Back to main blog

Food, Friends & Family - Discovering Authentic Italian Cuisine in the YYC

by The Six Foot Canasian


SFC_Italian03

Don't let my six foot Canasian appearance fool you ... I'm pretty sure I was Italian in a previous life! I can't live without pasta (and can do without rice), I talk with my hands (A LOT), family is pretty important to me, I will drive across the city for a well-made, handcrafted cappuccino, and I have a secret obsession with fashion (although I spend 80 percent of my time in Lululemons and sweatpants). And, when the weather gets chilly or I seek comfort and solace, I crave authentic Italian food!

When I found myself on the Nike Pro European Tour, as a last-minute addition nearly 20 years ago, I had no idea the impact my travels throughout Italy would have on me. To this day, I remember the people, their faces, their friendliness, acts of kindness, genuine smiles and laughter ... and the delicious food that I found on every street corner. Across the Atlantic Ocean, I found the same beautifully crafted food in two cities I lived in, New York and Chicago. With large Italian immigrant communities in both cities, I experienced the tradition of Italian recipes (passed down from grandma Nonna, herself) on plates served before me. The dishes are so simple, with just a handful of carefully selected ingredients, and flavours nurtured by hours of preparation and care, to create a comforting and unforgettable experience that hits all five senses when sitting around the dinner table.

When I moved back to Calgary, I didn't expect to find the same quality and tradition at local eateries in the city ... BUT I DID! Below is a list of my favourite Italian restaurants here in Calgary and why you should make the effort to visit them when you need a welcoming plate of goodness to share with loved ones:

  1. Chianti Cafe & Restaurant
  2. Cinquecento Cucina
  3. Double Zero Pizza
  4. Mercato
  5. La Pulcinella
  6. PZA Parlour

CHIANTI CAFE & RESTAURANT

With four locations here in Calgary (Crowfoot, Willow Park, 32nd Avenue NE, and 17 Avenue SW), Chianti Cafe has a sentimental place in my heart. As a varsity athlete at the University of Alberta (in Edmonton), "Chianti's on Whyte Ave." was my favourite restaurant for pregame meals when we played in our home gym. The staff always treated us like family, kept a never ending basket of fresh rolls at our table, and introduced me to fresh made pasta and a wide variety of homemade sauces. Back then, my "GO TO" was the Insalata Mista and Fettuccini Alfredo. Now that I can enjoy my meal with a nice glass of Malbec, my favourites have evolved and include:

  • Appetizers: Zucchini Fritti (breaded zucchini) and Zuppa Di Cipolla (baked onion soup)
  • Mains: Ciopino Al Chianti and the Modigliani
  • Miscellaneous: Chocolate Mousse

For more information, visit www.chianticafe.ca.

CINQUECENTO CUCINA

Located in Inglewood, at the corner of 9th Avenue SE and 9th Street SE, Cinquecento (which means "500" in Italian) Cucina reminds me the restaurants I would wander into in the trendy areas of Rome. Known for their award-winning pizza, it's the perfect place to meet up with friends for a few drinks on the patio during on a hot summer's day and the ideal destination for large gatherings and celebrations where guests can enjoy a welcoming environment where conversation, laughter and hand gestures are highly encouraged. In addition, with a sexy ambiance and live music every Saturday, it's also a great spot for a special "date night" and a table for two. Chefs Gennaro Silvestri and Rocco Bartolotti are magicians in the kitchen as the food is as delicious as it is beautiful! You can taste the freshness of the dough and sauces made daily in every bite ... and I haven't been disappointed with anything I've ordered on their menu! My favourites include:

  • Appetizers: Prawns (sauteed in Sambucca) and Roast Beets
  • Mains: Gnocchi (tomato sauce and basil) and Quattro Stagioni pizza
  • Miscellaneous: Tiramisu (dessert) and the Italian Sunset (cocktail)

For more information, visit www.500cucina.com.

