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Exploring and critiquing Calgary food through the eyes of three dysfunctional engineers
Franca’s Perfect Gift & Cafe Italia is a new cafe in the NE serving some really good coffee, paninis, and fresh Italian pastries. Interested? Read on.
Photos coming soon mofos…
I’ll get this out of the way first, signage is quite poor. If you were to look up Franca’s Perfect Gift & Cafe Italia on Google Maps, it would probably direct you to its original location, which now doesn’t exist. It is still on Edmonton Trail, but has been moved north closer to the Kal Tire on 37 Ave NE (actually a block away from my office, no stalkers, k thx). Franca’s Perfect Gift & Cafe Italia has been in it’s new location for just over a month now and not enough people know it exists. Hipster talk: Its too underground for you to know that its there. Driving along Edmonton Trail, you wouldn’t think that a restaurant is in that building. Most of the clientele are friends of the owner or regulars from the previous location, and I’m pretty sure even surrounding businesses (including my coworkers, a 10 second walk away) yet have had the chance to try it out. More people should try it out.
Franca’s presents itself as a gift store slash cafe. Inside is a very modern looking restaurant with everything literally brand spankin new. It doesn’t get any newer or cleaner than this. As soon as you walk in, you are presented with their gift store section, a bunch of French press’s, mugs, and gift baskets. I don’t think they have ironed out their ordering system yet for food, its all very improvised. The few times I have visited, they were busy and understaffed, so no one was really greeting me and taking me to a table. No one really indicates how to order take out, where to pay, etc. Once they get consistent and more customers, I suggest they get organized a bit, it will help in the long run and make things efficient.
On the menu are mostly panini’s and soup for hot food. For dessert are a wide variety of pastries made fresh in house. (Their online menu is outdated, and they currently have more variety for paninis and dessert) The owner said that all of the meat is imported directly from Italy. And despite my criticisms of the service and its location/signage, the food is really delicious. The Mario’s panini consists of a bunch of Italian cold cuts, provolone cheese and roasted red peppers. The bread is a bit on the oily side, but when served hot comes out crispy. It is savory but not that salty. The tiramisu is fresh and might be one of the best I have tried in the city. Prices aren’t necessarily cheap, paninis go for $8-9 and pastries are in the $3-5 range. Its a slight premium worth paying for some fresh and authentic food. I don’t have a refined palate for coffee, but I do know its better than any franchise or chain.
I worry a bit about how well Franca’s can survive in the location its in. Some good marketing can go a long way. And if they take advantage of the buttload of businesses in the Greenview industrial area and everything along Edmonton trail, they will be able to get a really good client base for morning coffee and lunch hours. The area is pretty old and most of the food establishments there are although good, they are aging. So it is nice to see a new food place in this area that doesn’t have decor from 1988. Not the cheapest lunch you can get on Edmonton Trail, but well worth it for food that had effort and quality put into it. I’ll be coming here often. If not for their paninis, but for their pastries so I can get my dose of sugar to stave off sleeping at the desk every afternoon. (If I work with you, I’m totally kidding, I don’t sleep at work)
|Overall||27.5/36 = 76%|