This historic suburb south of downtown offers Edmonton ’s largest concentration of cafés and restaurants. There’s a great variety of choices, and because it’s a popular late-night hangout, many eateries are open to the wee hours.
Block 1912 (10361 82nd Ave., 780/433-6575, Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–10 p.m., lunches $5.50–8.50) offers a great variety of hot drinks, cakes, pastries, and healthy full meals in an inviting atmosphere, which includes several comfortable lounges. Newspapers from around the world are available. Brightly lit Muddy Waters (8211 111th St., 780/433-4390, Mon.–Fri. 10:30 a.m.–midnight, Sat. noon–1 a.m., Sun. 4–11 p.m.) is a popular coffeehouse with students from the nearby university who really know their coffee and like to study into the night.
Julio’s Barrio Mexican Restaurant (10450 Whyte Ave., 780/431-0774, daily until midnight, $11–19) is a huge restaurant decorated with earthy colors and Southwestern-style furniture and has a true Mexican ambience. The menu is appealing but limited. If you just want a light snack, try the warm corn chips with jack cheese and freshly made salsa ($7.25); for something more substantial, consider the fajitas, presented in a cast iron pan. This place doesn’t get really busy until after 9 p.m.
Da-de-o (10548 Whyte Ave., 780/433-0930, Mon.–Tues. and Thurs.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun. noon–10 p.m., $9–18) is styled on a 1950s diner in New Orleans. The menu features Cajun cuisine, including po’boys—Southern-style sandwiches using French bread and fillings such as blackened catfish and tequila salsa ($11)—as well as catfish salad, Southern fried chicken, jambalaya, and inexpensive dishes like barbecue beans and rice ($8) that have appeal to the money-watching university crowd. When the hip, evening crowd arrives, service can be blasé at best.
West of Old Strathcona , toward the University of Alberta, is Mandarin Restaurant (11044 82nd Ave., 780/433-8494, Mon.–Fri 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and daily for dinner from 4:30 p.m., $9–18), consistently voted as having the best Chinese food in the city, but you’d never know by looking at it. It’s informal, noisy, family-style dining, and the walls are plastered with sporting memorabilia donated by diners. Most dishes are from northern China, which is known for traditionally hot food, but enough Cantonese dishes are offered to please all tastes.
A few blocks east of the railway tracks, in a renovated shop, is one of Edmonton ’s most popular restaurants, the Unheardof (9602 82nd Ave., 780/432-0480, Tues.–Sun. from 5:30 p.m., $35–45). The main dining room is filled with antiques, and the tables are set with starched-white linen and silver cutlery. The menu changes weekly, featuring fresh game such as venison tenderloin, homemade chutneys, and relishes during fall, and chicken and beef dishes the rest of the year. Although it’s most obviously an upscale restaurant, the service is comfortable, but most importantly, the food is absolutely mouthwatering. Reservations are essential.