Campagnolo offers affordable, causal Italian on Main Street in Chinatown. Now open for weekend brunch.
Who would have guessed that such a nice Italian restaurant has sprung up in Chinatown (or at the fringe of it)? I had lunch there with my wife just now. The appetizers were very creative and very tasty. We had two different pasta dishes for our main course, and both were yummy, cooked just right (al dente). We saw that some of the people at the neighbouring tables ordered pizza, and all the pizzas looked great (at a very decent size), so I presume that they tasted great as well. The price is not cheap, but you get what you pay for. The only slight negative was that bread did not come free, and they charged $1.50 or $2 for 'a side of bread', which consisted of 4 small thin slices of freshly toasted bread, drizzled with olive oil. There weren't too many people there, so the place was nice and quiet, but considering the hard surfaces everywhere, it may get noisy in the evening. But then, Italian restaurants are always noisy anyways. If you haven't been here, you really should try it out.
Had lunch here with my father, the place is nice! Clean, has an elegant yet casual feel to it. I consumed,
Appetizer - Sawmill Bay Clams - $13.50
This appy was great, perfectly cooked clams, beautiful sauce with a hint of heat to it. 4/5
Lunch - Agnolotti (braised veal, white chanterelles and chives) - $18
This was a great little portion of pasta, the flavors were spot on, only would have been better if it was cooked a slight touch longer in the water. Solid dish. 4/5
Dessert - Chocolate Budino - $8
A nice dessert, was a little on the sweet side for me but still good. 3.5/5
My father had a margherita pizza - $13 which he enjoyed, I tried a slice and agree that it was good.
Overall I enjoyed this place, small, cozy, friendly and not snooty. I am looking forward to coming back here for a great dinner with my wife and some friends in the future.
Went there on a weekend lunch cause we happened to be in the area. We were the 2nd table there so it was pretty empty, but thereafter, people started flooding in.
The place is quite roomy, not cramped, and decor is reasonably appropriate. Only 2 waitresses on duty, but they attended to us quite well. Quite accomodating even though we had a young child in our party.
The lunch menu was simple, short. At least compared to what we are used to. Some antipasti, pasta & pizza. That's it. We decided to grab a pizza, which was a margherita scramble (you know, with scrambled eggs on top), a squash risotto that the waitress said they just introduced the day before and a pasta with rabbit ragout.
The pizza, well, don't knock it till you try it. The scrambled eggs worked nicely. Crust was done well, it was way better than Nicli Antica's bullet proof, hack-saw proof crust. The flavour of the crust isn't as good as Sciue or Bibo though. Decent size, overall great flavour. We really liked it, but I wish they could've been a bit more generous with the basil. Skimpy!
Aaah, the pasta with rabbit? Really, really tasty, big thumbs up for the flavour. Pasta was decently done as well. The only complaint, $14 for a really small dish. The risotto came up and we quite good. It was "creamy" but not rich, nice balance of flavours. In fact, the last, forgotten spoonful got cold, but it was still good. Yup, liked that too. Again, the dish was not big. I think there are many people who may not feel completely full with sizes like this, even for lunch.
Hmmm.... dilemma. If I were in the area, yeah, I would stop by again. We enjoyed the whole experience, especially the food. I would recommend it for that. Would I want to make a trip of it out to this questionable neighbourhood? Was it really really creative? Maybe. Was the execution beyond compare? Not quite. Are there other options in town with similar price? Yes, I think there might be, in better neighbourhoods. Tough call, but I think I would save it for when you're driving by. I'm glad it's in the area and I would go again to check it out some more to see if it merits an upgrade.
