>> Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Lately I’ve been throwing around the idea of heading off to Europe again. Preferably to some place warmer then Calgary in the middle of winter (it’s really not that hard to find such a place). Southern Italy definitely sounds a lot more inviting then Southern Alberta. However, our work schedules are really preventing us from making any solid plans. So to appease my desires of Italy and everything Italian (for now), we decided to stroll on over and grab a few bites of Italian pizza instead.
Atmosphere: Vibrant, boisterous and extremely busy. Get here early to ensure you get one of the few coveted tables (or you could also take the pizza to go as well).
Price Range: Mid $10s - $20
Food and Wine: Una is one of the new restaurants in town where they don’t take reservations, so it’s often pretty hard to get a table. A great way to know when they’re free is to follow their twitter account, since they give up to date wait time estimations.
When we do go, we opt to go early! This definitely helps the table situation. When we arrived, the restaurant was still fairly quiet and we were able to get a seat pretty quickly. There are a couple features of the day, so make sure to pay attention to the chalkboard at the front.
We decided to start with the Patatas Bravas, which is a popular Spanish tapas dish. I was surprised to find that Una also had a tapas menu (aka their bar menu). The patatas are basically fried baby red potatoes served with smoked paprika ketchup and a garlic aioli. The potatoes are lightly salted and super crispy. I really enjoyed the garlic aioli, but since it’s fairly heavy the ketchup helped cut through the oiliness.
It was hard to decide on which pizzas to try, but we were able to narrow it down to two. The first being the Mushroom Pizza, with roasted cremini mushrooms, smoked mozzarella, grana padano cheese and topped with lots of fresh arugula and truffle oil. I really enjoyed the nice crust on the pizza (people who don’t eat the crust are silly…don’t be surprised if I reach over and steal it), but still has a nice chewy texture. The truffle oil was a great addition. Truffles being in the mushroom family just go hand in hand with the cremini.
The second pie was the Prosciutto Pizza with thinly sliced crispy prosciutto, provolone cheese, over tomato sauce and topped with more fresh arugula. Arugula on pizza really contrasts the fatty cheese and prosciutto. There were just enough toppings on this pizza to still allow the dough to shine (as with all their pizzas), which is a closer representation of pizzas found in Italy. I definitely prefer my toppings this way compared to what we’re used to here in North America.
No dinner is complete in my books until I get dessert, even though I was quite full at this point. We decided to go with the dessert special on the chalkboard, which happened to be the Lemon Chevre Cheesecake. It came with a red wine poached pear reduction and whipped cream. I’m not a huge fan of goat cheese and wasn’t a fan of the cheesecake. I found the goat cheese taste overwhelming. Instead I went with the Pear Sticky Toffee Pudding with vanilla bean gelato, it was definitely calling my name. The toffee sauce and the gelato itself were nice, but I did find the pudding itself to be a dry.
My friend isn’t much of a drinker so I stuck to only ordering a glass or two of wine that evening. I wanted to stick with the Italian theme and went with the Corallo Valpolicella. A medium bodied ruby red wine with hints of oak and berries. It paired well with the truffles in the pizza but would have also been good just by itself.
My Picks: Patatas Bravas, Mushroom Pizza
Overall: The chewy yet crusty dough, the light but flavourable toppings all makes me reminisce about our times in Italia. Definitely one of the best I’ve had so far in Calgary and unlike Italy, I don’t have to jump on a plane for 8 hours. Instead I just need to make sure I jump the line and go for an early dinner to quell my cravings.
Una Pizza and Wine
618 17 Avenue SW