Classy Cassio’s

    Kate Barker May 29, 2019

    On our final night in Jasper we looked at the weather before deciding where to go and eat: -45 degrees. Again. It was the standard temperature for our week. We decided to pick something nearby so we wouldn’t have to freeze. Cassio’s Italian Restaurant is attached to the Whistler’s Inn, where we were staying. We didn’t even have to put on our coats. Decision made.

    Cassio’s is known for its hearty breakfasts and dinners serving authentic Italian cuisine. The original Cassio’s started in Sudbury, Ontario – a northern community known for nickel mining in its day. I’m from an even smaller town about 3 hours north of Sudbury that nobody’s ever heard about. In Northern Ontario terms: Cassio’s and I were neighbours.

  • The original Cassio family, like so many who settled in the area, worked hard to survive in the fluctuating mining towns. They always served quality food, which included traditional family recipes. Constantly adapting to their customer base and their chefs, all of whom came from various parts of Italy, Cassio’s became a success. The children of the original founders grew up in that restaurant, surrounded by these family recipes, and a tough, mining town work ethic. Two of those children moved to Alberta, and Cassio’s Italian Restaurant in Jasper opened in 2009. Walking into Cassio’s on this frigid winter night and reading their story, I felt at home.

    We sat by the window overlooking the train station and chose drinks to accompany the meal. Cassio’s has a comprehensive wine list, including select vintages as well as Champagne and specialty sparkling wines. “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine”! The menu translated this old Italian saying. I was already convinced.

    With a glass of Argentinian Malbec, I awaited my meal. The service at Cassio’s was quick and efficient, everything you’d expect from an elevated dining experience. They serve fresh, house made pastas made from local ingredients where possible. The majority of their dishes can be made gluten free, as indicated by their menu. Just ask your server before ordering.

    I had the Carbonara, which came with smoked pancetta, garlic, butter and Pecorino Romano. The food arrived quickly. It was beautifully presented and topped with fresh pepper. It was everything you’d expect from authentic Italian cooking – fresh, delicious and filling. I’m told the Gnocchi was delicious as well. Everything I saw being served looked like it was made with care, reflecting the heritage of hard work and tradition.

    I’m not always one to order dessert, but when in Rome! Or Jasper. Or eating with someone who decides to order dessert. I’m a bit of a pushover when sweets are involved. They had the classics you’d expect, but there was something more that struck me as irresistible: sticky toffee pudding.

    This British dessert is popular along the east coast of Canada and, having lived there for several years after leaving my Northern Ontario home, it is one of my hands-down favourite desserts. Cassio’s may be known for their traditional Italian fare, but they did this sticky toffee pudding justice. It was the perfect endgame to an otherwise lovely meal.

    Next time you’re visiting Jasper, especially if you’re staying at Whistler’s Inn, check out Cassio’s Italian Restaurant. Their food is real, traditional Italian fare made with fresh, local ingredients. Buon Appetito!

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