Bread and Circus Calgary: Why you need to get there now + giveaway

$100 Giveaway for Bread and Circus restaurant in Calgary

Behold, the perfect winter meal.

In winter, I need major pick me ups. For me, it’s not enough to plan a few getaways or ski weekends. I need things to look forward to that I can do right here in my city – on a moment’s notice. Right before the holidays, when the weather was terrible and we were majorly stressed and busy, The Huz and I took a break from holiday prep and had an impromptu date night at Bread and Circus in Calgary. It was the worst/busiest time to take a night off, which also meant we really needed it just then.

I’d been wanting to get to Bread and Circus for some time. It’s received a lot of buzz since it opened in 2017, but despite being mere blocks away from where we live, I never made it in. I suppose it’s because I go to so many events for work, I’m restaurant-ed out. Still, all my professional foodie friends highly recommended it, so I knew I had to go. Then disaster stuck!

Right when I had the time in my schedule to hit up Bread and Circus, they took their famed Spaghetti Alla Bottagara off the menu. I patiently waited until they put it back on the menu, and well, you can read on to see if it was worth the wait. Oh, I’ve also got a $100 gift certificate for Bread and Circus to giveaway!

Bread and Circus Calgary

Before I dish, lets forget about food for a moment. Their menu is constantly changing, hence my Spaghetti Bottagara crisis. It’s really the atmosphere and the ethos of a restaurant you’re after. Bread and Circus is totally bijoux! It’s cozy (just 34 seats), romantic with soft lighting, and is the perfect spot of dinner à deux or a girlfriend gathering. (Though I did spot a table of dudes and a family with young kids chowing down.)

Bread and Circus Calgary: Why you need to get there now + Giveaway

It’s super cozy and romantic inside Bread and Circus

The vibe is similar to a trattoria. In Italy, trattorias are less formal than restaurants, serving up quality food, but in a more casual environment. Bread and Circus has bar seating, which even though I made a rezo, I chose. It’s something we usually do on date nights. The Huz loves watching the chefs at work and you can make conversation with those beside you, if you so choose. For us, it leads to more interesting conversations. 

modern italian restaurant interior

That could be the best table in the house…

Part of the charm of Bread and Circus is its location. It’s like a restaurant within a restaurant on Calgary’s 17th Avenue SW. Essentially, it’s tucked in behind Una Takeaway (and right beside Una restaurant). It’s like a restaurant speakeasy, except there’s no password. You enter through Una Takeaway’s main entrance and walk straight through there into Bread and Circus. Equally as cool is Frenchie Wine Bar, situated behind Bread and Circus. So really, B+C is sandwiched between two of Calgary’s top eating and drinking establishments. Yep, the bar is set high by virtue of its location.

Bread and Circus menu

On tap are tons of cool looking cocktails including Italian faves: Aperol Spritz and Americano. Still, I went for wine. There were bubbles from the Lambrusco region that the menu promised to be “Salumi friendly to be certain.” While, I didn’t start nibbling on any cured meats, I did go for that, and all bubbles are served in a coupe, which makes any occasion fun and festive.

italian cocktails

Try them all during happy hour!

As usual, The Huz did not heed my advice when it came to ordering. He wants what he wants, images for this blog post be damned! So, we started with Italian Wedding Soup (his choice, obvs) and Squash & Burrata. I was delighted to find the wedding soup had pep. I wasn’t expecting the broth to be so flavourful, nor the meatballs so large. The crunch of the pork cracklin’ brought it all together. I’d definitely order this again. Score one for The Huz.

modern risotto

All dishes are artfully plated.

The squash appie was lathered with a pumpkin seed pesto (amazing) and quivering burrata. It’s so hard to find good quality burrata in Calgary, but Bread and Circus gets it in. To me, this was the perfect winter salad. The squash was nicely caramelized. With the creamy cheese and savoury, crunchy pumpkin seeds, it hit all the right notes.

While eating our antipasti, The Huz and I were enamoured by one dish we saw being prepared over and over again. Everyone was ordering the Charred Cucumber and Salt Cod. Admittedly, it doesn’t sound divine, but like judging a book by its cover, risk takers get rewarded. The pickled, charred cucumbers were dressed with a mint chili oil, before being layered with the cod. This is the real deal salt cod – the kind they’re always eating in Newfoundland, Portugal and the Caribbean. Here, it’s rehydrated, then the morsels are fried and dusted with fat flakes of sea salt. The dish is a flavour explosion in your mouth. It’s complex with the cool smooth cucumbers, the warm crunchy cod, the heat of the chili oil and salty feta. You must try it.

scillian pasta

Because… pasta!