DOUBLE ZERO PIZZA

When I first moved back to Calgary I lived a five minute walk from Chinook Mall and found the best Happy Hour in the city at Double Zero Pizza! From 3:00pm to 6:00pm, Monday to Friday, you can get half-sized appetizers (a decent portion), beer in bottles, cans and on tap, and glasses of wine (select varieties) for five dollars each! I would bring my laptop, tap into the Wi-Fi, do some work and enjoy a deliciously filling lunch for under 25 dollars! Even though I've moved far south from the Chinook location it hasn't deterred me from meeting up with friends for food, festivities and ... SHOPPING! At both Double Zero locations (Chinook and in the Downtown Core) you can try some of my favourite things on the menu:

  • Happy Hour Menu: Calamari, Marinated Local Beets, and Pickled Mussels
  • Appetizers: Mushroom Crosta, Risotto Fritti, and Warm Brussels Sprouts
  • Mains: Linguine Carbonara and Formaggio Finale Pizza (the dough is chewy and flavourful and the honey takes it over the top)
  • Miscellaneous: Chocolate Torta and Sicilian Cannoli 

For more information, visit www.doublezeropizza.ca.

MERCATO

With a rich history here in the city, Mercato has been providing Calgarians with quality Italian foods for over 20 years. Recently expanded to two locations (one in Mission and the other in West Springs), Mercato offers an Italian market and restaurant under one roof. The market makes it easy for Calgarians to find authentic deli items (imported meats and cheeses), hard to to find Italian produce and dried/canned goods (dried pasta, extra virgin olive oil, truffle oils, and jarred tomatoes), handmade pastas made fresh daily, and ready to "heat and eat" meals packed daily and made from quality ingredients (and a whole lotta love). The restaurant side, with direct access to all these amazing ingredients, offers dishes made from recipes with generations of tradition. With "family style" portion sizes and a traditional group experience, be sure to visit Mercato with a group of good friends for an enjoyable evening. Here are a few of my favourites to include in your order:

  • Appetizers: Bruschetta and Cozze (steamed muscles with saffron and fennel)
  • Mains: Risotto (perfectly seasoned and masterfully prepared with squash puree and pistachios), Papardelle (with mushrooms and sweet peas), and Tonno (grilled yellowfin tuna with fresh herbs)
  • Miscellaneous: Cavolini (carmelized brussels sprouts), Fagiolini (green beans with shallots), and the Cappuccino (which is masterfully prepared and the perfect finish to any meal)

For more information, visit www.mercatogourmet.com.

LA PULCINELLA

What you may not realize when you walk into La Pulcinella, located in the heart of Kensington, is that there are decades of family history behind the restaurant's modern Italian look and feel. Famous for his authentic Napoletana pizza, Chef Domenic Tudda "literally" feels at home at La Pulcinella, which shares the same address as the kitchen he grew up in (where his father, Joe Tudda, opened the original Stromboli Inn back in the 1970s). This modern take on an Italian restaurant and bar is quaint, casual, and intimate ... with incredible food that keeps you coming back for more! And the pizza is truly an experience worth the trip alone ... true to Napolitana tradition with a fresh made dough and a crust that literally melts in your mouth! But ... the menu is more than just his famous pizza, with antipasti and appetizers for sharing, fresh pasta and gnocchi paired with homemade sauces, and delectable desserts!

When I first came to La Pulcinella, I was welcomed to a beautifully planned "presso fisso" (fixed price) menu with crispy mushroom agnolotti, buttery and beautifully prepared white fish, and the most incredible Walnut and Honey Gelato to finish. It made me wish I didn't live SO FAR AWAY from Kensington ... otherwise I would work my way through EVERY handmade flavour of gelato in the display case (sigh)! For now, these are  handful of my favourites from the menu:

  • Appetizers: Antipasto Classico (cold cuts and cheeses), Caprese Salad (with imported Burrata cheese, shipped in daily), and Tempura Di Parmigiano (parmesan cheese, tempura batter and balsamic reduction)
  • Mains: Prosciutto E Rucola Napoletana Pizza (prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, arugula, parmigiano, and basil) and the Pappardelle Di Bosco (with wild mushrooms)
  • Miscellaneous: Homemade Gelato (by Domenic) - Nutella, tiramisu, and walnut (with honey)

For more information, visit www.pulcinella.ca.

Disclaimer: I have not yet visited Stromboli Inn (in their location in Bridgeland) and assume I will be updating this list when that time comes. Peter ... expect me sometime soon!

PZA PARLOUR

When I first wandered into PZA Parlour, in the old Ceili's building on Macleod Trail and Southland Drive, I didn't know what to expect. With minimal signage and a sandwich board outside eluding to "take out pizza" I had set my expectations fairly low. Well ... when I walked in I literally had to pick up my chin off the floor as I felt as though I had been magically transported to an outside cafe along the streets of Venice! The inside of the building was bright, welcoming, and whimsical. With an authentic Vespa and Italian style bar at the entrance, ample seating, greenhouse windows, large outside patio, and big family room in the back ... PZA Parlour makes you feel like you've just crashed an Italian family gathering!

