Yaletown L’Antipasto – The Best Olive Oil in Vancouver

Food Persuasion Restaurant Review
Yaletown L’Antipasto

Yaletown L’Antipasto, a cute little bistro like Italian restaurant in the heart of Yaletown.  The seating is limited without being cramped. A very non- Yaletown vibe, Yaletown-L’Antipasto had a friendly, casual and cozy atmosphere. Because the seating was so close, diners were able to converse with other diners at other tables.

I was dining with Jenn and Marian, which meant by the end of the night we would’ve had at least 3 bottles of wine between 3 girls.

Bruschetta Mista Toasted ciabatta bread with an assortment of in-house made pates. That night, it was Tomato, truffle, artichoke and Tuscan chicken pate. The chicken pate was our favourite, decadent and flavourful.

Bruschetta mista

Carpaccio  AAA Alberta Beef, drizzled with “Gocce di Tartufo” white Truffle oil, served with preserved vegetables in olive oil. It had a really big serving of Olive oil, a little too much for my taste, otherwise the quality of the meat and with the preserved vegetables was an excellent pairing.

Carpaccio

I am not an olive oil connoisseur but, even I can taste the quality. Olive oil flavours, grassy, buttery and it reminded me of drinking wine. There was enough olive oil in the last dish for a few teaspoons. I have included an  Olive Oil Tasting – How To’s section on the bottom. I wanted to purchase a bottle for myself but, alas it was directly sourced from a farmer’s co-op in Italy, all whom presses their own olives. Matti, co-owner of Yaletown L’Antipasto, tries to source their ingredients locally. However, the quality of the olive oil isn’t there locally and so they had to import from abroad.

olive oil

Spaghetti Bianchi, Manila Clams Sauted with Pinot Grigio, Olive Oil, fresh Garlic & Chillies. Simple and basked in my favourite olive oil. The pasta was cooked to al dente. Good dose of olive oil, by the end of the night the oil from my dish soaked through the cardboard takeout box and the paper bag.

Clam Spaghetti

The spaghetti is bought fresh.
fresh spaghetti

Pappardelle Rosse, switched to Spaghetti, home-made Organic Tomato Sauce with an assorted Meat Ragu, a rustic dish great for those cold nights.

Ravioli alla Filly, Lobster & Crab stuffed Ravioli served with a Fresh Roma Tomato Sauce, Sauted Tiger Prawns & Arugula. This was my favourite dish, Jenn thought it was too bland.

Ravioli

Segway tooo…

Simple Dishes Are the Most Difficult to Perfect

We launched into a debate that simple dishes are much harder to make because, A) you need quality ingredients, there are no heavy sauces to mask the poor ingredients B) that is how this dish is supposed to taste like! Well ok, my second point wasn’t a supporting argument but, I am sticking with it. We got so heated that we started to involve other diners and the restaurant owners in our conversation. Some dishes are meant to be simple so you can taste the ingredients. The highlight of the ravioli was the tomatoes, they were acidic with a hint of sweetness, Matti agreed. You cannot beat a simple dish with fresh quality ingredients.

His ultimate dream would be to have a farm with cows, chickens and vegetables and a restaurant on the side. I would LOVE to go. Have you ever tried fresh ice cream? I have, I milked a cow and manually creamed it.  It was the best ice cream that I had ever had, even better than the internationally award-winning Bella Gelateria.

Olive Oil Tasting – How To’s
When tasting olive oil, much of the oil’s characteristics are perceived through the sense of smell. Though most people enjoy olive oil with other foods, the following steps allow us to focus on the olive oil’s flavor without distraction:

  • Pour a small amount of oil (about 1 tablespoon) into a small tapered (wine) glass.
  • Hold the glass in one hand and use your other hand to cover the glass while swirling the oil to release its aroma.
  • Uncover the glass and inhale deeply from the top of the glass. Think about whether the aroma is mild or strong. You may want to write down descriptions of the aromas that you detect at this point.
  • Next you slurp the oil; this is done by sipping a small amount of oil into your mouth while “sipping” some air as well. (When done correctly, you will make that impolite noise that would cause you to be scolded when you were a child!) Slurping emulsifies the oil with air that helps to spread it throughout your mouth – giving you the chance to savor every nuance of flavor with just a small sip of oil.
  • Finish by swallowing the oil and noticing if it leaves a stinging sensation in your throat.

Source: Directly from: The Olive Oil Source- Nancy’s Tasting Advice

Other Italian Restaurants

Yaletown L'Antipasto on Urbanspoon

I Can’t Believe This is Homemade

Every once in a while I feature home cooked dinners. To qualify, the meal has to be extraordinarily scrumptious. My friend Gio, Michelin star chef in his past life, did just that.

