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3
  • Food3.5
  • Service3
  • Value3
  • Ambiance3.5
  • Reviews22

Cafe Il Nido

780 Thurlow Street
Vancouver, BC V6E1V8
Tel: (604) 685-6436 Reserve Online
Neighbourhood: Central
  • Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
  • Price: $$$ ($30 - $45)
  • Reservations: Accepted
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner
  • Features: Patio, Wheelchair accessible
  • Hours: Mon - Fri: 11:30AM - 10PM, Sat: 5:30PM - 10PM, Sun: Closed
  • Since opening in 1988, Il Nido uses BC ingredients to create dishes reminiscent of Northern Italy. Traditional fish, meat and pasta dishes are made with the use of non-tradional herbs and spices, such as saffron and ginger. Sauces are lean and light. Fresh fish and vegetables are staples. With its elegant yet, informal atmosphere, muted/understated decor and, sunny patio this "Nest In The City" is a destination for those who enjoy wonderful food and good conversation.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 22 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Solid, Well-Priced Italian
By cherrybomb143 of Surrey, bc (218 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, September 7, 2012 - 11:03am [Dine in]

We visited Cafe il Nido to celebrate a friend's birthday. The environment is clean and chic and we were well-attended to.

I had the trout entree,which was cooked perfectly - still moist and tender, with lots of flavor. My friends tried their pastas and all reported that they were great, including the lobster ravioli which is normally a "miss" at most restaurants. They brought my friend a complimentary slice of cake for her birthday which I thought was a nice touch.

The bill came to under $50 per person (tips and taxes in), with entree, shared appetizer and a shared bottle of wine. I think that's fairly reasonable for downtown pricing and for the quality of food presented.

Will return.

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everything good except the dessert...
By marymac of Delta, BC (145 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, February 18, 2008 - 9:29pm [Dine in]

For Valentine's Day, hubby and I went back to Il Nido, where we had good experiences in the past...

From the special V-day menu, I ordered oyster(s)(I thought) and hubby ordered the mushroom and lamb sausage in a crepe. Hubby was happy with his appy... I felt a little "meh" about mine. ONE oyster, on raw pea shoots.

Mains were sea bass and tenderloin. Sea bass was excellent, and the veggies outstanding. Tenderloin was rather ordinary, with potatoes and veggies.

The house wine we ordered was 'out', so we got something 'comparable'. It seemed a bit raw.

And now to dessert. We decided to split "long stemmed strawberries dipped in dark chocolate on a bed of creme anglisi". Three VERY tired supermarket strawberries, their ends dipped in chocolate, on a miniscule puddle of custard... for $10 ??!!!

The coffee was good, but the dessert sorta ruined the whole thing.

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Il Nido - Displeasure in the Digestive Tract
By latelier of SE Vancouver (69 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, June 24, 2005 - 5:26pm [Dine in]

Nice ambience, a modern and creative approach to Italian cuisine. I had their braised buffallo papardelle and it was tasty; the only reason why I give the poor rating is because I had the major runs after eating it...it was so bad that not even a double dosage of Immodium extra strength could help. I am no food scientist, but I highly suspect it was the meal I had at Il Nido - it disappointed and gave me great discomfort to the Nth degree. Not sure if I'll ever return.

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lovely little restaurant
By alpha_dog of richmond (61 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, September 12, 2009 - 2:23pm [Dine in]

ate here in the middle of the week and it was extremely quiet so i wasnt sure what to expect based on this first impression.
had the capesante (scallops) to begin which were marvelous - cooked perfectly that resulted in a very delicious and tender final flavor. i also ordered the ravioli (hand made stuffed with lobster) which was just as delicious. i savored every bite which made me crave more each time i finished a piece. the only problem with the ravioli was that it was made too salty for my liking.
our waitress was new which didnt take away from the dining experience. she was polite and came to our table everytime with a smile. she was constantly checking if everything was okay and also refilling our cups when we needed it. she did screw up our bill when it came to paying for it but that was not a big deal.
i have to admit prices are reasonable and not expensive at first glance but for the quantity of food that one is receiving, the value isnt really good. for example, paying almost $20 for 4 pieces of ravioli which becomes $5/piece. if you ask me, thats pretty pricey for something that is bite-size.
the ambiance is simple and has a cozy feeling to it. it gives the customer a relaxing and laid-back atmosphere for him or her to dine in.
i would return here because there are other items on the menu that sound enticing and if its anything like the first time, i would take great delight in eating here more often.