After polishing off three appetizers, we could’ve happily walked away, but… pasta. The reason Spaghetti Alla Bottagara was apparently taken off the menu for a spell last year, was because of fish stock. (Or so the hostess told me.) The sauce is made with fish stock, but it was hard for them to get enough fish bones to make it. At one point, Shokunin, my favourite Japanese restaurant in Calgary was helping them out in the bone department. I was told Bread and Circus now has their stock situation sorted out, but don’t blame me if it’s not on the menu when you visit. Menu items change frequently and all.

The dish I’d been waiting for: Spaghetti Alla Botagara totally met expectations. (And I had very high expectations.) But because everything is so good, I should’ve waited for it to be back on the menu in order to dine here. The Huz had Carbonara that I thought was equally as tasty. Yes, you can get Carbonara at lots of restaurants, but it’s REALLY good here. However, if you love your seafood and the pungent, briny taste of oysters, sea urchin and the like, you’ll want to order Bottagara. Just don’t expect whole shrimp. With Botagara, the shrimp are cured and shaved onto the pasta. You get an intense seafood flavour, but not the actual pieces of shrimp.

pasta in a parmesan wheel

Next time I also want to try a pasta that’s coated in cheese direct from the wheel!

For our side dish, we went with cauliflower. It’s roasted and set atop a sauce that tasted like tzatziki, but wasn’t because I’m pretty sure I tasted capers in there. I tried to recreate it for a potluck party we recently went to, but failed miserably. (I think the grapeseed oil I used for roasting was too old.) Anyway, this is another one I’d definitely order again.

The next time I visit, I want to try Puttanesca on Toast and make my way through each and every one of their pastas. So yes, I’ll be back. Hopefully with The Huz’s parents and his brother when they come back into town. I know they and any other Italian food lover would be impressed.

Happy hour at Bread and Circus

If you know me, you know I’m aways trying to hit Calgary’s best happy hours. Bread and Circus’ runs from 5 to 6 pm – even on weekends! Happy hour specials are $6 cocktails and wine, plus 1/2 price on select appetizers and pastas. They also have a late night happy hour, running on Sunday’s from 9 to 10pm, and any bottle that’s open (including champagne!), can be had for $5 a glass! Tell me that won’t kick any Sunday night blues to the curb.

Bread and Circus deets

  • Closed on Monday and Tuesday.
  • No lunch service, opens at 5pm.
  • Walk-ins are welcome, but if you want a guaranteed seat, email: or call: 403-476-3615.

Bread and Circus giveaway

Have you ever been to Bread and Circus? What are your favourite menu items there? Let me know in the comment section below or by following @breadandcircustrattoria and @TravelswBaggage on Instagram, and you could win a $100 gift certificate to dine there. Each comment/follow will net you an entry for the draw. Please comment/follow by midnight, January 27, 2019 and I’ll randomly draw a winner the next day.

Bread and circus calgary

About the Author:

I’m a freelance writer with bad hair, a loud mouth and a serious case of wanderlust. Whether it’s luggage, time or just life, I cram as much as possible into small compartments. Warning: Contents may shift during flight. My life is one bumpy ride! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.


  1. Carol 22.01.2019 at 15:36 - Reply

    Haven’t been there yet but would love to go!

    • Jody 22.01.2019 at 15:51 - Reply

      So worth it!

  2. Melinda 22.01.2019 at 15:42 - Reply

    I haven’t had a meal at this great restaurant yet. I am sure they are all tasty.

  3. Laura Moser 22.01.2019 at 15:45 - Reply

    omg the gnocchi pomodoro was my favorite dish! but the cacio e pepi was amazing too 🙂

    • Jody 22.01.2019 at 15:51 - Reply

      Great recs. Adding these to my list!

  4. Crystal 22.01.2019 at 15:47 - Reply

    Never been there but looks Delicious! Will have to check it out

  5. Brian Hwang 22.01.2019 at 15:47 - Reply

    I’ve never been but would love to try it! Followed both accounts!

    • Jody 22.01.2019 at 15:50 - Reply

      Thanks, Brian!

