>> Friday, June 18, 2010
People tend not to want to venture outside their comfort zones, but when it comes to food, for me it’s rare that I stay within my comfort zone. I’d much rather try new things that I’ve never heard of or while I’m at it a whole new type of cuisine. I like going to different parts of town or even different countries to sample their local favorites. That’s why when I read about Involtini, located outside any of Calgary’s better known neighbourhoods, I had to go try it out. Plus, they serve involtini’s which I’ve heard about for quite some time now, but never had a chance to check out.
Atmosphere: Cozy and intimate, perfect for a romantic evening with that special somebody.
Price Range: Mid $10s-30s
Food and Wine: The instant the dining room doors opened and I was presented with the view of the main dining area, I was impressed, but the one thing that really stuck with me about Involtini was how much I enjoyed their bread. I usually lean more towards buying denser types of bread like sourdough and so when I was presented with Involtini’s freshly house made bread (which was filled with a yummy doughy interior) and their olive oil sweet balsamic vinegar reduction for dipping, I was in heaven. I think I downed the whole basket before our server even came to take our order!
When I could finally pull myself away from that bread basket, we did order our dinner for the evening. We started with the daily appetizer special, which happened to be Seared Scallops served with arugula and roasted red peppers, the scallops were slightly smaller than what I had imagined when our server described the dish, but aside from that, the greens were topped with a nice vinaigrette dressing. For our mains, my dinner date ordered the Fisherman’s Stew served with fish, prawns (more so shrimp I’d say), mussels (you get the idea), which he described as being a little under seasoned, but he didn’t mind it because it allowed him to taste the flavours of the seafood. The only minor complaint he did have was regarding the prawns, which seemed to be previously frozen cooked shrimp and not very fresh. Unlike my Chicken Involtini (I could not go to a restaurant called involtini without trying their house specialty), with chicken scaloppini wrapped around jumbo sized prawns and finished with a lovely brandy garlic cream sauce. I definitely had no complaints about the seafood in my dish. The prawns were extremely fresh and succulent and the sauce was creamy but not overwhelming. I can’t wait to try all the other flavours which include veal, salmon and beef tenderloin.
We decided to share a half litre of Sur Andes Malbec since we both have a preference for red wines. This Malbec was a bit on the drier side than one would expect with this grape variety, but went well with our seafood heavy meal. Since it was a bit lighter than the usual Malbec, it didn’t overpower the seafood flavours but managed to complement them, setting the tone for a great meal.
My Picks: Hands down – the bread, the Involtini’s are definitely worth it as well.
Overall: Involtini would be considered a hidden gem in my books. Located outside the districts of Kensington or Inglewood, it’s nice to know that there’s still fine dining to be had far away from the downtown core and did I mention the great bread?
Oak Bay Plaza
2515 – 90 Avenue SW