Amazing cocktails, daily house-made pasta, all on the comfort of brand new jewel green velvet banquettes at Cardinale. We're not downtown, on 17th ave, in Mission, Inglewood or even Kensington. Head down 12th AVE SE next to the Cowboys Casino, on the edge of the East Village. Opening only a few weeks ago, Cardinale completely revamped the historical Dafoe Building and turns out delicious Italian food, plate after plate.
Since I was 19, when I lived in Italy while studying at the University of Florence, I've had a special place in my heart for all things Italian. Going to Cardinale reminds me that Italian food is full of passion, flavour, and freshness.
Drinking & Eating
My dining partner and I began with the Suspiria and the Sage Advice cocktails ($12). Both were delicious, and completely original. The Suspiria's ingredients were Aperol, Amaro Luciano, Marsala, strawberries, basil, lemon, balsamic reduction, and strawberry leaf bitters. Sage Advice was a gin based cocktail, along with Cocci Americano, sage, lemon, garden party bitters, and drumroll please...peas! Yes peas, it was definitely different, but it curiously works.
Our Antipasto course started with a Caesar Salad ($10) with baby Romaine, grilled Radicchio and Portuguese sardines. Next were Suppli ($14), described on the menu as fried risotto balls. They were more like Spanish croquettes, rather than the classic arancini, but delicious two-bite morsels all the same. We also tried the Gamberi ($16), which were salt baked juicy prawns with pickled fennel. Note that these are DIY prawn peeling. On my next visit, I'll definitely be trying the Panzanella Salad ($12) of pagnatta toast, heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzerella, capers, olives, and cucumbers.
We continued on with two delicious pastas and a roast veal ribeye. First, a seafood linguine ($16/24) with prawns, scallops, mussels, and squid. My favourite though was the Pappardelle ($16/24), a twelve hour veal shin ragu . The Vitello ($30), a veal ribeye dish is generous enough to share with another couple, and goes well with the side of Italian BBQ sauce, which carries a bit of heat.
To finish off our incredible lunch, we shared the Ricotta al Caffé, ($10) very similar to a Tiramisù. There's also sorbetto ($9), gelato ($9), and a lemon mascarpone cake ($10) currently listed on the dessert menu.
When you do make it to Cardinale, make sure you enter their trip to Italy competition. Win a Trip to ITALY for TWO now through January 17, 2018, with purchase. The prize includes flights, five nights accommodation, and two winery tours in Tuscany, Italy. Two finalists will be drawn weekly, 50 finalists total. The final draw will take place January 24, 2018, and the winner must be present to claim the prize.
Cardinale is a welcome addition to the Calgary food scene and I can't wait to return again.
For reservations, go to Open Table or visit here.
401 12 Ave SE, Calgary
M-F: 11:30AM - 11:30PM
Saturday: 4:00PM - 11:30PM