Posto a food-forward bistro with a casual feel

I often marvel at how lucky we are to have so many great Italian restaurants in this city. Adding to this growing list is a new spot from Bonterra which sits right next door to the Italian institution on 8th Street S.W.

Posto Pizzeria and Wine Bar is a food-forward bistro with a casual feel. Sitting below the watchful gaze of a boar’s head the room is great for small groups or dates with design details like rustic woodwork vintage insulator light fixtures and a corrugated tin awning over an open kitchen.

But what I like best about this new restaurant is the food. For starters the menu (categorized by charcuterie salads small plates and pizzas) isn’t focused on entrees but rather many share plate options. The wine list offers plenty to choose from at a range of prices and everything is available by the glass while the beer list includes a decent selection of craft brews that are mostly from Canada.

The antipasti selections offer unique and standard choices like pecorino ($10) or fresh burrata ($17/32) plus swordfish bresaola ($11) and imported salami ($10). If that doesn’t strike your fancy you may want to go with a serving of fresh ciabatta bread topped with speck taleggio walnuts and grapes ($11).

We start with a small plate of duck arancini with a blood orange aioli ($14). Now this isn’t your typical arancini dish so take it slow. Comprised of about 80 per cent duck and 20 per cent risotto each palatable ball packs a gamey punch. According to our server the best way to eat these bad boys is to cut them into small pieces and dip in the tart aioli. He’s right. I like this dish the duck is tender and flavourful and it messes with traditional arancini in a fun way — but that said it might not be for everyone.

A dish we can’t resist ordering is the kale salad ($15). Kale certainly has made its way back into the hearts of diners over the past few years and this salad is a reason why. Tossed with pecorino walnuts sun-dried cranberries and puffed faro the mix of tart nutty and tangy flavour matches the contrast of crunchy and soft textures making for great bites. Our only issue with the salad is that the kale is a little too naked — a little extra splash of dressing would be perfection.

Sampling another small plate we try the tagliatelle ($21). Featuring chunks of wild boar (apologies to the pig on the wall) tomato and shavings of grano padano this dish is a real plate cleaner. The wild boar is tender and tangy the fresh pasta is succulently soft (though not overcooked) and the sauce-to-pasta ratio is spot on. It’s perfect for sharing but would work as an entree for one.

Ordering from the pizza menu we settle on the prosciutto and fiore de latte pie ($22). Posto’s pizzas come with white or red sauces so if you’re not sure which is which just ask your server. Prepared Neopolitan-ish style in a gas oven the crust is light airy and puffy with searing around the edges. Loaded with prosciutto arugula dollops of fresh mozzarella and a deliciously tangy tomato sauce we eat every last crumb. No disappointments here.

For dessert we try the chestnut panna cotta a fantastic dish of smooth panna cotta topped with fresh meaty chestnuts and a cranberry compote. Served with a side of cookies and a smudge of rosemary syrup this dessert is inventive and the perfect end to a sumptuous dinner.

I was impressed with the food at Posto — chef Ben Mills has done a great job assembling an imaginative menu that delivers on quality and value. Paired with good service and a comfortable room this is a no-brainer for a great meal out.