3473 Cambie Street
T: 604 722 9331
Brief Description: Pronto is a cute, casual café on Cambie Street that specializes in porchetta (Italian roast pork), and Italian-inspired panini, sandwiches, and entrées.
Pronto is one of those unpretentious cafés that offers tasty food and good value for money. Located at 18th and Cambie Street, it is truly a neighbourhood café and the relaxed vibe attests to this. During the warmer weather opt for the secluded, sunny outdoor patio in the back, or one of the alfresco tables that overlooks Cambie Street. If the weather has turned, no worries, the art deco-style interior is welcoming and there are booths to snuggle up in, or limited bar seating to watch the action.
The food is simple in its approach and the menu includes Italian-inspired panini, sandwiches, porchetta plates, pasta, and daily entrée specials, such as chicken scallopini. The sandwich selections include saucy house-made meatballs with pomodoro sauce, chicken cutlet with spicy mayo and cheese, and roasted Mediterranean vegetable. Considering how generous they are with their fillings, the prices are more than fair at $7 to $8.50.
Meatball and Provolone Sandwich
I’ve had a number of the sandwiches, and have liked them all. Of course, the porchetta sandwich stands out, but so does the meatball sandwich and the sopressata sandwich. If sandwiches aren’t your thing, then choose from the pasta menu or the changing daily specials.
The last time I was there for dinner, my sister and I shared the linguine pesto, topped with crispy pancetta, and the tagliatelle arabiatta with prawns. The pasta portion sizes were very generous so the prices were a steal, at $12 and $15 respectively. The linguine pesto was a little bland (aren’t all pesto pastas?) but the arabiatta was a satisfying taste of home-style cooked pasta.
Prawn Tagliatelle Arabiatta
Pronto also does a brunch service on the weekends where they partner breakfast specials, such as breakfast pizza and eggs benedicts, with a limited sandwich menu. Pasta and entrée dishes aren’t available during brunch.
Breakfast Pizza with potatoes, pancetta, and egg.
I’ve visited Pronto a number of times now and I must say that, in my experience, the service is spotty. I was there for a dinner a few weeks ago and there was venting issue in the kitchen that was creating an odd smell, which caused some folks to leave. On other occasions, I’ve had to chase up drink orders and forgotten items. I’ve had slow and inconsistent service, but I’ve always had friendly service.
As odd as this sounds, these issues seem to add to the charm of this place. I’m ok with the inconsistencies because my expectations are that this is a casual, relaxed café and not a high-end, fine-dining establishment. With that said, if they could refine their service, they’d have a really great thing going on rather than just a good thing.
Final Thoughts: I do like Pronto and I will continue to go back when I’m looking for a relaxing lunch spot or a cheap and cheerful place for a hearty pasta and a glass of red wine.