Antipasti, stone-oven baked pizza, pasta and paninis — casual Italian fare by Bottega 104 now on the promenade.
The word bottega means local corner shop in Italian but it could also mean a town’s meeting point. A place to enjoy coffee with friends, a few bites to eat. It’s a space that Bottega 104 hopes to fulfill, whether it’s office workers meeting up for drinks after a long day or a place to meet your family and friends before or after an event at Rogers Arena.
Bottega 104 has some experience behind it, despite the new restaurant opening only a couple months ago. It’s owned by the Crudo family (of Cafe Amore Bistro, Black Pearl Seafood, and Amore Pasta) in partnership with D’Amores Deli.
NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH BODEGA ON 103 STREET. THEY’RE SPANISH.
The space is quite large, with both banquet, table, and countertop seating. Wide windows open straight out onto 104 Street, a great atmosphere for lunch when the sun’s shining. The bar is long and features large TV screens, optimal for game nights. I predict a packed house once hockey season starts. The main feature is towards the back of the restaurant: a stone-oven imported from Italy for their pizzas. I could watch them make pizzas all day.
The menu is divided into ‘Antipasti’, ‘Land, Sea & Air’, ‘Pasta’, ‘Pizza’, and ‘Dessert’. Handhelds like paninis are available until 4pm.
If you’re coming during the day, the panini options are a great choice. Quick, easy to eat, and perfect for lunch. I tried the Panini Chicken Pizziola, with tomato sauce made in house, fried capers, brined chicken, basil and provolone. I wish there were more fried capers for some extra punch, but was pretty satisfied with the tender chicken. I was also happy to see the bread well toasted and not too densely pressed. Panini options are accompanied by your choice of Caesar salad, garden salad, or parm fries. It’s too hard to pass up on parm fries and these ones were delicious. Crispy Russet potatoes with freshly grated Grana Padano and a garlic aioli. Highly addictive.
WHO CAN PASS UP ON PARM FRIES?
It’s also hard to pass up on the pizza at Bottega 104, since we all know that Cafe Amore already has pasta nailed down. It’s Neapolitan-style here, a crisp, thin crust. Both times I’ve visited, the crust held up nicely to all the toppings, neither too generous nor sparse, and charred and bubbly.
Napoli Pizza Mozzarella, Italian sausage, rapini and pepperoncini.
Bottega Pizza Mozzarella, baby tomatoes, prosciutto Parma, arugula, shaved Parmigiana.
Both pizzas needed some oomph. I don’t know how else to say it. A touch more seasoning on the sauce perhaps. When paired with housemade oils, the pizzas faired better. The trio of oils made an automatic appearance at our table for dinner visit but not for our lunch. When asked for the oils, they were not in the same bottles or the same kinds, so I’m a bit confused as to what you can actually request. Some consistency would be appreciated.
COME FOR THE CRUST.
For dinner, we also tried the Rigatoni Abruzzi. The kitchen had run out of rigatoni that evening but we were offered an alternative instead, a “rotini, an x-shaped pasta, made in house.” I don’t think I’d ever describe rotini as x-shaped, but the dish came out more like a casarecce. Tossed with crumbled Italian sausage, pancetta, tomato sauce and shaved parmesan, I thought it was lacklustre and preferred Cafe Amore’s selections better. If you’re expecting Cafe Amore portions, don’t.
Bottega 104’s best feature thus far is their vibrant atmosphere and pizza crust. Bonus: they’re open every day of the week, a rarity in downtown Edmonton. I would love to return to try some of the antipasti dishes as I think it could be one of their strongpoints and wouldn’t mind sharing another pizza or two. I’m hoping this meeting point turns into more than just that and grows to become a part of the communityBottega 104
10181 104 Street