  6. Ninu 22.01.2019 at 15:55 - Reply

    Never heard of this place, would love to try it!

  7. David pyle 22.01.2019 at 16:01 - Reply

    Never been but would love to go!

  8. Stephanie S 22.01.2019 at 16:23 - Reply

    I’ve never tried but want to now! Following both you and bread and circus on IG @mama_siah

  9. Thuy Nguyen 22.01.2019 at 16:38 - Reply

    Haven’t try there yet. Always try to stop at a local eatery on our way to Banff in the summer

  10. Kim 22.01.2019 at 16:44 - Reply

    This is the first I have heard of it. Thanks for the post, I would love to try it.

  11. Joanne Elves 22.01.2019 at 17:01 - Reply

    Love the gluten free options. It’s so cosy too.

    • Jody 22.01.2019 at 20:41 - Reply

      I didn’t even realize they had GF options!

  12. Jennifer (@JusticeSadie) Conlin 22.01.2019 at 17:07 - Reply

    I have always wanted to try this one! Looks so romantic. I love Italian Trattoria-style. Great food and ambiance. I would like to eat my way through the entire menu I would start with PUTTANESCA ON TOAST then the SPAGHETTI ALLA BOTTARGA Then the SALTIMBOCCA Then for DESSERT
    AFFOGATO CON FERNET BRANCA. OMG I am drooling! This would be such a nice treat for Date night! Thanks for the chance.!

  13. Michelle 22.01.2019 at 17:07 - Reply

    Omg!! been meaning to go here! so glad to hear the great review 😊

  14. Tammy M 22.01.2019 at 18:17 - Reply

    Never been but would love to try one of those cocktails…

  15. Cara 22.01.2019 at 21:18 - Reply

    I would love to give this place a try!

  16. Shawna y 22.01.2019 at 21:18 - Reply

    Never been but my hubby is a big italian weddjng soup fan too so we will have to go and try it out.

  17. Cara 22.01.2019 at 23:29 - Reply

    Wow, I haven’t been but their menu looks amazing! And it’s located on 17th! I’d love to try the Gnocchi Pomodoro!

  18. Anastasia 23.01.2019 at 03:15 - Reply

    I follow B&C on IG, and they had me at “rolling pasta in cheese”. Been dreaming about that dish ever since, but haven’t had the chance to swing by. Crossing fingers for the win – would be a most delicious incentive!

  19. Timothy Ho 23.01.2019 at 14:54 - Reply

    I have never been but based on your post I would love to. I checked out the menu on the website and they have a lot of my favourite things (including spaghetti carbonara)

  20. Shauna Greer 23.01.2019 at 16:07 - Reply

    The lasagna! The garlic bread…they really make the best I’ve ever had. I’m hungry just thinking about it!

  21. Dawn 23.01.2019 at 19:07 - Reply

    The cacio e pepe popcorn is amazing, but everything else we had was so so tasty too!

  22. Stephanie 23.01.2019 at 20:39 - Reply

    I haven’t been there but would love to go for a girls night 🥂💜😍

  23. Mikayla 23.01.2019 at 20:57 - Reply

    Sounds amazing and like a great way to end a cleanse!

  24. Rhea W 23.01.2019 at 21:07 - Reply

    Yes please!

  25. Sara Marshall 23.01.2019 at 21:19 - Reply

    Wow this looks amazing!! Who doesn’t love Italian?

  26. Marilyn A. 23.01.2019 at 22:14 - Reply

    Appies sound fabulous and would love to take my two friends as one just loves Italian Wedding Soup. His wife and I love wine! Winners!!

  27. Coralstring 23.01.2019 at 23:06 - Reply

    The pasta in cheese wheel looks intriguing. I usually wait for a year to visit a new restaurant, let them work out the kinks first 😋

  28. Kristen 24.01.2019 at 07:25 - Reply

    I love bottarga! Great review.

  29. Karen M 24.01.2019 at 09:30 - Reply

    Would so love to go there! Husband and I are in desperate need of a date night!

  30. Natalie 26.01.2019 at 18:51 - Reply

    I went for happy hour and absolutely loved their fresh ricotta and cheese croquettes!

  31. Zahra P 27.01.2019 at 21:11 - Reply

    Haven’t been there, but if I were to go, I would probably have the Lasagna.

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