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REVIEW: Bitten Appetizer and Dessert Bistro

The Round-up:

  • Food - 3.5 out of 5
  • Service - 3.5 out of 5
  • Atmosphere - 3 out of 5
  • Overall - 10 out of 15
1822 Broad Street
Regina, SK 306-586-BITE (2483) http://www.bittenonbroad.com/ _________________________________________________________

It's slightly gutsy to open a restaurant on a semi-abandoned block in downtown Regina that has seen its share of restaurants come and go over the years.

But entrepreneur Astrid Baecker did exactly that two years ago when renovations at 1822 Broad Street got underway. After sitting empty for a few years, the building was looking in pretty rough shape when things got started. Within a few months Baecker and her team added plenty of shine.

What's now known as Bitten used to be home to Gingerz. Before that it was a satellite location of India House for a matter of months. And wayyy before that it was New Orleans. And that's all the history I know of the place.

The room itself, long and narrow with a balcony looking over the main floor, is an awkward shape for a restaurant. That being said, Bitten has made things work by modernizing the colour scheme and placing high-top tables with bar stools on the main floor that can be easily moved around to accommodate groups of all sizes.

The second floor balcony is cozy and closer to the bar. If drinking is your main reason for visiting Bitten, sit upstairs.

The menu has grown over the last two years. It's now several pages long and covers a surprisingly wide range of cuisines. If you want Asian, Bitten does that. If you want Italian, Bitten does that. If you want Cajun, they do that too. While the variety is nice, the menu lacks focus overall. Some of the appetizers, like the stuffed mushroom caps, seem like a throwback to the '80s.

On the other hand, appetizers come in very generous portions. Some might even find them large enough to be a meal. They definitely make for good sharing in a group.

As for the rest of the food, it's generally good. Some entrees, like a Surf and Turf I had around Valentine's Day in 2009, lacked flavour. However, the pizzas and salads are filling, tasty, and priced just right.

I've been to Bitten five or six times in the last two years and the service has always been good, no matter the server. Service isn't always lighting fast, but it's attentive. And Bitten isn't really the type of place you go for a speedy meal.

I can't finish this review without talking about dessert. Bitten's motto, after all, is "Life is Short... Have Dessert First."

The menu features a whole page of desserts to choose from, all of them made in-house. Bitten does a good job of classics like the Creme Brulee and Creme Caramel. The Mascarpone Toffee Parcels were delish when I tried them a few months back. I haven't had Bitten's version of Sticky Toffee Pudding just yet, but that's next on my list.

My advice: check Bitten out if you haven't been, or if it's been awhile. It's worth supporting a local eatery that's breathing life into our downtown core.