Little by little, this eclectic and rough around the edges stretch of Hastings Street is beginning to blossom. Camapagnolo Roma is the newest addition to my neighbourhood and it will be interesting to see how the working class folks in the area respond to the slightly upscale pizza and pasta joint.
Three of us popped in for a weekday late lunch recently. We sat outside on the small patio located a few feet off the blacktop parking lot the resteraunts shares with a drycleaning business. The white table cloths and linen napkins stood in stark contrast to the litter-strewn, scrubby grass nearby. A couple of tough looking prostitutes ambled by as we perused the small menu. The somewhat shabby location only makes the efforts made by the owners standout all the more though. They've done a marvelous job in renovating the shambolic former Carribbean(?) pizza joint into a classy little gem of a space.
As said, the menu is small. There's a few salads, a few pastas and a few pizzas. They run a couple of pizza/pasta specials and that's it. Which is totally fine if they nail each item. They mostly did on this day. We werent starved so we decided to try one dish from each of the sections. Our octopus salad was good, though the celaphod was on the chewy side and I've had tastier. Still, it went nicely with the croutons and the dressing on the greens was refreshing on this sunny afternoon. Mom enjoyed her glass of Italian red, resonably priced at $6.5. My Russell lager was ice cold and delish. Next came the canneloni stuffed with pork and swiss chard. It was delectible. Rich, creamy and dense. Perfect to share but I wouldnt want to tackle a plate of it solo. All agreed it was a winner. Finally our classic Margurita pizza arrived. Gorgeous in it's simplicity and as tasty as it looked. We crushed it in a few short minutes. They serve the pizza with a side of very tasty, spicy paste made from, I believe, anise or fennel. It really amped the pizza up. Yum.
Service from out pretty English server was prompt and efficient. The pacing of the 3 courses was bang-on.
Overall, it was a good outing. I really hope this hole-in-the-wall makes it because decent Italian food is strangely difficult to find in East Van. At any rate, Hastings-Sunrise is on it's way with at least a half dozen decent resteraunts. Camapgnolo Roma is the latest entry.
Lunch for 3 with two drinks and a coke was $75 including a good tip