Looking at the list of restaurants in this blog post, this is makes total sense since this restaurant is also connected to the Tudda family (Stromboli Inn and La Pulcinella) as Tony Nicastro is the son of Pina and Joe Nicastro (the daughter and son-in-law of Joe Tudda). Pina and Joe opened up Villa Firenze in Bridgeland, which is now operated by Tony. In fact, you can see real family photos in the back room (images of the family at home in the kitchen and gathered together celebrating life's precious moments.

Since PZA Parlour opened, I have made this a frequent stop (when I am too lazy to cook and seek amazing food and wonderful service). Some of my favourites on their menu include:

  • Appetizers: Portobello (baked portobello mushroom with brandy reduction), Gamberetti (jumbo black tiger prawns with persimmon aioli), and their fresh baked Focaccia Bread (with their soup of the day ... DELICIOUS)
  • Mains: Pesca Del Giorno (fish of the day with the right combination of sides and risotto), the Pasta Carbonara (a twist on the classic), and Pizza #4 (Quattro; with mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan and swiss cheese)
  • Miscellaneous: Limoncello Cream Puff and Ciambelle (Italian doughnuts with Nutella)

Disclaimer: I have not yet visited Villa Firenze (either) and assume this restaurant will ALSO find its way onto this list in the near future. Tony ... I may double up on my visit to Bridgeland to see both restaurants!

For more information, visit www.pzaparlour.com.

STAY TUNED ...

Well ... it looks like I've got more work to do as I seem to have missed some of the city's Italian restaurant "gems". As I eat my way through Calgary, one plate at a time, you can see my adventures on my social media pages using the links at the top of the page. Check back for updates!

Post your comment

117 Comments

  • Willieknive Posted:13 February 2020

    essay writing exercises pdf <a href=https://hydrtahartopsthe.cf>hydrtahartopsthe.cf</a> what to put in the introduction of an argumentative essay.
    ronson lohan lesbian chat <a href=https://texcaconme.tk>texcaconme.tk</a> lesbian chatrooms.
    best dating sites in missouri <a href=https://stinfoperfca.tk>stinfoperfca.tk</a> how are gwen and miles dating spider man.
    amateur anal sex college dorm <a href=https://veucontcandre.ga>hot amateur maia f nude </a> amazing amateur latina anal. ]
    essay on public health and challenges <a href=https://mimuktaisquawfai.tk>ece 1 curriculum essay examples </a> prom night descriptive essay.
    free spin teen chat rooms <a href=https://biomabpartvi.tk>biomabpartvi.tk</a> cameron is gay.
    best free united states dating websites <a href=https://broodansmarer.tk>broodansmarer.tk</a> short guy dating tall girl reddit.
    teen asian 1st time dp porn <a href=https://cuverzstibefot.cf>exploited college teens asian goth porn </a> desi girl outdoor back sex.

  • Willieknive Posted:13 February 2020

    uva college app essay [url=https://unavryugrow.tk]what are the body paragraphs in a literarry essay is supposed to do [/url] what does it mean for an essay to be double spaced.
    community upload webcams latina teen [url=https://waithrowlenggranex.ga]hidden spy cam girl [/url] teen chatroom mingle with your.
    how to unlock dating site [url=https://clitarcounpaistad.gq]clitarcounpaistad.gq[/url] dating marriage in iraq culture.
    amateur older guys masturbating each other [url=https://nonbnonpplasmarx.tk]nonbnonpplasmarx.tk[/url] amateur nude bbw tanned wives. ]
    the dating site on gta 5 xbox one [url=https://flotevapneubun.ga]flotevapneubun.ga[/url] what its like dating a trans woman.
    bride became part of [url=https://nanubalar.tk]nanubalar.tk[/url] livecam girl.
    being on multiple dating sites [url=https://sulectdirtrather.gq]sulectdirtrather.gq[/url] dating online for sims 3.
    indian girl jiggling boobs in red shirt [url=https://tromofefaned.tk]tromofefaned.tk[/url] asian russian porn actres search.

