Popular tapas-and-wine spot

serves up A Night to remember

Popular Tapas-&-Wine Spot Serves up A Night to Remember

Popular Tapas-&-Wine Spot Serves up A Night to Remember

Dining Out

Tzin Wine & Tapas
10115 104th Street, 780-428-8946

Dinner for two, with glasses of wine and tip: $80

Was it the crisp, bubbling prosecco, the smells wafting from the open kitchen, or perhaps the chatter of other diners in the cosy eatery? Or was it Glenn, the restaurant’s owner and a veritable bon vivant, talking about how Laughing Stock Portfolio 2009 is a perfect wine for breakfast?

I’m not exactly sure what did it. But somewhere along the way, dinner and a drink at Tzin became A Night.

It was the third time I had attempted to get into the 104th Street tapas restaurant and winery, having been turned away from a packed house on two previous occasions. Smartening up for my third try, I made a reservation, and found a table ready and waiting on a warm Friday night.

Tzin is a small room, lush and richly decorated, with heavy drapes and plush cushions on the benches that line one side of the restaurant. Warm weather expands the capacity with the addition of a small patio outside, but the restaurant remains an intimate experience, with seating for only about 20 people at tables and along the bar, and the entire kitchen wedged into the front corner of the long, thin room.

The space is tight enough that every person matters. We had a reservation for three, and the unexpected addition of a fourth meant a bit of squishing. Luckily, the atmosphere is so intimate that snuggling up to a friend seems to fit the mood.

We started with melted brie ($16) and glasses of prosecco. Served with a pear and cranberry fruit compote and toasted French and rye bread, the cheese was a big hit at the table, the perfect snack as we perused the rest of the interesting menu. I found the strong taste of the rye a little overwhelming for the brie, but that was easily rectified by stealing most of the white bread from my companions, and letting them fend for themselves.

The wine list is well-curated and diverse, with options ranging from a half glass of wine for $5.50 to bottles costing close to $200. Our waiter recommended a wine that sounded fine but rang in at $100 a bottle, so be sure to check prices to ensure recommendations fall within your range. We ended up going with a lovely 2009 Amalaya Malbec for $49.

The crab-stuffed prawns ($16) were a flavourful line of plump prawns, jazzed up with lemon chili aioli and a sprinkling of chives. They were good, but not as good as some of the dishes that followed.

The slow-roasted tomato & buffalo mozzarella salad ($14) took the meal up a notch, with fresh local tomatoes elegantly paired with cheese, basil and a balsamic reduction. The salads were fresh, crisp and flavourful, and a good accompaniment for the rich mushroom and spinach tart ($15), which arrived around the same time. The grilled scallops ($19.75) were tender and well-cooked, the seafood light and flavourful, and especially well-served by the flavours of fennel and fresh citrus.

Almost full, but not quite, we decided at the last moment to tack on the Grilled Alberta beef tenderloin ($19), and I’m glad we did. After a series of delicious, high-quality dishes, the tenderloin was a standout. Local beef from outside Cold Lake served with potatoes and a fig confit, the beef was an absolute highlight of the meal, and drew raves from around the table.

The single dessert on the menu, a rich, dense chocolate cake, was, appropriately, the icing on the cake, and left everyone in my party almost giddy.

We stayed longer than we intended, and drank and ate more than we planned, before finally spilling out on the street, full and happy. Sated not only by a meal at Tzin, but by A Night to remember.

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Source: Edmonton Journal
By Jana G. Pruden (twitter.com/@jana_pruden)