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Ciao baby's

n
new to calgary Nov 17, 2005 08:00 PM

I'm new to calgary and am looking for a good seafood place. I heard a place called ciao baby's is supposed to be quite good. anyone been there or have any recomendations.

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    fingers RE: new to calgary Nov 20, 2005 09:39 PM

    ciao baby's has been around for years and they certainly don't stand out as one of the better seafood places. Big Fish is a quaint neighborhood joint with great oysters, but Calgary lags behind other major ceners for great fresh seafood done with care and integrity. Which isn't to say that there isn't great seafood to be had, but I don't see a clear cut leader in this category. Catch is billed as Canada's premier seafood restaurant and may be worth checking out but for real Calgary uniqueness and atmosphere, my seafood money is on Big Fish.

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      fingers RE: new to calgary Nov 20, 2005 09:39 PM

      ciao baby's has been around for years and they certainly don't stand out as one of the better seafood places. Big Fish is a quaint neighborhood joint with great oysters, but Calgary lags behind other major ceners for great fresh seafood done with care and integrity. Which isn't to say that there isn't great seafood to be had, but I don't see a clear cut leader in this category. Catch is billed as Canada's premier seafood restaurant and may be worth checking out but for real Calgary uniqueness and atmosphere, my seafood money is on Big Fish.

      4 Replies
      1. re: fingers
        j
        John Manzo RE: fingers Nov 21, 2005 10:54 AM

        I don't see why you have to why you have to say this- Calgary has many good seafood options for an inland city of its size. I have no idea what seafood done with (or without) "integrity" is. Calgary also sources seafood from exactly the same places as Vancouver does minus perhaps two hours of "freshness" for transport. Seafood here can be as good as seafood anywhere. Have the sablefish at River Cafe and tell us it's not done with care or whatever you mean by "integrity."

        Big Fish received an honourable mention in the most recent En Route's best new restos in Canada issue. No mention of a lack of care or integrity.

        Sushi is (usually) seafood and Calgary is getting some excellent sushi places that hold their own against most in Canada- certainly trumping everyhing in Toronto or Montreal on that cuisine. In fact having experience overhyped and overpriced sushi in SF last summer, I'd say I prefer sushi (at an infinitely better price point) at Towa or Uptown in Calgary to what I had in that city.

        1. re: John Manzo
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          Fingers RE: John Manzo Nov 22, 2005 03:10 PM

          I was possibly misunderstood and this I regret.
          My comments were directly in response to the question of a good seafood restaurant in Calgary. To make the comparison to Vancouver specific to seafood is a mistake. Although Calgary does bring in seafood and other ocean products from some of the same sources, the level of sophistication and technical innovation in producing great dishes is consistently higher from Vancouver chefs who have focussed their career and energies around their craft. World class restaurants the likes of "C" and Bluewater Cafe, not to mention Lumiere and West, have not begun to appear on the Calgary landscape. This is not to say that Calgary and it's seafood offerings are not great in their own right. AS I mentioned and will now reiterate, one can enjoy superior seafood and fish dishes at any number of places here in Calgary on most given nights, that was not the issue. I believe the question was regarding a good seafood restaurant, to which I suggested Catch, or big Fish, the latter of which I seem to remember speaking favourably about. Catch was a culinary dynamo in it's original incarnation, under the attentive and experienced watch of Chefs Noble and McCue. But alas, the greater Calgary dining public did not embrace such forward thinking approaches to seafood cuisine and contemporary cooking. Now Catch is but a play it safe version of it's former greatness. Still a very good restaurant. As far as BIg Fish, Hey, I'm all for the local neighborhood place that people love. As far as food though, I don't think it rates as a world class seafood restaurant, nor does it attempt to be. The down home style and friendly approach to service make Big Fish a big draw, and rightly so.
          I had my single worst sushi experience at Towa.
          I have had stellar sushi at Cafe de Tokyo in Bridgeland. I've had everything in between all over the place.
          Calgary does not have a Great seafood restaurant. Great seafood dishes pop up on menus all over the city, but come on, the dining public keeps Calgary a meat heavy town. That's the truth as I eat it.

          1. re: Fingers
            j
            John Manzo RE: Fingers Nov 22, 2005 05:44 PM

            I understood you perfectly. Vancouver is twice the size of Calgary- you do know this, right?

            Calgary is no more "meat heavy" than any other city.

            Too bad about your bad experience at Towa- I just had some of their best-I've-ever-tasted unagi there today, maybe you should try that.

            99% of Vancouverites have never, and will never, eat at the feet of Rob Feenie, because nobody there (for all intents and purposes) can afford it.

            1. re: John Manzo
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              fingers RE: John Manzo Nov 25, 2005 01:31 PM

              duly noted, and thanks. Hopefully now we can close this chapter. It was good going back and forth with you though, looking forward to more discussion.

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