Optimistically Cautious

Friday, November 24, 2006

High Level Diner

A friend and I had supper at High Level Diner (10912-88 Avenue) last night. I had previously sampled their daytime fare, but this was my first dinner visit.

The Diner is located near the University of Alberta campus, just off the busy 109 thoroughfare, so parking can be an issue. Luckily, as we pulled in, there were a few curbside spaces free. We expected a thin crowd, as the temperature was easily twenty below. To our surprise, the restaurant was nearly full.

The dining room was dimly lit, furnished with aged wooden tables and chairs. Paintings by local artists adorned the walls, available for customer perusal and purchase. It was evident that there was a lot of care behind the restaurant as many personal touches were observed, such as the vase of real flowers in the bathroom. Overall, the decor evoked a warm and inviting atmosphere.

The evening menu boasted ethnic-inspired diner favorites, seemingly more creative and unique than the comparable Blue Plate Diner. I would name sample dishes, but as my memory is shoddy, and there is no website to refer to, I will abandon specifics in this case. I opted for the Ural Burger (lean ground beef patty, lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar and sprouts on a whole wheat bun) with fries while my friend ordered the daily special (which for that night was pan-fried shrimp, spinach, and mushrooms tossed with fettuccine in a cream sauce).

Our food arrived in no time, although we were in no rush, enjoying the air that buzzed with tones of hushed conversation. My friend said the pasta was disappointing - not bad, but uninspired, and easily surpassed by our favorite pasta hangout, Olive Garden. The burger was generously sized, but a tad too greasy for my taste, and I found the sprouts actually overpowered all other toppings. The fries were homemade from whole potatoes, so naturally, they had less shape and crunch than those made and processed from potato flour. Still, the thinner slices tasted best, crispy and reminiscent of fried potato skins.

With exceptionally friendly servers, comfort food and ambiance typically found only in intimate coffee shops, High Level Diner is a great place to have dinner and catch up with friends.

Table with a view - "Untitled" painting and twinkle lights

Daily special pasta dish

Ural Burger

Table with a view deux - we let the car warm up as long as we could!


Blogger betty said...

isn't it nice that the owner of this building chose to sell to his long time lesees that to developers who want to put condos here....Such things are really rare...

January 21, 2008 at 11:05 PM  

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