He is big on spice, in fact his spice cupboard takes up 1/3 of his kitchen. Spices are imported directly from around the world in its raw state and then he grinds them up. I saw a jar of saffron, I can’t imagine the investment he has put into his spices. So you can imagine the explosion of flavours in the dishes he creates.

Also big on the quality of the ingredients, from the meats the vegetables and grains. Everything was fresh, no canned or preserved crap in his meals.

This was a homemade dinner that could rival any fine dining restaurant in Vancouver. His passion for cooking really shone through in each dish. He believes meals should be enjoyed together, “filling your stomach and soul“.

Moroccan spiced chicken with marsala wine. You could always try re-creating this dish with this chicken marsala recipe

Quinoa and chickpea salad, with cucumber, tomato, cilantro.

Chicken Marsala and salad

Pepper crusted bison steak with Chimichurri sauce. I am in love with the sauce. Look the picture of the meat on the bottom right, doesn’t that make you salivate?

Bison steak

3 way veal lamb pork meatball with marsala wine sauce, topped with ricotta cheese.

Lamb meatball

Stuffed peppers

Stuffed pepper

The night was finished off with new york style cheesecake.

Always the gracious host, well after he plates. In the kitchen, he is like a mad scientist, brushing off any attempts of assistance and harping at anyone who dares enter the kitchen.

Del Posto – Michelin Star Restaurant Lunch Deal

Michelin star restaurant, Del Posto Lunch Promotion. New York, USA

I asked for restaurant suggestions in New York, almost everyone recommended Del Posto for lunch. I can see why, it was delicious. Del Posto décor was stunning. A two level restaurant that reminded me of opulent Victorian homes with the gleaming cherry oak. They had a personal stool to rest your designer bag. I thought it was a foot stool, that’s how cultured I am.

Untitled

The service was impeccable, the FOOD was amazing.

Sorry guys it’s been a while since my trip. I can’t believe I forgot to blog about it. I still do have some pics though.

Tomato Consume, prosciutto wrap appie and I forgot what type of tea sandwich it was.

Amuse Buche

Veal and Tuna
Veal and Tuna
warm cortechino
warm cortechino

This was the best Orecchiette dish I’ve ever had. It was so creamy it just melted in my mouth. It was one of my favourite dishes of the meal. Not part of the set lunch menu.

orecchiette
orecchiette
duck
Duck
Lamb
Lamb

I was obsessed with skate for a while. This was phenomenally cooked.

Skate
Skate

Damn! Chocolate pistachio was sooo good. I am just salivating thinking about it.

chocolate pistachio
chocolate pistachio

Sour Cherry Ice cream was surprisingly refreshing.

Sour Cherry Icecream
Sour Cherry Icecream

Amazing Chocolate Platter, the chocolate covered grapefruit peel was so intense and my friend’s favourite

Amazing Chocolate Platter
Amazing Chocolate Platter

Tip: If you show them 4square you receive a complimentary flute of Champaign.

Del Posto on Urbanspoon

JJ’s Restaurant – Best Lunch Deal

VCC culinary school is one of my favorite lunch spots and, definitely on my list of best lunch deals. It is delicious, cheap and usually booked up a week in advance. It took many attempts to get a table of 6. Apparently the buffet needs to be booked 2 months in advance. Yea, it’s that good.

What I love about culinary school’s or cooking schools is that they make everything from scratch, no processed shortcuts.

Appies…

Charred Vancouver Island Octopus, Chorizo and chick pea stew $4. A damn good deal! It was good and the portions were similar to Hawksworth entrée sizes.

charred Octopus

Roasted vegetable soup was hearty and healthy $2.50

Roasted vegetable soup

Salmon, prawn and scallion cake with Thai lemongrass sauce $4 had a nice layering of flavors.
Salmon cake

Entrees…

Scallops with truffled potato gnocchi and crispy artichokes $10. This creamy dish was very filing. My friend who can usually eat for 2 was full. I would have preferred if the gnocchi had more buoyancy, it was too soft.

scallops with truffled potato gnocchi

Slow cooked leg of lamb and pan roasted loin, rosemary jus $10. The meat was tender and flavourful. It’s $10 for lamb and loin!

Lamb leg and loin

I had to call attention to the sides, Cucumber and squash was pretty and delicious.

Cucumber & Squash

Related Lunch Deals:

Hawksworth at Georgia
Fairmont Hotel Waterfront – Herons
Joe Fortes


JJ's Restaurant (VCC) on Urbanspoon

Cibo Trattoria – Best Ravioli

Italian Fine Dining in the heart of Vancouver downtown. Serving traditional tasty Italian dishes.

The room makes me think of Whistler, gleaming wood and fireplace lighting with glamorous chandeliers hanging from their tall ceilings.

