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Aug 30, 2009 12:41 PM

West Indian/Caribbean Delights (Calgary)

Once again, you have all been so helpful and patient with my other well documented searches and so I come to you humbly for your direction.

My hubby likes to say that Calgary is like Ontario in the 1970's. All the cultures are here and well represented, just unorganized. I have found lovely, lovely Asian eateries by combing the boards. I have a list of Italian eateries to try as well (although, as an aside, why is Bridgeland advertised as "Little Italy" when I do tourism searches? Am I not in the right area? I've found very little Italian in my walks there so far?) I've found East Indian food, Latin American, even some nice African by accident when I was in Kensington.

What I haven't found is West Indian. Roti, Jerk, Peas and Rice, Red Snapper, Oxtail and the like. My husband has charged me to find this as punishment for the "Great Red Deer Roadtrip" (see "Donuts Calgary") because this is what he misses from New York, and being a native Ontarian (apologies all around) he expects to walk out on the street and find whatever he wants to eat without work, or adventure. And if that fails, he will continue to fund the retirements of the owners of Inglewood Pizza (well deserved, great pizza)

I'm still familiarizing myself with the quadrants of the city. Our relocation consultant told me that Bridgeland, Kensignton, 17th and some other area that I can't remember for the LIFE of me, was where the good food was, but there's got to be more? Where else do I go? Specifically (on behalf of my husband):

In what area of the city are our West Indian/Caribbean friends hiding their yummy food?

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  1. Bridgeland used to be "Little Italy" as that is the area where a lot of Italians settled when they first moved to Calgary. There was a grocery store called the Italian Centre. That family also opened a shop across the street called Italian Gourmet foods where they sold fresh pasta, etc. Later they had a cooking school and a wine shop specializing in Italian wines called Merlo Vinoteca also down the street. All these shops were there even up until about 7-8 years ago. When their children took over the business they relocated Italian Centre to the Mission area (4St and 20 some Ave SW) and renamed it Mercato. Merlo Vinoteca moved to the Aspen Stone area in the SW. As for the fresh pastas and sauces, you can now buy them at Mercato.

    My co-worker who's Italian told me there used to be a good Italian Bakery down that block. However, one lunch hour we decided to stop by to check it out but we found out that the Italian Bakery is long gone. The only thing that was there was City Bakery. We went in to take it look but it didn't really appeal to us.

    The only thing that is really "Italian" left in that neighbourhood is the restaurant La Dolce Vita. That restaurant has been there for many years.

    I know in your post you're looking for West Indian, etc, but since we're on the topic of Italian, I should mention, the main places to get Italian groceries and baked goods now are Mercato, Lina's Italian Market on Centre St., the Italian Supermarket off Edmonton Tr, and The Italian Store/Scarpone's in the NE on Skyline Way. Most of these have little eateries attached.

    For roti, you can check out the Roti Hut in the NE. I haven't had a chance to go there yet myself. You can read the following thread...

    1. Calgary is like Toronto in 1991. Back then Toronto, which had been promoting its multuculturalism officially and formally via Ontario Tourism (my partner used to work for them so I know this story well) since 1986, was 26% visible minority. As of the 2006 census, Calgary was 25.4% visible minority- far, far, far, far more diverse than anywhere in Ontario in the 1970s, so please let your husband know this.

      There is more Jamaican than Trini in Calgary; neither is especially widespread here but we're infinitely better off than, say, Chicago, which with a metro population 900% of Calgary's has precisely zero Trini places and only one pure Jamaican place. Anyway for roti there are two trini options; roti hut and T&T organettes social club which also, I've heard, sells doubles and aloo pies on Saturday. Roti Hut has doubles every day.

      I'm not a huge fan of Jamaican per se but every Jamaican place also sells roti among which Joycee's in Bridgeland is actually really good; just tell them to leave out the horrible, tasteless burnt-iceberg-lettuce "salad' that wastes space in the clamshell.

      1 Reply
      1. re: John Manzo

        +1 for Joycee's. I go there about once a month for their oxtail and it never fails me. JM, you will be happy to know the last couple of times I have been there, they have done away with the iceberg "salad" as a side. It has been replaced with a nice side of sauteed veggies.

        Messier, Joycee's is more market than restaurant. I think there is one table and the rest of the seating is at a long counter overlooking a gas station.

      2. I spotted a new Caribbean restaurant at 10th St & 6th Ave SW (I think where Key West bar used to be?). The name is slipping my mind right now. Anyway, it's on the second storey of the two-storey building on that corner.

        3 Replies
        1. re: 23skidoo

          ok 23skidoo, I'm going to check that out and see what I find....I did go to Joycees btw and I'm loving the red snapper and oxtail!

          1. re: 23skidoo

            It's totally faux "Caribbean." The menu reads like a place in the midwest (the US midwest) that puts a jerk chicken pasta on the menu- but the thing is that the owners are almost definitely west indian and there is no reason not to sell the real thing here. Made me sick to see this menu- it's posted on the door.

            1. re: John Manzo

              crap. That's too bad. I was hoping we would get an authentic restaurant. Not that I don't like Joycee's but I would love to be able to sit and enjoy a few things, rather than doing the eat'n'run.

          2. there is a spot s of Marlborough mall in the little mall behind petrocan,beside a sushi shop called chopsticks that has Caribbean stuff.i had a roti there once .wasnt bad at all the goat was almost boneless and very tasty

            3 Replies
            1. re: howlin

              I believe that is:
              Dutchies Caribbean Restaurant
              3745 Memorial Dr SE

              Dutchies Caribbean Restaurant
              3745 Memorial Dr SE, Calgary, AB T2A 6V4, CA

                1. re: rosetown

                  more links:

                  The Roti Hut
                  920 36 St NE, Calgary, AB T2A, CA

                  Joycee's Caribbean Foods
                  630 1 Ave NE, Calgary, AB T2E, CA

                  Trinidad & Tobago Organettes Caribbean Canadian Club
                  2110 41 Ave NE #24, Calgary, AB T2E 8Z7, CA