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Posts tagged ‘lunch’

Restaurant Review: Mercato

Location: 5000-873 85 St SW
Website: http://mercatowest.com/

An impromptu lunch with my parents found me sitting at this high end restaurant. I have always loved Italian food and was super excited to try this place out. The restaurant had a fresh modern look and the hostess and waitress were very friendly in welcoming us. A truly Italian restaurant, there wasn’t “coffee” or “soda,” instead the coffee they had was an Americano and the soda? Italian soda, naturally (although Italian sodas didn’t really originate in Italy, or so I’ve been told) . I ordered the sparkling lemon. The bottle told me that it was made from lemons grown on the Amalfi coast and the first thought I had was “I was there…well sort of.” It is nothing like lemon water, nor is it like the citrus sodas that we have in North America. It’s light and not too fizzy, which was refreshing.

For our mains, my dad had a prime rib dish, my mom had the Carbonara, and I had the Timballo. The prime rib was pretty ordinary, so I won’t delve too deep into that one. It was cut into strips and topped with fried green onions and a fried egg. The Carbonara was fusilli rather than fettuccine as it usually is. Though on the salty side, it was flavourful. I enjoyed the subtle hint of what I thought to be white wine on my palate as an aftertaste. My dish was the biggest surprise to me. I had never had a Timballo before and had no expectations. Actually, I thought, by the description that it’d be more like ravioli rather than a giant pie looking thing. The other thing I didn’t expect was the pile of prosciutto on the side. I couldn’t handle the rawness of prosciutto when I was in Italy and I didn’t think I could handle it on my plate again today. But I gave it a try and it turned out not to be too bad. It’s definitely less salty than what I had in Italy and I think that they cooked it slightly to give it a bit of a crunch. The presentation of my dish was quite rustic, serving it on a chopping board. However, if the utensils had been a little sharper, maybe it would have made it easier to cut and eat. I was a bit disappointed by my dish for the lack of seasoning and the dryness of the the ricotta and kale filling. It made it hard to swallow. The pasta exterior wasn’t much better. The bottom had been cooked to crispiness and almost looked as though it had been browned a little too much (like almost burnt, just like 5 seconds more and it would have).

Price wise, Mercato is not nice on your wallet. Not in any sense of that word. Lunch on average is about $15-$20 depending on which main you order, while dinner can be anywhere from $25-$200 for a main, which is a bit insane. That $200 one better have gold, caviar, truffles, and whatever else is so expensive to warrant that kind of price.

Unless Mercato steps up it’s game and serves up food true to its pricing, I won’t be coming back. I was thoroughly disappointed by the inconsistency in seasoning and feel that it’s ridiculous to expect that much from its patrons if it can’t even do that. I did not enjoy my lunch in the least. Unfortunately, first impressions are everything, so for today’s performance I will have to give Mercato a 2.5/5.

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Sparkling Lemon Beverage

Sparkling Lemon Beverage (Lurisia La Nostra Gazzosa Con Il Vero Limone Sfusato di Amalfi)

Complimentary Bread and Olives served with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar for dipping

Complimentary Bread and Olives served with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar for dipping

 

Timballo

Timballo

Carbonara

Carbonara

Prime Rib

Prime Rib

 

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Restaurant Review: Julio’s Barrio

Location: 1110 Memorial Dr. NW Calgary, Alberta

Website: http://juliosbarrio.com/

This is my second time coming here, The first time I went was for dinner with my family. I can tell you that this restaurant is not meant for family dinners. For dinner with friends? Yes. For a couple of drinks? Yes. For a loud and possibly good time? Yes. Family dinner? Not really. I can’t even remember what I had had the first time I went; I think the noise erased most of my memories of the place. All I remember are the tables, which look like they used bathroom tiles. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, except that it isn’t really my style. Colourful and fun, but still not my style.

This time I had lunch with a friend. It was different coming here with a friend instead of my family and for lunch instead of dinner. It was tranquil and hard to believe that my first experience had been as bad as it was. We were seated in a sunny spot and it was really nice, except that the table wobbled a little. Our waitress started us off with some tortilla chips and salsa in a flower shaped tortilla bowl. Both my friend and I ordered tacos. I had the shrimp tacos while she had the baja fish tacos, both of which made it to the table in record time. I hardly felt like I had waited ten minutes when the food appeared. My shrimp tacos were advertised to be seasoned and diced with avocado dressing and a fresh mango salsa and my friend’s baja fish tacos were corona battered and lightly fried red snapper fillets topped with chipotle aioli. Of course they were also topped with some fresh vegetables like red cabbage, lettuce and so on and instead of fries they came with refried beans, corn salad and rice. I found this to be a nice change since fries aren’t that healthy and this gives it a more Mexican flare. The rice and corn salad were delicious, but I found the refried beans to be a little on the salty side. That’s not to say they didn’t taste good, just a little less salt would have made them that much better. Unfortunately my taco wasn’t as nice as the sides. The shrimp completely lacked seasoning and the avocado dressing was more like a deflated avocado foam. It didn’t help that the salsa released so much water that it mixed with the avocado foam and ran out the back of the taco all over my hand and plate. My friend’s baja fish taco looked much more appetizing and hopefully if I ever return there, I will give those a try.

All in all, great service, okay food, and a fun atmosphere. I would rate this restaurant 3.5/5

Baja Fish Taco

Baja Fish Taco*

Image

Shrimp Taco in the foreground. Baja Fish Taco in the background. Really bright and obscured basket to the side: tortilla chips with salsa

*Picture credit goes to Rhiannon

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