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Italian in Vancouver


merlin
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I was thinking of trying an Italian restaurant while in the Vancouver area next week.

An acquaintance who operates some Italian restaurants in town here speaks highly of Pino's restaurant Cioppino while his chef mentioned Bis Moreno.

Comments?

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Piccolo Mondo Ristorante

Robson Street. Lunch: Monday to Friday, Dinner: Monday to Saturday.

850 Thurlow Street, VANCOUVER, BC; Phone: 604.688.1633 Fax: 604.682.4875

Quattro on Fourth

2611 Fourth Avenue West, Vancouver, BC; Phone: 604.734.4444 Fax: 604.734.4321

http://www.quattrorestaurants.com

Villa del Lupo

869 Hamilton Street, VANCOUVER, BC; Phone: 604.688.7436 Fax: 604.688.3058

http://www.VilladelLupo.com

Coco Pazzo

1864 West 57th Avenue ,Vancouver, British Columbia V6P 1T7 1-604-267-1864

http://www.cocopazzo.bc.ca/

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Thanks for the suggestions Steve.

The first three I recognzied but not Coco Pazzo.

This will be the first visit in years where we have not stayed on the North Shore so was perplexed when I saw the address. So this is where Ken Bogas is now.

My goodness, it must be over a decade since I ate at a spot he was involved with. Back then a buddy introduced me to his barely seared tuna [before that course became so popular elsewhere] with big oaky, usually American chardonnays. It was the Saltimbocca in Kits.

Doubt that we will get to it this trip but will keep it in mind en route to returning from Tofino in the Fall.

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Wow... the days of Saltimbocca. Am showing my age when I say that my husband and I had our first date there, oh, 11 years ago. I, too, remember the early days of seared tuna paired with a buttery Chardonnay, though I'd much rather have a refreshing pinot gris/grigio now. Would be interested to hear what anyone else has to say about Coco Pazzo.

Piccolo Mondo is such a classic, often overlooked restaurant with wonderful food, an impressive wine list and always impeccable service. Haven't been there in a few years and am long overdue for a return visit. Although Villa del Lupo is good, I'd choose Piccolo Mondo over it. Quattro is more casual and 'homey' if that's the flavour you're looking for. Bis Moreno and Cioppino are still on my 'To Do' list.

There's my two cents. Let us know what you choose.

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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I would have lunch on the terracce at Cioppino's on a nice sunny day with a Linguine Vongole done just right with a nice glass of something white and crisp.

Pino is a great chef but the wine prices have always made me feel ripped off and I can't bring myself to commit to the full dinner thing.

I had a wonderful meal a couple of years ago at Piccolo Mondo. I invited some friends and asked George (owner/wine geek) to build a dinner around a great Barbera, Barbarsco and Barolo. They did not disappoint and it was worth every penny. The only problem I have with P.M. is the room, which I find a bit chilly design wise.

The garden at Il Giardino (Umberto's) is always a great place on a nice summer evening and although you have to pick your way through the menu (and the high rollers) to get good food it is possible to eat and drink well and people watch. Bis Moreno is just across the street.

I would be really interested to hear what is going on with Cocco Pazzo as it has had no press whatsoever in the last while, which is unusual for Mr. Bogas. I ate there about a year and a half ago when Colleen, his Chef de Cuisine was running things and it was great (although more West Coast Italian then anything else). She has since left to take over as chef at Cafe De Paris where she's done a great job of updating their bistro concept.

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Wow... the days of Saltimbocca. Am showing my age when I say that my husband and I had our first date there, oh, 11 years ago. I, too, remember the early days of seared tuna paired with a buttery Chardonnay, though I'd much rather have a refreshing pinot gris/grigio now.

Mooshmouse:

...yes, it has to be all of 11 years or more in my case.

And you are right...it was the big "buttery" malolactic fermentation chardonnays that were "de rigeur" :rolleyes: back then.......

As it turns out the couple who we are having dinner with at Cru Saturday night are the same ones who took us to Saltimbocca.

Eatrustic:

They also live in North Van and I'll ask if they have heard anyting about Coco Pazzo.

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:wub: I think the quotation that follows your post applies to me this time Coop, "I'm no friggin' genius"

LOL...thank goodness that I am not driving on this trip to Van, who knows where we might end up?

You have saved me some perplexed looks from my friends as I try to "explain" to them that Kerridale has somehow managed to "move" to the north shore

Cheers Coop :rolleyes:

Edited by merlin (log)
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  • 2 months later...

