It took nearly forever for Calgary restaurants to understand what Calgary customers wanted, but I finally found a Calgary restaurant that has it right. Sugo Caffe Italia is located minutes from downtown in the heart of historic Inglewood, at 1214 – 9th Avenue SE. I yearned for a restaurant whose chef exhibited a little inspiration and the owner understands that customers can’t have a good time without great service. Much that we used to cherish is now superfluous, waiters are unchained from the shackles of flattery and sweet talk. What’s required from them is intelligence, knowledge, and conversational skill, although I never want a waiter who recites a list of the entrées he likes best. Gordon, our waiter for the evening exceeded on all counts.
Last year meals in tiny, unusual restaurants matched and usually exceeded those in conventional dining venues. Small spots got better, a new breed of restaurant unbound. Sugo is one of those rare breeds that surpass the standards in every area, atmosphere, food and service. For me, one element of dining has not changed, food remains central to an unforgettable evening. The goodness of wonderful cuisine radiates outward, causing ripples like a stone dropped into a pond. For you, it might start with something else—a particular wine for instance.
Our evening was consumed by the Chef’s Tasting at the suggestion of our waiter Gordon. From the first plate I knew this was a restaurant not afraid of flavors. Each dish was spectacular and creatively built on the last, paired exquisitely with wines that left you wanting more of both.
Sugo opened its doors in November 2001, with the mantra of creating a unique Italian dining experience focused on regional ingredients with an emphasis on freshness and since then has had more than 1,000 different menus, each designed with love and using the best product available. In February 2005, they expanded into the space next door and completely renovated the entire restaurant with the goal of creating a contemporary and beautiful ambiance to parallel the food and wine being served with outstanding success along with the wine department that shares one essential goal with the kitchen: to offer flavour sensations guests cannot find anywhere else.
The kitchen is headed by co-owner and Chef Angelo Contrada. A strong emphasis is placed on freshness and quality of ingredient which is evident in their menu which changes on a daily basis. All of the ingredients that made up our magnificent meal are either sourced locally, imported from Italy and they also strive to create all the menu items in-house, from the biscotti to the pesto and the wonderful desserts to finish your meal.
Fine dining, once the purview of the prosperous has become a democratic institution and the beneficiaries of this culinary repositioning are customers like us. Sugo Caffe Italia is at the top of my list of places to go out in Calgary for a perfect night out. They will make you feel coddled, welcome, and well fed. You can’t ask for more than that.