Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’


160-3900 Bayview Street, Richmond

Tel: 604-272-7264


Twitter: @hogshackca

Advice: Share one of their BarbQ platters if you dine with friends so that you can try all of their BarbQ. They specialize in Kansas City style of BarbQ.


Mammoth Platter

Cornbread, Yam Fries, Potato Wedges, Coleslaw, Baked Beans

I have always loved BarbQ especially when travelling in the Southern USA, I recently dined with my friend Julie Ovenell-Carter who is a travel writer and one who loves good BarbQ as well. We were both impressed by their Craft Beer list and our server Joana who was well versed in the beer on hand and which beer would be best with their dishes. at the Hog Shack. We took our servers lead, Julie had the Immortal IPA (India Pale Ale) from Seattle’s Elysian Brewing and I had the Tree Brewing Cut Throat Pale Ale. We then shared an order of their Poutine ($7) hand cut potato fries, cheese curds and gravy, and then it was time to dig in to our sharing feast. All eyes were on the table when our Mammoth Platter ($45.50 serves two) arrived featuring a selection of their Dinosaur Beef Bones, Smoked Beef Brisket, Baby Back Ribs, St. Louise Side Ribs, Pulled Pork and Chicken Legs that was served with a selection of sides which included their delicious house made corn bread, yam fries, potato wedges, coleslaw and baked beans. They have a vast menu of all sorts of dishes such as Tacos, Schnitzels, Sandwiches, Burgers, Pasta, Salads and Seafood, however BarbQ is the focus and that is what you should order.

Review by: Richard Wolak



2083 Alma St, Vancouver

Tel: 604-566-9559


Twitter: @La_Ghianda

Advice: Each day from 5-6pm they offer one dinner to eat-in or take-out, it sells out daily, line up early or call them for the feature of the day. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m

With its rustic décor, it’s as if I was having lunch in the alpine area of Trentino in Italy near the Austrian border. I have always loved La Quercia which is owned by the same people as this nearby restaurant kitty corner to La Ghianda that also specializes in Italian food from the Trentino region. I have already been in a few times and on each visit I was more intrigued than the last. Each day there are 3 pastas, 3 sandwiches and 3 entrees on the blackboard all are priced the same at $10, then there are sides for $6 and desserts for $4.

Vitelli Tonnato

Penne Ariabiata

Cauliflower side dish

I have had several dishes over the visits including the Vitelli Tonnato ($10) panini delicious crusty bread, ham, tuna sauce;  Penne Ariabiata ($10) penne in tomato sauce ; Spaghetti Alla Botarga ($10) with fish row; Milanese & Crauti ($10) veal sandwich; Quiche ($6) and a delicious Cauliflower side dish ($6) with raisins, capers, lemon. I have yet to have the desserts that I am saving for my next visit. This is Italian cuisine at its finest, the bread is rustic, crunchy and so delicious, the food is simple and you will be wanting to visit over and over again.

Review by: Richard Wolak



780 Richards Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604.687.4444


Twitter: @q4restaurant

Advice: The Focaccia is not on the menu, you must order it as it is the best in the city. Complimentary valet parking at both lunch and dinner.

It’s no secret that I love Italian cuisine, it’s been my favourite for years, this is the latest gem from Patrick Corsi, his family has been cooking Italian cuisine in and around the city for many years. My friend Ian joined me for dinner in this hideaway in the centre of the city, located in the L’Hermitage Hotel this is no hotel restaurant, the room is beautiful with wood paneling throughout, high ceilings, an open kitchen, with a stylish forno oven.

They have an extensive wine list, I had a glass of the Antinori – Pinot Grigio 2007 ($10) Tuscany, Italy and Ian had a glass of the Jean Bousquet – “Organic” Malbec 2007 ($8) Mendoza, Argentina.

