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Monday 11 March 2013

Saratoga Restaurant, Edmonton, AB - honest, down to earth Mom and Pop diner that's easy on the wallet!

Rating Service 9/10, Food 7.75/10
We’ve driven by this place for years, always wondering what type of food they served – and mainly missed it as its tricky to get to… if heading south, you have to take the 19th Ave exit and turn right onto the service road, or from the north, take 23rd Ave just west of Gateway/Calgary Trail.

Originally opened as a greasy spoon truck stop that evolved into a family diner, this mom and pop diner has changed hands over the years, and despite the new overpass making it trickier to find and get to, the parking lot is always jammed full of cars every time we drive past. So we finally dropped by one weekend when we were in the area a few weeks ago.

They had just celebrated their 55th anniversary, and the décor reflects it – it felt like you stepped back in time into a cozy little small town diner. The waitress was super friendly, and knew many of the customers by name, food preferences and "usual" tables. On to the food!

Most of the entrees came as a meal package – order an entrée and you usually get a soup or salad and dessert to boot. Soup of the day happened to be clam chowder. Loaded with diced veges, potatos and a good portion of canned clams – simple and hearty fare.

My boyfriend went with a breaded chicken cutlet with gravy fries and corn. The chicken breast was pounded flat and tender with a nice crisp breading that wasn’t too overly greasy. It was overcooked, but the packaged salty gravy added back in some moisture. Corn was canned, but you can tell it’s a family restaurant as it was a big serving of vegetables!

I was craving meaaaaat, so I ordered the 16oz charboiled T-bone steak. It was a bit heavy handed-ly seasoned with Montreal steak spice making it a tad on the salty side, but it was grilled to perfection, with great looking sear marks and a just the right amount of smokiness from the grill. It was served with thick slices of Texas garlic toast (yum!), and a scoop of bland mash potatos punched up with the same packaged gravy on my boyfriend’s entrée. I packed home 1/2 the steak meal cuz it was way too big to finish.

Saratoga caters to not only its senior and long standing clientele – they had a kids menu for the folks bringing their families in tow... Jello was on the dessert menu – which my boyfriend promptly ordered as he was quite full polishing off most of his meal, and jello’s a nice nostalgic treat you don't really see anywhere anymore except at Grandma's and the odd cafeteria.

I went with their rice pudding – with rice grains soft but still intact, slightly sweet and creamy with notes of vanilla, whipped cream... and liberally sprinkled with cinnamon. My boyfriend devoured most of the cinnamony parts lol!

Overall, this diner serves up simple but honest, down to earth fare that far exceeds expectations of the typical greasy spoon diner. Its also super nice on the wallet: tea, pop, two soups, 2 entrees, and 2 desserts with tip was just less than $50 for two! And a bonus of a super nice friendly waitress! Sadly, diners like Saratoga are a dying breed, and you don’t see them around too much anymore. Hopefully we’ll be seeing Saratoga around for years to come.  Will have to try their breakfasts next!

Saratoga Restaurant
Address 2610 Calgary Trail NW, Edmonton, AB T6J 56J
Phone 780-437-0071
Hours Opened daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Saratoga Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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