Edmonton: Experience Culinary Wonders

Alberta’s capital city is a thriving metropolitan area of more than one million people. It has been a magnet for young, ambitious people from all over the world for decades, and that influence can certainly be found in its culinary scene: Flavours and styles from Asia and Africa mix with the northern prairie’s historical strength in beef and grains. All of that exists beside a thriving Indigenous food renaissance, highlighted by Pei Pei Chei Ow, which features fusion Indigenous cuisine like stuffed squash blossoms and three-berry barbecue brisket sandwiches. It made Air Canada’s list of Best New Takeout in 2022.

Edmonton at a Glance

  • Population 1,057,181
  • Median Family Income $97,800
  • Unemployment Rate 8.8%
  • Residential Vacancy Rate 7.3%
  • Life Stress 19.6%
  • Sense of Belonging 62.2%

Source: Government of Alberta

The creativity can be seen throughout the city, but two areas stand out in particular: downtown Edmonton and, on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River, Whyte Avenue and environs. Downtown has seen an explosion in activity in recent years with the completion of a new arena, the 18,500-seat Rogers Place, which catalyzed a wave of development of hotels, condos and office towers in the popular Ice District. It has also brought a wealth of new spots to dine, including Bündok, one of Air Canada’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants in 2018.

Whyte Avenue is a magnet for the younger crowd, as it is close to the University of Alberta. Thai, Mexican, Japanese and Persian are just a few of the options available to diners.

Edmonton’s restaurant scene has been strongly supported by the culinary program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. The Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies department has produced a steady stream of top-notch chefs, many of whom have travelled the world to hone their skills and then returned to their hometown to add to its vibrant diversity. The program is also recognized for training chefs beyond the kitchen, for covering sustainable production, reliable supply chains, the importance of buying local, mitigating waste and transforming what’s in season into creative dishes.