Open daily at 9802 Jasper Avenue. Call 780-429-0701 for reservations.

Angel Hair Sergio/Rigolettos Cafe
Ryan Jesperson/Glenn Cook

When Avenue asked Top 40 Under 40 alumnus, former Breakfast Television and current 630 CHED host Ryan Jespersen to nominate his favourite dish in Edmonton, he mulled it over for quite a while. In the end, though, he couldn’t get away from the first dish that popped into his head: the Angel Hair Sergio at Rigoletto’s Cafe.

“From the moment I met [chef] Sergio Turlione, I was struck by his simple, casual, no frills, from-scratch approach to classic Italian cuisine. We’ve had some special nights at Rigoletto’s Cafe,” Jespersen says, referring to wife Kari Skelton, co-host of The Wake Up! Show on Up! 99.3.

The dish is comprised of a spicy blackened chicken breast served atop angel hair pasta, with roasted red peppers and a light sauce made with garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

“Rigoletto’s Cafe doesn’t see much time in the spotlight when it comes to Edmonton’s Italian restaurants — several of them are within a five-block radius — but the quality of the food there belongs on the short list,” Jespersen says. “It’s one of Edmonton’s best-kept downtown dining secrets.” >

The Steak of all Steaks/Rigoletto’s Cafe
Jason Fong, Undercover Gourmet

We have all had a good steak. Face it, the “I love Alberta Beef” rings true in all of us, but what sets apart a good steak from a great steak?

Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Bronzed Rib Eye Steak at Rigoletto’s Café. Rigoletto’s steps outside the norm by thinking outside the box, and stepping into a bigger box filled with flavour. There is no teriyaki sauce, sage butter, or garlic butter here my friends. Most places give you the same generic tastes governed slightly different from where the cow was born, raised, or fed. This is all cancelled out when the steak is rubbed down with Montreal steak spice and grilled to your liking. But wait, it gets even better! The marinated rib eye steak that is seared on the grill to your liking is coated with an amazing honey jalapeño butter sauce. The sauce is not overly spicy as the jalapeños are balanced by the honey  to mellow the heat. While grilling, the sugars in the marinade caramelize into a sweet glaze enveloping the rib eye as the fat renders all around and crisps around the edges nicely. Add pan-fried potato gnocchi and tender crisp veggies and you have yourself a real steak dinner. The gnocchi, I would recommend an extra side order of to dip the sauce your steak leaves behind. As you cut into your first bite of steak it is tender to the touch. As this bite makes contact with your tongue the fat and sugars sizzle and melt into a delicious blend of happiness that evolves with every chew. As the tender bits of morsel pass, you are left with a bit of heat from the sauce which sets off the brain to repeat this process. When you awake from this temporary food stupor you realize the steak is gone, the vegetables are gone, and all that remain of your gnocchi are bits of parmesan cheese and chives.

If you must make a steak your last, make it this one. Pair it with the Italian Chianti and enjoy thoroughly.

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