Tag Archives: Gastown

Photo Visit – Ask for Luigi – March 2015

15 Mar

305 Alexander Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1C4

T: 604 428 2544
www.askforluigi.com

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.

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Brunch at L’Abattoir

1 Feb

217 Carrall Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2J2

T: 604 568 1701
www.labattoir.ca

Brief Description: A chic, unpretentious Gastown restaurant that dishes up French-meets-West Coast cuisine.

One of my favourite restaurants in the city, L’Abattoir, launched their brunch service in December and I have been making regular visits ever since. Brunch at L’Abattoir delivers the same high standards of food and service that I’ve come to expect from this team. Some of my favourite brunch items are the decadent smoked pork belly and eggs with cheddar sabayon, the currant scone with jam and clotted cream (!!), and the breakfast burger.

Let’s go back to the clotted cream for a moment, shall we? If you’ve not had it before, I highly recommend trying clotted cream – it is a rich, thick cream that has the consistency of butter. This Huffington Post article accurately describes it as “basically what you’d have if butter were to get together with whipped cream.”

Currant scone with jam and clotted cream – $7

Minute steak and two eggs, with rösti, toast, and brown sauce – $18

Two poached eggs, smoked pork belly, and cheddar sabayon on home-made English muffin – $17

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Potato rösti with crème fraiche and chives – $6

Besides the brunch dishes that I’ve mentioned, there are also house-made pastries (which vary depending on the day), a classic full breakfast with sausage and pork and beans, as well as lighter options, such as the Dungeness crab cakes with eggs, or the quiche with smoked steelhead, leeks and dill. Price-wise, it is a little on the expensive side but all dishes, besides the full breakfast, come in at under $20.

I highly recommend brunch at L’Abattoir if you are looking for a more upscale brunch, if you are wanting to impress someone (Mother’s Day, for example), or for an indulgent brunch with your girlfriends, or significant other. Brunch runs on the weekend only, from 10:30am to 2pm.

Photo Visit – L’Abattoir – May 2014

1 May

217 Carrall Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2J2

T: 604 568 1701
www.labattoir.ca

Brief Description: A chic, unpretentious Gastown restaurant that dishes up French-meets-West Coast cuisine.

I have just gotten back from another wonderful dinner at L’Abattoir and I felt I had to share what a remarkable experience it was…again. Is it just me, or is this place underrated? Although there is a slight buzz about it, I expect to hear a lot more about a restaurant that is producing such impressive food and cocktails. For all the details on L’Abattoir you can read my post from a few years ago. This post is more to show you the beauty of the food (look at that presentation!) and to mention (again) how truly great it was.

Gastown Swizzle – $11

Complimentary bread basket

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Ceps (porcini) with pork belly and jus gras – $30

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Roast filet of Pacific Halibut with pasta of Dungeness crab and pork, asparagus – $33

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Steak Diane with charred onions, potato fondant, peppercorn – $33

Brown butter clafoutis with poached rhubarb and rhubarb sorbet – $9

The appetizer special was unbelievably good, with succulent, firm ceps (porcini mushrooms) and tender pork belly finished with a luscious foie gras jus. Both mains were plated beautifully with flavours that were perfectly balanced. The dessert was also a treat, although by this stage, we were too full to fully appreciate (but my god, is it beautiful!).

I have to ask myself why I don’t go there more often and the only valid reason I could think of is the cost. The prices are on the high-side (although, the value is there) so it is more of a once-in-awhile kinda place, or a special occasion place for me and my budget.

Photo Visit – Ask For Luigi – April 2014

26 Apr

305 Alexander Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1C4

T: 604 428 2544
www.askforluigi.com

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.

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

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Tagliatelle alla carbonara with a poached egg – $16

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Fingerling potatoes cooked in duck fat – $4

Risotto with pancetta, peas, and asparagus – $15

Ask for Luigi on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Nicli Antica Pizzeria – March 2014

2 Apr

62 East Cordova
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1K3

T: 604 669 6985
www.nicli-antica-pizzeria.ca

For some reason I’ve been having major pizza cravings lately (perhaps stemming from our Italian trip in October) and, with Nicli being one of my favourite pizza places in the city, I made it a point to return twice in March to get my much-needed fix. My sister and I were able to get a table on a Wednesday evening at about 8pm without any hassle but if you want to be assured that you won’t have to wait in-line at all, try a lunch time on the weekend – I was recently back for lunch with B on a Saturday and we walked straight in. Alternatively, you can join their wait-list by using the no-wait app.

Although I hadn’t been to Nicli in a while, they are still turning out great food in a modern space. My only complaint is that they won’t cut the pizza for you (I asked) and so it can be a bit of a struggle to cut your pizza on the slippery white plates.

Daily Special: Prosciutto, jalapenos, arugula

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Photo Visit – Boneta – June 2013

23 Jun

12 Water Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 1A5

T: 604 684 1844
www.boneta.ca

Brief Description: Boneta is a well-known Gastown institution, offering quality French/West Coast fusion that is beautifully presented, in a stylish and chic space.

My last visit to Boneta was in October so a return visit was well overdue. I met some friends there on Friday night for a catch-up dinner and I left, once again, impressed with Boneta. Prices are a little high but nothing out of the ordinary in that particular area of town. I would highly recommend booking in advance as the restaurant filled up extremely fast and was at capacity whilst we were there.

Cheese plate with breads, crackers, candied nuts & fruits – $18

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Halibut with brown butter sauce, mushrooms and asparagus– $27

Risotto with peas and side stripe prawns – $24

The food was well-executed, as were the cocktails. The service was a little shaky, for example, my booking (which I used the online booking service) was incorrectly noted an hour later than I had booked it and our waitress seemed to struggle a little whilst explaining some of the wine menu, but overall the service was good. The halibut and brown butter sauce was impeccable and the risotto, with side stripe prawns, fresh peas and grated lemon, tasted seasonal and slightly lighter than a winter risotto.

I would recommend Boneta as a location for a girlie catch-up, group dinner, or if you have friends coming in from out-of-town. It can get a bit loud at times, which adds to the ambience, but if you are looking for somewhere quiet and romantic perhaps this is not the place.

Boneta on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Wildebeest – May 2013

17 Jun

120 West Hastings
Vancouver, BC
V6B 1G8

T: 604 687 6880
www.wildebeest.ca

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.