Published Mar 4th, 2013

By Avenue Staff

Best Restaurants: Worth the Drive

Three restaurants on — or beyond — the city's edges that you shouldn't overlook

When you eat at  Glasshouse Bistro & Cafe  at the Enjoy Centre, you’re  eating in a trendy greenhouse where the most beautiful  greenery is right on your plate.
When you eat at Glasshouse Bistro & Cafe at the Enjoy Centre, you’re eating in a trendy greenhouse where the most beautiful greenery is right on your plate.

First Place >> GLASSHOUSE BISTRO & CAFE (formerly PRAIRIE BISTRO)

The Glasshouse Bistro & Café recently changed its name from the Prairie Bistro, and the new title is an excellent match with the expansive space. The low-key restaurant with a high-end menu occupies a large corner of the upper level of the Enjoy Centre, surrounded by glassed high ceilings and walls overlooking Big Lake in the Lois Hole Centennial Park. Basically, you’re eating in a trendy greenhouse. And the greenery on your table makes the drive especially worthwhile — Chef Shaun Hicks plucks some of the food right from the greenhouse, and the rest is equally fresh and healthy, thanks to local partnerships. Hicks, previously of Lumière in Vancouver, creates intriguing dishes, including the ricotta and goat cheese crepe with artichoke and arugula pesto. Salads aren’t just a starter here, they’re meals unto themselves. Case in point: the elaborate roasted squash salad mixed with quinoa, cumin-scented sherry pomegranate vinaigrette and fried Haloom cheese. (101 Riel Dr., St. Albert, 780-651-7361, enjoycentre.ca/bistro) —Caroline Barlott

Runner-Up >> SAGE

Before he decided to head north to take over the star dining establishment of the River Cree Resort, Chef Christophe Ithurritze was a key part of the Wolfgang Puck culinary empire. You’ll walk through a crowded casino floor and past a tub filled with champagne before you’re seated — but the sensory overload has just begun. The veal demi-glace is one of the best steak accompaniments you’ll find in the city — but it’ll probably be overshadowed by the thick slab of meat on your plate, easily cut with a butter knife. (300 East Lapotac Blvd., Enoch, 780-930-2636, rivercreeresort.com) —Steven Sandor

Honourable Mention >> THE CAJUN HOUSE

You’ll have to head north to St. Albert for southern treats. Located in the old downtown, the Cajun House has all the Louisiana comfort food the name suggests — jambalayas and gumbos dot the menu. No one in the region does a plate of Oyster Rockefeller as good as here; the balance of cheese and spinach is just right, and the flavour of the oysters still comes through. And the alligator Boudin shows off the delicate texture of the white meat, while the sweet and hot Dumaine sauce finishes off a memorable dish. (7 St. Anne St., St. Albert, 780-460-8772, cajunhouse.net) —S.S.

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