Restaurant Review: LDV Pizza Bar

>> Friday, October 24, 2014

My must visit list always seems to be growing, even though I often feel like I eat out more than I should. There are too many great establishments around town, plus with new ones always making its debut, it’s hard not to indulge. LDV has been on my wish list for a while but for some reason that I can’t seem to comprehend, I’ve yet to make it down there. So when YYC Pizza Week rolled around in Sept and I realized that they were partaking, I seized the moment and immediately made a reservation before I became too distracted.

Atmosphere: Attached to La Dolce Vita, this pizzeria has a refined Italian bistro feel. Situated on the second floor, the restaurant overlooks Bridgeland and allows diners to enjoy the views of the busy neighbourhood.

Price Range: Mid $10s

Food & Wine: Although we were there for their pizza week specialty, we definitely wanted to sample some of the featured items on their menu. The Mussels, which was prepared with a white wine tomato sauce and served with pizza bread, was a great start to our meal. The sauce was robust and flavourful, perfect for scooping on top each of the mussels. It was also delicious with the accompanying bread, which is made from their chewy pizza dough. Next we had the Meatballs. Homemade beef and pork meatballs served in a tangy tomato sauce and served with the addicting pizza bread that also came with our mussels. The serving size was very generous and the meatballs themselves were moist and tender. It’s a great sharing dish for those that are looking for a small bite before their mains arrive.

We were pretty excited for the pizza, which was called the Clint Eastwood, sadly only a special for YYC Pizza Week. Made with fiore di latte cheese, tomato sauce, and topped with bresaola, arugula, shaved grana padano and smoked paprika. All the flavours of the toppings were a perfect blend, the saltiness of the bresaola combined with the creamy grana padano and fiore di latte cheeses coupled with peppery arugula and smoky paprika. Add on to that the chewiness of the crust and it made for one of the more memorable pizzas I sampled that week. I really hope they decide to bring it back!

To end our evening we ordered the homemade Chocolate cake for dessert. I really enjoyed the gooey chocolately cake and the side of ice cream was really just a bonus. For those who know me know I love hot and cold desserts. There’s just something special about that combination. We decided on the pistachio gelato and it really elevated the chocolate cake. Plus the chocolate was the perfect pairing for our Terre De Priori Chianti. An inexpensive red, that’s not quite as aromatic as a typical chianti but still provides the cherry notes that pair well with a nice chocolate dessert.

My Picks: Meatballs, Any pizza

Overall: With so many great places it’s often hard to make it out to a restaurant, but after our experience at LDV I’ll definitely be adding it to my rotation. Even though the pizza we tried was a special feature that night, I was truly impressed with their pizza dough and can’t wait to try their other offerings.

LDV Pizza Bar
916 1st Ave NE
Calgary, AB
(403) 263-5999

LDV Pizza Bar on Urbanspoon


Restaurant Review: GreekTown Kitchen & Wine Bar

>> Friday, October 10, 2014

One of my good friends recently returned from her trip to Greece and I couldn’t wait to meet up with her to discuss all of her wonderful experiences there. It really brought back memories of our trip a couple years back where we were lucky enough to visit the amazing country. I’ve always enjoyed Greek cuisine, but being able to savor the true tastes of the food in its native land was something special. When I close my eyes I can still taste the tender roasted lamb, the flavourful gyros, flaky sweet baklavas and the freshest most amazing fish stew, Kakavia. Luckily for me, as I was wandering down 4th street one day I noticed this quaint new restaurant that just happened to be called Greektown and I was there not long after that.

Atmosphere: Bright and open dining room with the iconic blue and white colors of Greece transporting the diner not only in cuisine but also in scenery. There’s also a great little patio which allows the guests to enjoy the ongoings of everything 4th street in Mission.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $20+

Food & Wine: One of my favorite things to eat is pita and dip, hence it’s usually found on my dinner table when eating at restaurants that offer it on their menu. This time was no different, the only hard part was deciding which one to order, but lucky for us there was a 4 Dip Platter that allowed us to sample a bit of each. The Tzatziki was my favorite made with fat free greek yogurt, cucumbers and lots of garlicky goodness. There’s just something definitive about tzatziki and pita, but of course I couldn’t ignore the Hummus either, which is equally as classic. Featuring garlic, chickpeas and feta cheese, it’s the quintessential Greek spin on the hummus that everybody loves so much. The other two lesser known but delicious dips include the Taramosalata, a lemon and carp roe caviar blend, and the Tyroafteri with roasted red pepper dip made with feta and yogurt. My reasoning behind why I enjoy dips so much is because it makes dinner an interactive affair. Sharing and sampling, everybody enjoying the different flavour combinations always tends to add more to the conversation around the table.

The Zucchini Chips that we ordered were also a good compliment to the dip platter. The chips themselves reminded me of Japanese tempura, with the extremely light batter just covering each slice of zucchini. It comes with a side of tzatziki and was a perfect complement to the chips, but we couldn’t help trying them with the different dips as well.

Our last starter was the Chicken Chops, which is half an Alberta free run chicken, roasted and grilled with a traditional housemade marinade. The portion size was much bigger than what I had envisioned. It can even double as an entrée for some who are looking for something a bit lighter for dinner. The chicken itself was flavourful and I liked the hint of tangy lemon which really came through bite after bite. Served with a side of arugula, it helped cleanse the palate after every bite, plus the peppery aurugla added a nice punch to the dish.

We ordered the Hoirines Brizoles aka Pork Chops as our entrée. Thick cut, locally raised Alberta pork chops in a lemon, olive oil and oregano marinade similar to the one used with the chicken. Served with fresh roasted seasonal vegetables and a choice of greek salad, ceasar salad, lemon potatoes, saffron rice pilaf or fries. The entrée was perfect for the two of us due to its generous portion size. The pork itself was tender but the sear was a bit over what I’d prefer since I enjoy my pork with a bit of pink. I appreciated that they left a bit of fat around the chop which imparted extra flavor. There was the option to order lots of greens on the plate or not if you’re not a huge fan of vegetables.

After perusing the dessert menu, we had to order the Baklava and Gelato. Described as layers of filo pastry filled with chopped walnuts and sweetened with cinnamon and honey syrup is the perfect description for those who have never had a baklava. It sounds simple but the combination of crispy filo, crunchy walnuts and the sticky sweet honey perfectly caps off the evening. The side of vanilla gelato and chocolate syrup is the proverbial icing on the cake.

My Picks: 4 Dip Platter, Zucchini Chips

Overall: The dishes were all simple yet flavourful, similar to the food found in Greece. I really appreciated the hefty portion sizes as well as the service which truly captured the essence of the Greek people. I’m looking forward to my next dinner there and hoping to discover more amazing dishes to savour.

GreekTown Kitchen & Wine Bar
2005 4 St SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 460-0911

Greektown Kitchen & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

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