Restaurants at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival

The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Festival takes over Old Strathcona August 11 to 21, 2016. Spectators will enjoy 1,600 live theatre shows at more than 50 venues during North America’s longest-running Fringe Festival. We asked Edmonton actor Mark Meer for his recommendations on where to eat in Old Strathcona in between shows. These eight places top his list.

Steel Wheels

10307 85 Ave Nw, Edmonton, AB T6E 6N7

At Steel Wheels, you have the interesting choice between very reasonably priced pizza (I have friends who swear by it!) or some rather nice bulgogi. I tend to go with the latter. There is also the option for a bulgogi pizza, but I haven’t tried it. This is a place that completely lacks pretension. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall joint, adorned with graffiti — I’m sure I must have a written my name on the walls there at some point in the past.

El Cortez Tequila Bar and Kitchen

8230 Gateway Blvd NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 4B2

El Cortez is a Mexican place that makes a mean, good-sized margarita. I’m not a regular, but I can recommend the tacos. This place has a great summertime feel to it, with nice décor and a large open dining area — just right for popping in during the Fringe Festival.

New York Bagel Cafe

8430 Gateway Blvd NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 4B4

I usually go for the lox and cream cheese here, but they have a solid variety of other sweet and savoury bagels. Their coffee is fantastic; in particular, they make a very nice latte. It’s a cozy place, so getting a table might take a little bit of a wait. But once you’re seated, you’ll find your table stocked with a wide variety of condiments — sometimes unusual ones from around the world, like European jams, jellies and various spreads. Each table has a random assortment of these things, so you never know what you’re going to get.

Bottega Italian Kitchen Bar Off Whyte

10335 83 Ave Nw, Edmonton, AB T6E 2C6

Packrat Louie has very good salads, making it ideal for a light meal between shows. They also have a bar, so it’s possible to pop in for a drink. I often go with the Ticinese salad, which consists of butter leaf, blue cheese, tomato and cucumber with a pepper cream dressing. They also have quite a few salads with meat — grilled chicken, shrimp. The wine list is good and the service is always excellent. I admit I’m somewhat biased because my wedding reception was held there in 2001!

Meat Barbecue Ltd

8216 104 St Nw, Edmonton, AB T6E 4E6

Meat is a fantastic barbecue joint. The brisket is my top pick; it’s always delicious. The ribs are also really good. The last time I was there I had a great smoked pork loin. They’ve got all the barbecue standbys, including excellent pulled pork. When you order a bunch of things, they get served as big sharing platters. Don’t ignore the sides, which are also very tasty — mac and cheese, coleslaw and baked beans. And if bourbon tickles your fancy, they have a wide selection to choose from.

Accent Lounge

8223 104 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 4E7

The Accent lounge serves up some very nice food. I particularly enjoy the goat cheese tenderloin sandwich, which has bacon, mushrooms and goat cheese on top of a seasoned tenderloin steak. I also highly recommend the steak tartare. It is much as you would expect from a European bistro — relaxed, casual dining with lots of dark wood tables and a great selection of beers.

The Next Act Pub & Grill

8224 104 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 4E6

A traditional gathering place for actors, particularly those who work at the Varscona Theatre, The Next Act has some great burgers. I usually go with one of their rotating signature burgers, the Green Machine — it’s got guacamole, jalapenos and other tasty green things. The bacon Swiss is a good choice. The colourful burger names — the Executive Producer, the Critic — add to the appeal. The renowned Drama Queen veggie burger is so good even non-vegetarians will love it!

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