This restaurant was my birthday choice, simply because there’s no better thing than enjoying delicious tapas, delicate wines, and all kinds of cheeses in the dead of winter (especially in Canada). My expectations were high, based on the reviews and the online menu – I hadn’t had a stand-up charcuterie plate since England, believe it or not. Were my expectations met, or was I to be disappointed?
Absolutely yes and definitely not. My friends, this place was fantastic. A tiny little bistro with room to barely sit 50, Privada was stylish, comfortable, and homey – everything you want in a tapas restaurant. With low lighting and beautifully ambient music, the atmosphere was delightfully charming – enough so that even the TV’s insistence on showing the fireplace channel couldn’t dampen the mood. The wine selection was excellent; even the ‘lower-end’ malbecs were full-bodied and smooth – perfect to pair with a charcuterie plate.
Taner and I started out with the seared maple scallops, served with white wine corn puree on marinated roma tomatoes, as well as the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. The scallops were perfectly cooked, with the puree acting as a hollandaise-esque sauce that complemented them nicely.
The asparagus – oh, the asparagus! I would return to this restaurant simply for the asparagus. I read several reviews before visiting Privada, and almost all of them (the smart ones) made mention of this amazing dish. Please go there. Please try them. You won’t regret it. Also, several of my friends tried the Asian Chicken Skewers, served with wasabi dressing, and pronounced them delicious. However, the Garlic and Artichoke dip (served with the Chips and Dip) wasn’t the best we’ve ever had, and the chips tasted too much like the oil they were cooked in. Oh well, can’t win them all, right?
I’m completely obsessed with cured meats and gourmet cheeses (thanks to my fantastic UK MA friends, who showed me the way) and it was my birthday, so I went Double Butcher. The charcuterie plate can work three ways: select three cheeses, select three cheeses and two meats, or have one of everything. The Double Butcher, as you may have guessed, was a smorgasbord of all the tasters Privada has to offer. Our plate consisted of:
- Dairy: Le Triple Creme (soft), Sir Laurier (soft beige), Bleubry (blue), Le Cendrilon (ash-covered goat), Contonnier (semi-firm), and Le Saint Raymond (soft).
- Butcher: Westfalin Ham, Prosciutto, Pepper Salami, and Coppa.
Our tasting plate was accompanied with crackers, breads, chutneys, and spreads; my only regret was that we didn’t get one tasting plate each!
The dessert shots – served in shot glasses – were delightful. At $2 a pop, you can try a couple of different ones without breaking the bank or having to eat a mammoth-sized cake, as is too often the case. I tried the Lime Cheese Cake, a mini-dessert perfect for lovers of key lime.
All in all, I would definitely visit this restaurant again. The food, the wine, the atmosphere, even the service – all perfect. In fact, writing about it now makes me think I should book myself a table again sometime soon…
Definitely make sure to book, though – a place this good will always fill up fast.
100 – 21 Perron Street
St. Albert, AB
Hours: CLOSED Sunday-Tuesday