Now that spring is here, all the nearby stadiums will be seeing sports and concerts resuming in full swing. I’ve been to a few of the restaurants in Anaheim by the Honda Center, but I honestly don’t get out there too often. If you’re one of those who regularly attends games or concerts, here’s a place you can pop by for a quick bite, and enjoy a glass of wine — or beer — before heading off to your outing.
Located in a little plaza — where I was only able to spot fast food outlets — is a hidden gem. Calivino Wine Pub is a wine bar which offers a solid menu to accompany your libations with. We visited during happy hour and were surprised there were a bunch of people already inside on a week day with no game or concert happening in the area.
We quickly grabbed one of the two tables by the entrance with sofas surrounding the wooden table. They are comfortable and it was too easy to make ourselves feel right at home as we sink further and further into them. There is a stellar selection of beers on tap available (check out the black board for options) — I decided on a porter. The best part about Calivino is that almost all of the wines (ranging between $7 to $15/glass) are available by the glass and our server Anthony suggests a red, house blend for my friend.
Of course, there has to be food when drinking. One of my favorites is Brussels Sprouts ($11) with a hint of sweetness and smoky saltiness from the pork belly bits.
I like foods that are a little heavy when I’m drinking, to soak up the alcohol. Spinach Wontons ($9) is a perfect example of that. Filled with cheese and spinach, be careful when biting into them because the cheese will ooze and drip onto you if you’re not careful. There is added sauce to drizzle over the wontons if you like, but I didn’t think the sauce added much to them. But I am impressed that everything is salted correctly!
Crab Cakes ($14) is my least favorite. I liked the seasonings, with a house made remoulade — the lemon zest adds freshness. The “cake” itself was a tad dense, probably due to over-handling. Otherwise, there is a generous amount of crab which is nice.
Another favorite is Cauliflower Gratin ($9) with gruyere, white cheddar and parmesan. I couldn’t stop eating it because the flavors are so addicting. Definitely a winner.
We enjoy the Poutine ($12) but this is definitely California-style poutine — no cheese curds in sight. The short rib is rich and again, very well-seasoned. It is gooey and very satiating.
The minute Seared Ahi Burger ($16) hit the table, I knew it was an OC Baking Company’s brioche bun sandwiching the slab of ahi. I cut the burger in half revealing a perfectly pink center. I was a little concerned about the hoisin sauce — not a huge fan — but it was subtle and I didn’t taste an abundance of it, probably a good thing. The Asian slaw is exceptional, and pairs perfectly with the pepper-crusted ahi. The flavor profiles marry together in perfect harmony — I want a bowl of that slaw on its own! Another thing, if you’re not ordering a burger, please just order the fries as a side. They are crispy and possess a tasty coating — highly addicting.
I think what impressed me the most about Calivino is how they are not afraid to salt the food. There is not one item I felt required more seasoning — and in my book, that’s definitely a bonus! Add to that a comfortable environment and an owner — Daniel stopped by to chat — who is friendly and energetic, what more do you need?
Calivino Wine Pub
2410 E Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA 92806