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Fine Food, parts of service was disappointing
By frugalgourmet of Vancouver (70 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, June 24, 2007 - 7:26am [Dine in]

After booking a reservation through OpenTable for an earlier Saturday seating, we arrived and were not noticed upon entering the restaurant and had to wait 3 minutes. I made a special request under the reservation, asking for a mascarpone based risotto with mushrooms; however the waitress simply informed us that the kitchen could adapt whatever current entree into a vegetarian one. For a $25 prawn and asparagus risotto minus the prawns, I would expect a hearty side portion of vegetables in lieu of the prawns or a REDUCTION in price. Unfortunately, neither was provided for us.

Other than the cold service received from our waitress, the rest of the staff were professional, unobtrusive and polite.

The food: Our still warm but crusty foccacia bread came with a trio of balsamic vinegar, sea salt and olive oil. Lovely. My salmon was very overcooked, and contained remnants of bones which proved tricky to extract. The roasted vegetables were roasted perfectly and finished off with a buttery lemon and herb sauce. The mushroom rice cake was crisp on the outside and flavorful and creamy on the inside.

Ambiance: The music set too loudly, especially since there were fewer than 3 parties in the restaurant; the washrooms were tiny and cramped, the black table clothes were unforgiving in betraying food droppings. It's cozy and intimate (much aking a a really happening basement suite) if you prefer such a settting. However, I can imagine the ambiance changing from tranquil to chaotic when the restaurant moves from a sprinkling of patrons to a full house.

For the price range ($7 beers, $10+ salads, and $20-$35 entrees) I would expect much, much more . . . . sorry will not be returning unless there is compensation for the lack of consideration and service promised by the Il Nido people.

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Be prepared to eat quickly and be rushed out
By desktraveler of Downtown, Vancouver (17 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, September 12, 2011 - 3:39pm [Dine in]

A cute outdoor patio, relatively good food, and efficient service. But I can't recommend il Nido because the food wasn't good enough for the price point to make me overlook the faux-pas in service. The biggest issue was that they wanted us out as soon as we paid the bill - they cleared every single item off the table, including the water glasses, and we hadn't even been at the restaurant for 1.5 hours by that point. The second gaffe was the seeming annoyance of having to deal with customers - eye rolling when half the table didn't order wine or weren't ready to order or pay the first time they stopped by to serve us. As if they were doing us a favour and we should be grateful they even bothered to come by.

Anyway, the osso bucco was nicely cooked, the risotto was comfort-food, and our friend seemed happy with the lobster ravioli.

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Great Dinner
By anglake of Vancouver (downtown) (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 7:34pm [Dine in]

Went to Il Nido on February 11 for dinner. Everything was beyond good. The service was perfect, and the food was excellent. We started with the meatballs which were wonderful. I then had the bison tenderloin which was cooked perfectly medium-rare and was served with potatoes and veg. My date opted for the salmon which we both agreed was also cooked well. We enjoyed some good prosecco to start and had red wine with our dinner.

Our server was great, we never wanted for anything and he seemed to always come by at the right moment... The restaurant has been renovated and it was very cozy and warm feeling. We had a great evening and are looking forward to returning.

I would definately recommend Il Nido, it exceeded our expectations!

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There are better Italian restaurants nearby
By lilmisswongy of vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, April 19, 2010 - 9:54pm [Dine in]

The waiter just did his basic job, took our orders, brought out the meals, that's about it. No extra effort, no smile, no enthusiasm. Thankfully I had an entertainment book voucher that got us $15 off. A small bonus. The food portions: tiny but tasty. Luckily they served bread with olive oil, which I used to fill up my stomach. We have no interest in returning to this restaurant, which surprisingly was named best restaurant by Vancouver Magazine.

