular in Sherwood Park. It recently replicated itself in Edmonton, in the former Century Grill/Plates International Buffet building on Calgary Trail south of Whitemud Drive. Takami Sushi is in a new commercial building on 61 Avenue just west of 104 Street. Sumo Sumo Edmonton is a Chevrolet — a high-volume big restaurant where the food is good, but not great. Takami Sushi is a Cadillac — smaller, much more attention to detail and presentation, about 20% more expensive than Sumo Sumo for comparable dishes, but top quality. Sherwood Park Sumo Sumo owner Joe Chan opened Plates in early 2016. For whatever reason, Plates is gone, replaced by an Edmonton version of Sumo Sumo. Sumo Sumo Edmonton has some drawbacks. The restaurant is slightly outdated ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: District Cafe food is excellent, but the service needs work BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JULY 18, 2017

District Cafe & Bakery 10011 109 St. (corner of 109 Street and 100 Avenue) 780-705-7788 Districtcafe.ca Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $30; loaded, $60 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 2.5 of 5 Suns The District Café and Bakery does just about everything right: Its well-designed interior is bright, blond and clean. The high ceilings and all-window exterior walls make you breathe big. The spacious patio well-utilizes the outside space at 109 Street and 100 Avenue. The menu is beautifully designed to turn with the time of day. It’s very much in tune with the District Cafe’s bakery roots, yet branches out, especially at dinner, to healthy, tasty and inexpensive vittles. But on this particular weekday evening, there is a service problem. More perplexing, the casual, t-shirts + shorts serving staff is unaware ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: Ono and Splash poke shops BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JULY 11, 2017

Quite independently, two poke (pronounced poh-kay) shops have opened in Edmonton at the same time and within five blocks of each other. Poke is about diced raw, marinated tuna and salmon. Sushi and sashimi are about sliced raw, marinated tuna and salmon. Sushi/sashimi originated in Japan. Poke — diced tuna/salmon, sauces and veggies mixed into a rice or noodle base — originated in Hawaii from a blending of Asian food cultures, including Japan. Poke is trendy and catching on like wild fire across North America. From a restaurateur’s point of view, it’s easy to serve. Both Splash and Ono have walk-up counters to place and pay for orders. It’s easy — the counter clerk can prepare your order in no-time-flat from strategically arranged ingredients. There’s next to no cooking — other than the rice or noodles, everything is served cold. Poke is easy to eat. Like Freshii or Chopped Leaf or the Greenhouse, a single bowl of mixed foods is filling, refreshing and ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: Packrat Louie most pleasant indeed BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JULY 04, 2017

It’s like catching up with a long-time friend who, in the interim, has slimmed down considerably, is looking great and exudes new enthusiasm and a positive mind-set. In short, visiting Old Strathcona’s signature dining-out restaurant Packrat Louie after its recent renovation — both in decor and menu — is most pleasant indeed. The open and airy eatery has been a South Side fixture since chef extraordinaire Peter Johner (now semi-retired but still making chocolates in the Okanagan) opened Packrat Louie in 1993. It’s been home to several of the city’s better chefs since Johner sold Packrat Louie in 2006, including Jan Trittenbach (Solstice Seasonal Cuisine) and Brad Lazarenko (Culina group). The timing of the extensive renovation and re-invention was just right. Packrat was getting a little tired, its menu a bit stale. It took courage for managing partner Jodh Singh to recognize the need for short-term pain for long-term gain. The restaurant was shut down for several ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Grandin Fish 'N' Chips - Fish ’n’ chips done right BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 05, 2017

Grandin Fish ‘N’ Chips 9902 109 St. 780-250-3474 Grandinfish.ca 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Saturday No reservations Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 stars Plenty of fast food outlets offer fish ’n’ chips, but the batter usually drips oil like a rusting car, the fish is mushy, the French fries from a bag and the ambience as charming as an aging fastfood court. In the years I’ve called Edmonton home, only once have I experienced the very best of fish ’n’ chips, being a special-of-the-day at Beaumont’s charming Franco-Albertan Chartier restaurant. Until now: With the opening of the Grandin Fish ’n’ Chips shop on 109 Street just north of the High Level Bridge, a glorious new era of fish ’n’ chips has dawned. The new shop is clean, sunny and well-ventilated, with some 40 seats. The decoration and décor is whimsical and appropriately Maritime themed. The open kitchen is superb. It&rs ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: Vivo Restorante Downtown - Sleek, spacious, and recommended BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 2017

Vivo Ristorante Downtown 10505-106 St. 587-525-7500 vivoristorante.ca 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week  (Pizzeria and Taverna sections, 11 a.m. to late) Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 stars  Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip):  basic, $45; loaded, $120   The start was rough, but the evening proved enchanting. An unsmiling, unwelcoming host, as charming as a James Bond villain, led us into the new Vivo Ristorante Downtown, pointed at the table we were to occupy, turned heel and left! Having settled in, I opened the menu, and just about fell off my chair. Antipastos were priced at $17 to $54, pastas at $20 to $43, entrees at $54 to $92, and veggie side dishes at $14 to $19! For a moment, we considered moving downstairs to Vivo’s Pizzeria, where a beer and a personal pizza can be had for $12. The initial “oh dear” moment didn’t last. All was made well by delightful Michelle, who, as our server, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Baijiu - Ultra-trendy but not fantastic BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017

Baijiu Mercer Building, 10359-104 St. 780-421-7060 Baijiuyeg.com Tuesday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Closed Sunday and Monday Reservations for large groups only Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 stars  Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip):  basic, $40; loaded, $60 Baijiu is not all it’s cracked up to be. The new, ultra-trendy restaurant-bar in the trendy Mercer Warehouse building in its ultra-trendy location (right across from Rogers Place) is definitely ultra-trendy. The ambiance is clever, and a ton of fun. I’ve heard of this narrow but spacious space described as a 1930’s style Shanghai speakeasy mixed with Southern California pastels and neon. Tables are squeezed down one side with cheek-by-jowl seating. Across the aisle is one of the longest sit-down bar counters in the city. Like Michael Maxxis’s Old Strathcona Have Mercy and El Cortez restaurant bars, Baijiu’ ... Read the rest of entry »
Pages: Prev1234567...15NextReturn Top