[Posto gets the unique distinction of being “double-posted” – meaning, I’m writing about two separate visits that are within close enough proximity to each other that it just makes the most sense to combine into one post.]
I tend to be fairly oblivious to all the latest news and buzz when it comes to the Calgary restaurant scene. That may seem strange for someone who claims to be a wannabe foodie and writes about food, but it’s true — I’m just not one of those “thumb-always-on-the-pulse” types. My twitter feed has devolved into linking my latest blog posts and I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually logged into Twitter.
So I found out about Posto Pizzeria & Bar the good old fashioned way – I drove by one day and was surprised to see that Edo Japan was no longer, and in its place Posto had magically appeared. Obviously it wasn’t magic, but you get what I mean. I made a mental note to add Posto to the list of “restaurants I want to try” and went along my day.
Every couple of weeks, Mark and I take turns picking a new restaurant to try. “New” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s new to the Calgary restaurant scene; it could mean a place that’s been around for years but is new to us. It was my turn first; I chose Posto, so we headed there on a miserably cold Saturday evening.
Posto is the casual, cozier sister to the loud and boisterous Cibo, and the sophisticated and classy Bonterra (Posto and Bonterra happen to be right next door to each other). I’m already a huge fan of Cibo, and I enjoyed Bonterra when I ate there a few years ago, so I was excited to see what Posto had to offer. The ambiance is rustic, yet warm, with a darker, candlelit-type atmosphere.
The menu appears to change every so often as some of the items we saw on their website were no longer available. The website listed a really delicious-sounding halibut dish that I had earmarked to try, but it was not on offer that night (on another note, that halibut is still listed on the website as of today, so not sure when they will get around to updating it).
To start, we ordered one of the specials they had on that night – braised octopus, with confit potatoes, parsnip puree, and caper berries. This dish was recommended to us by our server and it did not disappoint. The octopus was incredibly tender and seasoned well. Some of the pieces actually tasted like really tender chicken (which is not a bad thing). I’m more used to chewy octopus, so I was impressed with how tender it was. The confit potatoes were soft, yet crisp, and the subtle sweetness of the parsnip puree worked well to balance out the more savoury elements of the dish. The fresh bit of lettuce was a welcome touch, too.
For our main, we ordered the roasted rapini, sausage, red onion, and tomato pizza. Mark didn’t particularly like the combination of the toppings and said the sausage wasn’t bold enough to stand out against the other ingredients (he would’ve preferred something strong like chorizo). I agree with him about the sausage, but I actually liked the bitter rapini against the other ingredients. I thought it made for an interesting flavour combination. The real winner for me was the crust, however, which was that heavenly combination of crisp and chewy.
We ended up polishing off the entire pizza, which left no room for dessert. I overhead another server listing the desserts available that evening and they all sounded tempting, but alas, the belly could not fit any more food.
Luckily, the opportunity to try out their desserts came around about three weeks later, when my friends S and K took me to a pre-actual-birthday birthday dinner at Posto.
We got a round of cocktails, which I think are a bit on the pricey side ($14). Their cocktails aren’t listed on the website, so I can’t remember what was actually in the cocktails. I do remember mine was almost like a twist on the traditional Mojito in that it was flavoured with lavender (yum!), and S got a cocktail flavoured with saffron (also yum).
We started by sharing one of their newest items on the menu. It’s an empanada, but they call it a lamb pizza pop. It actually does look like those Pillsbury pizza pops, so I can see where the name comes from. I’m normally not a lamb fan at all (the aroma turns me off), but the way our server described it made me really want to try it. It came with an arugula and fennel salad, lemon yogurt, and a spiced paprika ketchup. This empanada/pizza pop hybrid thing was so tender that we didn’t even need a knife to split it. It was filled with a nicely seasoned ground lamb mixture. There was no funky lamb aroma at all. It was encased in a soft, flaky pastry, and combined with the tangy yogurt and sweet ketchup, it was a tasty bite. You know sometimes when a server recommends a dish and it ends up disappointing you? Thankfully, this was not the case. We all thought it was the perfect opener for our meal.
We each ordered a pizza, S getting the potato, creme fraiche, leek, and smoked pancetta (top), while K and I got the fiore de latte, tomato, and basil pizza; K added prosciutto to hers, while I added on arugula (bottom). All of us enjoyed our pizzas, and I thought it was almost better this time around than my first visit. I really liked the clean flavours of the mostly unadorned margherita pizza. I also need to comment on this crust because it’s all sorts of amazing. It still had that perfectly crisp and chewy texture, and it didn’t go limp and soggy in the middle like some other pizzas tend to do. That, to me, is the perfect crust. Even after sitting for a while, the crust still maintained its integrity. Our server actually commented that the dough is the same as Cibo’s pizza, but there’s something they do at Posto that makes it even better than Cibo’s. Sorcery, I tell you.
K went for the blood orange-flavoured cannoli. Being Italian, she can’t resist a good cannoli, although if they had creme brulee on the menu, that would’ve been the winner. The blood orange flavour went nicely in the smooth and not-so-sweet cream filling. The cannoli shell was incredibly crisp and light, and you could tell that it was freshly made.
I went for the zeppole, which came with a chocolate dipping sauce. I was basically sold after our server said “doughnuts”. S remarked that the aroma reminded her of Stampede. Indeed! These little morsels of fried goodness had a subtle orange flavour (blood orange, perhaps? Or maybe I was losing it?). Whatever flavour it was worked for me. They weren’t overly light and fluffy, nor were they dense – I’d say somewhere in between. I was tempted to spoon out the remaining chocolate sauce after devouring the doughnuts, but I held strong.
I enjoyed both visits to Posto and each time we had excellent service and the food was great. I’ll definitely be back to Posto for more.
Posto Pizzeria & Bar
1014 8th St SW
Calgary, AB T2R1K2
Phone: (403) 263-4876