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Photo Visit – Nook – June 2013

16 Jun

781 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC
V6G 2L6

T: 604 568 4554
www.nookrestaurant.ca

Brief Description: Nook fills the West End void of affordable and unpretentious Italian food. Think generous portions of scrumptious pizza and pasta for under $15.

I think I’ve made it pretty clear on this blog just how much I enjoy visiting Nook. I dare say that it is my favourite restaurant in the city. Not because of any one thing but it is the combination of the friendly service, well-executed food, the unpretentious and intimate space, and the value for money, that make it a favourite. B and I love visiting Nook whenever we want to go out for a romantic, yet affordable, evening. This meal, plus 2 glasses of wine and a beer, came to just under $100.

Nook

Burrata and Proscuitto – $18

P1070318

Daily Pasta Special: Pork Ragu – $19
P1070322Italian Sausage Pizza – $15

Rumour has it that Nook will be opening their Kitsilano location in July. I, for one, cannot wait and I have my fingers crossed that they are able to keep the same standard that they consistently deliver at the West End location.

Nook on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Kintaro Ramen – May 2013

27 May

788 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC
V6G 2L5

When I moved to Canada six years ago, I honestly didn’t know much about Vancouver but I came equipped with a Lonely Planet and a Time Out guide and got to learning more. I studied the dining out section of the Time Out guide and endeavoured to visit the restaurants and cafés that I was reading about (I would even check them off in the book after each visit). One of the places that I read about that stood out in my mind was Kintaro Ramen. Having not eaten ramen before arriving in Vancouver, I knew that this would be one of the first places that I would visit (and it was). When I lived in the West End, I would frequent Kintaro Ramen with my sister because the tasty bowls of broth and noodles were warming on cold Vancouver nights, and they were cheap.

Years later, I have now eaten ramen all across the city and Kintaro Ramen’s light doesn’t burn as bright for me as it did all those years ago. Yes, you can still get a delicious bowl of salty ramen but is it still the best in the city? I will leave that argument for the ramen-aficionados of the city. Regardless of its ranking, I returned a few nights ago to the busy, cramped ramen joint on Denman and it would seem as though nothing has changed. There is a still a queue. The service is still spotty and hurried. The prices are still cheap.

Pan Fried Gyoza

Miso ramen

Shio Ramen

Photo Visit – Forage – April 2013

7 Apr

1300 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC
V6E 1C5

T: 604 661 1400
www.foragevancouver.com

As a constant bruncher, I am always on the hunt for new brunch spots. I typically tend to visit the same places, week after week, until I hear of a new place that piques my interest. The thing that always surprises me about downtown Vancouver is that there are so few brunch spots – you’d think in a city this size that there would be many options but the sad reality is that, unless you go to a hotel for brunch, you are almost out of luck. I have been hearing some pretty good things about Forage, a sustainable restaurant that has opened in the Listel Hotel on Robson street. Even though Forage is technically a hotel restaurant, it feels removed from the hotel and the price point isn’t as high as other hotel brunch spots (Yew and Hawksworth, for example).

The restaurant interior feels very clean and modern with lots of light wood highlights and natural light from the many windows. The brunch menu has all of the traditional, feel-good breakfast options that you’d expect, such as bacon and eggs, buttermilk pancakes, and a classic benny, but they also have a few meatier options, such as the delicious Rangeland Game Burger, or deep-fried pork cutlet. At $16, the burger is the most expensive item on the menu so brunch here isn’t going to break the bank.

Buttermilk pancakes with blueberries and honey butter – $11

Rangeland Game Burger – $16

We had a very pleasant brunch there yesterday and it hit the spot for a non-fussy, tasty breakfast. I believe it is worth a visit if you are in the West End and looking for an affordable brunch. I’m looking forward to returning to try dinner there.

Forage on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Nook – January 2013

20 Jan

With a strict “no reservations” policy and a small dining room, you have to be quite strategic when attempting to score a seat at Nook, particularly on a Saturday night. My sister and I wanted to go for dinner last night (a Saturday night) at our favourite place in the West End, but first we tallied up the odds: 1/ The Canucks first game of the NHL season was on, and 2/ Dine Out Vancouver was underway and Nook isn’t a participant. With this in mind, the odds seemed stacked in our favour and, as we had hoped, we walked straight in to a seat at the bar.

My sister and I have eaten at Nook a lot and we normally order our favourites but last night we decided to order both the pizza and pasta daily specials, just to mix things up a bit.

Spaghetti with Nduja and Guanciale – $18

Pancetta, rapini, and egg pizza – $18

Normally, I would have suggested ordering the delectable burrata and proscuitto plate to start, but that would be gluttonous with just the two of us so we stuck with these two dishes and could barely finish them. The spaghetti had a nice hint of spice, thanks to the nduja, which is a spicy Italian sausage (never heard of nduja before – you learn something new every day!). The pizza was also very good but I am finding that I’m finding less enjoyment with eating anything that has a runny egg yolk (personal preference). With $8 glasses of prosecco, friendly staff, and affordable, hearty servings of carbs, I continue to strongly recommend a visit to Nook.

