When Not In Rome: 5 Italian Eateries in Saskatoon

The Italians have a saying: “signore che è una fontana, non una vasca da bagno”  (translation: “Sir, that is a fountain, not a bath tub”). But another more popular Italian phrase has entered the public consciousness  and that is “when in Rome.” A catch all for travelers around the world, not just in central Italy, to describe how to live like a local, adapt to your surroundings, and “go with the flow”.

This saying got us to thinking – what if you weren’t in Rome, but in Saskatoon and still wanted to enjoy all best parts of Roman culture? Not the gladiatorial battles of yore, nor the amazing hats found at the Vatican but something more easily accessible – food!  With their style of cuisine synonymous with great taste and nearly universally popular we decided to round up some of the best Italian restaurants in Saskatoon so you can live la dolce vita no matter your geographical location.

Little Grouse On the Prairie

Diver Scallop with leek and sea buckthorn.

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This is the perfect restaurant for those that love wordplay, Italian farmhouse style cuisine, and the decadence of lingering over a good meal for a good amount of time. Little Grouse is the place you want to take people you like, to eat food you love – the word ‘comfort” is infused in every bite! May we recommend dining alla famiglia? You get to sample a little of a lot!

TAVERNA

Pollo alla Parmigiana #italian #comfortfood #tavernaitaliankitchen #downtown #yxe since #1969

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I live my life by three simple rules – 1) do onto others as they would do unto me 2) never check my voicemail messages and 3) If it is good enough for Oprah, (#Oprah 2020)  it is good enough for me. Known for hosting the talk show queen, Taverna should be equally well regarded for their tasty pastas and the exemplary level of service. Now, with a recent renovation completed Taverna is so welcoming you’ll never want to leave. But you have to. I asked.

PRIMAL

There are few things as satisfying in this world as breaking open the centre of a slow egg on a plate of spaghetti carbonara. Palpable sensations emerge as you poke open the gooey center and watch as the brilliant orange seep out. What out ranks this feeling? Taking your first bite of Primal pasta. The experience brings to mind the immortal words of the actress Sophia Loren who said: “Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully by inhaling it like a vacuum cleaner.”

UNA

Pasta is nice, and you’ll never hear me say a bad word in regard to gelato,  but the way to get my mouth watering is to utter two simple, zippy syllables: “pizza.” Who doesn’t love bread loaded with cheese and sauce? In the hands of the people at UNA, this simple dish becomes a revelatory experience. Who knew pizza could taste this good? And furthermore, who knew I could eat so much of it? In addition, I can’t begin to describe the cocktails one uses to wash down every delicious bite.  The bartenders here are up to something– their cocktails taste so good, go down so easily that further reconnaissance is required. A task I would be more than happy to undertake. Say during happy hour?

Christie’s Il Secondo

Like any good Saskatonian worth their weight I’ve made my pilgrimage to Christies on a Saturday morning and gleefully filled my pie hole with their buttery croissants. Recently, however I made my way to Christie’s Il Secondo to sample their newly introduced evening table service and eat their Neopolitian style pizza and drink their Italian style coffees. It says a lot that I liked the food even more than when the pleasant wait staff asked me if I had school in the morning. Like, high school school. Maybe it was the moodily lit atmosphere, but I like to think that by adopting my Roman mantra of eat well, laugh often, and love much – it has literally made me younger

Daniel Dalman

Daniel is a writer and avid instagrammer living in Saskatoon. When not working as the Social Media Coordinator for Tourism Saskatoon he can be found enjoying a glass of wine, dining out, and taking a spin class - although he rarely does all three at the same time. Follow him on instagram @DanielDalman

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