L and I have several trips planned, which means lots of eating out. So for the next six months, I am self-imposing one restaurant meal per week. This means when I do go out, I sure as heck won’t waste it on a chain restaurant (no offence White Spot, you know I love you).
This week’s rationed restaurant meal was at Bonterra Trattoria. We snagged a seat on their city renowned garden patio. When we sat down, I realized why they win best patio category in various magazines. The spacious patio is outfitted with flowers and covered overhead, which is handy in Calgary’s hail fraught summer. I also like the view of the sky scrappers. A male server noticed I was rubbing my goose pimpled arms and he kindly offered to kick on the heater. After two minutes, I was warm and cozy.
I liked our female server too. She had this no nonsense aura about her. I like the way she thinks – she analyzed which wine I should drink and which pasta I should order based on what I told her I did and didn’t like. She picked a glass of chianti ($13) which was a heavier, berry-like red.
We ate some complimentary rosemary focaccia while we waited for our appetizer. Fluffy with a nice crust not the outside, it was the perfect vessel to soak up the olive oil and salty chopped up olives.
On Yelp, I read that reviewers loved the antipasti at Bonterra. We ordered the Antipasti Piatti ($36), which contained three imported cheeses, about four meats, and tons of pickled vegetables.
L enjoyed the high quality meats. My favourite item were the fresh tomatoes. Oh my goodness. These were the best tomatoes ever. Sweet and juicy and ripe. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
I also ate pickled beets, pickled cauliflower, pickled onions, olives, and some other vegetable that looked like a curly white noodle that was also pickled. I love pickled veggies but I thought it was a bit much for me. I did dig the cranberry mustard, which was tart.
I told my server that I loved fat noodles, but the sausage on the Garganelli alla Salsiccia ($19) didn’t appeal to me. She was nice enough to do a special order for me. I got my fat noodles, but with a mix of chicken, arugula, and those tomatoes I love so much. L ordered the Linguine Carbonara ($17.00).
I don’t normally eat at Italian restaurants because I find I can replicate the food well enough at home. Well, eating at Bonterra proved me wrong. These are pastas I can’t make at home. And unlike Buon Giorno, each pasta was very different from each other and didn’t taste the same.
The chicken in my pasta was almost delicate in flavour. In fact, all the ingredients were subtle. The sweetness of the tomatoes. The peppery flavour of the arugula. I really enjoyed the addition of the warm roasted pine nuts.
L’s pasta was like buttery heaven. The wild boar bacon added a smokey flavour.
Though the spaghetti noodles were so thin and fine, it was still al dente. We noted that Bonterra doesn’t rely on rich heavy sauces to give their pastas flavour.
One last thing I noticed. When we were standing inside to wait for our table, all the staff were very courteous, asking us if we were looked after. The chefs in the open kitchen were busy making kick-ass food, but you could hear them cheerfully converse with each other. The whole scene looked so fun it almost made me want to apply for culinary school and then a job at Bonterra 🙂