Two downtown Edmonton restaurants are being called two of the best in the country, according to a special issue of Maclean’s Magazine.

The magazine has just released a special issue featuring the Top 50 best restaurants in Canada and Edmonton’s Tres Carnales and Corso 32 both make the list.

“Our jaws dropped to the ground,” said Tres Carnales co-owner Daniel Braun.

“This is amazing. We’re ecstatic. It’s huge. It’s the biggest thing that’s happened to us.”

“I felt honoured and excited,” said Daniel Costa with Corso 32. “All of our hard work is paying off. We’re being recognized nation-wide and it means a lot.”

Corso 32 has been open for just under two years and Costa says the vision has remained the same – which might be a reason why diners keep coming back.

“We haven’t compromised our vision. We’ve kept it small. Everybody sits nice and close. We do our food with all of the passion that we have in our heart and it’s the same staff that I’ve had since Day 1 in the kitchen. We’ve just slowly worked towards improving the food as much as we can and it’s paid off.”

Tres Carnales has been open for about a year and a half and Braun believes the liveliness of the Taqueira helped cinch the spot in the Top 50 list.

“It’s a very lively place, the music, the colours, the people who work here – big smiles, we try to really make people happy. We try to project that to everybody who comes here,” he said.

“This is kind of the big cherry on the cake to solidify everything that we believed in and show everybody what we’re all about.”

The project was edited by Maclean’s food columnist Jacob Richler who worked with a few “hand-picked reviewers” across the country.

Liza Cooperman with Maclean’s says the list tried to represent restaurants with varying price points and looked at the overall experience of a restaurant.

“They (customers) of course want good food but they want to feel special and have good service and feel like their money is being well-spent so our reviews are much more broad in the sense that they tackle more than just the food, it’s the whole dining experience,” Cooperman said.

“We were just looking for the best of what is out there these days in all categories. We tried to represent all price points and the idea is to be accessible for anyone looking for a particular type of cuisine at any price point.”

Cooperman says young chefs in Edmonton are trying new things and helping the local food scene grow.

“Edmonton in particular is definitely growing and emerging on that scene and we’re seeing interesting young chefs who are trying new things. I think we’re seeing a lot of growth there,” Cooperman said.

“What we found in the Prairies generally is that the food scene is improving drastically. Once upon a time there weren’t a lot of diverse options in the Prairies and now we see that is changing.”

Costa and Braun agree.

“I think our food scene is growing rapidly and there are a lot of exciting places that are opening up,” Costa said.

“I think there’s tremendous potential. We know of a lot of great restauranteurs in the area and they’re doing fantastic things and I think they’ll be recognized more and more as we move forward,” Braun said.

Five restaurants from Calgary also made the list.

The special issue is already out on some newsstands and is expected to be available across the country by Monday. It will become an annual feature.

With files from Sonia Sunger