Highlands Golf Club Dining Room/Spike Lounge
6603 Ada Boulevard
Reservations by phone
no listed delivery
Open to the public 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until late fall
Dinner for two, excluding tips, taxes and beverages: Basic, $25; Loaded, $50
Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns
Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns
Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns
By GRAHAM HICKS
Pssst. I’m letting you in on an Edmonton dining-out secret.
The best food in the city, taking into account quality, variety, price and view, is at The Highlands Golf Club Dining Room.
The list of restaurants with scenic river valley views is distressingly short. Downtown are the Chateau Lacombe’s La Ronde, the Hotel Macdonald patio, the Courtyard by Marriot Riverside Bistro (where the food/service is mediocre at best), and a partial view from The Butternut Tree.
On the South Side are some tables at The High Level Diner and the Fumaca Brazilian Steakhouse on Saskatchewan Drive.
That’s about it … except for the Highlands Golf Club dining room and lounge.
East of the Capilano Bridge, perched on the riverbank below Ada Boulevard, the Highlands Golf Club has a commanding view of the valley park and the golf course itself.
The golf course is members-only, but the dining room and lounge are open to the public, seven days a week from daybreak to sunset through the golfing season.
Other than La Ronde, there’s no better river valley view than from this spacious, casual but classy dining room.
Food-wise, chef Vikram Redgaonkar has created a most intelligent menu that satisfies the post-golfer’s need for wings, sliders and fries, takes care of the meat ‘n’ potatoes dining crowd with a range of burgers, sandwiches and steaks AND includes possibilities (unusual salads, bao buns, Asian bowls) for the more discerning foodie gang.
With four of us gathered for dinner, somebody was going to order a burger. In this case, it was a first-rate bison burger – a generous, moist, well-seasoned bison patty topped with everything from melted cheese to onion rings, stuffed into a toasted bun with superb sweet potato fries.
The thin, crispy mushroom flatbread was succulent, rich and fresh-as-a-daisy with fine toppings — sautéed wild mushrooms, tomato, crumbled feta and, the crowning touch, lettuce leavened with truffle oil.
The seafood roll was a thing of beauty. The billowy torpedo roll was filled with a crab/shrimp/aioli mix and an inspired addition of fried oysters.
The fried chicken had been buttermilk-marinated, then dipped in bread crumbs before frying. The plate’s magic lay in combining chicken, biscuit and a rich, flavour-powerful gravy on each forkful.
The beet salad was a winner — cooled beets on arugula with feta and candied walnuts was given a delicate summer character thanks to a honey lemon dressing.
Through dinner, we had fun watching the golfers below react to their final shots of the day.
The prices are a bargain. Our bill for four (minus beverages and tip), with a group appetizer and dessert, a large salad and three entrees came to $85.
The Highlands Club dining room is an all-purpose, classy restaurant, easy on the wallet, with a great view, open to the public seven days a week. It’s perfect for a family outing, a romantic date or a BBQ special on the patio.
This secret should be front-page news.
• Sabor, renowned for its fish, kicked off its August-long Seafood Festival with a reception featuring stand-up food stations manned by suppliers. Great to learn fish-cooking tips from Effing Seafood’s Rob Tryon and from Lauren and Johnny Proano of Wild Game Consultants. Info on the Seafood Festival events and specials at sabor.ca.
• Coming soon is a fourth version of Sabor’s wildly popular offspring, Bodega Tapas & Wine Bars. This one will be in St. Albert.
• Don’t forget the always fun – except in downpours – Taste of Edmonton Festival, July 18 to 28 at Capital Plaza, 99 Avenue and 108 Street.
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