Involtini sounded intriguing to me because I had never heard of its namesake dish. Involtini are thin slices of meat rolled around stuff, and then cooked.
The restaurant in Oak Bay Plaza used to be San Remo. Gerry Raffan and Tammie Thomson, who used to serve at San Remo, as well as one of the chefs, bought it and turned it into Involtini.
The foyer of Involtini is actually Oakridge Pizza, which the group also owns. The phones were busy with lots of takeout and delivery orders. You step into Involtini’s tasteful dining room through a set of doors.
Because the baby was with us, we went for an early dinner at 5:30 p.m. thinking it would be fairly quiet. But Involtini was soon packed with (mostly older) customers. We overheard the extended conversation from the table behind us, marvelling at the concept of paying for parking with your cellphone.
I like that Involtini offers pasta and risotto in both appetizer and entree size. I got a lovely lumache to start ($14). Three pasta shells stuffed with crab sat in a cheesy cream sauce.
Jason felt his rigatoni salsiccia ($11), which came with a three-cheese cream sauce, had a bit too much cheese and too much sauce. It was quite a big portion for an appetizer size.
For the main, I went with a beef tenderloin involtini ($23). Three beef scaloppini were rolled around roasted portobello mushrooms and blue cheese in a nice peppercorn brandy demi glaze. The blue cheese was a little strong for my personal taste.
Jason’s veal aragosta ($24) had tender pieces of scaloppini sauteed with lobster, but the garlic sherry cream sauce unfortunately overwhelmed the dish. Healthy portion of roasted potatoes, broccolini, and roasted red peppers came on the side of both mains.
At this point, H was getting fussy. Even though he wasn’t crying loudly and no one was giving us stink eye, we felt uncomfortable because we didn’t want to ruin anyone’s dinner in the dimly lit, grown-up dining room. Involtini feels like a welcoming neighbourhood place that couples and grown-up families go to for regular date nights or “Sunday dinner” but next time I’d leave baby at home.
Involtini, Oak Bay Plaza, 2515-90 Ave. SW, Calgary, (403) 281-2482. Open daily 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., lunches Wednesday to Friday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Reservations recommended.
Baby notes – I mentioned when I called for a reservation that we would be bringing a baby. They set our table with a children’s pizza menu and a small cup of water with a straw in it because they didn’t know how old H was. Very thoughtful.
Room for strollers: No
High chairs: High chair and booster available
Kids menu: Pizza menu
Ambiance: Very friendly servers stopped to ogle baby, but atmosphere is still “adults out for a nice dinner.”
Change table: Sorry, did not check