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If I were asked to choose the most vibrant neighborhood in Calgary, it would definitely be Kensington. Nowhere is more lively and trendy than this district in Calgary city. With more than 250 unique shops and restaurants, you could easily spend a day or an entire weekend there. In the summer, it is busy with all the fun events and festivals you could join. Never a dull moment.
Earlier this summer, Kev and I were walking around Kensington with our friend, trying to find a place for a late lunch. Originally, we were planning to eat at Original Joe’s, but we got kicked out because I didn’t have my ID with me. So we walked across the street and found Pulcinella- an Italian restaurant, specializing in authentic Napoletana pizza. It is situated in a dark, brick building. In contrast to it exterior, Pulcinella has a chic, white decor, delivering a casual yet sophisticated, urbane dining atmosphere.
The restaurant was rather quiet that day. We were quickly seated near the entrance, next to the bar.
We started off with parmesan tempura ($18) as the appetizer. The deep-fried parmesan cheese in a tempura batter was served with fresh arugula and balsamic vinegar. The sweet, bitter, salty combination created a surprisingly good harmony. I was impressed how the parmesan cheese batter was so perfectly done that the outer crust was just crispy enough to hold everything together. The soft, gooey cheese oozed out as you bit into the tempura .
The stracci ($18, lunch portion) took about 30 minutes to make. It is a dish made with crepes stuffed with pork, veal, beef and wild mushrooms, covered in tomato bechamel sauce. Despite it got burnt a little, I enjoyed this tasty, comforting dish very much. I was amazed how soft the texture of the pasta is. It literally just melted in your mouth. I loved the mixture of the tomato and bechamel sauce, providing a creamer texture and sweet taste to the dish.
Since the restaurant claims that they make authentic Napoletana pizza, of course we wouldn’t leave without trying it. The diavola ($18) consisted of tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy salami, parmigiano and basil. The pizza had a raised edge crust and thin center, with salty and spicy flavors presented by the cheese and salami. I’ve never been to Naples so I can’t comment on how authentic this pizza tasted. But what I can tell you is I didn’t like how soft and wet this pizza was. In particular, the crust was too soft, not crisp enough for me. Overall, the pizza tasted a bit greasy.
Our friend ordered the gnocchi ($16). He liked the texture of the gnocci. If it was served with a white sauce, instead of the tomato sauce, the taste would be less overwhelming that you could actually enjoy the flavor of the gnocchi.
We concluded our meal with two delicious desserts- cannoli ($5.95) and panacotta ($7.95). The crispy, crunchy tubes were filled with ricotta cheese, whipped cream and Bernard Callebaut chocolate, served with the fresh orange slices on the side. This rich, creamy dessert was very addictive! The panacotta (chilled vanilla cream with fresh fruit coulis) was luscious, smooth and creamy. Yummm!
In general, our meal at Pulcinella was satisfying. Delicious food, modest portion size, moderately priced. Based on our visit, it seems that their pasta is better tasting than their pizza. No matter what you order as your main dish, it is highly recommended to try their appetizers and desserts.
Happy Friday, everyone! Why don’t you party with us at Fiesta Friday. Big thanks to Angie from the Novice Gardener and to our co-hosts for organizing the event!