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Aug 30, 2010 10:24 AM

Boxwood (Calgary)

Just checking to see if Boxwood was open yet - unfortunately for me opening Thursday Sept. 9th.
However, they do have their menu posted on the blog.
Looks tasty and reasonably priced.

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  1. THANK YOU, cancowboy! Great menu- and yay for sammies on Ciabatta.

    I rode my bike by there last week and there was a note on the door to the effect that the building did not pass some sort of inspection- ventilation maybe. Of course I'm sure this will have been rectified by the 9th.

    1 Reply
    1. re: John Manzo

      I had one of their porcetta/ciabatta sandwiches at the Folk Fest in July.... to die for!!!

      I'm looking forward to this place.

    2. Visited today for lunch. Had a porchetta sandwich and a faro salad.

      Blame it on our atypically rainy weather, but eating at Boxwood Café felt like vacation in Seattle or San Francisco. This modern space is GORGEOUS, all natural light and warm wood. It is small, maybe 40 seats, but not cramped.

      After choosing and paying for my lunch at the cash, I took a seat at the counter overlooking the small kitchen. The chef carved a few beautiful, warm slices from a perfectly roasted pork loin as another pork loin turned in the roaster behind him, juices slowly melting off the browning skin. An airy loaf of ciabatta was spread with a soft, buttery caramelized onions before the slices of pork were piled on with a few sprigs of baby arugula. This porchetta sandwich was delicious, though I could have had more arugula—it was so good. I suspect the wonderfully spicy greens were grown in the River Cafe greenhouse/garden.

      Like the pork loin, the faro salad was well-executed. Perfectfully sweet nectarine, fresh feta (without that gamey flavour it sometimes has), bits of basil, more spicey arugula, and lot of faro. First time I've had this grain and it was nutty in flavour with a "toothy" texture, like an al dente pasta. Although, I had a twinge of buyer's remorse as I watched hot and hearty batches of chickpea and tomato stew leave the kitchen.

      The prices are fairly reasonable for the quality of food, though some may find the sandwiches on the smaller side in this city of subs.

      I highly recommend a visit. Boxwood Cafe is in Central Memorial Park at the corner of 13th Ave and 4th St SW. It is the building closest to 4th St, and its entrance faces into the park.

      Boxwood Café
      340 13 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1N8, CA

      11 Replies
      1. re: aktivistin

        Aktivistin: Would a baby be out of place here? I can't tell if Boxwood higher end or more casual and kid-friendly... Thanks!

        1. re: alau2

          Definitely casual and kid-friendly. Because of the "cafeteria"-style system (pay first and get your order afterwards), there were a number of walk-in & take-out orders while I was there.

        2. re: aktivistin

          Had dinner at Boxwood last night. They provide table service at dinner, which was nice. Food service was very slow but the place was full and kitchen staff were running entire time we were there. We had roast chicken, porchetta and asian noodle bowl with turkey. All very good but we were surprised the porchetta was served cold. We had the red lentil hummous to start with amazing homemade crackers and the faro salad and sesame green beans as sides. Well worth a visit. Beautiful setting in the evening.

          1. re: beggsy

            I don't see why people extol table service. I much prefer to order at a counter especially if the place serves sandwiches, where I can actually see them making the thing. I love the system they have at Famoso but I hear people complain about having to order at a counter- why would anybody complain about that? It's way more efficient.

            Anyway heading there for lunch today. From what I've read, I'm seeing a sort of new incarnation of Wild Sage (the Twardoski place with the ridiculously amazing sammies at Eau Claire too many years ago) and I hope my expectations are fulfilled.

              1. re: John Manzo

                ...aaaaand they were closed for a function today (lunch). Have to wait until next week sometime.

                1. re: John Manzo


                  i read this review of a meal at Boxwood yesterday - doesnt sound too clever.

                  1. re: graemejw

                    Do note that earlier in her blog, she had LUNCH at Boxwood and loved it:

                  2. re: John Manzo

                    Just hate it when you make a point of going to a restaurant and you see the "closed for private function" sign. Its one thing to not get in because the place is full but to close it off to the public just irks me. I know they have a business to run and buyouts are very good business but it just causes me pause to try again.

                    1. re: sirdinealot

                      especially when the website said "open today for lunch." Not "open every day for lunch." To be fair, they re-opened at 1 but we wanted to get there early (we made it around 11:20) to beat what we assumed would be crowds.

