Cozy Retreat: The Bothy

I met up with Annie last Thursday after work at Southgate for some light shopping. For dinner, we thought it would be a great opportunity to finally visit The Bothy nearby, a place I have meant to try since it opened back in December, and that Annie had heard about recently on CBC.

The Bothy occupies the end unit of a strip mall just off Calgary Trail. In spite of its vehicle environs, the décor inside does wonders to transport patrons to another world, one filled with share plates and fine spirits.

I loved the interior. From the kitschy signs (“wine is bottled poetry”) to the warm-coloured walls, painted in autumnal yellows and reds, to the lounge-inducing leather chairs, I felt instantly welcome and comfortable. The music that night skewed in the direction of jazz, the ideal backdrop to float the evening away in a swell of conversation and food. My only misgiving about the cozy space was the two mounted television screens. Last year, Todd Babiak wondered why many bars felt the need for streaming electronic entertainment, and particularly with The Bothy, and its feel as a gathering place, why the televisions are necessary at all.


The food menu wasn’t large (especially when juxtaposed with the liquor menu), two pages featuring plenty of nibbles, cheese and charcuterie options, and some hot fare. It took some willpower not to order two of everything from the cheese and charcuterie selections, but I figured some room should be saved for dessert.

Loved the detailed description of the wine offerings

I had chosen the chicken and leek pie, as the savoury pies were the sous chef’s specialty. I was not disappointed. The flaky, buttery pastry was perfection, a crust that simply melted into the velvety filling of tender chicken, softened leeks and white wine and cream gravy. I was saddened with every bite, as it meant I was that much closer to finishing an absolutely enjoyable dish. The accompanying tomato and cream soup hit the spot as well, tangy and satisfying, particularly because I had been craving tomato soup for a few days.

Chicken & leek pie

Annie took the plunge with The Bothy’s haggis, something neither of us had tried before. I think we were expecting a plate that resembled a B-rate horror movie, so found the dish that arrived relatively benign. She said that it tasted like a fattier, more sumptuous version of ground pork, with a texture that paired with the underlying mashed potatoes very well.

Haggis with tatties (mashed potatoes) and neeps (turnips)

Service was stellar, though I’m certain we didn’t take full advantage of the server’s expertise. When we arrived at the final course, the server had remembered Annie’s brief mention at the beginning of our meal that she was thinking of ordering a dessert wine. As such, the server recommended a pairing with the apple pie we had selecting. Annie said the Moscato d’Asti was a great suggestion.

As for the apple pie? It was a tiny dessert that packed a big punch. After my entrée, I was already familiar with the kitchen’s deftness with pastry, but the filling – wonderfully spiced, it’s a pie made for dwindling summer nights as the season rolls into fall, and for cold winter nights, when sustenance is best in the form of sweet remembrances from warmer days.

Mini apple pie with Hercule De Charlevoix

As darkness fell, the ambiance of The Bothy deepened and matured, with tabletop candles flickering light and shadow. Though we probably would have liked to stay on, weeknight obligations beckoned, and we reluctantly exited the freeway retreat.

The Bothy after dark

I’m so glad I was finally able to try The Bothy. It is a fantastic addition to Edmonton’s dining scene, and one I hope to frequent again soon.

The Bothy
5482 Calgary Trail
(780) 761-1761
Sunday & Tuesday 5pm – close, Wednesday-Saturday 11:30am – close, closed Mondays

9 thoughts on “Cozy Retreat: The Bothy

  1. I’m with you about TV sets in bars/restaurants. But I think they act as security blankets for people who would feel completely lost without a TV screen nearby.

  2. I’m so excited to check out all those lovely single malts on the list at The Bothy, not to mention the (Enomatic) wine list! However that TV thing is a little disheartening…I guess they included them since they are going for a “lounge” feel, and TVs are an unfortunate staple of most lounges.

  3. I love this place…
    if you happen to sit at the Bar on a night when Andrew is working, you can learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about wine/whisky and anything in between. He’s absolutely amazing to chat with. He makes the whole experience worthwhile, well, next to the food and drink!
    I agree about the tv’s but most of the time there’s only one of them on, and it’s more as a security thing for guys than anything. 🙂 I could do without them though.
    Glad you enjoyed one of our favourite hangouts.

  4. Elizabeth – he might have been working, but as you can see from our photo vantage point, we sat a one of the tables along the wall :). Thanks for the tip though!

  5. I love, love, LOVE the Bothy. And sitting at the bar and talking to Andrew is amazing. My friends and I got a massive education on scotch one night, when we sat at the bar (we later moved to a free table, but Andrew continued to take care of us, even though we were no longer at the bar).

    I’m with you on the TVs, though. They are completely unnecessary in a place as rich in atmosphere as the Bothy. (And, really, unless the place is a sports bar, they’re unnecessary just about everywhere.)

  6. So glad you liked the Bothy Sharon! I can’t wait to get back there. My mouth is watering just reading about it. I know you like cheese and charcuterie, so next time you should be sure to indulge in that.

  7. Isabelle – I have to take Mack there, and as he loves charcuterie and cheese as much as I do, I figured we could indulge in a platter together. Maybe their patio will be open the next time we swing by!

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