Best Italian restaurants in Edmonton

With a vibrant Italian community and no shortage of world-class chefs, it’s no surprise that Edmonton is full of Italian restaurants – and many of them are located outside of Little Italy. These are the best Italian restaurants to sit, sip wine and savour a delicious meal in Edmonton.

Corso 32

1
10345 Jasper Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 1Y5

This restaurant served as the catalyst for Edmonton’s current food revolution. Chef/owner Daniel Costa provides flavours inspired by Italy. This cozy, lively, 34-seat restaurant may be the toughest reservation in town to get but it’s worth it. It’s easily the best restaurant for proper pasta. The arancini are always a knock-out dish, as are the house made goat ricotta and fried short rib with shaved pear and arugula. You’ll never go wrong by ordering any of the pastas, and the game hen will make you weep. I love to finish with the fior di latte gelato affogato with Nardini Amaro.

Bar Bricco

2
10347 Jasper Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 1Y5

Bar Bricco, doesn’t just taste Italian, it oozes Italian. Inspired by the salumerias in Rome and spuntini bars throughout Italy, the menu encourages tasting through its small plates and broad selection of salumi and cheese, several of which owner/chef Daniel Costa has imported exclusively. The heart of the place is centered around the slicer, which drives the menu, and the turntable, which drives the atmosphere, with Costa at the helm of both. Must tries include the rye & speck crostini with ricotta, cabbage and apple; fonduta agnolotti dal plin; egg yolk raviolo; carne cruda; and cotechino sausage.

Rosso Inc

3
8738 109 St Nw, Edmonton, AB T6G 1E9

Inspired by pizzerias abroad, Rosso is a warm, sleek, inviting space offering the flavours of Italy with a progressive attitude. Hardwood floors, reclaimed wood tabletops, a huge selection of craft and import beers, a temperature controlled wine cooler from Italy and a wood-burning oven contribute to the comfortable hang-ability of the room. The caffe and gelato are great, and the menu offers a fantastic selection of antipasti and salads. But, the star is the pizza with its delicious, slightly chewy crust. I particularly love the patata e pancetta (potato, pancetta and gorgonzola) and rapini e salsiccia (broccolini and fennel sausage).

Leva

4
11053 86th Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T6G 0X1

Pretty much any time of day is the right time to drop in to this university area coffee oasis. Fresh baked pastries and frittatas, Mediterranean-style sharing platters, great pizza, gelato, an interesting Italian wine list and proper Italian caffe make Leva the ideal hangout, pit-stop or gathering place. I’m a big fan of the salsiccia pizza with roasted red peppers and ricotta, as well as the mushroom pizza with gorgonzola and potato. And, weekends are great to stop by for brunch and one of their frittatas. Leva is a little bit of Italy in the heart of Edmonton’s Garneau neighbourhood.

Da Capo Cio Bianca

5
104-8135 102 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 4A4

There might not be a better, no-fuss place in town for traditional Italian espresso and gelato. Whyte Avenue may be best known for its nightlife, but Da Capo gives you a reason to come by earlier in the day. Owner Antonio Bilotta is obsessive about both his espresso and gelato and you can taste it. The pistacchio gelato rivals the best in Italy. From Wednesday through Saturday, Da Capo is open until 9 p.m. and their tight wine and craft beer selections make it a great low-key hangout spot.

Zenari's

6
135-10180 101 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 3S4

An Edmonton institution, Zenari’s is a traditional-style, Italian-hearted deli/wine bar located on the main floor of one of the city’s major office towers. It always seems to have a buzz. I’m particularly fond of the crostoni flatbreads and the grilled vegetables on focaccia. But, the best secret in town may be Zenari’s Thursday night dinners - simple, traditional and delicious. It’s like sitting around the dinner table in Italy. Everyone here is treated like family.

Italian Centre Shop

7
10878 95 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 2E4

It’s been made-over and modernized, but the original Bar Italia was the first spot in town to serve cappuccinos and lattes. Bar Italia has been the heart of Little Italy since Frank Spinelli first opened it so many decades ago. Now owned by his daughter, Teresa, the primary language spoken is still Italian ... and it can get LOUD! Drop in for a pastry, panino or espresso and pretend, for just a moment that you’re Italian. Make sure to take a moment to tip your hat to the statue of Frank Spinelli, located across the street in Giovanni Caboto Park.

There’s nothing like a good glass or two of wine at the end of a long day. Whether you pair your vino with a meal or enjoy a bottle with friends, these Edmonton restaurants serve up some of the best wines available in the city.
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