  • Willieknive Posted:13 February 2020

    working with disabilities personal essay [url=https://sturimtecanec.gq]argumentative essay for the odyssey [/url] what are the four ways in which orwell breaks his own rule in this essay.
    old pantyhose webcam show [url=https://priminclenew.tk]phone chat adult [/url] sex fun chat.
    dating younger men wedding bride groom [url=https://sagberkpromital.tk]sagberkpromital.tk[/url] dating online service start;.
    dad fucks blonde teen [url=https://mitsitalibku.ga]mitsitalibku.ga[/url] indian beautiful teen village girl anal sex. ]
    sarasota florida young dating [url=https://flotevapneubun.ga]american men dating people with mental disabilities [/url] free dating sim games on steam.
    alabama gay chat [url=https://biomabpartvi.tk]free teen chat rooms games [/url] webcams 18 teen webcam.
    why arent many interracial dating in fiji [url=https://rdisabasri.gq]rdisabasri.gq[/url] white man and black woman dating site.
    cherokee indian naked female [url=https://rebowtspenodmi.ml]japanese rape porn forced [/url] asian milf fucked in swingers club.

  • Willieknive Posted:13 February 2020

    how walter of a rising in the sun is selfish essay [url=https://telerdecom.tk]telerdecom.tk[/url] admissions essay writing service.
    teen amateur cams [url=https://rocomocpogi.ml]pussy camp [/url] webcam teen hairy armpits.
    epvis impersinator dating site [url=https://homenreelovan.tk]homenreelovan.tk[/url] dating and marriage pointless.
    amateur college girlfriend tumblr [url=https://aralimanan.cf]college quickie sex cum videos [/url] exgf anal college spring break. ]
    writing an essay for businesd school [url=https://goedmicviaflar.cf]goedmicviaflar.cf[/url] opinion editorial essay example.
    chatsites biz teen chat please [url=https://neupazinero.ml]neupazinero.ml[/url] speech teen chat rooms.
    list of online dating websites [url=https://roughdingsalnoe.tk]list of dating sites weird [/url] older gay dating sites.
    ebony girl name paula sex tube [url=https://moedosibarnci.ml]moedosibarnci.ml[/url] firm full black tits.

  • Willieknive Posted:13 February 2020

    personal essay for college template [url=https://truththenmarer.tk]how to start a personal growth essay [/url] college board gap year essay prompt.
    free group sex cams [url=https://calpeughosidti.gq]carmen the webcam girl [/url] free camel toe porn pics.
    wealthy sorority girls dating in nyc [url=https://ofosanspelvil.ml]dating a foreign girl online [/url] lara embry dating a man.
    cherry amateur porn legend [url=https://riewithsaddcompsu.cf]riewithsaddcompsu.cf[/url] cute young teen peeing amateur. ]
    my role as a college student essay [url=https://emresboka.gq]emresboka.gq[/url] where to write essay to have word count.
    free naked girls on web cam [url=https://cuvarica.tk]rss teen chatrooms [/url] teen stripping on cam.
    dating a muslim man [url=https://breasosdianewitch.tk]cartoon dating site sugar daddy [/url] dating best friend in high school reddit.
    straight neighbor fucks teen twinks ass [url=https://balwarasisvo.cf]balwarasisvo.cf[/url] tiny teen brunette fucked porn.

  • Willieknive Posted:12 February 2020

    how many colleges want the essay on the sat [url=https://colelichi.tk]how to write an analytical essay comparing two books [/url] long essay questions time period 1800s world history.
    free teen chat rooms log [url=https://leugaltuvove.ga]leugaltuvove.ga[/url] cameron diaz sex scandal.
    how many people get scammed on dating sites [url=https://linohitomond.ml]dating guy giantess porn [/url] online dating statistics age group.
    hottest lesbian sex movies [url=https://preserhusrodon.cf]preserhusrodon.cf[/url] selena gomez naked lesbian. ]
    the writer's world essays 4th edition pdf [url=https://unavryugrow.tk]unavryugrow.tk[/url] can essays have more then one supporting paragraph.
    camera porn tube [url=https://lentstananpa.ga]lentstananpa.ga[/url] 321 teen chat werewolf had.
    ramay bhee dating sites [url=https://pauzumulxoe.tk]pauzumulxoe.tk[/url] russian online dating scams.
    asian lesbian dom sub [url=https://preserhusrodon.cf]mariah milno strapon lesbian [/url] private first time amateur lesbian home clips.

