One of my good friends is a social media maven and introduced me to 80th & Ivy one afternoon via their Twitter account while she was helping me to come up with a list of possible venues for my wedding reception dinner next year.  At the time, they hadn’t opened yet, but their Twitter feed was abuzz with updates and it looked like they were having no issues promoting their grand opening. Fast forward a few weeks and I ended up there for dinner with Mark.

What I enjoy about 80th & Ivy is their responsiveness via Twitter.  I got a reservation just by tweeting – and they tweeted back a teaser of one of their appies – quite clever, I must say.  I think it’s great that they engage with the public with their regular updates and it’s nice to be able to make a reservation without having to call.

80th & Ivy is located dangerously close to where I live (dangerous because it’s so easy to get there) – only 6 blocks away.  When we arrived at 6pm, the lounge and patio area was already quite full.  We were lead to a table in the upstairs dining area.

First thing – I LOVE the upstairs dining space looking into the open concept kitchen.  It’s hip, modern, and inviting, with some interesting decorations.  Second, it looks like the perfect space to host a cozy private dinner event.

Our friendly server recommended this cocktail – the Caipirinha (sagatiba pura cachaca, muddle strawberry, limes, rhubarb bitters).  I had no idea how to pronounce it or what was really in it, but it was the perfect balance of sweet and sour, and quite refreshing on that hot evening.

Any place that serves complimentary bread instantly gets mega bonus points from me.

To start, we got the Organic Heirloom Tomato (buffalo mozzarella, organic tomatoes, fresh basil, white balsamic, sea salt).  It was actually quite a shame to have to dig into it because it’s just so beautiful.  Now, I’ve mentioned my issues with cheese before, but when it comes to mild buffalo mozzarella, I’m totally down with it.  Plus, with the fresh tomatoes and the bitterness of the arugula, it worked really well together.  The fresh basil and white balsamic was probably the best part – earthy and fresh, it rounded out the whole dish.

We also got a couple of small plates – Sirloin Bites (saute marinade of soy, toasted sesame seeds, Japanese mayo, ginger & tagarashi) and Rotisserie Chicken Sweet Bun Sliders (five spices, corn shoot and apple slaw, blood orange aioli).  First, the sirloin bites were cooked to just the right temperature for my liking (around medium).  It paired nicely with the crispy fried green on top (couldn’t quite identify what it was) and the Japanese-inspired dipping sauce.  You really can’t go wrong with meat in a cast iron skillet.  As for the chicken sliders, the chicken was incredibly moist and tender, which balanced well with the crispness of the slaw.  The sweet bun that housed the delicious filling was probably the best part for me (true carboholic) – super soft and tender texture.  Yum!

To round out the meal, we opted for the Beignes (I thought it was spelled beignets?).  It came with a rum raisin ice cream.  I was sold at “ice cream”.  When it first arrived at the table, we noticed that the beignes were cold inside. We notified our server and within minutes, we were presented with a fresh plate of hot beignes.  It started out rocky, but I appreciated that they were quick to react.  The beignes themselves were slightly too dense for my liking, but the rum raisin ice cream was amazing.  I could really taste the rum (gave it a nice kick), it was creamy and flavoured just right.  I could probably eat a pint of that right now.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience at 80th & Ivy.  Towards the end of our meal, the dining area started to fill up.  I guess 6pm is still pretty early for most Calgarians.  We got excellent and attentive service, the cocktail was amazing, and the food was tasty.

With the constant buzz and activity for 80th & Ivy, I think they’ll thrive and become a regular go-to 17th Avenue spot.  I’ll be going back for more very soon!

80th & Ivy Wine Kitchen
Uptown 17th Ave
1127 17 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2T 0B4
Phone: (403) 452-6907
http://www.80thandivy.com

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