Chianti Cafe & Restaurant
By Becky Hagan-Egyir

A Taste of La Dolce Vita

There are many things to love about Italy. Of course, food is on the top of that list. Ken Rubuliak, the manager of Chianti Cafe on Whyte Avenue, agrees. He’s been to Italy many times and the food, a work of art in itself, always keeps him coming back for more. “The ingredients are fresh and many are locally grown. So that affects the taste,” says Ken.

Chianti brings a sample of Italian flavours to lively Whyte Avenue, and its menu caters to many different tastes. Those looking to be inspired by Italy will find it in dishes made with ingredients imported from Italy and purchased at stores like the local Italian Centre. People with a gluten intolerance also have choices of specialty gluten-free dishes. Favourites like the Modigliani — a linguini dish stacked with ingredients such as prawns, cream, scallops, wine, green peas and bright, ripe tomatoes — become more popular on busy Monday and Tuesday nights when pasta dishes are on special.

This restaurant is part of the community — and that’s not something by design, it’s just how things have evolved. - Ken Rubuliak, manager
ChiantiOldStrathcona - Italian-style dishes and desserts, for either dining in or take out.
Andy Beka, the assistant manager at Chianti, is part of the team of longtime employees who make the restaurant feel like home for returning customers.

In the Heart of All the Action

Ken first began working at the original Chianti location when it first opened in Calgary in 1983. Since then, the restaurant has opened additional restaurants in Edmonton; but the Whyte Avenue location has a distinct feel to it.

“So much of the experience is determined by the location. And this area [Whyte Avenue] has a very eclectic demographic because of the nature of the area we’re in. We’re influenced by the university, by the theatres in the area, the market, of course the nightlife and it’s evolved over the last 25 years. Twenty years ago there wasn’t near to the amount of bars [on Whyte Avenue] — it had a different flavour at night," says Ken. "That’s evolved and changed. And that’s had an effect on our clientele. But, at the same time, we still have done really well for all the years with all the changes."

Dine-In, Take-out, Catering, Group Bookings, Special Events/Parties
A diverse group of people pass through Chianti's doors from groups of university friends to single men and women dressed in corporate suits and armed with their laptops.

A Community-Orientated Mind

When entering Chianti its popularity within the community is clearly evident: posters of previous Fringe Festivals line the walls, local art shows are promoted beside the front doors, and opposite of those posters are colourful crayon colourings from children covering a wall which are illuminated when the morning light hits them. The drawings are reminiscent of something which you might find at a Children’s hospital like the Stollery.

“This restaurant is part of the community — and that’s not something by design, it’s just how things have evolved. And about relationships, we really enjoy a lot of those relationships with [art societies and educational institutes] but also with the hospital. Our connection with the Stollery is a big, big connection and it’s just started and we’ve developed such a wonderful relationship from working with them and other people [in the community] who are really passionate about what they do,” says Ken.

Chianti has become a well-respected establishment within the neighbourhood and has formed long-lasting relationships with many organizations and people. The secret to this is that the work at Chianti is gratifying. “It’s really enjoyable working with people that are passionate, excited folks!” says Ken.

Dine-In, Take-out, Catering, Group Bookings, Special Events/Parties
Chianti's long-term partnership with the Stollery Children's hospital is one of the proudest community developments for the restaurant.
Close menu