In Praise of the Calgary Small Restaurants

In praise of the small restaurant!

Have you ever been to a “Chinese, American, Italian” restaurant and dreaded the fact you had walked in the door?Have you ever been handed the 11”X17” full color (with pictures), multiple page encyclopedia and wished you had stayed at home for popcorn?

Our top restaurant choices are those with few tables, great service, limited but well-chosen wines and great food. Our current top Calgary choice is Rasoi which is hands down consistent service and market fresh modern Indian. The flavours are distinct, not overpowering.No traditional “butter chicken” here. The menu is short and covers all the proteins, with options for the vegetarians in the crowd. The team at Rasoi does not disappoint they are meticulous about the table settings, food presentation and attention to every detail. Unfortunately, they are on the busy Marda Loop strip and do not have a patio – which is not a problem 11.5 months of the year, so go and enjoy!

Another winner in Calgary is Petite – yes “small” for the western Canadian anglos. They took over the coffee shop space across from Community Natural Foods on 10th Avenue. The name is appropriate this place is cozy, few tables (with enough spacing to remind you that you are not in France). The menu is market fresh, the specials are literally best of the season. Our party ordered the special starters (breaded squash blossom flowers in a sauce of Parmigiano cheese) and beet salad – both winners. The seafood was delectable and our mains were terrific in terms of presentation and portion size. The overall winner was the seared scallops with orchietta pasta and baby tomatoes finished with 25yr old balsamic – try it you will not be disappointed. Limited wine list with a focus on bin ends which works fine for small groups.

So you know Nutmeg has a hard time leaving Canmore out of the discussion. The Trough never disappoints. The restaurant is small and really cozy for the lovely -30 nights (she is joking about the weather). Rosie (chef) and Mike (host) never disappoint, the menu is consistently good and the choices hard but listen closely to the specials as they are generally over the top. Did Nutmeg mention the great innovative and price sensitive wine list?

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