by John Gilchrist
In a world of heavy pastas and over-sauced meats, the veal scallopine with champagne-mustard sauce at Il Gallo Nero is a revelation. The champagne mingles with the mustard to tingle the tongue while the tender veal dissolves in your mouth. This is Italian food that lifts the spirit. 211 – 17 Ave SE, 403-237-9077.
Editor’s Pick: Exotic Eats
Nepalese cuisine returns to 17th Avenue with momos, choilas, tarkaris, and dal bhat at The Himalayan. The food shows influences from India and China with spices unique to Nepal. Some favourites are the butter shrimp, a twist on butter chicken, and the sweet naan filled with coconut. Best bet is to try the Tuesday to Sunday lunch buffet. 3218 – 17 Ave SW, 403-984-3384.
Witold Twardowski has found a new old space to renovate into the latest hot spot—the basement of the Lougheed Building downtown. Originally opened as Kronn’s Rathskeller a century ago, Sociale Bar & Grille is now a lively bar with exceptional food from chef Kenny Kaechele. The cioppino jumps with flavour and the barbecued pork flatbread with cambozola cheese is a gooey-messy delight. 606 – 1 St SW, 403-262-2279.
Named by U.S. President Barack Obama as his favourite burger chain, Five Guys Burgers & Fries hardly needed the endorsement—the family-run restaurant has been consistently named as one of the best burgers in America for over 25 years. With its first Alberta location open in Deerfoot Meadows, expect to leave utterly stuffed. The burgers are served with two all-beef patties, and an unlimited number of toppings, including green pepper, jalapeño, and grilled mushrooms. Be warned: if you opt for an “all the way,” (with everything) make sure you’re packing extra napkins.—Dan Leahul
Try a twist on traditional crepes at Kol3. Specializing in savoury crepes from central Vietnam (“bánh xèo”), made from rice flour, turmeric, coconut milk, and water, and stuffed with shrimp, sprouts, mung beans, onions, mushrooms and your choice of meat or tofu. Putting an even more unique spin on this traditional food, Kol3 also offers a bacon cheeseburger version, and the “Athena” filled with chicken, feta and spinach.—Diane Klaver
Run by students in professional cooking, hotel management and bar-mixology studies, The Highwood is a fine dining restaurant on SAIT’s main campus. The restaurant gives students first-hand experience of operating a restaurant, all under the careful supervision of their instructors. Diners reap the benefits not only in delicious cuisine, but affordability—for $44 guests get a five-course dinner Mondays to Thursdays. Menu items vary, but can include dishes like rack of lamb, salmon, or free-range chicken. 1301 – 16 Ave, visit www.sait.ca/highwood for reservations.—Diane Klaver