Every time I drive by this place, there is always people in there. So one day, I finally got a chance to try their lunch menu. I was by myself. Once I stepped in, I was almost immediately greeted by a smiley lady. My server was very friendly and attentive. The menu was in Italian and I am not very familiar with Italian food so I ordered what I can pronounce. I ordered the Tuna Preserva. I had no idea what it was but I like surprises. While I was waiting for the food to arrive, I had nothing to do. But my server was smart and handed me a magazine to read. Wow, I don't remember ever receiving such great service. When the food arrive, it looked different than what I imagined. It looked like a piece of naan bread topped with tuna & cesar salad. I was excited cuz I like them both. The server told me that traditionally, I have to fold the bread and eat it like a wrap. The bread was super fresh and fluffy and the salad was delicious. I really liked it. At $13 it was worth it.
Tried this new restaurant on a weeknight and it is in out of the way part of town. Right beside the Ivanhoe Pub but it seems to have improved a bit since they have started targeting the backpacker crowd for the hotel. Shared these items. Tried a pasta, the ragu, which was full of slow cooked pork. I think the noodles were made from dry pasta and it could of been improved with a wider, fresh noodle and maybe a slightly bigger portion but great tasting. Had a pizza and it was very good, nice portion with good toppings. Also had the flank steak which was done rare-medium rare. Very nice a flavourful with a side of kale.
Nice wine selection and service was very good with the waitress giving suggestions on food and wine. Value overall is good. Would come back.
So 4 of us were on a pizza crawl f three spots (my friend saw that they were rated the best in Van)
hmmmm...we'll see. Being a pizza nut, I always wanted to try this place (the others were Nicli Antics and Barbarella). ground rules: one margherita (as a base line) and one whatever.
To be fair, this isn't strictly a pizza place, there pastas looked amazing! good thing to....I don't know how this was voted one of "the best" as the oven is a conventional one you'd find at any pizza joint!
The Margherita wasn't up to par...they uses tomato sauce instead of fresh...the cheese was almost nonexistent and almost no basil! The second was a fennel sausage and arugula. Better but really, the sausage was almost non existant. I steer clear of this place for pizza but I il be back to try their pasta!
Heard good things about this place and wanted to try it out. Well first of all it's in a seedy part of town which doesn't really bother me. We ordered the albacore crudo which was pretty average, and then we had the salumi platter which again was pretty average. Then we shared a pasta (which was the special that day) and a pizza. The pasta was pretty good but the pizza was a bit underdone. The service was good and the room is quite nice and they have a bar in the back which was kind of weird. Overall it was okay, but since I don't live in that neighborhood and don't frequent that part of town much, I probably won't be going back any time soon.
Upon entering this cozy space, I really wanted to like this restaurant. The ambience is great and really lends itself to a nice place to lounge with friends over drinks. Unfortunately, the food quality doesn't deliver. It's not bad by any means, but it lacks any WOW factor warranting a second visit. Here's the skinny:
Food: shared appie was pretty good, had the chick pea salad that seems to be a common item with many previous reviewers. My risotto was too salty and mushy. Friends' meals were also too salty. Flavours were adequate but the saltiness was overpowering. Smallish in portion size which would've been fine if off-set by quality ingredients.
Service: attentive and friendly. Owner/operator made an effort to ensure that we had a good time. Food came out quickly and drinks/water were refilled.
Ambiance: dark, trendy - but not pretentiously trendy space. Interesting lighting fixtures. Comfortable seating.
Value: Most entrees were priced between $13 to $20 so it's not a shock to the pocket book. Overall average value and the wine was reasonably priced. Hmmmm...however in consideration of the portion size, this is not a solid 3 - more like a 2.5. You may need a few appies to supplement the entree to leave feeling full.
Following on the heels of successful casual Italian restaurants like La Buca and La Quercia, Campagnolo falls short. The food was good but not great.
Pros: The price point was very affordable, and the cutlery and room clean, simple and inviting. Our waitress was also extremely professional and friendly.
To improve on: Portions were a bit small, menu hard to read if you're not familiar with Italian (translations would help), and they could work on the quality of the pasta - I wonder if it was freshly made in house, didn't seem like it.
