Little Italy Cafe – Calgary, AB

Little Italy Cafe
1935 – 27 Avenue NE
Calgary, AB T2E 7E4
(403) 291-5654
Open 9:00am-4:00pm-ish, M-F; Closed Sat, Sun and Holidays

September 2008 re-visit post here

Original post below:

If you’ve ever worked in an industrial park, you can attest to how difficult it is to find good food. Small sandwich shops, offering the always odd assortment of sandwiches, soup (usually Wonton!), french fries, samosas, and burgers, dot the landscape – trying to capture as much of the local pedestrian traffic as possible. Every once in a while though, you come across a good find that is worth patronizing. Little Italy Cafe is one of these finds.

Little Italy Cafe is not really located in an industrial park – but on a commuter road sandwiched between several industrial parks in NE Calgary. Fancy doesnt work here. Good solid, gut warming meals are the order of the day. They focus on some standard Italian sandwiches, cold cuts, meatballs, and veal cutlet, as well as a few daily hot specials. A baked pasta, a regular pasta, and often times sausage, chicken, or other assorted meat. And they do so at an extremely affordable price.

The restaurant is owned by the affable Piero Perrotta – an extremely friendly, outgoing Italian gentleman who is a bit forgetful. So the ladies in the kitchen always complain about anyway, as they yell at him to “fix this order, pick up this order, hurry this up!”. Service is quite slow, typically as he takes a minute out of his day to chat with each customer. However, i kind of like it. It reminds me a bit of Italy – a stark contrast of high speed, while maintaining priority for things that matter, like socialization.

The food itself is made by a few Noni’s in the back. The kind i wish still made lunch for me every day. The sandwiches, which are ok, are not what i would recommend here.  The bread, after all, is that tasteless 12″ roll. Pasta – in massive quantities, is the order of the day. At $7.95, you get a very large serving of whatever pasta they decided to make that day. Usually there is a baked, and a regular dried pasta topped with gravy, and some form of meat. My favorite are their meatballs – wonderful, large, hand-rolled meatballs that are the typical Italian soft and crumbly consistency. Throw some roasted peppers on there, some “gun powder” chili flakes, and you have a tasty. very filling homemade meal. Things are not the perfect al dente, but it doesn’t matter. My mom never got pasta a perfect al dente either.  

Little Italy Cafe is not fine dining. No one will mistake this for Capo, Il Sogno, or other high end Italian restaurants in Calgary that do “fine” Italian Cuisine. What Little Italy does well is comfort food – homestyle Italian cooking. The kind your Noni would make – if you were Italian, and you had a Noni. And when your other choices are another grilled cheese and Wonton soup combo, it is, on many a day, comforting indeed.

Little Italy Cafe on Urbanspoon

6 thoughts on “Little Italy Cafe – Calgary, AB

  1. I have often wanted to stop in here, but alas they aren’t open on the weekends. I’ll have to remember to stop in for pasta one day when I’m not working downtown. Thanks for the review.

  2. No problem. Their business has picked up, so i’d suggest going earlier rather than later. The other day though, they were kind enough to cook me a new batch of pasta, since they had sold out 10 minutes before.

    Prices are also up about a dollar. Just FYI

  3. Hi Foodosopher,
    Love your blog and reviews!
    Do you know a cool little place like this one that is:
    a) open weekends, and
    b) within a reasonable driving distance of the Calgary International Airport, and
    c) for the “less than food adventurous” crowd (I’m saddled with the meat-and-potatoes gang this weekend…sigh)

    This place would have been PERFECT except for it not being open.

  4. Hi KC,

    Im currently out of the country so im not really tapped into the scene at all.
    But what i can think of off the top of my head, there is an Italian restaurant in Harvest Hills (by the T&T) called Green Olive – 1301-9650 Harvest Hills Blvd. N.E., Calgary, AB. It was ok…but not great value, though it is very close to the airport.

    For beef itself, you could try Reef and Beef. It isnt what i would call cool, but it is very kitschy in a retro kind of way.

    I’d personally suggest Gold Wonton, which is chinese hot pot (broth fondue) – which i don’t consider to be adventurous, near the airport, and gives everyone the opportunity to eat something they want. Foodosophy has a review on it in one of our earlier months.

    If you’re willing to drive a bit further (like say 15 minutes), i’d suggest Bridgeland – Tazza for Lebanese (Saturday only), Artisan Cafe, and Heartland Cafe give you lots of options for lunch and dinner.

    Sorry my mind isnt quite tuned in at the moment, but i hope that helps.

  5. Too expensive! I ordered a meatball 8 inch sandwich, with 3 meatballs, a slice of mozzarella, and a few peppers, for a total price of $9!! I could have bought 2 meals a Mcdonalds or any other fast food joint. Also there pasta tastes like old cat food. And their so called Lasagna is just lasagna pasta and their meat sauce. You can hardly call that lasagna! And the customer service is terrible. It takes 10 minutes to make your sandwich, and they never have correct change, and half the time there employees dont even know the toppings on there own sandwiches. 0.5 out of 5 stars!!! Never going there again!

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