Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Unwind with Wine: Moriarty’s Bistro & Wine Bar

I’m very happy to see that Edmonton is finally getting its wine bar groove on. Moriarty’s Bistro & Wine Bar and LIT Wine Bar (on Jasper Avenue and 104 Street) are joining the fray that already includes Bibo and TZiN. While LIT is still in the works, Moriarty’s opened at the end of December, and after the Winter Light gala at City Hall last week, Mack and I popped over to check it out.

Moriarty’s Bistro & Wine Bar

Moriarty’s is the third business in two years to occupy the space that used to house Ching’s Asian Dim Bar and Mimi’s (10162 100A Street), right across the street from Hundred. I hope the space isn’t cursed, because I do think downtown could use another place for a glass of wine, and Moriarty’s, at least from our first visit, is a great addition to the core.


Moriarty’s is owned by the same people who run Sherlock Holmes and the Rose & Crown, but you wouldn’t know it from the interior. The black and white colour scheme is sleek and elegant, with one wall lined with cozy white leather banquets (where we chose to sit). The plastic black chairs that made up the bulk of seating options didn’t look too comfortable, but they were aesthetically pleasing. I loved the oversized light fixtures, and large black mirrors on the walls.


Moriarty’s is the fourth establishment in Edmonton to install and utilize an Enomatic wine system (Vinomania, The Bothy and Hardware Grill are the others). The system allows wine to stay fresher longer, meaning wines served by the glass can be preserved for a longer period of time. We both selected a glass of wine from the Enomatic menu, with eight options to choose from. I won’t even pretend to be a wine connoisseur to say that I can taste the difference between a freshly opened bottle and one with a life lengthened by nitrogen gases, but I think the technology is neat.

We weren’t particularly hungry that day (having sampled some food at the gala), but opted to order something to share. The menu wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped for (particularly after our server told us the chef trained at the Hardware Grill), and consisted of pizza-like flatbreads, sandwiches, salads, and a handful of appetizers. We ended up with the leek and house-roasted ham French tart, recommended by our server.

The server told us the phyllo pastry was made in-house, which was a welcome surprise. Buttery, flaky and rich, it was definitely not an everyday dish, and accompanied with the crunchy shredded leeks and ham, it was wholly satisfying.

Leek and Ham French Tart

Being the only patrons that night had its pros and cons. Our food arrived in no time, but the lack of co-diners made our experience somewhat awkward. Our server was on top of us from the moment we walked in, but given his genuine nature and obvious desire to please, it was excusable. And if anything, his sincerity was much preferred to some of the more condescending service we’ve encountered in the city.

Best of luck to Moriarty’s – I hope to be back for a glass of wine after work soon!

Moriarty’s Bistro & Wine Bar
10162 100A Street
(780) 757-2005

  • As I was reading your post, I thought “Egads! Does Sherlock Holmes know that his arch-enemy and nemesis Moriarty has set up business in Edmonton?” So it was fun to read a bit further on that Moriarty’s is owned by the Sherlock Holmes Pub people. I guess that mystery is . . . yes, I’m going to say it . . . “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

  • Nate

    Great space. Wonder if those are real Kartell chairs? Walked by there several times and it’s still empty, but I trust it will pick up. They could really use having a proper/accessible website (or am I just Google inept?). An aside, Nikita’s was in the Kelly-Ramsey block, beside Praha.

  • I wonder if, perhaps, the “curse” of that space is the fact that it’s right next door to the very popular Sherlock Holmes. Whatever is occupying that space is, in my experience, mostly empty; meanwhile, next door, the Sherlock is hopping.

    That Moriarty’s is owned by the Sherlock Holmes people might help to shake the curse, but the fact that you were the only patrons in the place on the night that you visited isn’t a good sign. Ironically, Moriarty’s might find itself in competition with a member of it’s own family.

    Then again, one assumes that Sherlock and Moriarty’s are going after too different demographics. And 100 has been quite successful, despite sharing Rice Howard Way with Sherlock Holmes.

  • Debra – I have obviously never read Sherlock Holmes, because I didn’t catch that connection. Thanks for pointing it out though!

    Nate – you’re right, I was thinking of Mimi’s, not Nikita’s. I also couldn’t find a website…

    Adam – I do hope business picks up for the too. It’s only been open for a few weeks though, so I’m optimistic.

