Involtini Ristorante – Calgary, AB

I ended up at Involtini for dinner unexpectedly with a friend. We had planned to go to a nearby eatery for sushi but the sushi joint was closed so we wanted to pick an alternative that was not too far away. I had heard about Involtini awhile back when they first opened and have been meaning to try it.

We were served two types of complimentary fresh bread – focaccia and french bread along with a dish of Rosemary infused olive oil and Fig Balsamic vinegar for dipping. I’ve had bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar before so I didn’t think it was a big deal initially. Wow, was I mistaken! This fig balsamic was amazing. It was sweet and smooth. There was no acidic edge to it and it went really well together with the rosemary infused olive oil. I was surprised that I could actually taste the rosemary in the oil. Together the fig balsamic and the rosemary olive oil were a match made in heaven.

At first we were thinking of ordering a couple of dishes to share so we could try more things. We were thinking of ordering two appetizer sized pastas and one thin crust pizza. As we were about to order, our server told us to save room for dessert so we decided to skip the pizza as a few desserts she rattled off intrigued us. For pastas, we ordered the Savini Risotto and Murray’s Firecracker Prawns.

The Savini Risotto ($15 for appetizer size, $22 for entrée size) consisted of scallops sautéed with artichokes and spinach and was finished with mascarpone, chives, white wine, and butter. The scallops were cooked perfectly and were tender. However, the flavours of this dish were very mild, almost to the point of being bland. The texture of the risotto was a little on the goopy side as well.

On the other hand, Murray’s Firecracker Prawns ($16 for appetizer size, $24 for entrée size) were amazing. The dish consisted of jumbo prawns and sun-dried tomatoes sautéed in a chili garlic lemon white wine butter sauce served over angel hair pasta. The prawns were cooked to perfection and the angel hair pasta was al dente. The sauce was flavourful and bright. The chili and sun-dried tomatoes gave the dish that extra punch of flavour but without being overly spicy. I loved this dish!  In my opinion, it’s worth the drive across town to go back to Involtini for this dish. It’s been a while since I’ve tried a pasta dish here in Calgary that’s impressed me. And this dish has!

At first when our two dishes arrived, it didn’t seem like a lot of food since we ordered appetizer size for both and we even contemplated whether or not to order more food. Luckily we didn’t. We were full by the time we were done both dishes and had just enough room for dessert.

We shared the Crepelle al Gelato Fragole ($8), which consisted of crepes filled with vanilla bean gelato and topped with fresh strawberries and a warm black pepper orange sauce. The crepes were very thin and well made. The only downside is that the gelato melted really fast because of the warm black pepper orange sauce. I also found the black pepper orange sauce to be quite sweet and sticky. But I did enjoy the use of black pepper as it introduced an interesting twist to an otherwise common flavour combination.

We had mentioned to our server how impressed we were with the Rosemary infused olive oil and fig balsamic vinegar dip and we were surprised to learn that it was actually available for sale at the restaurant. Apparently, the rosemary olive oil and the fig balsamic are sold separately at $10 each for a 250 ml container. Both my friend and I decided to get a container of the fig balsamic. Before leaving, the head server at Involtini, Kenny Campbell, came by to introduce himself. As it turns out, he is the owner of Mirabello Vinegars and the creator of the Rosemary infused olive oil and the Fig Balsamic Vinegar.  He informed us that these vinegars and infused olive oil can also be purchased at the Calgary Blackfoot Outdoor Farmers Market as he has a stall there on the weekends.

Involtini Ristorante
2515 90 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 281-2482

Mirabello Vinegars
Calgary Blackfoot Outdoor Farmers Market
(403) 463-6120

This entry was posted in Alberta, Calgary, Dinner, eat, Italian and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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