Browns Socialhouse

Calgary now has two Browns Socialhouses – the brand new one in Mount Royal Village and one on Elbow Drive in Britannia. We really enjoyed our brunch in Mount Royal recently; the Eggs Benny with goat cheese and prosciutto has a lovely tang to it and a really good home-made Hollandaise sauce, and this Biltmore Pizza with pesto, feta, shrimp, sundried tomato, jalapeno white sauce is has a great kick to it! Bonus when you discover that all pizzas are only $10 on Sundays and Mondays – and if you need, they have gluten-free options too!

Browns Socialhouse, 140-880 16th Ave SW, Calgary, 403-455-8158, brownssocialhouse.com/mount-royal, @BrownsSocialize

Sugo Italia

I’d been looking forward to revisiting Sugo after their recent refurbishment, and happy that there were three of us so we could try lots of different dishes! House-made grilled Provolone oozes over spicy tomato sauce, with spicy greens on top – one of those dishes to savour slowly and love every bite. Risotto comes loaded with side stripe shrimp, corn, kale, saffron, and enough chilli to give it a lovely warmth – so comforting on a cold January day! Penne has beef short rib in a Bolognese sauce, and a surprisingly spicy kick to it, which is perfect for my taste, and the Spaghetti Carbonara completed the hat-trick of addictive comfort food mains, with basted egg, guanciale, pecorino romano, and a prosciutto crisp – an impressive presentation and a taste to match. I’ll be back!

Grilled Provolone $15, Penne $19, Risotto $21, Spaghetti Carbonara $18 at Sugo Italia 1214 ~ 9th Ave SE, Calgary, 403-263-1115, sugo.ca, @sugocaffe

Vendome Café

It’s been a while since I ate at Vendome Café, so I was glad to have opportunity for lunch there recently. This is a popular neighbourhood spot, and I really enjoyed watching the dishes come to other tables, mentally noting them for my next visit. Butternut Squash Velouté is a staple here, you can order a cup or a bowl and I’m guessing, like me, you’ll wipe the dish with the thick and tasty grilled bread that accompanies it. The Beet and Farro Salad is a very generous serving, and you’ll be glad! It’s loaded with golden and red beet chunks, with Fairwinds Farm chèvre, orange, red onion and honey balsamic. Yum, two lip-licking dishes that made for a great lunch.

Butternut Squash Velouté cup $4, bole $7, Beet and Farro Salad $12 at Vendome Café, 940 2nd Avenue NW, Calgary, 403-453-1140, vendomecafe.com, @VendomeCafe

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