As an Edmontonian, let me tell you – there are TONS of things to do in Edmonton in winter, from ice castles, drive-through Christmas lights and ice sculpture events, Candy Cane lane and more. In this post, we are sharing our experience dining in a winter igloo at the Courtyard Riverside Bistro!
Winter Igloos in Courtyard Riverside bistro Edmonton
In winter the Courtyard Marriott Hotel sets up igloos in their patio area for diners to enjoy a very special dining experience. Although winter patios are a popular thing, the Courtyard Riverside Bistro only started this in the winter of 2019.
And this year in 2020, they opened for reservations in October.
About Riverside Bistro + Riverside Bistro Menu
Riverside Bistro is the restaurant located inside the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, overlooking the Edmonton river valley. The menu at the winter igloo and the bistro inside the hotel are the same.
You have options for drinks, starters, main course and desserts. Vegetarian and kids meal options are also available.
- Starters and appetizers starts at $8 CAD
- Cocktails start at $12 CAD
- Main course at $18 CAD
Parking is available right outside the hotel complex for $5 CAD.
READ: List of best places to eat in Edmonton all year round
About the Riverside Winter Igloos
There are 3 igloos in total at the Riverside Bistro. Each igloo can accommodate upto 6 guests. Reservations must be made for 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM or 7:00 PM seatings. Note that you are only allowed to spend 1.50 hours inside.
There is a minimum spend of $150 CAD (regardless of number of guests), and that includes $100 CAD food and drinks credit.
Inside the igloo, there is a heater that keeps the space warm and cozy. Once you leave, the entire space is sanitized for next seating.
Our experience: Review of Riverside bistro Edmonton
As soon as we stepped outside the hotel complex, the 3 colorful igloos with sparkling lights greeted us right away. We were there at 5:00 pm, and the river valley looked stunning under the night lights.
We were lucky, it wasn’t snowing that evening, although there was snow in and around the igloos. The inside of the igloo is very cozy, and comfortable. Because it is enclosed on all sides (with the heater on), you can enjoy a nice warm evening, even if the temperatures drop to minus double digits.
When we visited, the temperature was around – 10 degrees Celsius. And I was wearing a wool coat, and it felt comfortable.
What we loved most was the igloo itself and the lights/decorations. It just made for a unique experience in Edmonton. The lights were a perfect match to the ambience, and very private (hint: perfect for date nights in YEG or proposals!)
From the menu, we ordered some starters and drinks (as it was too early for dinner for us). If you prefer to dine, opt for the 07:00 pm seating (and you will be done by 8:30 pm ish).
We were out with friends, and were impressed by the delicious food offerings! Here is what we ordered – Sweet Potato Fries, Chicken Wings (Hot, and Honey Garlic), Wild Mushroom Bruschetta (this was my favorite!)
Other options from appetizers included Coconut Curry Poutine, Shrimp Gyoza, Beef Carpaccio. We also ended up ordering a plate of Fish and Chips to try out for dinners next time!
For drinks, you can order beer, wine, cocktails like Moscow Mule, Long Island Iced Tea, Vodka Lemonade, etc. They also had Irish Coffee, Bailey’s Hot chocolate, juices as drink options.
We were really happy with the food, and the service. The server (lady) checked upon us every 15 minutes or so, and closed the igloo entry upon leaving, so that we are warm and toasty inside. They did go above and beyond to make our visit memorable.
We have heard from friends where they booked a romantic dinner for two, and the server/host took good care of them by placing flowers, etc to make it extra special!
Overall, we highly recommend it, especially if you are in Edmonton in winter. There is a minimum spend of $150 CAD, but with the food that comes with it, plus the ambience it is totally worth it!
Food credit bill explained: To make reservations and enjoy the experience, a minimum spend of $150 CAD is required (for up to 6 people).
Out of the $150 CAD, $100 is a food credit. So your food order should be minimum of $100 (which is included in the $150) and anything additional will be billed on top of it (extra amount over $100 food bill). Our bill was $130 for starters and drinks, so it was $150 (minimum) + $30 (after using the $100 credit).
How to make reservations at the Riverside Bistro Edmonton in winter?
We called to book a reservation 2 weeks in advance. If you’re looking to make reservations, you can call at this number 780-423-9999, and choose Riverside Bistro as the option.
We highly recommend booking it as soon as possible. When I called 2 weeks ago, I couldn’t get a date for the same weekend (when we were available). Some of the dates in November were only available for 3:00 PM, which we didn’t want.
Plus last year they were all sold out a month in advance.
If you do visit the Igloos at the Riverside Bistro this winter, let us know your experience below!
Masks are mandatory at the hotel site. Every igloo/table/chairs are sanitized once guests leave.
Costs: $150 CAD, includes $100 food/drinks credit. Reservation for 1.50 hours
Address: Courtyard Marriott Downtown – 99 Street & Jasper Ave