I love sandwiches and Italian food, so it's no surprise that I frequent this authentic Italian grocery store and eatery on a weekly basis. La Bottega Nicastro (located in the Byward Market) has something for everyone, with its fully stocked fresh deli, cheese and grocery section, take-out sandwich counter, full-service coffee and espresso bar, and quaint eat-in lunch counter. I often grab a take-out sandwich and Illy cappuccino, but on a fine Friday afternoon, Riley and I decided to take a long leisurely lunch and enjoy our meal at the eat-in counter. It's very small with seating for about 25 guests, but the service, Italian charm and authentic open kitchen concept more than makes up for the sometimes short wait.
The eat-in counter serves homemade hot sandwiches, soups, pizza, pasta, and fresh daily specials, which include a fabulous Tiramisu. Honestly, you can't go wrong with any of the choices, but our ultimate favourite is the Calabria Mia Sandwich (pictured below). It's served on a warm chiabatta bun with Calabrese salami, roasted peppers, and goat cheese, and served with salad on the side. To have the full experience, we definitely recommend accompanying your meal with a glass of rosé to start and finishing off with a fabulous cappuccino.
La Bottega Nicastro is definitely a one-stop shop for your Italian dining and cooking needs. The eat-in lunch counter is open daily from 11:30 - 3:00, but the take-out sandwich and espresso bar is open throughout the day in case you may find yourself with an afternoon craving or caffeine crash.
|Calabria Mia Sandwich, $11|
Verdict: Great food for a great price, excellent service, authentic experience
Hours: Monday to Wednesday 9:00am-6:00pm, Thursday and Friday 9:00am-8:00pm, Saturday 9:00am-6:00pm, Sundays 11:00am-5:00pm