It’s late Thursday and the narrow slip of a space that is DOP is buzzing.
The limited number of tables — laden with pasta, pillowy bread and plate-sized veal chops doused in tomato and crusted with cheese — are ringed with animated people. The short bar is jammed with more patrons, cheek to cheek almost, chatting with each other as they nibble on anchovies or the last of the summer tomatoes drizzled with oil and balsamic vinegar.
Wine flows, Negronis are poured, bubbles in glasses of prosecco glitter.
At the heart of it all, Tony Migliarese, the restaurateur who has breathed new life into the space formerly held by Von Der Fels, which closed this summer as the owner and chef took new positions at the private Ranchmen’s Club in Calgary’s Beltline.
Pouring wine, chatting, welcoming guests as they push through the doors into the restaurant, Migliarese is warm, effusive, in his element and right where he belongs.
The son of restaurateurs, Migliarese is sharing his love for Italian food, his mother’s classic recipes and his passion for hospitality at DOP — the next step in his restaurant journey which follows involvement in the cocktail bar Proof and Tavernetta.
He is no stranger to the space. Von Der Fels hosted his Pizza Face pop-ups pre-pandemic and also served as the pick-up point for the delectable pies when restaurants were shut down. (Pizza Face now runs out of the Community Natural Foods by Chinook Centre — the Tony’s Classic Roni is perfection and best eaten with an extra drizzle of spicy honey.)
The food at DOP is impeccable in its simplicity, honouring traditional recipes and seasonal, local ingredients. (Those tomatoes on the menu just a few weeks ago? The last of the season from Migliarese’s own garden. Those not eaten were made into sauce the next day.)
Head chef Alessandro Chinea, a sous chef for Von Der Fels who ran his own Chooks & Charcoal popup out of the narrow restaurant on 1st Street S.W., ensures only dishes a nonna would approve of are coming out of the tiny kitchen.
Together, the dishes and Migliarese’s love for food and friends make DOP a must-stop spot.
DOP is located at 1005A 1 St. S.W. For more information and reservations please go to dopyyc.com.