Focaccia Fatta in Casa

“Rucola” Arugula Balsamica

Polpette al Centro

We started off with the outsanding Focaccia Fatta in Casa ($6), I could have eaten the focaccia alone all night, we then shared the “Rucola” Arugula Balsamica ($12) Wild arugula, honey glazed walnuts, goat cheese, port soaked cranberries, aged balsamic vinaigrette. I then had an order of the delicious Polpette al Centro ($12) House made meatballs, smoked caciocavallo, marsala basil pomodoro ragout, tuscan crostini.


Branzino alla Crosta

We then shared a pizza, the crust is crispy and delicious, I had this one before and had it again, Pastore ($15) Smoked caciocavallo, grilled lamb sausage, marinated portabello, we were both sharing most of the dishes as it gave us an opportunity to taste more, next was the outstanding Branzino alla Crosta ($34) Pistachio crusted BC sablefish, roasted red pepper succotash.

Chocolate Tart

Berry Pavlova

Dessert was a must and I had the delicious, Chocolate Tart ($8) filled with oozing caramel and my friend had the Berry Pavlova ($8). The service was wonderful too, looking forward to my return visit and for some more of that delicious Focaccia!

Review by: Richard Wolak



656 West Broadway, Vancouver

Tel: 604-708-3300


Advice:  Delicious basket of Focaccia bread served complimentary to begin the meal.

My friend joined me for lunch recently at this Northern Italian restaurant, a great fine dining addition to this neighbourhood.

Minestrone alla Contadina

Carpaccio all’ Emiliana

Insalata alla Caprese

Caesar Salad

We began our lunch with the delicious and full of flavours, Minestrone alla Contadina ($5.95) made from the finest vegetables and fresh herbs; where we both had this dish.  We then shared the Carpaccio all’ Emiliana ($8.95) prime Alberta beef tenderloin with Parmigiano reggiano, Arugula, Capers and Extra virgin olive oil. I then had the next dish on my own, Insalata alla Caprese ($8.95) fresh Bocconcini, Roma tomatoes, caperberry, fresh basil and Extra virgin olive oil and my friend had the traditional Caesar Salad ($6.95).

Veal Paillard

Astice alla Veneziana

We then shared the light and tasty Veal Paillard ($13.95) grilled milk-fed Veal scallopine with salsa verde and then we both shared the outstanding house specialty Astice alla Veneziana ($39.95) fresh whole Atlantic lobster prepare with a traditional Venetian recipe, served on a bed of savory spaghetti.

Zuppa Inglese

Since I love desserts, especially Italian desserts I had the delicious Zuppa Inglese ($7.95) Chocolate and almond frozen crusted mousse with pistachio and vanilla sponge cake. They have a very nice wine list although we both opted for sparkling water during our lunch. The service was gracious and inviting, you can see how all the staff work so well together it is as if they are one big family. I am looking forward to a return visit one night for dinner and for another slice of the Zuppa Inglese!

Review by: Richard Wolak

Summer Time at Q4

Q4 recently launched their summer menu with a brand new pizza oven firing off traditional thin-crust pizzas every night. They also have great summer specials including an Antipasto sharing platter and prosecco on the new patio. A friend joined me for a wonderful dinner tasting some of their new dishes as well as some old time favourites.

Dungeness Crab and Arborio rice Croquetta

Baby Arugula Salad

Spaghetti Quattro & Garganelli

Pistacchio crusted wild Alaskan black cod & Pan seared Pacific halibut

Cherry Tart, Fudgey Brownie & Tiramisu

To begin we shared the Dungeness Crab and Arborio rice Croquetta ($14.95) which is a bit too dense for me with a caper and lemon aioli served with a shaved fennel salad. We then shared the very tasty and refreshing Baby Arugula Salad ($8.95) with julienne of pear, shaved parmigiano reggiano, pink peppercorn and honey vinaigrette. We then shared a couple of half portion pastas, we both loved the Spaghetti Quattro ($17.95 for full portion) and the Garganelli ($19.95 for full portion) with tiger prawns, fresh avocado in a light lemon cream. For our main entrees, we shared the outstanding Pistachio Crusted Wild Alaskan Black Cod ($32.95) with a fire roasted red pepper sauce and the Pan Seared Pacific Halibut ($32.95) found this a bit too dry, with a plum tomato, shaved garlic and olive, caper ragout. We were both quite full but had to try some of their desserts so we had 3 of them and loved the outstanding Cherry Tarte ($8), the gooey Chocolate Brownie ($8) and the Tiramisu ($8).

