Calgary’s First Street Village Giuseppes Italian Market

For those of you who are no longer under thirty years old “First Street Village” is 1st street between 17th Avenue and 12th Avenue SW.  This used to be a dance bar scene in the late 1990s with Mescalero’s and the Crazy Horse which enjoyed regular patronage from Nutmeg and Ginger.  In the past several years a dramatic change has occurred in this area the result is the emerging “First Street Village”.  The transformation of an old Holiday Inn into the contemporary Hotel Arts started a construction frenzy with an expansion of the hotel and two nearby condo developments (Union Square, Colors by Battistella).  The area now boasts some reasonable men’s clothing, boutique women’s clothing, coffee shops, a wine bar and Giuseppe’s Italian Market.  Nutmeg has wanted to try this place for awhile.  This location used to be a night club as well (possibly called the lizard or some equally appealing name).  They have rid the place of the dance music and used the tri-level space to house a coffee and wine bar on the street level, deli on the second level and sit down restaurant on the top.  The place was packed on a Friday night at 6:30pm, Nutmeg and Ginger were very lucky to get a table (still have not quite learned the reservation trick!!).  They have done a nice job on the decor, Nutmeg would classify as “low end Tuscan”.  The menu includes some salads, antipasto, pastas and pizza.  Ginger wanted pizza so we split; garlic shrimp (they were not kidding about the garlic), caprese salad (good although not very big and the mozzerella was not buffalo) and a grec pizza with parma ham.  The food was tasty, the atmosphere is casual – there were several families with kids and the wait staff were accommodating.  However, they were understaffed or overcapacity – the service was slow and a bit disorganized.

Nutmeg poked around in the deli and noted they have some appealing prepared pastas and a fraction of the cost of Mercato.  First Street Village has a the makings of a good neighborhood restaurant in Giuseppe’s Italian Market.  Nutmeg’s recommendation ; make a reservation, do not go if you are trying to rush to the hockey game or better yet order your pizza in advance and take it home.


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