E-Spot/ Bistro India

Up against dozens of like-minded eateries scattered throughout Edmonton, Bistro India manages to distinguish itself by focusing on a region overlooked by all the rest


"THERE are 46 other Indian restaurants in Edmonton, and all of them specialize in Punjabi dishes." I'm paraphrasing here, but that's pretty much what the guy told us after we settled our bill at Bistro India, apparently the only Indian eatery in town with authentic South Indian delicacies on the menu.

Bistro India is Edmonton's only restaurant that
specializes in eats from the South Indian region.
The funny thing is we only came for drinks. Okay, so it's not that funny, but it's true. My buddy and I had stumbled past this incognito den after a night of wings 'n' rum on Jasper Ave. We insisted on stopping in at some point, as part of our haphazard mission to wet our whistles at each and every "pub" in town. Talk about aspirations!

Back to the Bistro. If not for the cavalier signage and casual lighting, we'd have never known this place even existed, virtually camouflaged amongst the just-off-Jasper residences. We parked in the cosy lot and walked up the steps of this century-old historic building in the downtown. It was nothing like I would've imagined, had I had a pre-existing mental picture.

A surprisingly trendy backlit bar greeted us at the door, flaunting its selection of liquors and liqueurs. A server took the two of us to a table for four, busied with ready-to-use cutlery, wine & water glasses, and patiently-folded cloth napkins resting on shiny white plates. In fact, there was almost no room to scour the reasonably-priced menu of South Indian dishes, as well as fusion options like baked salmon, the Tikka burger, and their ginger & yogurt-marinated rack of lamb.

"Bistro India was borne from a passion to bring South India and Indian fusion flavours to Edmonton's dining scene," reads the bistro's web page. "Edmonton's vast array of popular North Indian (Mughal style) restaurants reflect the flavours of only a single region in India. Bistro India is on a mission to popularize South Indian food in Edmonton."

Unfortunately, we ate already, so passed on the tempting (& slightly intimidating) cuisine and its "sophisticated and subtle use of spices, herbs and flavourings," and went straight for the booze. I ordered a rum & Coke (big surprise!), and my buddy spontied it up (ask me what that means) and asked for a bottle of Tusker beer, a brew imported from Kenya. No complaints.

If you're too chicken shit to snack on authentic Indian food,
then the Bistro offers fusion options as well, such as spiced jumbo
prawns and baked butterfly lobster tail.
Before we even finished our solo drinks, we were left the only patrons in the upscale dining room, though messy'd tabletops hinted that we had arrived just shortly after a crowd of diners had departed. That at least told us that this year-old eatery wasn't neglected by hungry Edmontonians who could just as easily spend their dollars in any of the dozens of other, less unapparent Indian spots.

It was less than half an hour before close (11AM-10PM seven days a week) when the owner, an architect by day, came to say hi. He briefed us on his unique, magnifique Indian food boutique, answered any questions we had, and then continued to take us on a tour of the second floor, where you could book private functions (780-482-1700) or indulge in live dosa cooking. Don't ask me what that is.

We thanked the gentleman for his time and courtesy, and insisted we'd be back...for the food next time. If you'd like to check out Bistro India for yourself, enter 10203-116 St. in your GPS device, and don't be afraid to sample their eclectic menu. Oh, and they deliver, too!

The Deets:
:Address/ 10203-116 St.
:Phone/ 780-482-1700
:Hours/ 11AM-10PM (Mon-Sun)
:Email/ bistroindia2010@gmail.com


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