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Italian Calgary

I'm going to be in Calgary for the weekend staying at the Fairmont downtown. I am looking for suggestions for Italian cuisine in the area. Fine dining is preferable. Any help is appreciated.



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  1. what about La Vita e Bella - not too far from the fairmont.

    i haven't been yet but their menu sounds good, i've heard decent things

    1 Reply
    1. re: pants

      We went to La Vita e Bella for Valentines day had the set menu at 49 a person. It was awful. The resto was not full either. They sat someone else at our table by mistake so instead of moving them they gave us another table which wasn't as well appointed. I made reservations 5 weeks in advance. The meal was just not good. Started with Fennel salad which was cut too thick so it was tough. The main entree was chicken thigh stuffed with pancetta -- I think it was supposed to be boneless at least my husbands was but mine was full of cartilidge (yuck!) it was served on raw spinach (you know from the bagged spinach variety) that its nothing else with it. Panna Cotta was desert and it was tough and gelatin like. I won't go back under any circumstances. It was too bad as the room is nice and the location/building is good.

    2. For fine dining, I'd suggest either Da Paolo's or Osteria de Medici.



      There are a bunch of less formal places along 17th Avenue as well.

      8 Replies
      1. re: mike2

        Neither is in the area and IMO Osteria is overpriced and pretentious.

        Centini is superb.

        1. re: John Manzo

          Did you see that Bush ate there when he was in town? Given the reports on this board one wonders how they stay in business but they've taken over that whole strip mall and must have their fans. I've never eaten there.

            1. re: John Manzo

              While visiting Calgary for the first time a couple of weeks ago, this place caught my eye because of it's sheer impact on the landscape and because at 4:30 PM, an unusual time for any meal, a group of men in black suits and sunglasses emerged from a long black limo ....

            2. re: sharonanne

              I've eaten at Osteria (twice in the last 3 years), I agree overpriced and pretentious. Food was pretty good but not great value, I suspect if you're a regular the service is outstanding. Da Paolo's used to be my favourite but after 2 bad meals in the last year or so I haven't been rushing back.

              1. re: sharonanne

                Osteria doesn't hold a candle to Centini. I'm sure Osteria owns that strip mall.

                1. re: sharonanne

                  I've been to OdM but it was back when DH and I were newlyweds (8 years, 2 houses and 3 kids ago) and my impression was much like the average here. Overstuffed almost snooty service for no apparent reason. Food was overpriced and old school. We've driven by many many times but haven't been back since. I'd sooner go to Chianti's.

            3. I would suggest Teatro or Centini - both of which are within 3 blocks of your hotel.
              The other suggestions are good but are a bit of a hike (or taxi ride).

              1. Another vote for Teatro - very short walk, great food.

                  1. +1 for Centini and Teatro, I also like Il Sogno but haven't been there since Chabot left so I would hope but can't be certain the quality is still top rate(plus being they're across the 4th Av flyover in Bridgeland they'd be a short cab ride away rather than a 2-3 block walk walk).

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: maplesugar

                      I was in Il Sogno about 2 or 3 weeks after Chabot left. My first time there so I had no previous experience to compare with - the meal and the service were very good. I would go again without hesitation.

                      1. Another vote for Centini. Great food plus amazing desserts.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: sweeterpea

                          As an "out of towner" I would opt for Capo. We made a trip to try it.

                          I had a terrific duck dish at Centini and certainly will go back.

                          Teatro is a bit of a conundrum for me. Terrific lunches. So so dinner. Love the atmosphere, service and style.

                          On the more casual side of things, Sugo was good but I do not know if it is still in operation in Inglewood as it has been at least a couple fo years since I was last there.

                          Have not been back to Il Sogno since chef left and opened Capo.

                          1. re: Bob Mac

                            Sugo is very much still in operation, but judging from the photothread I just saw of it at skyscraperpage, it looks quite elegant and it's pretty pricey too.

                            A good cheaper place is Buon Giorno on 17th, or Pulcinella (Neapolitian pizza) in Kensington- these are south and NW of downtown respectively and depending on the weather (which has been brutal this winter and "spring," our comeuppance for making light of Ontario's winter torture last year I think), is a nice walk.

                            1. re: John Manzo

                              Would disagree that Sugo is 'elegant' -- very comfortable, in my opinion and great food. Had a fantastic dinner there just after Christmas.

                        2. Centini and Il Sogno in Bridgeland are the picks of the week from me.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: vanderb

                            And lest we not forget Bridgeland. La Dolce Vita is always lovely. Just ask for Franco and he will come out and introduce himself and then cook you a special meal that isn't on the menu. You can top it all off with a Limencello. Now this is VALUE. Grazi to Franco!

                            1. re: jsfoodchat

                              Going off menu at La Dolce Vita would be refreshing. It's been awhile but my first impression was old-school like OdM.