AKA Bistro Wine Bar
709 Edmonton Trail N.E., Calgary
Lamb stuffed olives
Dinner & drinks for 2: $52
An intimate, sleek space in a century-old building, AKA is the latest entry in Calgary’s wine bar scene. (Yes, there is one!)
The menu and wine list are — hallelujah! — affordable, but doesn’t skimp on flavour and quality.
Wine by the glass ranges from $8 to $11; bottles hover around $30 to $70.
But don’t be fooled by the wine part of the bistro; the food is hearty, inventive and fresh.
Nowhere else have I seen lamb stuffed olives ($7), unabashedly battered and deep fried, laid on a balsamic reduction and adorned with shaved parmesan.
AKA’s take on the Caesar salad ($9) is a grilled romaine heart, left whole, with big crouton chunks and drizzled with roasted garlic vinaigrette. A salty blast of fried anchovy makes you sit up and take notice.
Brushed with honey and mint, the mustard-breaded lamb ribs ($11) are worth getting your hands dirty for.
Mains have something for everyone. The pasta primavera ($14) is a mountain of freshness; steak frites ($18) are solid.
Meat-lovers alert: the Mixed Grill rings in at a paltry $22 for Alberta lamb, farmer’s sausage, skirt steak and a fried egg.
AKA also serves brunch on weekends.