There really aren't enough tuna melts on restaurant menus these days, and of the ones that do exist, few are exceptional.
Calgary can count its blessings for Alumni as it has been making some of the best sandwiches (as well as burgers and Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches) in the city ever since opening in 2018. Located in the heart of 17th Avenue S.W., the upscale diner-vibing eatery has a track record of delicious consistency with creations like its Dagwood, Turkey Club and Rosemary Beef Dip, and it has a spectacular take on a tuna melt.
On a recent visit to Alumni, I was reminded just how delicious its tuna melt was.
Canned tuna (the only suitable option, in my opinion) is mixed with a ginger and cilantro aioli, spread across two slender pieces of sourdough, topped with cheddar and baked until golden and bubbly. A salad of arugula, radish, fennel and macerated cucumber is placed on top and the melt is finished with a drizzle of chili oil.
The thin slices of the sourdough loaf is key here as the crispy edges and tender centre invoking childhood lunch hour nostalgia, as opposed to being too artisanal (i.e. thick-crusted and chewy). It's a perfect balance of feeling familiar while tasting grown-up.
Alumni is located at 725 17 Ave S.W. and open Mondays to Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.