  • Bob Macdonald

    Mgmt. is aware of the web-site issue. Apparently you can access it via the http://www.edmontonpubs.com web-site that covers off the Sherlock Holmes’ locations, the Rose & Crown and Devaney’s.

    That might be the case but I could not find the connection….that may just be the absence of enough morning coffee and is indicative of my lack of “sleuthing” ability.

    On a sad note, Ennio who I think was the designer of Moriarty’s and a number of the Sorrentino’s properties apparently passed away on the week-end. At least that is what I noted in the obituaries of the Sun yesterday. A nice fellow and obviously talented. Such a shame.

  • Hello everyone! Thank you for your comments and feedback. We are happy to announce that our website will be updated in the next few weeks. Admittedly we were anxious to open and hadn’t the time to get all of our other ducks in a row! I am happy to see that there are some Sherlock Holmes fans out there – and yes we are very aware of the connection to Moriarty’s and love the mystery of it all. I want to answer the question about the Kartell chairs. You are very correct Nate – those are Kartell chairs! Enio Di Filippo designed our space and as Bob pointed out, sadly Enio passed away within days of opening. Moriarty’s was his last project. Enio was a talented designer and a wonderful human being. Enio was given full rein on this project as he wanted to do a restaurant in “all white” and we were happy to get out of his way. The result is an elegant, beautiful room, without pretention. We have had what we in the industry refer to as a “soft opening” without a lot of fanfare. This is to give our staff time to put processes into place and also to give our Chef time to try out new recipes and to create new menu items. We are pleased with the results and have updated our menu as of tomorrow to suite our customers wishes. Moriarty’s is becoming busier each day and we are hoping for a successful future. We are aware that the space was seemingly unattractive in the past and are hopeful that the effort and love we have put into this space will please our customers!

  • Thanks for your comments, Bob and Roxanne. I love the interior, and am sorry to hear the designer has since passed – it is a fresh space that Edmonton’s downtown needed.

    Best of luck with Moriarty’s, Roxanne!

  • Rob M

    Sherlock Holmes is a pub and 100 focuses on cocktail/wine culture and different foods. Therefore, they aren’t in direct competition.
    Moriarty’s will be competing with 100, not S.H.
    Hope it goes well. Our city centre could still use many shots in the arm.

  • Mary

    Went to Moriarty’s this Wednesday, loved the decor and the service was excellent.
    Had a disappointing experience with the Chorizo flat-bread, pastry was not made in house as previously described, ‘chorizo’ was not chorizo was a sausage with very little flavor and quite dry, and the onions were piled high all over leaving the pastry soggy. In saying this the Server was very understanding and did mention that the head chef was not in that evening.
    Decided to give it another go on Friday for the Edmonton dining week. It was excellent and a great experience overall. I think Moriarty’s is the perfect spot for a date night and the food is starting to hit its stride. You can tell that the chef is still playing around in the kitchen and figuring out what works and what does not. I will go back.

  • Thanks for the comment Mary! Too bad the chef’s absence led to a poor experience, but I’m glad to hear your second dinner went better. I’ll have to return again soon as well.

  • angela

    Went last Saturday…Decor was nice, food was somewhat tasty… but beyond that the service was bad, there were missing menu items the wine was served warm and the meals varied from scalding to cold.

    Let me explain. The server was not responsive to the time… a little to quick to ask for orders and then disappeared for almost 15 minutes… could be a sign of not enough staff? Then we were told there were menu items unavailable. Not that it was her fault, but when did it happen? Should of been the first thing she told us when she got back.

    The red wine was warm. The comment was where the wine was stored (above the bar)… hmmm maybe it shouldn’t be stored there are you should have a wine storage that doesn’t compromise the quality of the wine. (red wine should be served at temperatures between 16-18C and storage between 10-16C)

    Some of the food was good. The beet chips and the candied bacon were great starters. But the entrees were merely mediocre. And it doesn’t help that one meal was cold. Two were lukewarm and one .. the plate was scalding… desert was good… of course their signature dessert and one other one were both unavailable… the rest of the sweet dishes only have pear. Not some peoples favorite.

    I think they have a lot of work if they intend to be viable competition to the more established wine bars in the city.

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