  • Willieknive Posted:12 February 2020

    essay on why trump should be president [url=https://ascealmazana.gq]200 word essay on what i learned this quater 7th grade [/url] how to write why major essay.
    teen vedio chat [url=https://tedownzentlani.gq]tedownzentlani.gq[/url] teen camera phone.
    why men should avoid online dating [url=https://sembbeescumsnitga.tk]memes about black woman dating white men [/url] one date dating sites.
    ebony teen slow fuck [url=https://dinggetecurme.cf]teen cowboy style porn [/url] naked teen belly dancer. ]
    being specific in essay writing [url=https://mihucocime.cf]how to make an appropriate cover page for an essay [/url] maya lin vietnam war memorial essay.
    cell phone sex chat [url=https://beistelneswart.tk]beistelneswart.tk[/url] camera in pussy.
    porn videos milfs eat cum [url=https://imsalybird.ga]imsalybird.ga[/url] milf double anal 2018.
    ebony teen orgasm homemade sex [url=https://veytrodlazon.tk]romantic ebony love sex [/url] non nude black teens.

  • Willieknive Posted:12 February 2020

    what type of career would you want essay [url=https://condpegecuss.tk]condpegecuss.tk[/url] inspiration teacher essay sample.
    teens vintage shemales asian webcams [url=https://rocomocpogi.ml]rocomocpogi.ml[/url] boob came out.
    japanese white father white daughter sex [url=https://moibritocapgeo.tk]white man cum in asian pussy [/url] hot busty asian selfie nude.
    japanese shemale fuck the delivery girl [url=https://pauteldawaffsen.gq]asian can he last porn [/url] asian sex diary 2018 download. ]
    how long should english essay take for regents [url=https://cattririmi.ml]cattririmi.ml[/url] college essays about painting.
    live cams drunk hot teen [url=https://elglucjarera.cf]elglucjarera.cf[/url] hairy pussy webcam teens 20.
    stella rose mature porn tube free [url=https://kaybanduvimag.ml]interracial mature big tits [/url] busty mature women spread wide.
    butt fuck blonde teen gif [url=https://enabymnabcent.ga]sensuous teen first porn [/url] teen daughter goes to dad for sex.

  • Willieknive Posted:12 February 2020

    free chinese girl dating sites [url=https://kerpoitecomphar.cf]kerpoitecomphar.cf[/url] tallahassee single parent dating.
    camilla belle nude fakes [url=https://unenatgyeno.tk]unenatgyeno.tk[/url] porn free cam.
    dating site religious prefrence [url=https://carsidepcyqah.gq]carsidepcyqah.gq[/url] christian dating site with free messaging.
    pussy lips turn black [url=https://moedosibarnci.ml]nude twerk ebony gif [/url] thicc black teen ass. ]
    conclusion on reflection essay [url=https://klaskonsgestbunkgaff.cf]klaskonsgestbunkgaff.cf[/url] how to add a date in an essay.
    huge chinese tits with cum [url=https://scoresntengeystif.ga]scoresntengeystif.ga[/url] japanese for tit.
    hot lesbian passionate sex on kitchen counter [url=https://almocheemuchdo.ml]almocheemuchdo.ml[/url] lesbian doctor fucked teenage girl with a strap on.
    mature hairy ebony women milf tubes [url=https://handgidohym.tk]busty lesbian milf tube [/url] milf ass n pussy up close.

  • Willieknive Posted:12 February 2020

    essay on my strength and weakness [url=https://tiloramokitt.tk]topic to create an argument essay [/url] how to mention a character in an essay mla.
    girl scout sleepaway camps [url=https://rocomocpogi.ml]rocomocpogi.ml[/url] teenage girl chat.
    charlie's answers on dating site [url=https://henneborne.tk]henneborne.tk[/url] profiles for dating sites incomplete.
    alabama college girls naked [url=https://dungquamsgahard.tk]dungquamsgahard.tk[/url] pov tube8 sex college. ]
    missoula christian dating sites [url=https://eestorlehoundmi.tk]eestorlehoundmi.tk[/url] do's and donts of dating a capricorn man.
    fat camps in america [url=https://neupazinero.ml]fun chat rooms for teen [/url] asian webcam stripper.
    most.popular french dating site [url=https://liviseczoro.tk]dating sites to find heather l patefield [/url] free dating fuck web site.
    free naughty amateur milf [url=https://ryelayprofpas.tk]ryelayprofpas.tk[/url] big tit milfs gifs.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments