1850 West 4th Ave
T: 604 732 1441
Brief Description: Another feather in the cap of the Glowbal Group Chain, Trattoria is a Kitsilano-based restaurant that dishes up affordable, Italian classics in stylish surroundings.
At first glance you could be mistaken into walking straight past Trattoria, thinking that it must be too expensive. On closer inspection you will find that even with its chic decor and well-dressed waiters, Trattoria is surprisingly inexpensive. Located on a busy stretch of West 4th Avenue, between Burrard Street and Cypress Street, the restaurant fits the Glowbal mould perfectly: reasonable prices, aesthetically pleasing surroundings and well-executed, albeit not innovative, food. If you ever been to any of the other Glowbal restaurants, you will know what to expect.
Even with the glitz, Trattoria doesn’t feel unapproachable. B and I have often turned up on weekends, casually dressed, and still have been made to feel welcome. For dinner, I would suggest putting in a bit of effort but for lunches and brunches casual seems fine. In my experience, service has always been smooth and effortless. The servers provide enough attention to ensure that you don’t feel neglected but also not over-attended.
The food on offer is typical of that of an Italian restaurant and, by that I mean that pasta, pizza and meat are all readily available. The execution, however, seems somehow more modern and fresh. Sharing is encouraged and this is evident by how many sharing plates contribute to the menu. The two antipasto sharing plates are intended for a minimum of two people and are filled with the all the luscious ingredients that antipasto is renowned for; various meats, including prosciutto and salami, olives and calamari. You can also share the bruschetta sampler, which is a selection of three very yummy bruschetta types. Even if you don’t want to try all of them, I suggest ordering at least one bruschetta to start off the meal. The tomato, basil and olive oil bruschetta is a traditional, simple pleasure.
The pasta menu is extensive, providing for all different palates. The usual favourites, such as, Penne Arrabbiata, Lasagna and Spaghetti Bolognese can be found alongside some of the less standard items such as Lobster Fettuccine or Papardelle with Lamb Sausage. My personal favourite is the Linguine Carbonara, made from pancetta, scallions, free range egg and parmesan. The serving size was extremely generous but the combination of salty pancetta and robust parmesan made it impossible for me to put my fork down! If you can’t decide on which pasta you want to try then look no further than the Pasta Platter which offers 4 different types of pasta for sharing. This seems to be a very popular choice, although the time that B and I ordered it, it was very average. I would be more inclined to order an individual serving of pasta as it seemed fresher to me.
The pizzas are very well-priced at around the $12 to $13 range and are extremely tempting. Fortunately, they haven’t fallen into the trap of “westernizing” the pizza base too much – it wasn’t stodgy or too doughy. B ordered the Lamb Sausage with Wild Mushrooms and peppered goat’s cheese and egg, and he absolutely loved it. Whilst it did look sensational, I had to pass on it because it contained goat’s cheese (my food nemesis).
Besides the typical pasta and pizza, Trattoria offers numerous meat and poultry dishes, with particular attention paid to veal (yummy!) and chicken. In addition, a small selection of seafood is also available. Keeping with their theme of sharing, you can also order their carne (meat) sharing plate or their pesce (fish) sharing plate. This is a perfect way to try a couple of different meat or fish dishes along with pasta and salad.
FYI: On weekends, a brunch menu replaces their normal lunch menu and, on a warm day, the street-front patio is ideal for people watching.
Final Thoughts: Trattoria isn’t going out on a limb to do anything particularly original with their menu but I don’t think that matters too much. The food has been satisfactory each time we’ve been there, the service is good and, as previously mentioned, the prices are reasonable – the entire menu is priced at under $20. A good little spot for a decent Italian meal without breaking the bank.