Café Amore Bistro
10807 106 Avenue NW
Hours: Mon-Thur (11am-10pm); Fri (11am-11pm); Sat (5pm-11pm); closed Sunday
Price: $$-$$$
http://www.cafeamorebistro.ca/


Does pasta qualify as noodles? Uh, yeah, I’d say so.

Editor’s Note: Normally this might be blaspheme to include, but I’ll agree with you on this one, just ’cause the food sounds so good and I was pretty hungry while reading this.

Atmosphere

I’m just going to state my bias right now: I love Café Amore Bistro. As soon as you walk in, one of the owners is right there greeting you with a smile; the serving staff are friendly and polite to a fault; the restaurant is bright and inviting in the daytime and dim and cozy and romantic at night. (There’s literally no other way to describe it. It’s a very intimate-feeling place at night.)

There are always quirky lil’ elements to look out for: Last time I went, there was an accordion player making his way around tables playing the smoothest damn music your ears have ever been graced with. The tables are close but you still feel like you have your space while you’re eating, and if you happen to spill your drink — and then maybe spill it again after getting a little too crazy gesticulating while telling a wildly entertaining story about a dinner theatre show and your kid brother’s fascination with the name Seamore Butts — the staff will be right there to offer you a napkin. They’re the sweetest. And, after you’ve stuffed yourself so full you can hardly stand the thought of getting up and going to your car, the owner will personally wish you a good night on your way out. A nicer, more courteous restaurant has never existed.

The Noodles…er, Pasta

The first thing you need to know about Café Amore is GET THE DAILY SPECIAL. The daily specials follow a set weekly schedule, but changes every day. My personal favourites are Tuesday’s bolognese dish, which is doused in a fantastically rich meat sauce, and Friday’s vongolé, which is sprinkled with tons of baby clams and can be served with either garlic, tomato, or white wine sauce — all of which are delicious. The specials are only $10.00 for an enormous plate of pasta, and you’ll have to fork over $7.00 if you take a half order of the day’s special. The other specials are available every day too, but their price goes up to $17.00 when it’s not their designated day.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s break down those two favourite dishes. First, the bolognese. In short, it’s good — really good. But what’s most interesting and amazing about this dish is that the awesome sauce becomes a frickin’ force to be reckoned with with time, meaning it starts off good and gets even better overnight. That’s another thing about the daily specials (and everything else at Café Amore) — the portion size is so large that unless you’re absolutely ravenous, you’ll probably be taking some of your meal home with you. That remaining pasta can, depending on how much you like to pack away at one time, last you one or two more meals, which is a goddamn deal if I ever heard one. If you get the bolognese, stick your leftovers securely in the fridge and rest easy knowing that when you wake up, that incredible sauce will be waiting. I think I’m tearing up just thinking about it. Order it! And beware of splash, because the bolognese, as delicioso as it is, can fly off your pasta and onto your clothes if you eat with haste.

The vongolé, on the other hand, is smooth and salty. I personally like to down it with white wine sauce, because it’s my favourite, but I’ve had it with tomato sauce too and all I can say that baby clams taste good with anything. There’s something about small clams and bite-sized food that I just like for no apparent reason, so for me, this meal is perfect. As with the bolognese, this dish is as fantastic the day after as it is the moment it arrives at your table.

I’ve been waxing on about these two particular dishes, but every sauce and every piece of al dente pasta is cooked with genuine care. Regardless of what you order, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll come away wholly satisfied.

(But if pasta just isn’t your thing — in which case, I highly recommend reconsidering your stance — try the sautéed calamari, which comes in tomato sauce and is as far from the greasy calamari you might be thinking of. Or go for the mussels, which can come in tomato, white wine, or rosé sauce and are positively delectable.)

Overall

I think I’d be doing a disservice to pasta itself if I didn’t give this place five hearty bolognese-spattered stars. Since I first went months ago on a whim, I’ve taken my parents, my extended family, and my boyfriend on separate occasions and have been constantly wheedling my friends to go there for nearly every possible opportunity. The sooner you go, the better, because you’ll realize that Café Amore Bistro is the restaurant you never knew you wanted but 100% needed. IF you want to go for lunch, drop in and order up. For dinner plans, hit ‘em up at 780-477-7896 and get that reservation on lock. You’ll need to, since Café Amore Bistro is very quickly becoming a not so well-guarded city secret.

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