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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...

              2. It's a little harder to get to, but another good option is Scarpone's (5140 Skyline Way N.E.).

                1. i go to the italian supermarket for their saturday only wood fire oven pizza. i've found service at their deli pretty good too and usually better prices. one saturday i found live moroccan snails on offer. the produce is disheartening though.

                  scarpone's offers better prices as well compared to Lina's. dino rossa's has such a small selection in comparison to the three other stores.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: babettesfeast

                    i've never been to dino rossa's but someone brought into the office, these little cake things that were amazing - everyone gobbled them up in no time.

                    i do prefer the deli at the italian supermarket - ever since i bought the more expensive prosciutto i've been doing well.

                  2. The Italian Market is definitely friendly to everyone, and has a wide selection of pastas, sauces, bruschettas and the pizza is to die for with its stone oven baked, non greasy, thin but mighty generous topping and still tastes great as leftovers goodness. I use to be bored of pasta until I learned of all of the varieties their shelves has to offer, including spices, pestos, tapenads, anchovies, olive oils, and vinegrettes. I've only heard that Lina's does have more hot meals, however, it is more expensive. Italian Market is the way to go for regular grocery shopping and to just spoil yourself with amazing pizzas Thurs to Sundays, usually done by 6pm, and their lunch specials and pick-up catering of stuffed sandwiches for like $5-$6 each definitely impressed our university as well.

                    I realize this feedback is um, five years late, but hopefully this helps! Also read a review at: http://www.ffwdweekly.com/calgary-blo...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JadeLee2012

                      I disagree that the Italian Market is friendly to everyone. After I moved to Calgary- FROM ITALY- I went to the store to buy some things I was missing. I waited patiently at the counter for service as both employees working there engaged in a long personal conversation with two Italian customers. As I'd just moved to Calgary FROM ITALY I understood every word of their personal conversation. I caught the eye of one of the chatting employees, smiled and asked, apologetically, for service. I was ignored and the personal conversation continued. I was a little miffed as I'd been listening to their conversation for at least five minutes, so I asked again in Italian. They looked shocked and helped me right away. As long as they thought they could keep up the charade of helping another customer, they were happy not to help me. As soon as they realized I knew they were just chatting, they offered to help. I don't call that friendly.