Optimistically Cautious

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Mass-Produced Comfort Food: Chianti's

My sisters and I used to play a game called Edmontonopoly, a spin-off of the popular board game substituting local companies for properties up for sale. Two such properties were restaurants Chianti's and Fiore's, and I remember always wanting to go there in typical childhood idealization fashion. Well, I've been there numerous times since, but it has almost always been underwhelming.

Mack and I chose Chianti's (10501 82 Avenue) on Tuesday for its proximity to the Varscona Theatre (where we were heading to see a show afterwards) and its Pasta Frenzy deal, when over forty of their pasta dishes are priced at $7.99.

It was surprisingly busy, with about a ten minute wait for a table, despite the weather being drizzly and cloudy. With the number of large parties inside, it seems Chianti's is hard to beat in terms of accommodating all types of tastes and budgets. Their menu never ceases to amaze me - though I would imagine the A + B + C ingredient substitution formula is likely heavily utilized, I'm sure the cooks in the kitchen don't necessarily appreciate the variety. As an unfortunate result with such menus, quality is most often the first casualty, and Chianti's is no exception.

Mack ordered the Alla Marchese (veal filled noodles with pepperoncini in a cream pesto sauce), while I opted for the Cannelloni (rolled pasta stuffed with veal, vegetables, topped with mozzarella then baked in tomato sauce), if not only to compare it to Moxie's version. The wait for the food was long, despite taking the large crowd into consideration, but was tapered with our cesar salad and baked onion soup appetizers. The pastas themselves were all right - my cannelloni was on the dry side, and I preferred the sweetened tomato sauce found in Moxie's equivalent to the more tart sauce used by Chianti's.

Chianti's isn't a bad choice (especially dining al fresco during Fringe season), but in particular during Pasta Frenzy, you get what you pay for.

Insalata Di Cesare (Cesar Salad)

Zuppa Di Cipolla (Baked Onion Soup with Cheese)

Alla Marchese


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