Restaurant Review: 80th and Ivy Wine Kitchen

>> Thursday, June 28, 2012

My husband and I always joke about moving to Europe. The lifestyle, food, wine…the Europeans definitely have their priorities right (we’ll leave the economy thing out of this). Luckily there’s a new restaurant in town that’s trying to bring some of that European style to our culinary scene in Calgary. The owners of 80th and Ivy really wanted their space to be a location where people just went to relax, unwind and enjoy life. They’re trying to make wine accessible to all - along with some tasty tapas styled dishes of course!

Atmosphere: A duo layout - a bright and open casual dining area with large surrounding windows downstairs adjoined to a sophisticated upper level - highlighting comfort and style.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $20s

Food and Wine: Our server was extremely helpful in suggesting some dishes to start with, like the Medjool Dates, which comes with four dates stuffed with chorizo and wrapped with prosciutto. They’re baked making the outer prosciutto extremely crispy. Many things contrast and compliment one another with the salty, spicy meats and sweet dates, crispy outer layer and soft inner core all coming together. It’s a bite, but a great one.

We had the Prawn Rolls next. Each prawn is wrapped in wonton wrappers and fried, served with chili lime and grilled pineapple coulis. It was fun to dip them in to the different sauces, where the pineapple was sweet and sour and the chili lime was slightly spicy. I did find that the wrappers fell off the prawn when I tried to cut in to them, so if you’re having this dish, just pick them up and go for a single bite!

One of my favourites for the night was the Rotisserie Chicken Sweet Bun Sliders. Asian inspired with five spice chicken, bean sprouts, and apple slaw drizzled with a blood orange aioli. The best part was the sweet buns because we found out they were baked fresh daily at a local Chinatown bakery. I was extremely excited that 80th and Ivy were supporting local establishments! I’m already making a mental note to go back for more.

We had to try an entrée sized dish and the Driveview Farms Alberta Lamb sounded very appetizing and it was. The lamb was melt in your mouth tender, juicy and flavourful. It wasn’t gamey at all, which is the way I prefer lamb. I was delighted at how amazing the minted barley risotto tasted. It was buttery and creamy, the barley was cooked perfectly to provide a nice chew.  The mint really added that little some thing extra, not overpowering the flavours, but bringing it up another notch instead. By far some of the tastiest risotto I’ve had in a long time, plus its barley so it’s healthy for you.

Although we were stuffed at this point, there was no way we weren’t going to get dessert for the evening. Since we were already at that point, why not just get two desserts, the Crème Brulee and Chocolate Cinnamon Cake. The peaches and cream crème brulee was made with Greek yogurt and it definitely felt a lot lighter than others I’ve had before. There were definite hints of tangy yogurt in each bite and I really liked it since I use a lot of yogurt in my own cooking at home.

The cinnamon definitely stood out amongst the chocolate in the cake, which I liked. However, I was a bit shocked that my ice cream came as a sauce in a dish. Not what I was expecting when I read ice cream (I am very much an ice cream fiend). I dipped the cake in the sauce, but finally decided to just set it aside. Here’s crossing my fingers that they do decide to change it back to a nice big scoop (or two) of frozen ice cream because the cake itself was moist and decadent.

With the wine specials on that evening (selection of 30 wines for $30 every Wednesday), I had to order a bottle (sadly also finished the bottle but that’s neither here nor there) of the Alpha Zeta Valipolicella Ripasso 2009. It definitely tasted better once aerated, with cherry flavours and earthy notes. I found it went very nicely with the lamb and also the medjool dates. The wine isn’t overly tart and doesn’t overwhelm the food. It was medium bodied and didn't really linger on the palette.

My Picks: Medjool Dates, Rotisserie Chicken Sweet Bun Sliders, Driveview Farms Alberta Lamb

Overall: My friend and I ended up staying at 80th and Ivy for well over three hours. It definitely felt cozy and comfortable, had it not been for work the next day we probably would have been there even longer! Since it doesn’t look like I’ll be moving to Europe any time soon, at least I can enjoy my wine and food the way the Europeans do – in a space that is welcoming and where time isn’t a concern.

80th and Ivy Wine Kitchen
1127 17 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 703-5421

80th & Ivy Wine Kitchen on Urbanspoon


boulevardsg January 28, 2013 at 2:00 AM  

The Ivy wine restaurant has been reviewed in the post here. You have given excellent description. Useful post
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