New Restaurant: Double Zero Chinook

It’s not all about the pizza. Chef Rob Jewell’s tuna crudo is a great way to kick off dinner at Double Zero Chinook. In-mall dining certainly isn’t what it used to be, and that is a wonderful thing. While most malls in this country feature mediocre (at best) chain dining…

It’s not all about the pizza. Chef Rob Jewell’s tuna crudo is a great way to kick off dinner at Double Zero Chinook.

In-mall dining certainly isn’t what it used to be, and that is a wonderful thing. While most malls in this country feature mediocre (at best) chain dining options, we’ve been seeing a bit of a surge in the quality when it comes to sit-down experiences in shopping centres, and Double Zero Chinook is a prime example.

The Double Zero on Stephen Avenue has long been a destination for pizza and drinks in the downtown core, and it has recently ventured south into a beautiful two level space in the Chinook Centre.

One thing Double Zero Chinook has on the original downtown location is its design. Floor-to-ceiling windows on both levels, as well as brightly coloured chairs and big black and white portraits bring a new vibrancy that its other spot lacks.

The long, white marbled bar upstairs makes for a perfect spot if you’re dining solo. If you’re simply stopping in for a sip or two, the bartenders here can pour a fair amount of reds, whites and bubbles by the glass. Microbrews and cocktails are an option here too, and the Hopped Mead by Fallentimber Meadery just outside of the city, is one of the most interesting things I’ve had the pleasure of sipping in recent months. It’s a must-try (and gluten-free too).

After heading up the kitchen at Una for two years, it will come as no surpirse that chef Robert Jewell definitely knows his way around a pizza pie. The chef has freshened up the Double Zero menu (at both locations), keeping some classic and while ushering in change, which is always a good thing.

For pizzas, you can stay simple with a traditional margherita or get a bit more adventureous with slices topped with leeks, confit chicken and pancetta. The sausage pizza (housemade Italian sausage, artichokes and scallions) or chorizo salami pizza with olives, sweet grilled bell peppers, mozzarella and goat cheese are good fits for folks with a bigger – or meatier – appetites.

Since one can’t survive on pizza alone, there’s a lot more to order here like caesar, butter leaf lettuce, caprese and Waldorf salads, each of which are generously sized whether you’re going for the individual or shared portions. There are also antipasto platters, meatballs, paninis and a beautiful tuna crudo, crusted with fennel seed, finished with grated egg yolk and a sweet tomato relish. Spring has arrived and it’s certainly on this plate.

The desserts are Italian-style, simple and sweet here with vanilla panna cotta, chocolate torta and a honey pine nut tart. Topped with a rich, mascarpone gelato and berry compote in a shortbread crust, the tart is more than a little addicting. Now that the warmer weather has hit, chilly desserts are always welcome, so you’ll be happy to know it’s serving Fiasco Gelato as well.

If you need a mid-day break from perusing the Chinook shops, you may as well rest your feet between 3 and 5 p.m. (Monday-Friday only) when Double Zero (both locations) has its $5 happy hour. A selection of bubbles, wine, beer and bar snacks like roasted cauliflower, mushroom salad or polenta fries will cost you a flat $5 each across the board. Definitely not too shabby.

Though it’s still waiting to get its footing in the full-service upper level of the restaurant, Double Zero will be opening its lower level trattoria very soon, offering coffee, pastries and simple grab-and-go foods if you don’t have time to dine in.

(6455 Macleod Tr. S.W., 403-777-1050, doublezeropizza.ca, @dzpizzachinook)

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