Keeping it Casual

Sink your teeth into some serious sandwiches (and burgers).

Brews and Chews
Everyone knows the seemingly ill-fated northeast corner of Memorial Drive and 10th Street N.W. as the “cursed” spot in Kensington where restaurants come and go almost regularly.

The Bottlehouse Canadian Beer Parlour is the latest restaurant trying to exercise some staying power, this time by enticing diners with upscale pub food in a spacious, woody interior.

Drink and food mix well together here, especially in drink-infused foods like the whiskey bourbon pulled pork sandwich ($11.95) and Skinners Brown Ale fish and chips ($13.95). The beer menu serves up more than 60 different bottles, mainly from Canadian microbreweries, so you can find your perfect brew.

If you’re feeling snackish, try the mini bison burgers with Innisfail bison ($9.95), beef or chicken soft tacos ($10.45) or a pound of large plump wings ($11.45).

Hungrier diners have everything from steaks (10-ounce New York strip loin, $20.95), pastas (seafood curry fettuccini, $13.95) and flatbreads (Mediterranean, $9.75) to choose from. In October, The Bottlehouse added a weekend breakfast menu.
(102 10 St. N.W., 403-265-0018, bottlehouse.ca)

Heaven on Bread
Caffè Mauro is a tucked-away coffee and sandwich shop located directly west of Mountain Equipment Co-op. It has a small and simple menu, but its sandwiches are downright delicious. You can get almost anything on the focaccia, seriously.

On the menu, you’ll find specialty selections like prosciutto and bocconcini (small $9, large $12), as well as a build-your-own board with a large variety of meat, cheese and bread choices (small $8.50, large $11).

It’s the bread and quality toppings that really make the sandwiches so appealing here. The only downfall is that Caffè Mauro is only open Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(999 8 St. S.W., 403-277-7572)

A Burger for the Ages
While the humble hamburger is experiencing a renaissance at restaurants whose menus tout upscale comfort food, there is something truly comforting in biting into a nothing-fancy burger that has 40 years of history.

Boogie’s Burgers is like a basement rumpus room where cast-off furniture and posters tacked to the wall all come together haphazardly to display its own informal history.

It has the same faux-brick walls and stained-glass lighting fixtures from its early days in the 1970s. Vintage arcade games, including Donkey Kong and Joust, take you back to the ’80s. And, an Employee of the Month photo of David Hasselhoff taken during his famed drunken hamburger eating of 2007 brings Boogie’s into the present.

The menu has the same nostalgic bent, with burgers named for former and current owners, employees and suppliers. The Sam ($5.75), Fay ($6) and Keith ($9.75) burgers have patties sitting on toasted sesame buns and loaded with toppings including fried eggs, bacon, mushrooms and Boogie’s signature red sauce.

There’s beer to wash your burger down, but the better option is the hand-blended milkshakes. Classics like chocolate or vanilla are thick and creamy, but the Young Elvis with peanut butter and banana (add bacon to make it a Fat Elvis) are more in keeping with the cheeky charm of Boogie’s where its claim of offering the “official burger of deliciousness” might be true.
(908 Edmonton Tr. N.E., 403-230-7070, boogiesburgers.com)