Q4 Restaurant is located at 2611 West 4th Avenue in Vancouver. You can reserve by phone at 604-734-4444 or at

By: Richard Wolak


8811 River Road, Richmond

Tel: 604.247.8573


Twitter: @Riverrock

Advice: Private dining room that comfortably seats 16 guests. Park for free in the casino parkade.  Located upstairs inside the RiverRock Hotel & Casino.

Tomato Amuse Buche

I dined here recently with a friend with a table by the window that had a wonderful view of Sea island and the planes landing at the Vancouver International Airport. This elegant room offers extraordinary gourmet dining and is a great escape when heading to a show at the RiverRock or before or after a visit to then casino. We shared a bottle of Mission Hill Family Reserve Chardonnay ($40) along with a very tasty Amuse Buche grilled Tomato dish courtesy of the chef.

Crab & Scallop Appetizer

Fois Grais

Caprese Goat Cheese Salad

Pan Seared Halibut

Wagyu Steak

To begin the meal, I enjoyed the Crab & Scallop Appetizer ($17) and my friend had the Fois Grais ($21). I followed my appetizer with the light Caprese Goat Cheese Salad ($13), for my entrée I had the Pan Seared Halibut ($35) with clams and Tomato Rissotto, while my friend had the Australian Wagyu Steak ($59) in a delicious Barolo reduction served with Truffle spaghetti, morel mushrooms and asparagus which she graciously shared with me it was outstanding.

Dessert sampler: Chocolate Bar, Strawberry Shortcake & Pannacotta

For dessert, we had a sampler of their spectacular Chocolate Bar, the Strawberry Shortcake and some Pannacotta (desserts on their own are $11).

The menu features the freshest local ingredients and authentic Italian delicacies. The wine list is extensive with selections from BC, Italy and around the world by the glass, half or full size bottles.

Review by: Richard Wolak


1080 Denman Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-642-0700


Advice: Pizza by the slice or by the pie. Garlic and roasted garlic is always free for toppings.

5th Avenue

Known for their pizza by the slice, these are no small time slices, think big wedges of very thin crust topped with fresh toppings baked in a NY style. My favourite here is the 5th Avenue ($3.25 slice) topped with spinach, fresh tomatoes, sweet onions and feta cheese. They make many other types of pizzas all with unique NY inspired names, an extensive selection of the usual toppings. They also have Footlong Heros, Pasta, Salads, Soup, side dishes and cold beverages.

Review by: Richard Wolak


869 Hamilton Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-569-2535


Twitter: @luporestaurant

Advice: They can accommodate large parties of 12 people in the Nook located in the main floor dining room or larger parties upstairs. Advance reservations are suggested. If you wish to pair wines with your meal ask Michael to either select for you or ask him for advice.

Lupo Focacia

Winter Caprese Salad


I loved the ambience of both the upstairs and downstairs dining rooms, my friend Thu and I had dinner at Lupo last week and were lucky to be seated downstairs close to the brick fireplace. This delightful turn of the century Heritage House, has a contemporary kitchen with Chef Julio Gonzalez Perini it the helm serving fresh reinventions of Italian classics in a cozy, neighborhood environment. We began our dinner with the wonderful Lupo Focacia ($5) which was an ideal size for sharing, From there we had the Winter Caprese Salad ($15) over dried tomato, pesto and saba; then for the appetizer we had the outstanding Tortelli ($15) (is a Ravioli but half moon shape), stuffed with lobster, Mascarpone and onion confit, served with a tomato coulis, and fennel butter. This dish was a daily special that should be on their daily menu (we hope they will add it).

