Two New Calgary Hotspots: Cibo and National

Last Saturday, I embarked upon an eating and drinking adventure with my good friend, Melissa, who was visiting from Edmonton. We were on a mission to check out two of Calgary’s newest hotspots: Cibo, Bonterra Trattoria’s new restaurant on 17th Ave., and National Beer Hall, where Mercury used to be. We hadn’t seen each other in ages and were all smiles, all night.

Here’s the lowdown. Cibo –pronounced Chee-bo — is fantastic. Everything on the menu is meant for sharing and is very reasonably priced. (Definitely more affordable than Bonterra, which I love but save for special occasions.) We started out with three appetizers: broccolini, asparagus (with a delicious hazelnut vinaigrette. I’m sure that’s not the right word for it but, whatever it was, it was yummy) and ricotta, which we smeared on the accompanying bread crisps. So good!

We shared a delicious bottle of white wine (Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Reisling, for $35) and a speck, pineapple and arugula pizza. Everything was delicious. Our only mistake was not ordering a couple of more appetizers because, after we’d polished off every bite of pizza, we weren’t stuffed. How that’s possible, I don’t know. But if you’re two girls with healthy appetites, you may want to start with five appys instead of three.

Next, we moved on to National Beer Hall, which was busy! I loved the room — lots of windows, big communal tables and a great crowd. The beer selection is massive; blueberry beer was my ale of choice. National’s only downfall is the layout because, while the big tables are great if you’re sitting with friends, they don’t make for easy moving and mingling. We determined that, should you be single and looking to meet people, the best place to sit is at the end of a table. Makes for much easier access.

Sorry for the lack of photos! At this point, I’d forgotten all about photography duties. So, your very difficult homework is to have a beer at National and check it out yourself. I’ll see you there.


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