When Matt and I had some appointments in Edmonton a few weeks ago, we planned a lunch date with one of my dear old friends: Leduc from Let’s Eat YEG. He’s been running a killer Edmonton-focused food blog for the past few years and gave (and gives) me a lot of great advice to help me get started on my own blogging path earlier this year. Don’t tell him I said this, but he’s the best!
Leduc suggested we try LEVA, an adorable bistro in the Garneau area near the U of A hospital. Tucked into a quiet, residential neighbourhood, it’s an unassuming spot with a sunny patio and a bustling lunch crowd.
You can either grab coffee and a quick lunch or pastry to go, or do as we did and order from the tantalizing à la carte menu at the counter, then find a table and wait for your food to arrive!
We started with the house ricotta, local organic honey and fresh, fluffy focaccia bread ($9). The cheese was so creamy and perfect with the sweet honey drizzled on top. This tasted like the breakfast of champions and I would eat it every day… I wasn’t even mad when I was left with sticky fingers from my over-enthusiastic honey pouring.
I absolutely can’t resist arancini when I have the chance to order it, so that came out next. The fried risotto balls were stuffed with peas, saffron, fontina cheese and wild mushroom ($11). Perfectly crunchy on the outside and perfectly gooey on the inside. I usually like to see it come out with a little bit of marinara or something similar to give it a bit more moisture, but that’s a small thing to miss when you’re eating a ball of fried cheese and arborio rice.
LEVA’s Neapolitan pizza menu comes neatly divided into tomato-based (con pomodoro) and non-tomato-based (senzo pomodoro) lists, so we ordered one of each!
The Taleggio ($18) came out covered in bocconcini, mozzarella, walnuts, sliced apples and honey. I love honey on pizza, (like the 4-maggi at Calgary’s Una Pizza that’s also drizzled with truffle oil!) so this was a no brainer. Sweet, savoury and with a pleasing array of textures, this immediately jumped up near the top of the list of my favourite pizzas ever!
For our tomato-based pizza, we ordered a classic Prosciutto Crudo ($19) with arugula, bocconcini and fresh basil. I loved the smug feeling of eating salad from the greens, the tangy, fresh tomato sauce and the generous slices of salty prosciutto.
We were all sweaty and stuffed from overeating on the hot patio (almost a whole pizza was left over – amateurs), but we did have just enough room for a bite or two of dessert. They have a great little gelato counter with a selection of tempting flavours – I picked one spiked with citrus and vanilla.
The pastry counter had a lot to offer as well, so Matt ordered a tasty little tiramisu in a plant-based compostable cup for dessert lovers on the go!
Cafe LEVA (11053 86 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB) is a very cute, tasty spot to meet a friend for a meal or go for lunch with colleagues in the middle of a long work day. Be advised that based on other recent reviews it seems they do have a strict ban on tablets and laptops at the tables, so it probably isn’t the best place to go study between classes. If it’s a good meal you’re looking for, whether a coffee and pastry, a fresh salad or a thin crust pizza with a glass of Italian wine, they have a little something for any time of day. I highly recommend this spot and can’t wait to go back the next time I’m in town! See you later, Edmonton!