La Viena, Calgary

Like me, you’ve probably driven past La Viena on Kensington Road tons of times. It’s in that funny location between a gas station corner store and a dog daycare/portrait studio.

Many people who live in the area are loyal customers, packing the slightly dated dining room (sponge painted murals and fake plants) for lunch and dinner. The huge, predominantly pasta menu literally has something for everyone since the kitchen promises to make custom orders if you don’t see what you want listed.

All dine-in lunch pastas (averaging $13.68) are $9.68 Tuesday to Friday.

Our server was very friendly and attentive, bringing us warm buns and butter to start.

The pastas also came quickly. I had the tortellini arrabbiato which was quite spicy as advertised. I certainly got my money’s worth with a large helping of veal-filled pasta, topped with anchovies, capers and a white wine meat sauce.

My friend Dawn’s ravioli ricotta was deliciously heavy on cheese and basil cream sauce.

Chef/owner Annie Vien certainly plays around with specials like shrimp, sausage, pears, sundried tomato, and lemon peel in a curry cream garlic sauce with a side of clam linguine (!). There are also $19.98 combos with chicken or veal parmigiana and two pastas.

La Viena isn’t pretending to be the most authentic Italian around but it fills a niche for neighbourhood-friendly, wallet-friendly pasta.

La Viena, 2139 Kensington Rd. NW, Calgary, (403) 283-3063. Open Tuesday to Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 4:30-10 p.m., Sunday 4-9 p.m. Closed Mondays. Reservations for dinner and large groups recommended.

Baby notes – Gave us a large table for two adults and two car seats.
Room for strollers: Restaurant is tight so probably best not to bring stroller.
Kids menu: No
Ambiance: OK for toddlers but it can be very busy at peak times.
Access: Ground level.

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