Madly Organic, Calgary

psst… I just posted the winner for the goat dairy giveaway. Check to see if you won!

It was recommended by a friendly Facebook follower that I make my way into the city to check out Madly Organic – a new gluten-free friendly cafe in Calgary. Upon doing a bit of investigating I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the cafe offers up healthy, organic, local, free range and chemical free eats. Now that’s my kinda place!

Two new homemade soups every day, fruit smoothies, salads, fresh pressed juices, wraps and many healthy breakfast choices, aside, just the name Madly Organic had me excited for my first visit.

The fact that the cafe has very limited seating was a major deterrent in getting friends to commit to meeting me there for lunch. My sister Christina is still going strong with her choice to go gluten-free so when it fell on me to plan her birthday lunch a couple of weekends ago, I knew exactly where we’d take her, available table or not.

It was a bit gutsy taking the whole family to a place I’d never been before, but I had a good feeling about the cafe and just decided to commit to the plan and hope for the best.

The crew – Mom, Dad, Christina, her boyfriend Zach, Kevin and I met at Madly Organic on a blustery, rainy Sunday for what I hoped would be a positive experience for all of us. Seating wasn’t a problem, we combined all 3 tables into one large table, just enough space for the 6 of us.

The soup and lunch specials were posted on a white board outside, the full menu was on a gorgeous blackboard behind the counter, and Shantelle; the owner, offered us a couple of their printed menus that we proceeded to read at our table.

Kevin started with a fresh pressed juice and Christina treated herself to a Melonville smoothie of watermelon, honeydew and strawberry.

The look on her face says it all right there.

Despite her obsession for all things melon, Christina was nice enough to allow each of us to grab a Popsicle stick and sample her smoothie. I’m pretty sure the sticks were there for coffee, but we re-purposed them for taste tester sticks, naturally.

Papa Vogel, Zach and Kevin had a relatively easy time selecting something tasty on the menu to suit their individual meat tooth’s. Mom went for a lunch special, and Christina and I went rogue. Once we had each decided what we wanted for lunch, we went up one by one and placed our order with Shantelle.

Seeing as we were the only ones in the cafe and had little to do that day, waiting 30 minutes for lunch was no big deal. Had I been there to grab a quick something, I probably would have gotten a bit impatient. Thankfully, Madly Organic has planned for that. You can call ahead with your order and they’ll have it prepped and ready to go for you when you drop in.

Our meals arrived and everything looked beautiful, bright, and ready to attack!

Leave it to my sister to deface a meal as soon as it’s placed in front of her. Birthday girl or not, she has always used meal time as an avenue for her creative explorations. Sandwich with a hat? Yes please!

They were out of gluten-free wraps, so Christina had the Garden wrap filling placed between two slices of gluten-free bread and topped with lemon dill dressing.

Mom got the lunch special, a goat cheese quesadilla served with what looked like Greek yogurt and salsa.

The men at the table ordered the Southwestern wrap, filled with chicken, brown basmati rice, spicy bean mix, red onion, red pepper, avocado, and chipotle dressing.

The two soup specials for the day were bean and bacon or quinoa chili. Both were gluten-free and equally as tempting, but I chose to go with the vegan chili considering I’d had 6 strips of bacon for breakfast that very same morning. At the advice of one of the staff members, I chose a small soup instead of the large and paired it with a small ‘more than just greens’ salad.

The soup was delicious. I could taste the quality of the ingredients and the care put into the recipe. Everything tasted fresh and was very similar to a meal I would create for myself at home. The small sized soup was a perfect portion. I can’t imagine how big a large soup would be!

The salad was a perfect pairing. The honey balsamic dressing wasn’t too sweet or overpowering, just the right amount of flavor to boost the flavor of the veggies.

At the request of the birthday girl, we completed our lunch with a round of gluten-free, dairy-free brownies. Zach got his with Greek yogurt, taunting all us dairy-free folks.

Overall, everyone enjoyed their lunch, found the portions to be just right, and would be happy to return again. I even caught Mom committing to coming back for lunch as her office is just minutes away.

I’ve become more and more interested in visiting local restaurants, cafes, and the like and sharing the experience with you that I thought it would be helpful for us if I came up with a rating system so here goes!

  • Ambiance: feels a bit bare when you walk in and doesn’t do the energy of the ownership justice. Also, if anyone orders a smoothie the sound of the extremely noisy blender will make it impossible for you to communicate with anyone at your table 2/5
  • Authenticity: there isn’t a place like it in Calgary – organic, gluten-free and vegan friendly 5/5
  • Ease of ordering and menu readability: very clear and well laid out 5/5
  • Plating: cafe style – wraps in foil, clean and simple but nothing over the top spectacular 3/5
  • Service: very warm and inviting, helpful and friendly. They’re still figure out a system, so food takes a bit longer than expected 4/5
  • Taste: similar to a meal I would make for myself at home with love. Everything was flavorful, fresh and perfectly cooked 4/5
  • Value: overly pleased with the portion sizes for the cost 5/5

Total: 28/35 = 80%

Have you been to Madly Organic? If so, how’d you like it?