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Really horrible salmon
By sarahtlee of Langley, BC (5 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, December 4, 2008 - 5:47pm [Dine in]

My friend and I went to Il Nido for the first time last night. The ambiance of the place looked nice, except for the fact that we were the only people in the place other than a host and a server.

The bread with olive oil, balsamic and sea salt that they bring to your table was good. Our appitizers were very good, we were impressed with them.

We were looking forward to the entree, however, we were disappointed. My salmon was incredible small, dry and you couldn't even cut into a large portion of it, it was stringy and tough to cut, like it had been sitting in the back of the freezer for FAR too long. My friend said that her fish stew was decent, but not out of this world.

Overall, we left not completely full and feeling a little ripped off. We won't be back.

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My Favourite Italian
By nelsongourmand of West End (10 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - 4:46pm [Dine in]

After having eaten at Cafe Il Nido several times, I thought a review was in order. I would eat here every day if I could. My experiences have been mostly as a lone diner and the food and ambience have always been far beyond my expectation. I love sitting in the lounge at the front of restaurant or on the patio on a nice day. The Coppa di Montecarlo (a fresh shrimp concoction) is out of this world and the pastas are the best I've ever had in Vancouver. The only minor negative is the service which is sometimes less than professional. On one occasion when dining with a friend, the server never brought our first course. When the main course arrived, we asked the whereabouts of the salad. She provided no explanation, made no apology and seemed at a loss for words. The rest of the evening was fantastic.

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'Decent', but no more.
By Copious of West End, Vancouver (12 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, July 3, 2008 - 11:46pm [Dine in]

Went there on a Friday at 7pm. The entire restaurant had less than 10 people including the two of us. The service was prompt. The lady that sat us was somewhat friendly but spoke and so softly and hesitantly that it made us kinda wonder if she knew what she was talking about. Normally I don't expect waiters to be [fake] cheerful, but the man that took our order was VERY cold and had zero personality, not a hint of friendliness, and certainly someone you wouldn't want to cross. I'm paying well over $20 for an entree, I would like to see the service to be a lot more polished.

I understand it's Italian food and it's a type of restaurant that most people would want to sit around for, but the food was still SLOW. We went through two and a half rounds of complimentary bread before we saw our meatball appetizer. It took another 15-20 minutes before our entree showed.

I was recommended the salmon, and my company picked the chicken. Our dishes looked very similar except for the protein (obviously) and the main sauce. Most of the accompanying items were identical in construction. The plate was presented well, but seeing two almost identical plates make the chef look lazy for such an uninspiring combination. My fish was good but slightly overdone. My company's chicken was really tiny for the price you pay ($27), good thing we were full on the bread earlier. Overall, the dishes were good but nothing special, it felt flat and boring, and it was difficult to point out the Italian in it. My company was more lenient with his chicken dish.

With so many good restaurants in downtown, Il Nido offers very little to compete. Unfriendly service, uninspiring food, and high prices for the quality makes Il Nido a bad choice for upscale dining.

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A small taste of Italy!!!
By freddy.valiant of Seattle, WA (USA) (1 Review)
Submitted Sunday, November 14, 2010 - 5:17pm [Dine in]

Capesante, pan seared scallops were terrific!!! the Agnelotti pasta was equally fantastic. I want to try some of the other dishes, but I just can't stop thinking about coming back for the same exact thing because it's so good. Our waiter was one of the better waiters I've ever had. He remembered both my husband and my names, our entres, and the dessert we had, when we first came in three months earlier! The chef is awesome too. I have traveled to many places in Asia and Europe and America and this restaurant is a goldmine. Their wine selection is top notch and we can walk from our house. The setting is very quiet and romantic and it will be even better when the weather cools.

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Very Disappointing
By critik73 of vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, September 1, 2010 - 8:27am [Dine in]

My guest and I went for dinner last night and decided to try Il Nido hoping for a welcome change. When we arrived the man who greeted us (assumed to be the owner) seemed more interested in entertaining his own party in front of the television than attending to us. I ordered the salmon which arrived dry and accompanied by overcooked veggies. My guest tried the "handmade" ravioli which almost certainly tasted as if it were from a box. The wine was mediocre for its price. Overall a very poor experience. The only glimmer of hope was the ambience which was quiet and cozy. My advice would be to spend the extra $5 and go to cincin just down the street.

