I love visiting little Italian markets and browsing through the aisles to see what goodies I can find. I’ve driven past the Italian Store many times on Deerfoot and decided that it was time to pay a visit. I knew they were a grocery store that had a little cafeteria as well so I was really excited to try their hot food.
Assuming that they would have a large lunch rush, I arrived around 11:30am and there was already a line forming in the cafeteria. Wow – this place is popular! I quickly stood in line and browsed through their menu. They have an assortment of paninis (essentially sub sandwiches), pastas, pizzas, pastries, gelato and cappuccino. Immediately, one of the sandwiches caught my eye..the Il Crudo – prosciutto and bocconcini on house made focaccia. However, once I got to the counter I was informed it was unavailable that day. I was sorely disappointed. So I went with the Hot Calabrese Panini, The Sicilian Panini, 2 Italian Meatballs, an Italian Doughnut and their Tiramisu Cup. I love tiramisu so there was no way I was leaving without it.
The Hot Calabrese Panini $7.99 was stuffed with Salami, Prosciutto, Mortadella, Provolone, Lettuce and Tomatoes. I really enjoyed this sandwich. The bread was fresh and the different cuts of meat were flavorful and the salami had a kick to it.
The Sicilian $7.99 is a hot panini filled with your choice of 2 spicy or mild Italian sausages, peppers and onions. This sandwich was super filling – I was already stuffed after consuming half of it. The spicy Italian sausage definitely had a kick to it but I found the overall panini to be a bit dry. I couldn’t help wishing for a drizzle of tomato sauce.
The Meatballs $2/each were calling out to me and I really liked them. They were soft, moist and light. The tomato sauce was seasoned very well with a nice balance of acidity, sweetness and savoriness.
The Tiramisu Cup $3 was incredibly creamy and light. It had a nice balance from the espresso and mascarpone and was not overly sweet.
I’ve never had an Italian Doughnut $1.49 before and these were hot and fresh. I have nothing to compare it to but it was a lot denser than I expected. The dough itself was not sweet at all and had a heavy, dense and chewy bread-like texture. The exterior was simply coated with granulated sugar. I’m glad I tried but it’s not something I’d purchase again. I prefer my doughnuts to have that melt-in-your-mouth quality to it.
Overall, the food was quite good and very fairly priced as well. I can see why they’re so busy at lunch time and I’ll definitely be returning to try their Il Crudo Panini. They also have a display case of all their pastries and I can’t wait to try some of those as well.
I took a browse around the store after and was surprised at how many Italian items they carried and how reasonably priced everything was. There’s an area where they sell fresh baked bread, a deli counter where you can sample and purchase various meats, cheeses, antipastos, a small freezer section where they sell ready-made entrees like lasagna and frozen pastas and of course a huge selection of canned tomatoes, jams, pastas, olive oils, vinegars, etc. Wow! I was in heaven and it took everything in me not to come home with an entire shopping cart full of goodies. My pantry is already bursting at the seams and my hubby definitely would not be impressed if I tried to stuff more items in it.
But, I still had to buy a few things of course and this is what I came home with. It was really difficult trying to decide which pastas to buy considering they had an aisle and a half devoted to it. I can’t wait to start cooking and hopefully share some new recipes with you. For those interested in visiting this awesome little store, they’re open Monday to Saturday from 9 – 5pm and closed all Sundays and Holidays.
5140 Skyline Way NE
Calgary, AB T2E 8N4