Former Amarcord owner opened new digs and a recent meal to catch up with some friends brought us here to his new restaurant.
The restaurant itself is quaint and rustic but something about the look seemed out of place, perhaps as it is void of pretentiousness, something that I've come to expect more often than not dining out as of late. Tables are a bit squished together though as the floor staff tip toed between chairs to get to your place setting.
The menu features core Italian dishes including the famous "Veneziana", the whole lobster over a bed of spaghetti carried over from the Yaletown institute. Any high expectations ran out of steam once our orders arrived. The caesar salad starter was bland but my potato and leek soup opened up the meal nicely. Several of us including I ordered the gnocchi with four cheese sauce. While we're not gnocchi connoisseurs all of us disliked the texture, which was akin to repeatedly reheated mash potatoes or severely overcooked pasta. Some pieces completely deteriorated with the first fork puncture and was probably best eaten with a spoon. The rack of lamb was reported as overdone and dry while the primavera and the Alaskan cod served over chickpeas was said to be the best of the lot. Desserts were also hit and miss with the tiramisu being easily the best with a lovely coffee, rum, masala undertone, the chocolate mousse cake being average and the not really cream brulee (but really a flan/creme caramel) was somewhat ruined by the caramel sauce that had too much of a burnt/bitter tinge. The olive oil/balsamic mix at the beginning of the meal accompanied the house bread, unfortunately coming out as it had been sitting in the cooler which was a little appauling.
Service, aptly put is quite slow, from order taking to kitchen speed. Water refills however were surprisingly brisk after waiting over 30 minutes for our initial drinks. We were a little over 3hrs from begining to end with much of the time spent waiting. A nice added touch was the owner Manilo Mocchi being busy on the floor, from bussing tables, to ordering to gabbing with patrons and everything in between.
I really do hope our experience was a one off, after basing our visit on the good reviews. We'll be making a return visit to try their "flagship" dish but hope regulars and first timers get better results.