Since the start of the Where to Workout series, I’ve often been asked if I would expand the series to include other categories, specifically food. You ask I’ll deliver. Welcome to the first installment of Where to Eat in Red Deer. While I’m no professional food critic or photographer, I will aim to give an unbiased look at what to expect at restaurants throughout the city and beyond. Enjoy!
Where to Eat in Red Deer
If you ask for a recommendation on where to eat in Red Deer, it’s a given Cilantro and Chive in Lacombe will be at the top of that list. Here’s what you can expect from Central Alberta’s most popular spot for local eats.
About Cilantro and Chive
A short drive north on the QEII takes you to the quaint town of Lacombe, home to the infamous Cilantro and Chive. Started first as a catering company, Cilantro and Chive opened its doors in Ponoka in 2012. In 2015, they moved into their new permanent location in the heart of historic Lacombe.
They’re dedicated to setting themselves apart through the use of locally sourced food and creative menu items. Not only that, they care a great deal about connecting with their customers and ensuring everyone is taken care of. Community is everything here. They’ve done an amazing job working with local charities on menu items, such as their burger of the month, where they partner with a local celebrity on a burger feature and donate a portion of proceeds to local charity. They have also partnered with Haylen’s Ice Cream Shop on their ice cream sandwich feature with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House.
The restaurant vibe is super chill with rustic, industrial decor. It’s the perfect setting for an afternoon snack with your family or a night out with friends. There’s a modest patio that fills up quick on hot summer days and board games to entertain on lazy weekends, making it a fun place to hang out for all ages. You’ll want to spend some time in the bathroom, the floor to ceiling gallery wall of fun pics and memes is one of my favourite parts.
Oh, and be sure to check out the bottom of your receipt when you’re done. They leave space for a daily doodle and the best ones are eligible to win a gift card each month. I mean really, can this place get any more fun?
About The Menu
Regardless if you’re looking to indulge in something sinfully delicious or just something simple and fresh, Cilantro and Chive have got it, from seasonal salads to mac and cheese topped caesars.
The restaurant is dedicated to supporting local, with ingredients sourced fresh from local producers to create a unique offering of dishes not found on a typical Central Alberta restaurant menu. You’ll see Scholing’s potatoes grown in Lacombe, bison from MSW farms, locally brewed beer used right in their recipes. With menu offerings changing through the seasons, there are always new and exciting items to try. I don’t think I’ve ordered the same thing twice, which says a lot about a girl who will stick to what she knows and loves. The menu is marked with gluten free and vegetarian options as well.
Of course, there’s something for the kiddos too. A whole kid-approved menu, including the craziest drink topped with candy!
Along with fresh eats, they also have an overwhelming drink menu. I’m talking pages and pages of craft beer selections, handcrafted cocktails and more. If you’re into craft beer, this is your place. You can even find pairing selections alongside various dishes on the menu to take your dining experience to a whole new level.
Chicken and Waffles: spicy hot suace marinated, deep fried chicken, in house-made waffles, tarragon maple syrup, icing sugar, green onion, sunny fried egg | Folding Mountain Three Seasons Honey Wheat Ale
Autumn Crunch Salad: house made beet goat cheese, mandarin oranges, cranberries, spiced nuts, celery, apple cider vinaigrette, tossed in arugula, grilled focaccia | Blindman Brewing Blindman River Session Ale
$$-$$$ – depending on how much beer you drink
What I Loved Most
I love the community focus and dedication to supporting local farmers and growers to provide a different dining experience than Central Alberta is used to. Food wise though, I can’t stop thinking about the chocolate mousse, topped with caramel popcorn and paired with a Bench Creek Brewing Veruca Salted Brownie Oatmeal Stout. #drool
Bernard Callebaut dark chocolate mouse cake topped with salted caramel popcorn, fresh blueberries, fresh whipped cream and mint (gluten friendly, no nuts) | Bench Creek Brewing Veruca Salted Brownie Oatmeal Stout
Huge thanks to Cilantro and Chive for inviting us in for a menu tasting with beer pairings. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting this little hobby of mine.