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Disappointing
By dawson69 of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Friday, June 4, 2010 - 4:18pm [Dine in]

Used to be a favourite until caffe de Medici took over but now after returning a couple of years later quite disappointing. One waitress was very nice but other was quite lacking, food descriptions were much better than the actual food.

Restaurant was mostly empty , fellow assumed to be the owner seemed a bit surly.

Sorry, at these prices we expected much better.

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Fabuous Il Nido
By Almira of Kitsilano (1 Review)
Submitted Sunday, April 26, 2009 - 11:43pm [Dine in]

Franco and his staff made us feel very special. Had heard about the new menu launch and we went to check it last week, over lunch. The beef carpaccio was mouthwatering and the ravioli was one of the best I've ever had. My friend had the prawns and he thoroughly enjoyed the sauce.

We will definitely be back once the nice weather hits and we can enjoy the patio.

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Fantastic flavours
By Timsteadrinker of Downtown, Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, September 28, 2006 - 11:28am [Dine in]

I went to Il Nido after a friend recommended it for its pretty courtyard patio. I was not disappointed. While we're in the middle of the city (off Robson), it's quiet and you really feel like you're away from it all.

After that first recommendation, I've been a few more times. The latest time, there were about 4 of us dining, and we started with calamari and bread with dips. Nice wine to match. My main was the lamb chops - divine. Friends had risotto, the ravioli and chicken. Fantastic.

There is a draw back - the portion size (for hungry men). The women were satisfied, while the lone man was a little hungry still.

Don't go if you're in a rush. And that isn't the point. I think this place is meant to be savoured.

On an interesting side note, the owner came to say hello to us. Nice touch.

I'll be going again, for sure. This city hideaway is a treat.

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Not worth the money
By buttercup8 of Toronto (5 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 5:11pm [Dine in]

Food was good, but not a real Italian restuarant-we left hungry!!
Very disappointing portion sizes for the amount of money paid-mains are appetizer portions. A trip to McD's afterwards was necessary. Save your money for a more worthy restaurant.

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My Favourite Italian
By nelsongourmand of West End (10 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 6:04pm [Dine in]

After having eaten at Il Nido several times, I thought a review was in order. I would eat here every day if I could. My experiences have been mostly as a lone diner and the food and ambience have always been far beyond my expectation. I love sitting in the lounge at the front of restaurant or on the patio on a nice day. The Coppa di Montecarlo (a fresh shrimp concoction) is out of this world and the pastas are the best I've ever had in Vancouver.

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Great Place... but still a bit hungry?
By hotshot of north vancouver (12 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, May 27, 2007 - 9:40pm [Dine in]

A neat little eatery hidden from the busy robson traffic. We even saw Dr. Rhonda from CTV dining right beside us!

The ambiance was romantic, a great place to take your date. Nice table setting, candles, paintings... the works!

Our waitress was great, provided a pleasurable experience, came to fill our glasses when they were empty and brought us bread without us having to ask.

We ordered the smoked salmon appitizer, risotto and ravioli for maincourse. Portions were small but tasty. No big complaints!

I think it is an experience to dine at Il Nido. I am not quite sure how inventive it really is, but more like westcoast meets italy. You sort of have to try it for yourself to decide! Great place to impress your date but make sure you know your Chianti wines!

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Delicious pasta
By Jason Metcalfe of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 1:00pm [Dine in]

I tried out Il Nido recently after hearing about it from a friend. I been to quite a few Italian restaurants throughout Vancouver but have never really been impressed with the quality of pasta I get. I find most places don't offer good quality for the price you pay (ie. not enough sauce, pasta is overcooked, etc...). When I went to Il Nido I ordered the fettuccine but asked the chef to substitute the cream sauce for some healthier ingredients (I was on a short-lived health craze at the time). What I received was an absolutely delicious creation of pasta, vegetables, and a very tasty red sauce, honestly the best pasta I have ever experienced. I would recommend this place to all pasta lovers.

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