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Eat Happy: Italian Kitchen

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Italian Kitchen

1037 Alberni Street
Sunday – Thursday, 11:30am – 1:00am
Friday – Saturday, 11:30am – 2:00pm

Choosing a restaurant can be a stressful endeavor; in a competitive food city like Vancouver where restaurants aim to define and attract niche markets, it can be a delicate dance to find a spot that will please your whole party. So when I tell you that you’ll find:

  • couples dressed to impress
  • bubbly family celebrations
  • engaged professionals
  • enamoured tourists with flushed faces from the day’s adventures

All enjoying and defining the experience at Italian Kitchen, I hope you breathe a deep sigh of relief…and get ready to eat your troubles away!

IK1

To be able to capture and impress such a wide audience takes more than just the right ambiance – there must be a menu to match. Italian Kitchen’s menu items are reminiscent of the classic Italian way: simple, with impeccable execution. They have a balanced menu that offers lots of options for starters, mains, and desserts, which is something to be appreciated with guests or groups.  Dietary restrictions are also happily embraced.

Though food will always be the primary driver in my critique of a restaurant, I need to mention the jovial, adventurous spirit of Italian Kitchen that makes the restaurant experience special. The interior is a welcoming fusion of West-Coast and European style. We’re talking about white linens and sparkling wine glasses on the tables, floor to ceiling windows, and a sidewalk patio that will have you dreaming of the Italian sun. These classic elements are made youthful with dark-tiled walls, bottled wine in glass displays, and a bustling open-kitchen concept. This blend of ideas, that feels so very Italian and yet so very Vancouver, makes Italian Kitchen a top-of-mind recommendation.

Though I would never hope to cramp your foodie style, here’s an Italian Kitchen game plan that I swear by:

START

Start with some Burrata, it’s a good kick-off to the meal. What is it? Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream. The item is served as burrata on a crostini, paired with a few other delightful ingredients. This one below has smoked pancetta, pesto and pine nuts. It’s only the only restaurant in Vancouver that has a Burrata Bar (okay, they have a sister restaurant in Kitsilano, Trattoria, that has a Burrata Bar too)…but, what more reason do you need?

burrata

BREAK

Take a break with insalata (salad). Caprese will do nicely. Something fresh like vine ripened tomates, basil, olive oil, burrata, and sea salt, will contrast the heaviness of the pizzas and pastas that you won’t want to miss!

INDULGE

Sometimes we worry about cutting down on carbs. Today is not that day. If you’re gonna eat some wheat, let’s indulge in wheat done right. For a group, I’d definitely recommend the Pasta Platter. It gives you a generous share portion of the Truffle Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs, Penne Pomodoro, Linguine Gamberi, and Gnocchi Pesto. Hint:  the all-beef meatball has been on their menu since day one, earning a coveted spot as one of our 14 tastings on the Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour.

TRY

Try the handmade pizza. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know I was ordering shaved rare beef tenderloin when I ordered the Carpaccio Pizza, but I’ve craved it since. Who knew?

Try the Brussels Sprouts. I don’t usually like ’em either, but I challenge you to try them at Italian Kitchen and see if you’ll change your mind. Crisped with lemon, capers, and salty parmigiano reggiano, you’ll wonder why brussels sprouts are ever cooked any other way.

brusselsprouts

PAIR

Pair your meal with some vino. Wine glasses are sad when they aren’t filled. Vancouver Foodie Tours loves the Tinhorn Creek Gewurztraminer, but you can ask your server to find you a perfect pairing.

And lastly, SMILE

Smile, that you pulled off a fantastic meal for you and your guests! But both you and I know, nothing puts a smile on your face like something sweet at the end of the meal. The Lemon Basil Crema was perfectly bruléed; a shiny, crisped layer on top of a warm custard. For me, the almond amaretti was just a bonus; it was the crema that bruléed my heart.

Italian Kitchen is one of four restaurants on Alberni Street that are part of a Vancouver gourmet restaurant empire, Glowbal Collection. Sound familiar? Perhaps you’ve heard Vancouver Foodie Tours share the inspirational story of owner, Emad Yacoub, on one of our tours! For a full list of the Glowbal Collection, visit: www.glowbalgroup.com.  Don’t forget to let us know what you think, it’s always fun to hear from you!

Joyce Chua

About Joyce Chua

I’m fascinated by food and its impact on culture, especially in an increasingly globalized world. I love how Vancouver’s multicultural food scene opens doors to history, culture, and understanding. Here’s to a life of eating and learning!

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