Am having a craving for Italian food? Want a place where the pasta comes "al dente" and the service isn't, "How are you guys doing?" Have been to Marcello's, Lombardo's, Il Giardinio, and Cipriano's. Are Cin Cin and Bis Moreno, high on everyone's lists? Suggestions? Thanks.

"One chocolate truffle is more satisfying than a dozen artificially flavored dessert cakes." Darra Goldstein, Gastronomica Journal, Spring 2005 Edition

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Try Il Ducato on fourth and arbutus, the boys sold it, but Dave is still cooking there, although it could be on its last leg, dave is still a good cook, he cooks all long noodles for each order, very old Scholl Itilian.

Quattro's----Al Porto's---Amacord----Cioppino's---Piccolo Mondo--Villa del Lupo

Coco Pazzo--Favorito--ciprianos--bella cucina--Carmelos

Lorenzos is gone

steve

Edited by stovetop (log)
Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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I will second Villa del Lupo or Cioppino's for a special dinner of very good Italian, including great pasta. For a more authentic down-home noodle experience, I've heard Nick's Spaghetti House on lower (North) Commercial Drive is an institution worth a visit, but I've not been there.

By the way, did you try the pizza at Marcello's or Lombardo's? The two best in town.

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I've heard Nick's Spaghetti House on lower (North) Commercial Drive is an institution worth a visit, but I've not been there.

Nick's is OK IMO. It was better (or at least seemed to be) when I was back in university. Nick's is more 1950's style Italian ... like Stanley Tucci's competitor's place in "Big Night" (which gives me another idea for an eGullet dinner! :biggrin: ).

If you're into quantity, Anton's or Anducci's does that well, and their food is better than Nick's.

If you're into quality, stovetop, eatbc and nwyles have it covered.

DA

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1st time response - couldn't resist

Nick's is totally old school, but sooo good. Pan fried t-bone or meatballs w/ ravioli and the cheap house red - yum

Had a so-so experience at Bis Moreno - a little too much going on on the menu I think - cartlidge left in the lobster and a piece of plastic in the dessert - when you are paying those prices I think these are things should be no-brainers...

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Villa de Lupo it is. I keep hearing good things about this restaurant and keep forgetting about it. Thank you all for the suggestions. Manlio at Amarcord tweaked my interest too, not only for the debate, but haven't ever had good gnocchi except the ones I had made by my chef instructor at school. Villa de Lupo is first though. Thanks again.

"One chocolate truffle is more satisfying than a dozen artificially flavored dessert cakes." Darra Goldstein, Gastronomica Journal, Spring 2005 Edition

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I, too, am a fan of Amarcord in Yaletown.

Excellent, authentic, solid meals at a very reasonable price. My husband and I live in the neighborhood, and frequent this restaurant often. (If I had one criticism it would be that their side dishes lack creativity, but I can honestly say I have never had a bad meal here.)

The owner Manlio is a fabulous, warm and gregarious host, making everyone -- regulars and first-time visitors -- feel at home and welcome.

Food Lover -- nothing more, nothing less
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Amarcord used to get reviews and lots of press, theses days very quite on the press front so it is easy to forget, I can not remember when the last time a press release went on about them.

Please let know how it was.

steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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  • 3 weeks later...

J & I didn't start thinking about dinner until 8:30 or so last night ... and by the time the subject came up we both knew we were going out to eat. I've been driving by Osteria Napoli Ristorante on my way home from work for years, and have heard, um ... things about it. Sounds good.

So we walk in through the front door of the restaurant, and travelled back in time about 50 years! Imagine every Italian restaurant you've ever seen on TV, movies, Norman Rockwell paintings, and then add rope ligting and several of those old Chianti Ruffino bottles with the wicker bases.

In the back corner of the restaurant is Mr. Entertainment, a middle-aged guy with a Yamaha keyboard & drum sequencer, belting out old Italian classics from Lionel Ritchie & Peabo Bryson :blink: . The clientel for the most part is the cast from Mambo Italiano ... stereotypical yes, but nonetheless true. Bouffont hair, zebra-stryped evening dresses, and even a goodfella thrown in for good measure (more on him later).

We were seated quickly, ordered wine & appetizers and perused the menu. While items can be ordered a la carte, the way to go here seems to be the dinner specials. For $27 you choose from a dozen appetizers, twenty or so entres & 3 dessers (includes coffee).

We started with the bruchetta. I have to admit I'm sceptical about anything served on white bread. Too much multi-grain at home I suppose. These bruchetta were wonderful! Lots of fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and really good olive oil. Anything darker than white bread would have distracted from the veggies on top.

