Is it Leva? Cafe Leva? Leva Cappucino Bar? That was the most confusing thing about last Saturday’s lunch. But with a variety of names and gorgeous daily photos on Instagram and Twitter, it’s hard to miss them. And yet, that’s exactly what has happened for the last 10 years. It’s only recently that I started following them more, and only recently that Leva has crept up my list of eats to the point where I don’t even want to consider what Joe would actually like to eat that Saturday. We’re going to Cafe Leva! Or Leva Cappucino Bar… whatever.
There’s a very small lot for staff parking, so residential parking is yours to hunt. Located on the corner, it’s surrounded by houses, and looked quite small from the exterior. Beautiful to see snow covered patio sets and benches though. Would be a great spot in the summer to have a coffee or cocktail!
Inside, however, is large! Nice, natural light overflowing to showcase two large displays of baked goods and a long espresso bar. Plenty of seating that Saturday, although I can imagine students flocking here during the middle of the week. If they’re not, then they’re clearly missing out.
Their baked goods looked absolutely delicious. At 1PM, desserts were plenty, but the breakfast pastries were dwindling. I must try a croissant one day. I will bide my time and the one day that Joe wakes up in time for a breakfast or brunch, that croissant is mine.
After I ordered at the counter and Joe sipped on his cappucino, I decided to have a pre-lunch snack. The lemon tart was calling me. Boy, was it good. The tart itself didn’t crumble completely when broken into, and the lemon curd was sweetened just enough to balance out it being too tart. Fresh pomegranate seeds really made this dessert stand out. Absolutely loved it, and will strongly consider adding pomegranate seeds to everything now.
Leva’s kitchen is located in the back and out of sight, but was obviously busy because I saw at least three different cooks come out to deliver the plates. A separate server did final preparations and actually served your table, indicated with a number plate. Some plates were left on the counter for a good couple of minutes before they were delivered out, making me wish that they had two servers for the job. Joe ordered the house made vegetable minestrone, a gluten-free and dairy-free option. Yuuuummy! Filled with hearty vegetables, a thick broth, and served with a side of sliced bread. This was the good stuff. Still warm when served but cooled by the time we had our last spoonfuls. Those couple of minutes on the counter could have made a big difference!
I always prepare myself for a let down after I’ve already eaten a dish that I think could win the meal. I was mistaken. Leva’s pizza crust is far better than any I have tried in Edmonton, and yes, that includes Famoso. Lately I find Famoso’s to be soggy, overweight with ingredients, and perhaps too quickly out of the oven. Leva’s was nice and thin, crisp, yet sturdy enough not to cave in or become soggy even to the last slice. Definitely reminded me of the pizzas I’ve had in Naples, birthplace of pizzas. There was enough arugula on the pizza to have a peppery taste in each bite, and true to Italian form, it wasn’t overloaded with either too much tomato sauce, cheese, or proscuitto. Just simple and well prepared. Both Joe and I finished the pizza with no problems, and no need to order more. Perfect size for sharing.
Connected in the back of the store is Caffe Tech, offering home and commercial coffee equipment and services. The cafe also sells Danesi coffee, an Italian-based roast, that is their mainstay brew. Overall, a not-so-hidden gem in Edmonton, but a new gem for me. We will definitely be returning to Leva soon to try dinner and late night eats, and I predict this will become integrated into our frequent Saturday late lunch dates. Quick and easy service, excellent place to dine at!Leva
11053 – 83 Ave