*Listed in alphabetical order.
- Calgarians love Italian food. Feedback from our recent restaurant survey included so many fantastic Italian eateries that we decided to go for a full top 10 rather than limit the category to three. And because they all have equal billing in our hearts (and bellies) we’ve presented them here in alphabetical order.
Exceptional contemporary Italian dishes, a beautiful wine room that doubles as a private dining room and one of the nicest patios in the city – a Tuscan-style closed terrace out back – has made Bonterra a solid choice since 2000.
1016 8 St. S.W., 403-262-8480, bonterra.ca
616 17 Ave. S.W., 403-476-3615, breadandcircusyyc.com
One of the city’s newest Italian joints (in an old brick building that has housed Italian restaurants for more than a decade), Cardinale offers unpretentious, well-prepared pastas, salads and classic but creative large plates. The inventive cocktails are made with Italian spirits and ingredients from the kitchen and make for a great start or finish to any meal.
401 12 Ave. S.E., 403-264-6046, cardinale.ca
A pillar of Calgary’s downtown arts district, Centini has served extraordinary, elegant Italian food since 2002, with three private dining rooms and a well-curated collection of contemporary Canadian art adding to the atmosphere.
160 8 Ave. S.E., 403-269-1600, centini.com
From the team behind the much-missed Capo, Kensington’s Cotto serves self-described Italian comfort food – modernized versions of traditional dishes for lunch and dinner.
314D 10 St. N.W., 587-356-4088, cottoyyc.com
In Mission and out in the city’s west end, Mercato has been a favourite among Calgarians ever since it expanded its fresh market to include a sit-down restaurant experience. Everything is made in-house in open kitchens that are pure gastronomical theatre.
2224 4 St. S.W., 403-263-5535 and Mercato West 5000, 873 85 St. S.W., 403-263-6996, mercatogourmet.com
The casual eatery and wine bar next door to sister restaurant Bonterra, Posto makes some of the best pizza in the city and has good deals every night of the week.
1014 8 St. S.W., 403-263-4876, posto.ca
Located in a bungalow at the top of the hill on Edmonton Trail, Tavernetta is a hip neighbourhood spot for gnocchi, meatballs and negronis – and a little backyard bocce when it’s nice out.
1002 Edmonton Tr. N.E., 403-250-8894, tavernettayyc.ca
A downtown Calgary institution, Teatro has been a go-to for business lunches and special-occasion dinners since 1993. With exceptional service and a stellar wine cellar, it’s a trusted fine-dining and event destination.
200 8 Ave. S.E., 403-290-1012, teatro.ca
Family-owned Villa Firenze in Bridgeland has been serving homestyle Italian dishes prepared with recipes from past generations since 1991.
610 1 Ave. N.E., 403-264-4297, villafirenze.ca