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Photo Visit – Ask for Luigi – March 2015

15 Mar

305 Alexander Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1C4

T: 604 428 2544

I normally don’t pay too much attention to the Georgia Straight’s Golden Plates Awards, as my opinion is often very different from other voters so the results usually just leave me irritated. This year, however, I actually agreed with some of the winners. One of my favourite restaurants, Ask for Luigi, won this year’s “Best New Restaurant” award and they beat Cioppino’s (!!) to take out top spot in the “Best Italian” category. I’ve been loving what they’ve been doing ever since they opened so I am thrilled for them (although this win will make it even harder to get a table now).

When I’m asked what I like about Ask for Luigi, I give the same answer that I give about Nook (one of my other favourites); it is unpretentious, relaxed, and provides great food and wine at affordable prices. These are the places that you want to go to after a busy week at work, or to catch-up with friends or your significant other, where you know you will leave feeling happy that you got value for money, but more importantly, that the food was of a high standard. Plus, I love a place that remembers their regular visitors and treats you like a friend when you return.

I went for a late lunch a few weeks ago with a friend and we ended up having a long, boozy lunch (isn’t that how all Italian meals should go?) that consisted of the following dishes:

Brussels & crispy pork belly agro dolce– $10

Gnocchi, squash, sage & whipped ricotta – $15

Bucatini all’amatriciana – $15

Olive Oil Cake – $8

Chocolate budino – $8

Although we enjoyed the whole meal, there were a few dishes that stood apart from the others.

1/ The brussels, with crispy pork belly and crunchy hazelnuts, were a great introduction to the meal. I loved the texture of this dish (lots of crunch from the nuts and pork, but a softness from the brussels).

2/ The gnocci was incredibly light and soft, with a hint of earthiness from the sage. A must order.

3/ We both battled spoons over the subtle olive oil cake. We should have ordered two.

If you’ve not been, I recommend a visit to Ask for Luigi to see what all the fuss is about. If you need further persuading (really?!), check out their Instagram feed for some tantalizing food pics.


Photo Visit – Ask For Luigi – April 2014

26 Apr

305 Alexander Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1C4

T: 604 428 2544

I have only been to Ask for Luigi twice but it is fast climbing up my list of favourite restaurants in the city. Ask For Luigi is brought to us by the same folks that run Pourhouse and Pizzeria Farina (another favourite of mine). Ask for Luigi is Italian all the way, with a focus on house-made, fresh pasta dishes. Sharing is recommended and the atmosphere is casual and relaxed. The space is a cute one with an open concept kitchen and a small and intimate dining room.

In the same way that my other local favourite Nook impresses, Luigi delivers simple, well-prepared food at a reasonable price. Dishes on the dinner menu are all under $20 and for lunch and brunch, all dishes are under $16. The coffee is impressive too, which makes it a rarity (good food paired with good coffee). If you’d prefer alcohol beer, wine, and prosecco (yes!) is offered by the glass for $6, or choose wine by the bottle.

With good food and limited seating, Ask for Luigi is busy. Be aware that it is unlikely that you will be seated immediately. On the two occasions that we’ve been during the day we have been fortunate to get a table immediately but that doesn’t seem to be the norm. I’ve been on a Wednesday night at 8pm and have been told the wait is over 45 minutes, so be prepared. But once you are in, sit back, and enjoy the experience.


Pork belly with a fried egg, salsa verde and creamy polenta – $15


Tagliatelle alla carbonara with a poached egg – $16


Fingerling potatoes cooked in duck fat – $4

Risotto with pancetta, peas, and asparagus – $15

Ask for Luigi on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Wildebeest – May 2013

17 Jun

120 West Hastings
Vancouver, BC
V6B 1G8

T: 604 687 6880

Brief Description: It should be quite obvious from the name of the restaurant as to what Wildebeest specializes in but in case you need more clarity, think meat, bones, and tongues. It is certainly not a place for the squeamish, or vegetarian.

Wildebeest has been one of my go-to places for brunch since they opened but I obviously hadn’t been back in a while as the last time I was there (a few weeks ago now) they had some new additions to their brunch menu. It was a smart decision to add some new items as it keeps things fresh and interesting for those that frequent the restaurant often.

WildebeestDaily special: Housemade pork patty with egg and asparagus and salsa verde

Sous vide egg on a biscuit, with ham

Both of these dishes were very tasty, and the sous vide egg dish was particularly delicious. I’m unsure if these new dishes are a permanent fixture on their brunch menu as they don’t appear to be on the website menu. However, there are other new items, such as “The Dutch Baby”, cow’s milk ricotta, poached rhubarb, rhubarb jam orange marmalade syrup and the nettle cassoulet, sunchoke granola, confit shallot, poached egg and comte.

Photo Visit – Pidgin – June 2013

6 Jun

350 Carrall Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2J3

T: 604 620 9400

Come on, you’ve heard about Pidgin. With all of the protests and media attention it is hard to have escaped not hearing something about this new Gastown/DTES restaurant. Perhaps you’ve even googled the restaurant to see what all the fuss is about. I have – of course I have! I love food and enjoy finding out about new openings in the city. But after reading the menu, which is arguably one of the most innovative menus in Vancouver right now, I just wasn’t that excited. I couldn’t find anything on the menu that I was desperate to try but I went anyway to celebrate B’s birthday last week. And honestly? I’m still underwhelmed by it (although this was only my first visit so this is not my final decision). Anyway, I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

P1070281-001Interior of Pidgin

P1070263Daily Pickles – $5 P1070266Daily Special of Sashimi Spot Prawns on Prawn Broth Glass Noodles P1070267Daily Special: Duck Confit Rillette with Endive SaladP1070271Pork Belly Rice Bowl – $12

P1070277Elk Ssam – $26 P1070285Peanut Butter Parfait with Salted Caramel & Banana Puree – $8

The interior of the restaurant was modern, with a clean white-look and exposed pipes on the roof. The kitchen was open-concept, although situated mostly away from the dining room so it wasn’t intrusive. The service was helpful and courteous. As for the food, some of the dishes fell short and those were the daily special of sashimi style spot prawns, served on prawn broth infused glass noodles, and the elk ssam was also quite uneventful flavour-wise (ssam is basically a lettuce wrap). At $26 for the elk, I was expecting much more.

The highlights of the night were the duck confit rillette, which was delightful, and the superstar of the evening was actually dessert! The peanut butter parfait with salted caramel was memorable and worth a visit for that alone.

I will return to Pidgin to try it again – even if it is just for some small plates and that heavenly dessert.

PiDGiN on Urbanspoon