                      Weird story- we then tried Charcut and then Catch Oyster Bar and both were closed, so we ended up (on foot and my partner just got out of a cast so this was getting really frustrating) at Hans! It was fantastic as always but I never thought it would be tough to find a place open for lunch on a Saturday. Since Catch and Charcut are both in (or adjacent to) hotels I don't get being closed then, but I guess any journey that ends at Hans is not a total waste.

                      Catch Oyster Bar
                      100 8th Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0K6, CA

                2. re: beggsy

                  I would agree with the chocolateandginger blog. I love River Cafe but Boxwood needs work. At $25/half litre I really don't want to drink wine out of thick cheap tumblers. Salmon in miso broth ($12) was overcooked, fairly cold, and you couldn't taste any miso. Lamb was three slices (maybe 4 oz) of what seemed like roast tenderloin, tasty but completely unadorned with anything at all, for $16 not a great deal. Hummous was great, the roasted garlic perfectly soft and delicious and came with thin crispy flatbread that was perfect for eating the lamb (which as mentioned came with nothing at all). At $7, well worth it. But a side of lentils came in a small bowl, not much taste and $6. Not sure who decided the pricing, it was like the sides at some of the very expensive steak places (where a side of sauteed mushrooms is $8!!).

                  Note - the menu changes weekly, ours said Sept 16-21 (I think). Maybe next week it will be better. Service, ambience and decor were great.

              2. I went for a late lunch on Saturday (about 3:45) and loved my meal (as did my husband). We had the white bean, napa cabbage, and roasted chicken soup, porchetta sandwiches, and Saskatoon berry bread pudding (with salt caramel and vanilla ice cream). It was one of the best lunches we've had in a long time. The soup was magnificent - piping hot, so flavorful, and very filling (it honestly tasted like something my Dad would make, and he's the best soup chef I've ever met). The sandwiches were also divine, even my husband who is usually critical of sandwiches in this city, loved them. The bread was fresh and had a great chewy bite to it, and the meat was juicy, tender, and well seasoned. I finished with the bread pudding, which was complemented wonderfully by the salt caramel. We will definitely be back. Oh - I also really appreciated that there were a few different non-alcoholic drink selections (nice for a pregnant woman who would like something other than the usual).

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jigga

                  Sounds like a fantastic lunch and wonderful news! :)

                2. Went to Boxwood last night for dinner - as it was a Wednesday, there were only a couple of other tables occupied. My date and I had the pleasure of two waiters (!) for most of the meal - maybe a mix up on their part, but we couldn't fault the service. We sat at the bar, which allowed us to view the chefs finishing the dishes.

                  We both had a pint of the Brew Brothers Brewery beers - so local, they're only a few blocks away from the restaurant. I believe they're near District. The brewery itself doesn't have a storefront, so you have to find it at different bars or restaurants. Nice, easy drinking beers - comparable to Wild Rose, I'd hazard. But I'm not much of a beer connoisseur, so take it with a grain of salt.

                  The bf had the lamb with mint sauce, and a side of sesame-sauced green beans. The lamb was cooked well, and the green beans were phenomenal - I practically licked the plate to get more of the nutty, sesame sauce when we finished the beans. I had one of the specials of the night - a corn, kale and ricotta quiche - delicious, with a tender-crisp crust and side salad composed of mixed greens with zucchini. Kale came from their gardens, nice touch.

                  Both meals came lickety-split. No need to moan and groan about slow service here!

                  We split dessert - a saskatoon berry bread pudding with sea salt caramel and saskatoon ice cream. The caramel and bread pudding were right on the money, the ice cream was a little too sweet for my taste.

                  Overall, a great meal. I was very happy with the portion sizes - nope, this isn't the olive garden, and you probably won't exit with a doggy bag. But that's okay.

                  1. i had the porchetta sandwich today for lunch - got it to go on my way back to the office. it was alright, the pork was nicely cooked and the sandwich seemed like pretty good value for the money but it just needed something a bit more, like a nice mustard or was a bit bland. But as it is across the street from work, i will go back and try other things. i was a little peeved about the wait, the lunch crowd had passed (it was after 1), the fellow cooking was chatting away to someone sitting at the bar so it took forever for my sandwich to be prepared and it's a little strange when you are just waiting around, not really anywhere specific to stand or sit or anything....i felt it could have been quicker. No matter what, happy to see them open.