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Pizzetta -Margheretta

The main course was next and again we were shared a couple entrees, the first was the tantalizing Braised Beef Short Ribs ($26) on bed of soft marscarpone and polenta; and since we both had to try the pizza we went with a simiple, Pizzetta -Margheretta ($10) crispy crust, tomato and basil, fior di latte.

Meyer Lemon Tart

Chocolate and Raspberry Tear Drop Mousse

. I always have to save room for dessert when I am in an Italian restaurant, so to end our meal we had the refreshing Meyer Lemon Tart ($8) with a hint of passion fruit,and lemon – yoghurt gelato along with the Chocolate and Raspberry Tear Drop Mousse ($9), a tear drop shaped chocolate shell, stuffed with raspberry flavoured chocolate mousse

The restaurant has an impressive wine list, delicious food, outstanding service and made me feel like being at home.

Review by: Richard Wolak




2904 Main Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-876-1236


Advice: Sit anywhere you feel like sitting.

Wholewheat French toast

Pan Fried Potatoes

This is one of those long time places that has become an institution in the city, since 1948, Bert’s has been serving breakfasts to loyal customers who know good food and value. Their large collection of bobbleheads and of famous people too sits above the front counter drawing customers with their cameras in hand. Love the counter for solo dining, lots of seating throughout the restaurant. I was there for breakfast and had 2 slices of Wholewheat French toast ($5.50) along with a side of Pan Fried Potatoes ($3.25). One of my friends eats there regularly 2-3 times a week for breakfast, he always orders something different to make his visit memorable. This restaurant has been serving customers for over the past 60 years because the service is ever so friendly and people can drop in and sit anywhere they would like. Asides from the extensive selection on the breakfast menu they also serve a wide variety of items on their lunch and dinner menus including hot and cold sandwiches, salads, gourmet burgers, pastas, chicken, greek dishes, steaks and seafood. Make sure you leave some room for dessert or one of their popular milkshakes after your lunch or dinner.

Review by: Richard Wolak


5688 Fraser Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-324-2200


Advice: Call ahead for pick-up or delivery. 2 for 1 Pizza Deals are the way to go.

Butter Chicken Pizza

Places that specialize in Take Out Pizza are a dime a dozen around Vancouver, I heard that Camy’s offers an array of specialty pizzas in addition to the regular selection with a focus on Indian toppings. I had the Butter Chicken Pizza (Small for $12.49) a butter chicken sauce, mushrooms, onions, green pepper, boneless chicken, banana pepper and roasted garlic. I also ordered a Vegetarian Pizza (Small for $12.49) with a creamy white sauce, topped with cheese, mushrooms, pineapple and red pepper which was delicious. There are all sorts of toppings to choose from including tandoori chicken, veggie paneer, shahi paneer, jalapeno and more.

Vegi Pizza (left) & Butter Chicken Pizza (right)

Upon request they can make your pizza on thick, thin, hand tossed or wholewheat crust. In addition to the pizzas, there is also baked pasta and baby back ribs. Ordering their specialty pizzas is the way to go here.

Review by: Richard Wolak


970 Smithe Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-408-0808


Advice: You can call in your order from the movie theatre and stay to watch the movie credits before picking up your pizza.

Pollo Rustica Pizza

On my way out of a movie at the Scotiabank Theater, I had my eye set on pizza and that’s what I had at Pacifico, the restaurant is located in the same complex. With the brick oven as the showcase uniquely topped pizzas are going in and out of the oven, it all looked so good and how could I make a decision. I had the delicious Pollo Rustica Pizza ($17) for a medium — grilled seasoned chicken, artichoke hearts and red onion, topped with smoked Gouda and mozzarella cheese and garnished with fresh cilantro; I took my pizza to go as I was solo and knew that I wouldn’t be able to eat the whole pizza on my own. There are many different pizzas on the menu, next time I want to try the Pacifico – Scallops, prawns, grape tomatoes, feta cheese and a touch of mozzarella on a garlic-brushed crust garnished with fresh basil. In addition to the pizzas, there is a large selection of pasta dishes, choose which pasta you would like along with one of the many vegetarian or meat sauces. This authentic Italian restaurant offers up much more, from their 8 inch whole focaccia with 3 variations of toppings, salads, soup, panino, baked pasta dishes, and chicken dishes. If you are still hungry there are a few desserts including their house specialty Bananas Doria – Bananas sautéed over a slow flame in a light crème caramel sauce. Served a la mode ($7).

Review by: Richard Wolak


781 Denman Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-568-4554


Advice: Good place to go with a friend so you can share.  No reservations.

Pizza special

Lasagne special

I had heard so many great things about this restaurant, that it was a must to try and try I did. I was wowed by the flavours of the toppings and the sauce on my pizza, so tantalizing bite after bite. I love the ambience, brick oven and the wonderful service. Nook has got a bit of an east coast vibe and fits in well in the neighborhood. I had their Pizza special ($14) made with provolone, roasted red pepper, roasted onion & garlic on top of such a delicious crispy crust; and my friend had the Lasagne special ($16) with pesto béchamel and served with a few wedges of garlic bread. The menu boasts a great selection of antipasto, crostini, salads, pastas and pizzas, and has a good selection of wine and beer.

Review by: Richard Wolak


1088 Cambie Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-899-4449


Advice: Attend one of their winemaker dinners and have yourself a wonderful experience.

La Creazione

La Creazione

I have had some outstanding meals here including one of their winemaker dinners which was an extraordinary experience. You will find an extensive collection of wines as the owners are passionate about wine and offering the best to their customers. They have one of the most beautiful private rooms in the city, your party can dine in their own private dining room and be serviced by your own waiters. The main dining room is also well presented by comfortable chairs for dining. The menu features a wide variety of Primi such as the Mozzarella Di Bufula ($14.88) buffalo mozzarella and vine ripened tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil  and Secondi such as Manzo ($37.88) grilled AAA beef tenderloin finished in a sangiovese reduction, capponata and potato gratinato   and the Scaloppine Di Vitello ($29.88)  seared grain fed veal finished in a red wine-herb emulsion, white truffle gnocchi . End the meal with some Dolci, my favourites here include the La Creazione ($11.88)- warm white chocolate cheesecake, wrapped in layers of phyllo, topped with sour cherries and the Torta D’Amore ($11.88) – warm decadent chocolate cake, smooth lava like center, topped with vanilla bean gelato. If you prefer a set menu of courses they offer four of these ranging from $55.88 to $95.88. The décor is stunning both in the lounge and in the restaurant.

Review by: Richard Wolak


Q4 001


2611 West 4th Ave, Vancouver

Tel: 604-734-4444


Advice: Bring cash or credit as they don’t take debit.

Braised Short Rib and Fontina Cannelloni

Braised Short Rib and Fontina Cannelloni

I joined a group of friends for pasta night, well that wasn’t exactly the reason for going, though it did excite us all. If you visit the restaurant on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights, you can enjoy a favourite plate of pasta for only $10. Even Spaghetti Quattro and Fettuccine Tartufate are on this specially priced menu listing ten pastas for $10. I had the special pasta of the evening which was Braised Short Rib and Fontina Cannelloni ($10) filled with fontina cheese, spinach, ricotta cheese and short rib in a sauce that was made with braising liquid with fontina, cream and seasoning. This special was outstanding and I hope they will add this on to their regular menu. One of my friends had the house special Spaghetti Quatro ($10) made with minced chicken, chillies and black beans.

Spaghetti Quatro

Spaghetti Quatro

You may also want to visit on a Sunday for family night, with a different value-priced pasta recipe being released from the Corsi family vault every Sunday night. Come in and sit at the bar or reserve a large table for your extended brood, either way it’s a good night to be part of la famiglia.

I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant including the tiled floors and dark woods. There is a good value to be found at this great Italian restaurant if you go early in the week, you may want to make a reservation as these nights are quite popular.

Review by: Richard Wolak




1037 Alberni Street, Vancouver
Tel: 604-687-2890

Advice: Weekdays only, take out only.

Desserts - brown sugar shortbread (front right)

Desserts - brown sugar shortbread (front right)

As much as I love Italian Kitchen and Trattoria, it took me awhile to make a visit to their ever popular, trendy Italian Kitchen to Go. IKG impromptu named is hidden away inside the Burrard building just west of Italian Kitchen where it serves cuisine that has some of the IK elements but is ever so different. The menu and the food looks all so good that it was hard to make a decision, I decided to have the Venice panini ($5.50), which fills Italian Kitchen’s legendary Kobe meatballs between slices of ciabatta, melted provolone and just enough tomato sauce to cover without making our clothes messy with tomato splatter. The lunchtime sizes of their outstanding salads are priced well and look great too. They have the beet and tomato bocconcini salads ($3.50 for small, $5.50 for large). There is a daily fresh sheet as well as varied menu of sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, salads and soups. There is also a very tempting range of desserts such as their Brown Sugar Shortbread ($4) and the tiramisu ($5.50). If I could only find parking on a regular basis, I would be eating here regularly.

Review by: Richard Wolak


4025 MacDonald Street, Vancouver
Tel: 604.730.6988


Twitter: @LaBuca

Advice: Make a reservation.

Pumpkin Ravioli

Pumpkin Ravioli

You can drive past La Buca and not realize you’ve just missed one of the greatest little Italian restaurants in town. Little because La Buca is nothing more than a store front dressed with fine, yet comfortable furniture and simply decorated walls. You could imaging this place to be out of the Godfather movie, yet I would rate the food and the service as exceptional.  And so would others as the place was bustling the evening we were there.

Our venture into the fine cuisine started with a well displayed list of daily specials chalked on a blackboard. As an appetizer, the Chicken Livers Sgonfiotti caught my attention. With a crisp outer shell, the delicately cooked chicken liver almost melted in my mouth. My partner and I shared this delicious appetizer as we contemplating the meal to follow.

The entrée was served and she ordered one of the daily specials: Gnocci and Chicken Cacciatore. The chefs talents shone through with this serving as the Gnocci was presented al denté and perfectly seasoned in a tangy tomato based sauce. I ordered the Spaghetti Vongoli, a succulent mix of pasta combined with fresh steamed clams (in shells) with white wine, garlic and parsley.

Other items on the menu include: Garganelli Della casa Prosciutto, basil, garlic, sun dried tomato. Stracatto di vitello, risotto al vino rosso, slow cooked veal braised overnight and served with red wine risotto and mushrooms.

Desserts include: Blueberry tart,  Cheesecake and a cheese plate of Gorgonzola with apple.
The full wine menu consisted of some great wines from italy.

La Buca is a hidden gem. Hard to find but easy to remember.

Review by: Brian Hebb



1020 Main St, Vancouver

Tel: 604-484-6018

Twitter: @Campagnolomain

Advice: Park around the back, entrance is on Main street.

I have been here for lunch and dinner and my preference is the dinner menu. The menu, crafted by Executive Chef Robert Belcham and Chef de Cuisine Alvin Pillay boasts, pizza, pasta, risotto, and seasonally inspired main courses using only the finest ingredients. My favorite dishes here are the Crispy Ceci ($8), Agnolotti ($14), Bianca pizza ($12). Campagnolo Ceci

This is simple, casual dining and authentic. Each dish is inspired by the Piedmont and Emiglia-Romagna regions of Italy, where Pillay spent six months familiarizing himself with the cuisine. Sommelier Tom Doughty’s expertly chosen wine list focuses entirely on Italian and BC selections, balanced by Italian-influenced cocktails and a solid selection of beers. The décor is cool and the lamps about each of the tables is ultra cool!

Review by: Richard Wolak

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