Essential Vancouver Italian food guide

Jun 9 2016, 10:38 am

Italian food is renowned for many reasons. It’s simple, innovative, comforting, crowd pleasing, and downright delicious.

Thanks to our Italian cultural connection and well-established Italian community, from Commercial Drive and beyond, Vancouver is dotted with an array of fantastic Italian-inspired restaurants.

Flying the red, green, and white flag, these eateries offer Italian ingredients, authentic regional recipes, richly flavoured sauces, and American adaptations, like heaping bowls of spaghetti, served with “red sauce” and topped with meatballs.

If you want to grab a casual, modern, or an upscale Italian meal Vancouver is more than happy to oblige. Here is your ultimate Italian food guide to Vancouver. Buon appetito!

Porchetta: Meat & Bread

The line out the door every lunch is your first clue that Meat & Bread serves some truly delicious grub. While the sandwich shop whips up a variety of roasted meat sandwiches, it is their signature porchetta that steals the spotlight. Imagine a juicy sandwich of sliced then chopped up roasted pork, salsa verde, crackling crumbs, and a side of mustard. Yum!

Address: 370 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-566-9003

Address: 1033 West Pender Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-566-9003

Twitter: @1meatandbread

Burrata: Nook

Alongside their mouthwatering pizzas, Nook also dishes up a variety of Italian-inspired fare like a fantastically creamy burrata. Served with prosciutto, drizzled in olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, this simple yet delicious dish will have you longing for more.

Address: 1525 Yew Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-734-3381

Address: 781 Denman Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-568-4554

Twitter: @Nookvancouver

Meatball sandwich: The Uncommon Café

Jess Fleming / Daily Hive

Jess Fleming / Daily Hive

Powell Street’s Uncommon Café serves up their lip-smacking meatballs on two slices of toasted filone. Made of a 50/50 mix of lean ground pork and extra lean beef Chef Luc Leimanis adds fresh herbs and shredded parmesan into every batch made. Each ball is stuffed with either bocconcini or double cream brie, and topped with house-made rosemary and garlic confit marinara.

Address: 477 Powell Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-254-0477
Twitter: @uncommoncafeyvr

Gnocchi: Pronto

This casual neighbourhood eatery on Cambie offers a range of approachable dishes and handmade pastas, including soft pillowy chucks of potato gnocchi, served with a creamy pesto, crispy pancetta, and Parmesan cheese.

Address: 3473 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-722-9331
Twitter: @ProntoCambie

Bruschetta: UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar

Jess Fleming / Daily Hive

Jess Fleming / Daily Hive

This Seymour Street haunt may be known for its handcrafted cocktails but it also offers a range of satisfying food options Guests can nibble on artisanal cheeses and cured meats, Sicilian chickpea fritters, beef tartare, and bruschetta selections, which come topped with either red wine lentils and goat cheese, ricotta and bitter greens, stewed eggplant and manchego, and other exciting combos.

Address: 900 Seymour Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-602-9570
Twitter: @cibotrattoria

Risotto: CinCin

This upscale restaurant on Robson serves up a little slice of the Mediterranean, with their Italian-inspired offerings. Enjoy CinCin’s warm ambience, a glass of wine, and a well-crafted risotto of Nova Scotia lobster, tyee spinach, and summer truffle from marché, which is guarenteed to satisfy your belly and tantalize your palate.

Address: 1143 Robson Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-688-7338
Twitter: @cincinvan

Neapolitan Pizza: Nicli Antica Pizzeria

Jess Fleming / Daily Hive

Jess Fleming / Daily Hive

This modern Gastown pizzeria serves up delicious, certified Neapolitan-style pizza. The pies at Nicli’s are so authentic, they actually come whole, arriving at the table uncut, so not to compromise the soft centre and toppings. Handmade and baked in a wood-fire oven, Nicli’s pizzas are presented with a perfectly blistered crust and topped with the seasons freshest, local ingredients.

Address: 62 East Cordova Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-669-6985
Twitter: @NicliPizzeria

Carpaccio: Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca

Carpaccio traditionally consists of thin slices of raw beef layered on a plate with minimal dressing (think olive oil and shavings of Parmesan cheese). This simple yet delectable Italian appetizer can be found at Yaletown’s longstanding Cioppino’s, where thinly sliced AAA Canadian beef, is served with Parmigiano and a sliced mushrooms salad.

Address: 1133 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-688-7466

Gelato: Bella Gelateria

Sweet dreams are made of Bella Gelateria’s sultry scoops. Slowly churned in small batches in a range of never-ending flavours, like Dulce de Leche, Foir di Latte, Salted Hazelnut, and more, award winning Bella Gelateria’s gelato is worth waiting in line for.

Address: 1089 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver
Phone: 778-737-7890

Address: 1001 West Cordova Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-569-1010

Twitter: @bellagelateria

Arancini: Cibo Trattoria

You’ll find plenty of Italian-inspired dishes at this upscale dining option, located within the Moda Hotel. In addition to charcuterie platters and artisanal cheeses, diners will also find crisp arancini listed on the lunch menu. These stuffed risotto balls are served with a Calabrian chili aioli and are addictively good.

Address: 900 Seymour Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-602-9570
Twitter: @cibotrattoria

Pappardelle alla Bolognese: Ask for Luigi

Pappardelle alla bolognese (Jess Fleming / Daily Hive)

Jess Fleming / Daily Hive

Topped with a gorgeously runny fried egg, the Pappardelle alla Bolognese at this revered family-style Italian eatery is mouthwateringly good. Ask for Luigi’s fresh homemade flat pasta is not only the foundation upon which the chefs have built their flavours but simply incomparable to any other pasta served in the city. The pappardelle’s soft texture coupled with the rich and delicious tomato sauce makes this meal a true winner.

Address: 305 Alexander Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-428-2544
Twitter: @askforluigi

Tiramisu: Trattoria

Lovers of this rich coffee-flavored Italian dessert, made by combing lady finger biscuits, espresso, mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, flavored liquor, and cocoa powder, will find a scrumptious version at Glowbal’s Trattoria.

Address: Multiple locations (check website)
Twitter: @Glowbal_Group

Cannoli: Cannoli King / Italia Bakery

Jess Fleming / Daily Hive

Jess Fleming / Daily Hive

Craving something sweet? Try the hand-rolled, authentic Sicilian cannoli at the Cannoli King food truck (an offshoot of Italia Bakery Vancouver). The cannoli’s filling of sweetened ricotta cheese, almonds, and chocolate chips is utterly divine.

Address: 2828 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-283-1115
Twitter: @CannolikingVan

Ravioli: Grotto

Situated below street level on Davie, Grotto exudes a welcoming casualness and offers a range of classic, Italian-inspired dishes, including a tasty ravioli rendition. Made fresh daily, Grotto’s ravioli is filled with a ricotta herb blend, and is presented in a bed of heirloom tomato passata, olives, and fiddlehead ferns.

Address: 1725 Davie Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-620-1998

Spaghetti and Meatballs: Charlie’s Little Italian

Photo courtesy Charlie's Little Italian

Photo courtesy Charlie’s Little Italian

Head to Mount Pleasant for Charlie’s Little Italian’s delicious Spaghetti and Meatballs. This bowl of al dente spaghetti with red wine and tomato braised beef and pork meatballs, Grand Padano, and fresh basil is fresh and packed with flavour. Thrifty diners should make a point to turn up on Tuesdays when all pastas are $10!

Address: 2610 Main Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-877-8582
Twitter: @CharliesVan

Antipasto Platter: Yaletown L’Antipasto

Featuring cured meats, mature cheese from diverse regions of Italy, and pickled vegetables Yaletown L’Antipasto’s antipasto platter is perfect for a communal dining experience.

Address: 1127 Mainland Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-558-1174
Twitter: @Lantipasto

Bagna Càuda: Savio Volpe

Described on the menu at Savio Volpe as a “hot anchovy and garlic bath” this regional Italian dish can be likened to a fondue of sorts. A range of raw chopped up veggies and bread chunks are provided for dipping into the hot, buttery dip.

Address: 615 Kingsway, Vancouver
Phone: 604-428-0072
Twitter: @savio_volpe

Jess FlemingJess Fleming

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