If not, is there a place in your city that serves up organic fare? I’d love to hear about it!

Madly Organic Cafe and Gallery on Urbanspoon

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  1. Looks like a great little find! I love the sounds of that melon smoothie… I’m ALL about watermelon in the summer! My city is still a little lacking in the vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants (well, it’s better than some but nowhere as good as Toronto.) If you’re ever out here, we’ll do a grand tour! :)

    • It was one good smoothie, that’s for sure. I haven’t bought a watermelon in ages. I need to get on that, pronto. I have a feeling I’ll be out there in the next 3 months or so… would love to plan something!

      • OMG for serious!??! That would be amazing!!! Email me and let me know your specifics because I’d LOVE to meet up! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it’s not during the time I’m in Vancouver, but I’d for sure be up for getting together. Can’t wait!

  2. It’s always great when you go to a place that serves similar food, taste, portions as to what you would do at home! That always puts me at peace… Haha.

    One of my favourite organic cafes is in the Junction area of Toronto – the Beet Cafe. It’s fantastic and is owned by a holistic nutritionist – so the food/menu is great! I am moving to Vancouver in the fall and looking forward to checking out new cafes and restaurants there.

    Look forward to reading more reviews! Maybe I will make it to Calgary one of these days.

    • Oh my goodness, you’re going to have such a fabulous time in Vancouver! The food is unreal. One of my favorite places is the Naam restaurant. Have you been?

      • I can’t wait! I haven’t spent much time in Vancouver so I am excited. I have never been to Naam but it looks fantastic! Will be on the top of my list.

        • It’s THE city on my list that I’ve always wanted to move to. You’re going to have a great time!

  3. Whoa, this place looks fabulous! Where is it?? I need to find more restauratns like this in Calgary, I’ve been frequenting a couple a little too often and need to branch out.

  4. So happy you liked it! It’s not far from where I live but wish I worked closer to it so I could eat lunch there! The large soup is huge, I got a few of them to go one day (sweet potato peanut bisque.. amazing) and 2 large was enough for 4 meals!
    FYI I noticed there is another cafe getting ready to open on 17th, looks like it will be complete gluten free, on the corner of 9A St and 17th Ave, can’t remember what it was called though!

    • :| this is music to my ears! I’m rarely down that way so I haven’t seen this new cafe. Oh my word! You’ll have to let me know if/when it opens. I’m headed down there again today for lunch, so I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

      • I’m keeping my eye on this thread and while I’m in the area! very exciting.

        Leanne, does Madly Organic have a lot of choices for Celiacs and vegans? I’m both, it can be difficult to find…

  5. Thanks for sharing I will try it the next time we are in Calgary. We recently tried the Coup and were disappointed so needed somewhere else to try!

    • It’s too bad that you didn’t enjoy the Coup. In fact, I’ve heard that from a lot of people lately. Perhaps I’m just lucky when I go! Although last time, we had to wait for a table for over 1.5 hours… a bit excessive. Pretty sure they forgot about us. Madly Organic is great – owned by a really nice, down-to-earth lady, reasonably priced, and simply delicious!

  6. This place looks wonderful. I wish there was something like it here. There are health food stores with mini cafés in them, but nothing like this. It reminds me a bit of the health food store/café in my parent’s town in Florida. It’s much more of a café even than a health food store. It’s called The Corner Store. They were even able to serve me a gluten free sandwich and gluten free pizza (they do them on Friday nights and during special downtown events).

    Nope, nothing quite like this on Maui. We have some great restaurants here, but 99% of them do not do anything gluten free, and the ones that offer gluten free tend to be more expensive, high end restaurants. A couple of coffee shops are offering gluten free sandwiches now, but they are not strictly gluten free and so the risk for cross contamination is there (I haven’t tried them yet for this reason).

    Enjoy your new found eatery.

    • Wow, that’s so cool that your parents have a place nearby that you can enjoy gluten-free goodies at. It’s too bad you’re so far away although I’m sure it’s a nice treat when you go for a visit! I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before more places in Maui start offering gluten-free options. Seems like it’s happening everywhere these days!

  7. Everything looks delicious! Especially that brownie…. Is the place really small? I wonder why so little seating. There is NO where like this even remotely close to where I live. Probably in Chicago, but that’s about a 2 or so hour drive from me.

  8. There’s a place like this where I live (organic, but not gluten free). I love their food but the wait time, even if you call ahead is so long that I never go there. It’s such a shame. This looks fabulous, I want the quinoa chili!

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