My weekend dinners are late in the evening and, by the time I’m about to eat I am lightheaded from starvation. I attacked the cheese bread like the first day after a no-carb diet.

Cheese bread @ Cibo

Chicken Liver Toscana, it was tasty but, the slabs of pickles made it too sour. I would have preferred if it was served on something more inspiring than two pieces of toast. 3/5

Chicken liver toscana @ Cibo

One of my favourite ingredients is pumpkin. That being said, I’ve tried so many pumpkin dishes that I know when a dish fails to meet my crazy expectations. This Pumpkin Ravioli passed my test. The pumpkin really came through and it was so creamy 4/5

Pumpkin ravioli @ Cibo

Roast suckling pig, Very moist and tender I love the mint. The rosemary however was overpowering. 3/5

Roast suckling pig @ Cibo

Roast ling cod, well prepared but the dish fell flat. It was too simple and lacked the layers of flavor found in our other dishes. 2.5/5

Roast ling cod @ Cibo

Cibo Trattoria & Uva Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Manzo at Eately – Black Truffle and Foie Gras Heaven

I love this restaurant, by far one of our best dining experiences in New York, Wall Centre. Part of Food Persuasion taking on NYC series.

Manzo was definitely my most memorable experience in New York. The restaurant is situated inside Eately, an upscale Italian market. Manzo, is the only restaurant inside the market that accepts reservations. Trust me, advanced reservations will be required.

Manzo at Eately New York
Manzo at Eately New York

With Chris Rock sitting only a few meters away and, Foie Gras and Truffle in my tummy, I was in heaven.

My first dish Seared Foie Gras with Figs A smashing 5/5, I had a mini orgasm. This dish was ordered a la carte off their 7 course tasting menu.

Foie Gras
Foie Gras with Figs

Seared Striploin with Foie Gras & Cherry Aceto Balsamico, was rich and decadent. As expected the Striploin was seared to perfection. The Cherry Aceto Balsamico complimented very well with the meat and created a well rounded explosion of flavor. 5/5

Seared Striploin with Foie Gras
Seared Striploin with Foie Gras

Carne Cruda al Coltello with Enoki Mushrooms & Black Truffle Bruschetta (Carne Cruda, steak tartare. 4/5

 Carne Cruda al Coltello
Carne Cruda al Coltello

Entrée’s

Guinea Hen with Chanterelles, Foie Gras Sugo & Black Truffles, was phenomenal. Don’t let the white meat fool you, this dish is rich. With the 3 shared courses down, I was dying half way through my entrée.  Yet I couldn’t stop! This dish had all my favourite ingredients. 4.5/5

Guinea Hen with Chanterelles Foie Gras and Black Truffles
Guinea Hen with Chanterelles Foie Gras and Black Truffles

Tagliata with Sweet Potato, Funghi Misti & Bone Marrow Agrodolce. (Tagliata, thinly sliced beef) Suck my fingers kind of succulent. Again, cooked to perfection and the bone marrow gave the dish a melt in your mouth finish. 5/5

Tagliata with Funghi Misti and Bone Marrow
Tagliata with Funghi Misti and Bone Marrow

Lamb Loin with Belly Confit, Cranberry Beans & Green Onions. Indulgent dish, think about it, belly confit with loin, I was rolling in fat and deliciously happy. 4.5/5

Lamb Loin with Belly Confit
Lamb Loin with Belly Confit

Yukon Gold Crocche, a potato side dish. If you have a limitless belly I suggest you order this side. Luscious potato croquette covered with crispy breadcrumbs. 4.5/5. I was delirious by this point, I could only frustratingly eat one.

Potato Croquettes Manzo at Eately
Potato Gold Crocche

If you are looking for restaurants to try in New York I recommend Manzo. For the ingredients alone it is very affordable. The bill came out to be $100 each between the three of us and, that includes 3 glasses of wine.

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen & Bar – Simple and Tasty Italian, Best Value Downtown

Frankies Bar

We were seated in the dining section for a late lunch. Sadly, other than us there was one other patron. The room was nice and spacious. The service was friendly and, the food was simple and good dishes. It reminded me of home cooked Italian dinners.

Frankies

Bolognaise pasta – it was very good, and the sauce was not overly salty as with many pasta dishes.

bolognaise pasta

We both enjoyed the seafood risotto, with prawns, scallop and, the risotto was perfectly cooked and the then creamy tomato based sauce was rich and flavorful.

seafood rissoto

Overall, the price was very pretty decent for portion and the quality. Actually, it may be the best value Italian food you can find downtown Vancouver, even without our discount.  We ended using a Frankie’s promotional flyer at a $20 discount.

I would absolutely recommend this restaurant for lunch.

Frankies receipt

Frankie's Italian Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon