Formerly Osteria de Medici, as of June 15, 2016 the restaurant has new owners and is being rebranded in a smaller space as Osteria Chef’s Table. I had the privilege of speaking with the 2 owners who are also the Executive Chef’s. Giovani (originally from Poland) and Michele (originally from Italy) were both very friendly and obviously passionate Chef’s with a desire to bring a new feeling to the well-established location. They’ve developed a new menu with modernized Italian classics. As time and money allows, they will be renovating the inside and outside of the restaurant to bring it up to speed with the new menu. The wine list has been improved with a greater selection of reasonably priced wines. I understand that the new owners want their restaurant to appeal to everyone – with entrees on the menu ranging from $22 to $46, there is something for all. You can come in for a quick bite, or you can hunker down and experience the 6 course Chef’s tasting menu ($75 pp) over 2 or 3 hours. With 2 different spaces in the restaurant, the back room would make a great semi-private space for family or work events.
With a prime location in Kensington, it’s great that Osteria de Medici has reserved parking stalls in a private parking lot out front. I rarely ever go to Kensington because, in my mind, it’s yet another trendy community in Calgary with a lack of parking. I was thrilled, however, that I got parking right in front of the restaurant and I didn’t have to pay a penny. When large groups attend the restaurant, I understand they offer valet parking – you pull up to the front and the vallet will move your vehicle to the lot at the back of the restaurant. How cool is that!?
I was lucky enough to be a guest of the restaurant with a friend in the food industry, and we were treated to the creativity of the Chef’s. Our server was very knowledgeable about the wines offered at Osteria Chef’s Table – as Wine Director, Garry was an important part of the previous restaurant. I didn’t catch the wine that we were served first, but I believe it was a Chardonnay. It went very nicely with the Caprese salad and smoked salmon. The Caprese salad is on the menu ($13), but the Chef added the smoked salmon for us. You can never go wrong with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil with EVOO and balsamic vinegar. Simple, fresh and light, the dish was an excellent start to our evening. I even wiped the plate clean with my bread.
As the primi piatti we were served 2 pastas – a handmade penne with a wild mushroom cream sauce and a handmade 4 cheese ravioli with marinara. Both were delicious – the wild mushroom cream sauce was delectable – I would suggest it become a menu item, or at least a seasonal special – it was so good! The marina sauce was very nice – I can image it used in other dishes, and it met all my needs as a marinara. Again, I wiped this plate clean too!
With our secondi piatti we were served a glass of barolo from northwest Italy. It went very well with the steak – a AAA Alberta tenderloin seasoned with simple salt & pepper and a delicious barolo wine reduction sauce. A thick chunk of perfectly cooked beat rested beneath the steak. The steak was cooked to medium (I prefer medium rare), but it was so tender and tasty that it didn’t matter.
For dessert we were served a vanilla bean gelato with organic berries. The gelato was so smooth and creamy – a delightful way to end the evening.
I asked Chef Michele what his favourite menu items are, and he indicated the gnocchi ($22) that they make fresh in house every two days, and the ribeye with truffle oil sauce ($35). He also loves cooking the Chef’s Tasting Menu and says it’s been a best-seller so far.
I will definitely return to Osteria Chef’s Table to try more of the menu items. The restaurant provides a warm and comfortable atmosphere – a place where you can talk to your friends or family without having to holler, like you do in so many new places. If you’re looking for great Italian food at a fair price, I think Osteria Chef’s Table offers that – it’s a classic Italian restaurant with updated food that meets today’s expectations for presentation and flavour.