Oh summer time! Short, short season of patio eating in Edmonton. Just before all the kiddies were back off to school, I took a lunch hour to get together with one of my teacher buddies to enjoy lunching on a local patio and hearing all about how great it is to have the whole summer off - oh wait, I did not enjoy that second part, it filled me with jealous rage. The lunch part I did enjoy though for real! We went to Tesoro Mangiaria Caffe over in the Oliver Square area. It is tucked away back behind the Hudson's bar location, which makes it a bit tricky to find, but once you get there it is lovely that it is tucked away because if you are sitting out on the patio you aren't facing a huge parking lot.
We easily nabbed a table as Tesoro's was surprisingly not that busy for a lunch hour. I supposed being slightly out of the main downtown core hinders them in this respect. We checked out the daily specials (pasta and pizza) and made some choices. We shared a mortadella e funghi grilled panini (mortadella, smoked gruyere cheese and truffled mushrooms), and the pizza special of the day, which was topped with alfredo sauce, chicken, mushrooms and arugula.
I liked the panini best, it was nice and cheesy and not too heavy, especially since it was served with a basic salad of mixed greens on the side. The pizza I found a bit on the heavy side by the end, despite the nice thin crust, but I think that was mostly due to the alfredo sauce. I should know by now that I am generally not a fan of replacing tomato sauce with alfredo sauce on a pizza, but the combo sounded so good! To finish we shared some gelato, and I would say it was excellent, but really doesn't all gelato taste excellent to two pregnant ladies in the middle of summer?
Overall I would say that Tesoro offers pretty tasty italian food, and I would definitely go back at a later date to try them out in the evening as a wine bar. Their pricing was a bit on the high end for a casual cafe style lunch. Paninis come in at $11.50, pizzas are not bad at $13, but I would skip the lunch pastas with are generally around $15.50, at least during the summer time. Really though I think the big draw is the location (close to downtown but with lots of parking), and the venue, which is nice and offers patio dining.