La Quercia Italian surprises served family style

La Quercia
3689 West 4 Avenue, V6R 1P2
604.676.1007

Blink and you might miss this small nook on the corner of Alma and West 4th.  The modern appointed restaurant has you sitting elbow to elbow with strangers and yet you won’t even realize they are there.  The a la carte menu looks delicious but we ordered Alla Famiglia which was five generous and splendid courses.  To my delight they were flexible to food requirements and brought us dishes with pork.  A lovely rabbit pate, a salad with hazel nuts, and a selection of three delicious pastas were fabulous.  Beef carpacio was delicate to bite, and strong on flavour.  The gnocchi was tender and very fresh in a rabbit sauce, which lets be honest tasted like chicken.  By the time the main course came I couldn’t believe there was still more to eat.  After a lovely veal scallopi the meal finished with a selection of three lovely desserts.  The house wine, although I don’t remember the name (do I ever) was delicious.  I was treated for my birthday – what a wonderful treat thanks to my Kili tent mate (and Italian food expert)!  I’m giving it a very good, and I’m looking forward to going again.  The price point on the family style meal is great value for what you get at 45$ per person.  Make a reservation though, I’ve been trying for months to get here.  It has a dedicated following and only a few seatings a night so it books up.  If my first visit was any indication you won’t be disappointed.

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Not OKJust OKVery OKVery GoodGreat (2 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
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Crouching Dragon…Flying Tiger…a high price for street food…a good price for great food

The Flying Tiger
2958 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver   V6K 1R4
604.737.7529

Asian street food, gourmet style.  You might miss this little place if you’re not looking, but it has a great quaint, warm atmosphere inside.  For street food the price point is a little high, but worth it.  Be prepared to share your food, as they are principled in their family style culture and will only bring one dish at a time.  I’m glad they are though, because I tried a few things I wouldn’t have tried were not forced.  The Har Gow (steamed dumplings) and the Vietnamese Sablefish were both delicious, but the highlight of the meal was the Pulled Duck Confit Crepes….these morsels of yumminess danced across my tastebuds, and the bundles of fragrant herbs that you can put on top cut the richness of the duck.  But this dish is rich, so make sure to save room to enjoy it.  I would have loved to try dessert…but there was no room!  What a great meal, I’m giving it a Very Good, and an I’ll be back.  The love hate with West 4th continues :)

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Pet Peeve – hard poached eggs…sophies not so cosmic cafe…hmmm…

Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe
2095 4th Avenue West, Vancouver    V6J 1N3  
604.732.6810

 

Beautiful day in Vancouver s I hoped on my bicyclette and headed up to my favorite dive shop IDC (these guys rock) to check on my gear for tomorrow’s dive trip!  On the way back I stopped by Sophie’s Cosmic for a bite to eat.  I pondered for a while over the menu, wondering if I should test out my favorite eggs huevos rancheros, or try out the pancakes.  Since I am in pursuit of good Vancouver best pancakes I gave that a go and ordered the Kits breakfast, poached eggs (soft), no meat.  This breakfast was such a disappointment that I didn’t finish it…(I can’t even believe it cost 14$)   My eggs came hard…very hard, and hard poached eggs is a serious pet peeve of mine.  The pancakes were a great shape and color, but left a lot to be desired in the flavor department.  They also weren’t that hot when they arrived, and weren’t accompanied by any butter…how can you have pancakes without butter?  The rest of the food looks good, but I just don’t know if I’d come back to find out.  I’m giving Sophie’s my second Just Ok of the weekend…

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A stop before heading out on the town with friends

Trattoria Kitchen
1850 West 4th Ave, Vancouver
604.732.1441

Jumping with a club like vibe that feels a little late 90’s this West 4th venue is a better stop with a group of friends than an intimate dinner. Our evening was one with friends to kick off a weekend of fun so it met our needs. We started with Kobe meatballs appetizer for everyone and the bruchetta. The bruchetta was fresh and the combination of different colored tomatoes made it deelish! The meat balls were good – but I’d say only so so in my repertoire of yummy Italian meatballs. A couple of us at the table ordered the Kobe beef lasagna. Now is as a good a time as any to mention I think it is con’fusion to have Japanese beef on an Italian menu, but my bigger concern here is the ‘overkill’ as it shows up in several dishes. However, in the case of the lasagna…um…it was goooood. There was a section of other dishes gnocchi, carbonara’s and more all enjoyed. Our service staff fully engaged (with controversial opinions and all) in our conversation on countless occasions, ranking it very high on the bad service category. This place also has a tv at the bar – why oh why Vancouver do you need tvs in all your restaurant bars? A little class please. I’m giving the lasagna a Very Good, but Trattoria Kitchen, service accounted for, only gets a Very Ok.

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