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Mar 3, 2007 08:40 AM

Italian markets CALGARY

Hi guys,

Can some of you who've been in Calgary longer tell me the difference between the Italian Market on Edmonton Trail and Lina's on Centre Street? History? Specialties? Service?


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  1. I would say Linas is a little cleaner than the other and their choice of product is a little wider (bigger store), but with any specialty import store - check for a useby date on some stuff - I know I've bought mascarpone that was past its date, but with dry products, of course, that wont be a problem.

    1. Lina's has better selection, and serves a lot more hot food. I've also found Lina's to be friendlier to non-Italians, as i've had trouble getting service at the the one on Edmonton trail.

      2 Replies
      1. re: yen

        The Edmonton Trail store carries a few non-Italian ethnic things which are interesting, but Lina's is a much better experience: cleaner. And their food is much better.

        1. re: alex8alot

          For me, the only reason to go to Lina's is to pay more and for their great bread and good sausages.

          The Edmonton Trail store has way more charm, in a weird way. Lina's has almost become to MOR. The Italian Supermarket has all the basics you'd ever need, and it's filled with Italians! I've never had trouble getting service there, but I'm patient and like to take in the whole experience. Lina's, on the other hand, is way to busy and I've had trouble getting served at the deli counter.

          That said, I use them both. I go to Lina's for a few high-end ingredients, the sausages and the bread. I go to the Italian Supermarket for olives, feta (ask for it, the good stuff's in the back room), frozen stuffed pasta (cheap), etc.

      2. Lina's has good prices on cheese- especially compared w/ Janice Beaton. But we mainly go there for the tavola calda on Saturdays- it is the best Italian food I've had in the city that's not super expensive; amazingly delicious risotto croquettes, beautful veg (they do wonders with rapini and with green beans there), and invariably delicious soups (pasta fazool- that's pasta fagiole for you stuck up northern Itlalians!) way WAY WAY better than my mom's.

        I just can't handle the dark, dirty feeling of the Itlalian Supermarket.

        Incidentally in re Italian supermarkets- if you like coffee, never buy the from-the-last-century Italian coffee beans they have on the shelves there. They will be month and months past their prime and will taste absolutely disgusting, with tones of mold mixed with turpentine and ammonia.

        6 Replies
        1. re: John Manzo

          John Manzo, I'm a bit concerned about the coffee. Ever since I came back from Italy a couple years ago I've been buy my coffee at Italian markets - first in Vancouver and now at both Lina's and the Italian Supermarket! I've notice the one kind I'm most fond of has been soft at the Italian Supermarket so I haven't been buying it there, but that being said, the packages from Lina's have been tasted fine. If I should be careful, do you have a suggestion for buying the Italian coffee elsewhere. Mercato only has Ily, which I enjoy, but it's too expensive....

          1. re: pants

            Pants- I am an inveterate coffee geek, and as such- I strongly, urgently recommend that you not buy Italian coffee. If you buy locally-roasted coffee, you wil discover a world of difference- in fact that experience ofItalian brands and fresh locally (or otherwise recently-) roasted beans is like fresh fruit versus canned. There is no comparison. If you're in Calgary, I suggest that you try Big Mountain coffee- it's a local small batch roaster, the beans are never more than a few days post-roast. There are others but I prefer Big Mountain- some other very good Alberta or BC roasters include Fratello (especially, I think, what they roast for Good Earth), Oso Negro (from Nelson BC, you can find them at Community Natural Foods), and some people swear by Kicking Horse. Ever since I've discovered local I've never gone back to the Illy and Lavazza I used to buy.

            1. re: John Manzo

              I'm up for trying the local kinds - I'll look for some of those - I like Kicking Horse but I find it a bit strong so maybe I'll try

              Thanks for the suggestions!

              1. re: John Manzo

                John Manzo - FYI: when it comes to local coffee, I just tried Cowboy Coffee from Cochrane (purchased through SPUD). Really good! The first two pounds I went through were beautiful. I find Big Mountain a little inconsistent, but it's getting better as more people are trying it. Anyway, trying another pound this week (it's on sale) and my hopes are good.

                1. re: bohunk

                  Cowboy Coffee? Do you mean Cochrane Coffee Traders? That's what they brew at Kaffa, which has potential as a good coffeehouse if they get into the 21st century (and eg do latte art, you can see an example of a macchiato by yours truly in my profile pic). Cowboy Coffee is actually a chain in interior BC. Big Mountain can be a little vexing I agree- I have their espresso blend in my Rocky right now, and am pulling GOD SHOTS with this batch, but the last one I had was disappointing, not sure what the problem was but it tasted "old." I like their Nicaraguan (med-dark) too. Phil+Sebastian opening at the Calgary Farmers Market later this month- bit o beans bit the dust- are the local distributors for Hine Public Market from Vancouver (originally Seattle, this is John Sanders' company) and this is an absolute out-of-the-park-past-the-parking-lot home run for Calgary coffee geeks. Hines is absolutely world-class kick ass coffee.

                  1. re: John Manzo

                    Yes to both. It's Cochrane Coffee Traders "Cowboy Coffee" blend. Very nice.

                    I'll watch for the Hines.

          2. is the place way south on Macleod Tr any good?

            1 Reply
            1. re: pants

              Are you talking about Dino Rosa's?

            2. i think so - it's at about 90th

              2 Replies
              1. re: pants

                I would recommend against Dino Rossa's for coffee. I like their subs and the cannolis are excellent but the coffee is garbage.

                1. re: danziggidy

                  Oh, those silly Italians and their coffee- if they're like other places in town they use Mauro that's a year old in the name of authenticity- which is analogous to French people getting stale bread baked last week in France...