Nook on Urbanspoon

Nook – Photo Visit – April 2012

19 Apr

781 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC
V6G 2L6

T: 604 568 4554
www.nookrestaurant.ca

Brief Description: Nook fills the West End void of affordable and unpretentious Italian food. Think generous portions of scrumptious pizza and pasta for under $15.

It is pretty obvious from my numerous posts that I love Nook. As I mentioned in my previous Nook post, I think you could order any item from the menu and be happy with it. To prove my theory, I tried a new dish (for me) last week when I ordered the crostini with ricotta cheese, grilled radicchio, pistachio, and fireweed honey, and I was indeed happy. The sweet pistachios were lovely but the dish was a little fussy to eat as they kept rolling off! Maybe don’t order this dish if you are on a first date. Taste-wise, I enjoyed it.

Crostini – Ricotta, grilled radicchio, pistachio, fireweed honey $8

My favourite appetizer at Nook is the proscuitto and burrata cheese plate (found on the specials board). I cannot get enough of this dish! If you aren’t familiar with burrata cheese, think of it as a creamy, slightly salty cheese that has a texture of a creamy mozzarella and the taste of heaven. For $17 it isn’t a cheap appetizer but we ordered this instead of a heavier dish such as a pizza or pasta dish.

Proscuitto and burrata – $17

Final Thoughts: I love Nook! As always!

Photo Visit – Nook

4 Mar

781 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC
V6G 2L6

T: 604 568 4554
www.nookrestaurant.ca

Brief Description: Nook fills the West End void of affordable and unpretentious Italian food. Think generous portions of scrumptious pizza and pasta for under $15.

If you asked me for my top ten favourite Vancouver restaurants, I would have no hesitations putting Nook on that list. I absolutely love it there and it dawned on me that I haven’t done a post from there for awhile, which seems awfully silly of me considering how often I’m there. This is just a picture post but an updated full post should be coming soon (I think I’m over-due to give them another shout out).

Must-haves from Nook are, well, everything! I know that’s not very helpful but I honestly do like everything that I’ve ordered there. But if you are putting a gun to my head (please don’t, it’s all good, step down), then I’d recommend the burrata and prosciutto plate (it’s on the specials menu), the white bean and olive tapenade crostini, the rigatoni boscaiola, the salami and black olive pizza and check out the daily specials. Like I said, everything is good so try it all!

Rigatoni Boscaiola

One of the daily pizza specials

Final Thoughts: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I absolutely love Nook. The atmosphere is relaxed, the food is consistently good, and the price is just right. Definitely in my top 10 restaurants in Vancouver.

Nook on Urbanspoon

Nook – 2nd visit

17 Dec

781 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC
V6G 2L6

T: 604 568 4554
www.nookrestaurant.ca

Brief Description: Nook fills the West End void of affordable and unpretentious Italian food. Think generous portions of scrumptious pizza and pasta for under $15. The pizza is by far the best that I’ve eaten whilst in Vancouver.

Since my first visit to Nook, only just over a week ago, I have returned another two times. I am happy to report that my first visit was not a fluke – Nook has continued to impress me time and time again. As per my previous post, my first visit was with my sister for her birthday. I enjoyed it so much that I was raving about it to B so it was inevitable that I would drag him there only a few days later. He was just as impressed as I was.

We opted to try the pasta on this occasion. I ordered the Gnocchi with Mini Meatballs and I was served a generous serving of spongy soft gnocchi enveloped in a light tomato sauce that was punctuated with teeny meatballs that were full of flavour. It was fabulous. As was the Wild Boar Carbonara that B ordered.

The smoky boar was generously dispersed throughout the whole dish and a strong parmesan assisted with adding even more flavour. Both pastas are definitely worth a try, however, the Wild Boar Carbonara was on the daily menu so it may not be available on your visit.

Of course, for dessert there was no other option for me than the Chocolate Budino and, true to my word, here is a picture of the beautiful temptress.

As was the case on my last visit, the Chocolate Budino activated every single one of my taste buds and induced them into a state of bliss. I love, love, love the Chocolate Budino!!

B couldn’t go past the fresh tiramisu that was being sliced right in front of us. Although I don’t particularly like tiramisu, I did try some of it and it was definitely fresh and pretty tasty. As someone who does like tiramisu, B cleaned the plate up faster than I could polish off the Chocolate Budino! I can only assume that that meant that it was good.

Final Thoughts: Service was competent and the prices continue to surprise me. For $62 we got two beers, two pasta and two desserts. The quality of the food was spot-on and the serving sizes far more than generous. Having more time to truly take in my surroundings and I really like the vibe of the restaurant. The warm colours on the walls paired with a dark wood accent, an open kitchen and the deep red colour of the upholstery all seem to come together to create very friendly surroundings that almost beckon you to slow down and relax. With all that said, I can confirm that I am well and truly hooked on Nook.

Nook on Urbanspoon