La Vita e Bella
I can’t believe I’ve never been to La Vita e Bella before! How come I’ve left it so long? Well, I’m glad I’ve made up for lost time as a lunch there decided me that I need to go back again and eat more of this beautifully prepared food! The Salmerino Alpino is a very generous dish of crusted arctic char (I love the crispy skin, always a sign a good restaurant when they the skin is perfectly crispy!), roasted fingerling potatoes (a fave of mine!) and asparagus, with a warm caper vinaigrette. Lunch or dinner, this is one winning dish!
Salmerino Alpino $30 at La Vita e Bella, 401 12 Ave SE, Calgary, 403-264-6046, lavitabella.ca
Market has been through a change of chefs, so we couldn’t wait to see if the food was still as good under the new regime – and you wouldn’t have known the difference! It says a lot about a place that the next generation of chefs are so totally competent! The hand-rolled Gnocchi Romano are in a Pecorino cream sauce, scattered with black pepper and shaved Parmesan – it’s true comfort food and so delicious that we nearly licked the plate! Ewe-Nique Farms lamb is braised in whey for the Lamb Agnolotti, and the plate is pretty as a picture, dressed with minted pea and mint ricotta. Everything is so good here that I could on forever, so you’re just going to have to try it for yourself. Don’t miss the very flavourful Seared Scallops with Creamed Corn and Toasted Milk Popcorn, and the Beef Sirloin that comes with Smashed Potatoes – and be a devil, splash out an extra $5 for the Crab Potatoes instead, Need I say more – CRAB POTAOTES!
Roni Zaide Takes over Café Koi on Saturdays and Sundays to offer an Eastern Mediterranean vegetarian brunch from 9 am to 2pm. We loved sharing two dishes – Shakshuka, which comes in a cast-iron pan where two eggs are poached in fresh tomato, onion and garlic, Bonus: it comes with labeneh, olives and pita too! And we also shared the Mezze Platter, where you can choose five of the eleven dishes – but for an extra $5 you can have them all – so guess what we did! This was a lovely change to heavy, fried breakfasts – very tasty, filling and healthy too!
Shashuka $16, Mezze Platter $15 at Roni’s Kitchen, Cafe Koi, 1011 1 St SW, Calgary, 403-401-3227, @RonisKitchenYYC
– eats courtesy of Linda Garson, editor-in-chief/publisher, @vineanddine
Spot on Kitchen & Bar
I love a good neighbourhood bar. And Trent Bochek’s Spot On Kitchen and Bar makes me envious of the Garrsion Green residents who have this great eatery within walking distance. Think delicious pub-style Canadian comfort food but kicked up a notch with fresh local ingredients and quality you’ve come to expect from its big sister 4th Spot. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good pun and cheeky menu names like Ain’t No Thing but a Chicken Wing, Saucy Balls and I would do Anything for Love…and This Meatloaf! The Burning Bee wings are perfectly breaded and coated in a spicy dry rub and drizzled with honey – hot and sweet. If you’re a poutine-lover who also has a thing for burgers, the Maple Canuck Burger might just be your dream come true — it’s a hearty handcrafted patty with maple barbecue sauce, maple peppered bacon with fried crispy onion strings complete with Quebec cheese curds and spicy mayo on ciabatta. Also, don’t forget to try the Hot Spot house hot sauce with whatever you order here!
– eat courtesy of Lynda Sea, Culinaire digital media editor, @lyndasea