Restaurant Review: Il Sogno

>> Tuesday, January 22, 2013


With all that’s happened during the holidays I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up, not only at work, but in my personal life as well. It’s amazing how everything can happen all at once and throw life in all different directions. So I wasn’t at all surprised that I missed posting a blog that I wrote a while back.  Sitting there just waiting in my draft folder. So here it is now, albeit a little late (I am truly sad that it is especially because it was of a restaurant that I quite enjoy), but better than never. I’m glad to finally be able to share my thoughts on Il Sogno, a great Italian eatery in Bridgeland.

Atmosphere: An elegant and stylish dining area situated in a refurbished historic building that incorporates modern accents with distinguished surroundings.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30s

Food and Wine: We were there to celebrate a special dinner with my parents we decided to order the traditional Italian menu of antipasti, primi, secondi and dolce, which was perfect because I got to sample pretty much the whole menu (because luckily family doesn’t mind). 

The appies featured at the time (they constantly change their menus based on seasonality, but favorites do make a reappearance) included Calamari which we ordered with the house made onion loaf, a Braised Duck Crocante and a light red leaf salad with anchovy vinaigrette.  The calamari wasn’t deep fried but served with a light olive and tomato sauce.  I really enjoyed dipping the chewy onion loaf in to the tomato sauce and scooping some calamari on top.  It was a nice change to the deep fried calamari that I’m used to. My parents both enjoyed the crocante, it was a nice contrast between the crispy outer shell and the moist duck in the center.

For our primi or pasta course, we selected the Ricotta Gnocchi, Risotto, Oxtail Ravioli and Tortelloni Bolognese.  All the pasta dishes were cooked perfectly al dente.  The gnocchi was nice and chewy, perfect little bite sized carby goodness scooping up the lovely sauce.  The oxtail ravioli was very flavourful, I really enjoyed the combination of mushrooms with the creaminess of the sauce.  My only complaint was there wasn’t more of it!  After a couple bites of the tortelloni, it was hard not to steal the dish away. Again, the flavour combinations worked really well here.  As for the risotto, it was creamy without being heavy and the texture of the dish was just right, without the rice being overly mushy or the consistency seizing up. It ‘fell’ just the way a risotto should when you take each spoonful.

I got to taste both the Seasonal Fish (it was Sea Bass that day) and the Seared Tenderloin.  The fish was seared just enough to form a crust without overcooking the bass.  It was served along side a creamy parsnip puree and smashed potatoes, overall a very light dish.  The tenderloin was cooked perfectly medium rare, served over top black lentils and broccolini with a tangy tomato jam.  I preferred the jam over the traditional compote butter because it helped brighten the steak by bringing acidity to the dish.

It was hard to select which dolce aka dessert we wanted, since they all sounded very appealing. My parents ordered the Cranberry and Lemon Crème Brulee with a side of shortbread biscuits.  Tangy and tart, a good combination for crème brulee which can often be eggy and heavy.  We decided on the lighter Gelato and Sorbet Trio and selected the grapefruit sorbet (very refreshing), espresso gelato (creamy and smooth full of coffee flavour, perfect paired with coffee), and the berry gelato (good combination of sweet and sour).  The coolness of the sorbets and gelatos were a good contrast to our hot Illy cappuccinos and coffees.

The wine that was chosen that evening was a Schug Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir, a bouquet full of cherries with a nice lingering of oak and a long smooth finish.  A wine that is light enough to pair with all the seafood, but a spicier red to go with the meat dishes as well.

My Picks: Oxtail Ravioli, Gelato and Sorbet Trio

Overall: Il Sogno’s always been a restaurant that we’ve frequented over the years so I’m glad to finally share my experiences with everyone. Although I forgot about posting this blog, it definitely does not mean that Il Sogno is forgettable, quite the opposite. When you’re there you’ll enjoy unforgettable service combined with delicious Italian inspired fare. What more can you ask for? Well there is a special Chef’s tasting menu..maybe ask for that…it was delish!

Il Sogno
24 4th Street NE
Calgary, AB
(403) 232-8901

Il Sogno on Urbanspoon


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