Allegra Restaurant, Cranbrook, BC

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A visit to Cranbrook for a wedding led us to this tiny, family-run fine dining resataurant.  Susan and Mark, a Calgary couple who were also at the wedding, raved about Allegra, saying, “You’ve GOT to try this restaurant.  It’s as good a restaurant you’ll find in any large city, like Calgary or Vancouver.”

That enthusiastic recommendation hooked us, and we made reservations for four on a Sunday evening.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but the small restaurant (with about 35 seats) was packed full by 6:00 PM.

Thomas and Ines Nay are the couple behind Allegra.  Thomas is THE chef who remarkably runs a one-person kitchen.  His wife, Ines, and one server manage the front of ‘house.’  That’s it.  Three people run the restaurant, and when we were there, it ran as smooth as a Swiss clock.  Ironically, Thomas is Swiss, and it was astonishing to observe appetizers, salads, soups, main courses and desserts streaming non-stop from the open kitchen.

“I don’t know how he (works so fast)”, says Ines.  “He does it all alone, with no help.  Sometimes watching him work so fast, I want to cry.  But he’s been (cooking) since he was sixteen years old”, she says with obvious admiration.

Before opening Allegra in Cranbrook, Ines says they operated restaurants in Banff and Canmore, Alberta, and before that, Chef Nay worked at hotels in Switzerland.

Crab Cakes with creamy sun dried tomatoes and truffle sauce

Crab Cakes with creamy sun dried tomatoes and truffle sauce

Lobster and lemon stuffed ravioli

Lobster and lemon stuffed ravioli

Our table ordered Risotto and Crab Cakes with a sun dried tomato and truffle sauce ($9.50) appetizer, Lobster and Lemon Stuffed Ravioli served with roasted red pepper and tequila cream sauce ($19.50) and North African Lamb Tagine with preserved lemon, cashew nuts and rice ($23.50.)   Gary said his Lamb Tagine ws ‘outstanding’, while Lisa and I thought our Lobster ravioli was ‘good’.  We agreed the lobster meat filling had a fine texture and we would have preferred a chunkier more ‘toothy’ filling.

Saffron panna cotta

Saffron panna cotta

Baked French meringue

Baked French meringue

For dessert we shared Saffron Panna Cotta ($7.00) and Baked French Meringue ($7.00.)

Throughout the meal, Ingrid, Lisa, Gary and I continually remarked on the incredible proficiency Chef Nay was at delivering beautifully prepared dishes, seamlessly one after another, without a hitch, all on his own.

Allegra Restaurant’s food is one of our new, favourite dining establishments.  We enjoyed each dish, plate presentation was artful, and service was very good.  With its intimate, yet casual setting, Cranbrook’s Allegra Restaurant is highly recommended.  It ranks among the best restaurants in Western Canada.

Allegra Restaurant, 1225B Cranbrook St. N., Cranbrook, BC, Tel.: 250.426.8812; Open Wed-Sun 5:00-9:00 PM, Closed Mon-Tues.

Website:  allegrarestaurant.com

 

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