J ordered the stracciatella and prawns in tomoto sauce (sorry, didn't write down the Italian name). I had the atipasto and osso buco. J was so-so on the soup ... it's egg in chicken broth, and if the broth doesn't stand out, what's left? The prawns were really good though. Classic Italian Pomdoro sauce and LOTS of tender prawns.

My antipasto was really well presented. Almost too good looking to eat ... almost :smile: . The prociutto was the stand-out, with the artichokes a close second. The osso bucu was good too, although I have to admitt, this was only my second time having it anywhere. To quote Tony Bourdain, I couldn't tell if it was veal, or "young cow."

Both entres came with roasted carrots & potatoes. I normally don't think about the veggies ... but these were really nice. The carrots had a sweet glaze of some sort, and the potatoes with rosemary were nice and crispy.

About half way through dinner, Mr Entertainment turns off the Yamaha, and picks up an accordian! It was like a scene out of Lady & the Tramp as he moved from table to table singing Italian love songs (in Italian no less). After a while he picked up the tempo, causing the "goodfella" next to us to break out into song. Not a quiet guy either ... and apparently singing causes him to want grappa. Can I fit in anymore stereotypes here?

Dessert was St Honore cake for J, and Tiramisu for me. We didn't share so I can't comment on the St Honore, but this was the best Tiramisu I have ever had, nicely finished with a double espresso.

All in all a great evening ... wait staff was attentative but not hovering. We both walked out well-fed, and wanting to return some day, which I feel is always a good sign. It's no Bis Moreno, but when I'm looking for sterotypical Italian, I'll take Osterio Napoli over Nicks anytime.

Osterio Napoli Restorante

1660 Renfrew Street

Edited by Daddy-A (log)
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Daddy-A:

Thanks for the post...I was laughing so hard my wife called out from another room inquiring what was going on.

As soon as you mentioned "Mr. Entertainment" I thought, "oh, oh one of THOSE evenings"...glad it worked out fine as I had a sense of foreboding [smile] when you mentioned those "Italian standards"....did he get in George McCrae's Napoli classic "Rock me baby"?

With that atmosphere, the menu and the clientele probably should have been a video.

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All in all a great evening ... wait staff was attentative but not hovering. We both walked out well-fed, and wanting to return some day, which I feel is always a good sign. It's no Bis Moreno, but when I'm looking for sterotypical Italian, I'll take Osterio Napoli over Nicks anytime.

Arne,

Nick just dropped by with a couple of 'business associates'. At first I thought he was just dropping off my winnings as the Seahawks beat the spread pretty easily today. But no, this wasn't a customer care call, they actually wanted to know where you live. I swear I didn't cave easily . . . and I am typing this with one hand . . . but they're on their way over. Sorry.

What could you've been thinking? If you're still breathing tomorrow (but he looked really worked up when the Eldo screeched away) here's the way I handled the whole Nick's versus Osteria issue recently:

"Even if I didn’t like the food at Nick’s, it’s highly unlikely I’d tell you here. Because when Nick’s regulars aren’t handicapping the ponies they’re handicapping former business associates. Nick's is one of the last of the dependable red sauce joints in town and enjoys many regular customers. For those citizens fed up with 25-year-old balsamic and arugula, well, they come to Nick’s for a fix. And when the fix is in, it's very satisfying. There's just nothing like the “crisp” salad to prove that water-retention is in fact a virtue, and there's great carnivore action in meatballs the size of hailstones. In short, the food is very, very good at Nick’s. And I mean that. Capiche?"

Hoping your insurance is paid up,

Jamie

PS--Perhaps you'd like to suggest an alternate to help us with the BIG NIGHT dinner in November?

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Years ago Nick bought a boat from the company I was working for, he was more then gracious. He let us use his boat for brochure photos etc. Just thought I would mention he didn't seem like a "made" man to me.

Never had the urge to eat there though.

Edited by Coop (log)

David Cooper

"I'm no friggin genius". Rob Dibble

http://www.starlinebyirion.com/

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Nick just dropped by with a couple of 'business associates'. At first I thought he was just dropping off my winnings as the Seahawks beat the spread pretty easily today. But no, this wasn't a customer care call, they actually wanted to know where you live. I swear I didn't cave easily . . . and I am typing this with one hand . . . but they're on their way over. Sorry.

Jamie,

Some friend ... it only takes a broken hand and you spill! All those Belgian fries are making you soft Maw.

Fortunately as a long time resident of North Burnaby I have an "in" with the family. Seems the Don suffers from the occaisional lutefisk craving and my bestemor had his hook-up for a good 30 years. Nick and I sorted things out over a double espresso and a biscotti at Papagallo.

Hope your hand feels better.

Arne

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