Calgary - Le Villa, Aristan Bistro, or Open Range?
The last time we were at Le Villa was this past summer. We usually go for the Prime Rib. Apparently the chef/owner used to be the head chef at Buchanan's. It's not trendy high end or anything like that, but a nice place with an old schoolish menu to take family with conservative tastes. The Priime Rib is always very good and I had a chicken breast with sundried tomatoes that was pretty good. Veggies are done nicely tender crisp and the presentation is good. I always thought the decor was pretty good as well, nothing over the top but not too casual. Their sunroom is great during those colder months.
It's a place for a decent meal, like someone said, no more no less.
I went to Le Villa a couple months ago. It was pricey and not good. I had a seafood pasta with a bland rose sauce which was served lukewarm (I like my food piping hot!), and my friend had a steak, which was not bad, but about the same as the Keg. The veggies on the side were not good, though I don't remember the reason - not tasty or properly cooked, or something like that.
Oh, and we had a brie appetizer which came out room-temperature (to be generous) - they made another one for us, but even hot, it didn't make up for the fact that the dish still wasn't good.
I use to frequent Le Villa long before I joined these boards and lived minutes away. It was my first time back in 3 years or so. We had Crab Cakes (I didnt have any) and Shrimp Dumplings for appies. The dumplings sauce was too sweet for my liking and the pastry was just too frozen perogy for me although the shrimp was tender.
However things changed when the mains arrived. I rarely order steaks bc I grill them very often at home but read Le Villa won best steak and other acclaim for it from various media in our city. The steak was made to my order and had a very nice char with minimal seasoning. The mash was good mash but didnt taste too Bourisin cheesy as described on the menu which was good bc I can only take so much of that cheese. Veg was just a few strips but was very well cooked and crispy while hot so it went well with the meal. The lobster ravioli was also very good, I knew it wasn't made in house when I tasted it but prob the best I've ever had premade. The Molton cake was oh so hot and enjoyable with the ice cream. The hard candy ice cream bowl looked good but wasn't worth the calories.
I was happy to see prices haven't changed in years at this place but think this place could be so much better with an update to the menu. This place really does scream very well cooked comfort food and can recommend it to chow for that reason alone.
I have never been to Le Villa. I have tried Open Range three or four times. They serve decent food at above average prices. I found there to be nothing remarkable, nor special, about the food at Open Range, but there is nothing wrong with it either.
As for Artisan Bistro, I personally enjoy the food there. I find the decor to be a bit...im not sure how to describe it. It's not for me. The food, however, is delicious, at an excellent price point.
Thanks foodosopher. I've always wanted to try Artisan and that would be the front-runner now, and obviously unless I hear different Open Range is out.
Any word on Le Villa? I'm especially intrigued hearing that they serve prime rib, and seems to be one of the few places in this city that still does ever since Vintage unfortunately got rid of their delicious prime rib. Any other really good places to go for prime rib that people know of?
Le Villa is off the radar for me. It just falls into that spot that is too pricey for what they serve, too rustic for a special occasion.
I am also a Prime Rib fan. Unless they serve it bone-in (like a steak), i prefer Prime Rib from a place that does a lot of volume. Places like Smugglers are actually decent for Prime Rib. I also had a decent PR from Capri Steakhouse, though their steaks are better. I'll be blogging about that soon.
I have also had Prime Rib at Carvers, Wellingtons, and at the Palliser. None were super memorable. Hope that helps.