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Italian food

Levetto Comes to Chinatown



The truffle oil-drizzled funghi pizza from Levetto.

The Chinatown outpost of Levetto boasts the same oven-baked pizzas and handmade pastas that have made the franchise’s other locations popular. But one menu offering is unique to the menu here: the Peking duck pizza, which use ingredients like hoisin sauce and medium cheddar cheese for an Asian take on an Italian staple. Among the other highlights are the carbonara with a generous helping of smoked bacon, the rigatoni with tender braised beef, and the fungi pizza with truffle oil.  —Karen Stevens

Hot Dining: Tre Visi’s Twin

River Heights has gained a dining gem with the recent opening of Tre Visi Café. The second location of the swish, highly regarded Italian restaurant features a pared-down menu and tasteful, contemporary dining room. Try Chef Giacomo Appice’s renowned pillows of gnocchi bathed in pesto cream sauce and new dishes, like a clever take on caprese salad made with roasted tomatoes and red peppers dressed in verdant basil pesto. 926 Grosvenor Ave, 204-475-4447.

Hot Dining: Made with Love

At De Luca’s Cooking School, Chef Anna Paganelli delights diners and cooks alike with her delicious dishes and pearls of culinary wisdom. During her classes, guests watch, learn and taste as passionate Paganelli prepares and serves four Italian courses, from eggplant caprese salad to strawberry Mascarpone cake. Paganelli sums up her culinary career, including 26 years of teaching at De Luca’s, with this recipe for success: “Cook it with love. That’s my most important thing that you can do with your food.” Winter cooking classes run Jan 10, 15, 24 & 29; Feb 5, 19 & 26. 950 Portage Ave, 204-774-7617.

Hot Dining: 3 Hip New Calgary Patios

Calgarians love their patios, and during this summer in particular, with its especially lovely hot weather, who can blame them? Three new spots in Calgary’s bustling dining scene have hip, secluded patios where you can sip refreshing brews and enjoy the city’s famously late summers.

Kensington’s Oak Tree’s patio has a prime view of the downtown skyline. Photo: Adele Brunnhofer.

OAK TREE TAVERN 124 10 St NW, 2nd floor

This cozy wooden patio in Kensington is on the second level above The Source and has a fantastic view of downtown Calgary. Though tucked away, the Oak Tree’s patio still feels very much a part of the busy neighbourhood, and its proximity to downtown and the Sunnyside LRT station make it a great stop for the after-work crowd. At night, when its patio lights are switched on, the space has the vibe of an urban rooftop party. Local Village Brewery beers are available on tap, and the menu includes house-made burgers and savoury sharing items like nachos and curry fries. (more…)

Hot Dining: Tosca Ristorante

Tosca Ristorante © Photoluxstudio.com – Christian Lalonde

Classic Italian flavours rule the menu at Tosca Ristorante. Dishes are simple but never dull — fine, fresh ingredients are expertly put together to create satisfying, interesting dishes like chicken con noce, linguine al pescatore, and veal parmigiana. An impressive wine and cocktail list offer the perfect accompaniment to your meal. The sumptuously appointed dining area makes any night out feel special, but in the summer months, the 80-seat patio beckons — perfect for watching the downtown crowd stroll by. Weekly lunch specials are also offered. A second location will be opening in Findlay Creek in Ottawa’s south end later this year.

144 O’Connor St., 613-565-3933. www.tosca-ristorante.ca


Hot Dining: Homemade Pasta at Mamma Grazzi’s

A pasta dish made 'al momento' at Mamma Garzzi's

Mamma Grazzi’s offers comforting food reminiscent of a mother’s kitchen. Known for Old World Italian cuisine with homemade pasta and hand-rolled thin crust pizzas, this restaurant sticks to an “al momento” philosophy of cooking, with each dish prepared individually to order. And with pastas and pizzas ranging from about $11-$20, this is good food that won’t break the bank (try the Odessa and Milano pastas, which are local favourites). Plus, now that the weather is warm, you can even enjoy your meal on one of the prettiest patios in the city.

25 George St., 613-241-8656.

Hot Dining: Where to See Skaters on the Rideau Canal

We round up the best spots to grab a bite with the added enjoyment of watching skaters on the Rideau Canal.

Skaters take a snack break at the BeaverTails counter.

BeaverTail Shacks
Located on the Rideau Canal Skateway, you can skate up to the window, order one of these delicious Canadian treats, and grab a spot on a picnic bench without ever leaving the ice. Be honest: isn’t one of the main reasons you go skating here to have a BeaverTail and a hot chocolate after?
Several locations along the Rideau Canal. www.beavertailsinc.com

Canal Ritz
This Italian restaurant boasts one of the most scenic views of the canal and is located right near one of the entrances to the skateway, so after you’re done your meal it’s easy to lace up your skates and join in on the fun. Rather watch? Snag a seat by the big windows and curl up with a specialty coffee.
375 Queen Elizabeth Dr. (at Fifth Avenue), 613-238-8998. www.canalritz.com

Canal Oak
Part of the Royal Oak Pubs chain, this unique two-storey location is situated near the Pretoria Bridge, which crosses over the canal. Order a pint, relax by the fire, and enjoy some colourful people watching. It’s also a top spot to head after you’ve traversed the ice and need to refuel.
221 Echo Dr., 613- 234-3700. www.royaloakpubs.com

Hot Dining: Now Open: Sensi Wine Lounge

Located on the second floor above Tre Visi in the Exchange District, Sensi Wine Lounge is a new venture opened by the owners of the popular Italian eatery. The super sleek lounge offers $5 piattini dishes designed for sharing. Order a few plates for a sumptuous culinary tour of Italy. A must is prosciutto with minted melon for a complementary combination of sweet and savoury flavours. 173 McDermot, 975-0160.