Classic Italian Fare Shines at the Newly Opened Tavernetta in Renfrew

Plus, it has a cozy, fenced-in backyard patio with a “shed bar” and bocce court.

Frico and ceci snack at Tavernetta.

Photograph by Jared Sych


While speeding up Edmonton Trail, it’s easy to miss the Arts and Crafts-style home just off the corner of 9th Avenue N.E. that Tavernetta inhabits. Italian through-and-through, the restaurant — which is owned by chef Keith Luce (formerly of Corbeaux Bakehouse), Chris McKinnon (formerly of Cilantro) and Tony Migliarese (co-owner of Proof) — offers a comfortable dining experience that’s big on classic Italian flavours and straightforward when it comes to wine, cocktails and service. Expect to just sit back, relax and enjoy yourself here.

Start off with Tavernetta’s spread of antipasti that includes house-made bread, meatballs and an especially tasty Alberta beef crudo (essentially a carpaccio) topped with enoki and oyster mushrooms, horseradish and cured egg yolk. The “frico and ceci snack” may sound like an eclectic combination, consisting of Montasio cheese crisps, creamy Fonduta cheese, garbanzo beans, leeks and chili sauce, but it’s a perfect little vegetable dish to begin a meal.

Then there’s the spiedini, which means “skewers” in Italian. Priced per skewer, it’s easy to try all of these charcoal grill-finished bites, even if you’re only dining with one other person. The tastiest of the bunch are the grilled beef, brightened up by a vibrant salsa verde, and the meaty calamari that rest in a tangy crema with fresh dill and crispy fried garbanzo beans for a little crunch.

Bowls of rigatoni, bucatini and gnocchi can also be found on the menu here, though warmer weather does lend itself more to the freshness of a ricotta and bocconcini salad or bagna cauda (think crudité platter with garlicky anchovy-based dip).

While the sun still shines, make sure to make the most of the cozy backyard patio, complete with “shed bar” and bocce court, all under strings of lights running from the house to the edges of the fence. Take in the sunset sweetly by biting into Luce’s dessert bruschetta, which is topped with roasted salted caramel hazelnuts.

Tavernetta may not be the most shiny and innovative restaurant to come along this year, but if quality Italian fare in a relaxed space is what you’re after, then this is the spot for you.

1002 Edmonton Tr. N.E., 403-250-8894,, @tavernettayyc

photograph by jared sych

Tavernetta interior.

This article appears in the September 2017 issue of Avenue Calgary. Subscribe here. 


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

How to Host a Party in a Small Home

And if your house is too small to host a gathering, here's a list of local restaurants with private and semi-private dining spaces.

Utca, a New Chimney Cake Eatery, Is Open in Victoria Park

The Hungarian street food is a tubular cake covered in toppings like shredded coconut, walnuts or sprinkles. Plus, you can get them filled with soft serve ice cream.

Eat This Now: The Beer Battered Trout Tacos at Native Tongues Taqueria

The trout fillet is served family style, letting you fill your own warm corn tortillas.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags