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Nov 28, 2007 03:14 PM

Anyone tried La Viena lately? - Calgary

One of those restaurants I keep driving by on Kensington and saying "I should try that place one day." (Of course, that goes for the other three dozen places on my list of places to try...)

Well, I get the chance this weekend with some friends.

Any words of advice or recommendations?


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  1. Can't really recommend anything but we did eat there a few months ago. It's one of those old school Italian places with a huge menu and apparently really loyal customers. It wasn't outstanding but a decent meal. I'll be interested to hear about your experience because I suspect there may be some items that stand out more than others.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sharonanne

      I know what you mean about loyal customers- people in Hillhurst and West Hillhurst talk about this place with reverence. I've never eaten there so can't comment, but it does have its fans.

    2. Well, my wife and I tried La Viena on the weekend with 3 other friends. It was a cold Friday evening, but it was toasty and hopping inside.

      Overall, we had a decent experience. As has been already said, its a massive menu, and hard to pick out something from all that choice.

      I noticed a couple of things with our meals. Pasta dishes made with a cream or tomato sauce were very good. Any dishes made with a lighter wine sauce were merely OK.

      The linguine von gole I had was made with a lemon wine sauce, with artichokes and pineapples. A little bit of Asian influence there (since the chef is Asian). But it was way too tangy for my taste.

      Conversely, my wife had the canneloni, which was excellent.

      I had ordered an appetizer of seafood in a creamy brie sauce, which was also very good. We had another appetizer served in a wine sauce (which for the life of me I can't remember what it was), but it was pretty average.

      Taking a poll of my other three friends, seems like they all had pastas with a cream sauce of some nature, which they enjoyed.

      So, there's my informal poll - creamy/tomato sauce=good, wine sauce=mediocre.

      Also on the plus side, service was very good, considering there was a party of 21 women there.

      And there are a ton of regulars there - the serving staff definitely knew quite a few of the patrons.

      Definitely a step up from Fiore's or Chianti's, and definitely feels homier and not quite as chaotic as those places.

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          1. When I used to live in W. Hillhurst and Hillhurst we tried the place 3 times (roughly 5 years ago) and never been back since... 3 strikes you're out. I order the "specials" 2 times: received a bland flavourless sauce on the pasta the first time with over cooked veal (sent it back); 2nd visit the special came with gnocci that was not cooked or was 3 or 4 days old before cooking (sent it back); 3rd visit tried something less special and went with a sausage pasta with tomato based sauce and was completely unimpressed (although didn't send it back).

            That was enough for me even though, at that time, we lived only a few short blocks from the place and would have really appreciated a local joint.

            I avoid the place like plague now and if I want an inexpensive but properly cooked and extremely well sauced pasta (ie: pasta ala crema or a fruti di mare) I go to Niko's bistro on Kensington Rd and 12th street NW.

            1 Reply
            1. re: vanderb

              Went there a few years ago, brought some people and was hyping it as this hidden jewel or so I had heard. It was unremarkable, don't remember anything other than I'm not going back. Maybe if I lived next door and didn;t feel like cooking something, but you can really tell the owner is the old chef of chianti. 8 different pastas and 3 different sauces lets you have a massive menu with all the possible combinations.