That said - it is a good restaurant, I just think there is room for improvement.
I really wanted to like this place as there's few or no Italian restaurants in the Main street area, not this kind anyway. The highlight of this restaurant is not the food but the space. Modern but warm, not Yaletown trendy. The wine lounge in the back is pretty nice too.
Food was ok, but nothing really stood out. The fried chickpea appetizer may have been one of the best things we had. The ling cod was also above average, but the pastas were forgettable (which is surprising, since this is an Italian restaurant). Portions were on the small side, but nothing totally unexpected except for the octopus salad - I think we got 10 little bits of diced octopus. The scarcity of food on that dish rivaled that at Lumiere.
The really underwhelming part of this restaurant, though, is the service. Uninspired, almost cold, and not very knowledgeable. Our waitress had no clue about wine - I'd venture to say that the servers at the Bentall Cactus Club know more about wine.
Maybe this restaurant just needs some time. I won't hold my breath
I'd heard a lot about Campagnolo's so was looking forward to trying it out. It's in a pretty skeezy area, but the interior is modern and funky (though I'm not a fan of plastic chairs or cinder block walls).
No reservations for groups smaller than 8, so the 6 of us arrived at 6 and got a table fairly easily - though by 7 there were lineups at the door, no free tables, and the room was REALLY noisy. The crowd is predominantely 20s and 30s hipsters.
The wine list is pretty limited, certainly if you like anything other than Italian reds. The menu feels unbalanced, and the appetizers in particular were off-the-wall. No bread for the table. Pizzas were heavy on the dough, light on the toppings, and one of the three at our table was overcooked/charred. Cannelloni was very small - more like appetizer sized - while the Tagliatelle was absolutely huge.
Overall, I feel like we paid too much for just middling food & ambience. Won't be returning.
I went there with a friend on a Sunday for lunch after we saw other friends mentioned that they visited this place. We had high hopes after browsing the restaurant's menu on their website, thinking that we might get a bit of little Italy out of this visit.
Unfortunately we were definitely underwhelmed. They were not horrible but not even close to what it is racked up to be. We found couple of their food items too salty and too greasy.
The decor is not too bad but we felt that the waiter didn't give us enough time to look over the menu before coming back again to get our order. We had to send her away twice before we were ready to order. Just to set the context, the restaurant was not busy at all so they were not in a rush to get people out so to free up tables for other guests.
Overall, I think the restaurant has potential with its concept, but execution (food and service) needs quite a bit of work.
Had a very enjoyable meal at this slightly out of the way, yet classical Italian joint. We sampled a variety of their appetizers with a generous bowl of fried, salty chickpeas a favourite among the group with the garbanzos crunchy exteriors a perfect foil for the still moist centres. The pizza bianca came out hot and crisp but the toppings were slightly subdued with the accompanying spices (additional cheese, chilis, and oregano) all unnecessary save for the real dried oregano. Lack of cured meats available was surprising because it’s a large portion of their menu so we subbed in fried pig trotters. Meaty, breaded and fried pork balls were uplifted by a very vibrant salsa verde. All three pastas sampled earned high marks. The pork ragu (a known standout) was surprisingly delicate in both flavour and texture while the farfalle with fennel sausage, fresh cheese, and leeks stole the show. The meatiness of the sausage was to my preference with the ragu lacking a bit of bite despite its luscious texture. The only main was a shared pork loin cooked perfectly pink and elevated by a cotechnio jus with crisp beans and onions. The desserts didn't last long and showed a typical Italian restraint that was much desired after such a hearty meal. The cherry cake was a moist pound cake on a pool of mascarpone cream while the panna cotta, in all its wobbly glory, came adorned with chunky apricot breadcrumbs. Wine list was heavy on Italian and prices ranged from very reasonable to very exclusive. Service was tight and the pacing of the meal was spot on. The bill can add up by the end of the night but it is worth it.
For years I drove by the small portugese restaurant that used to be in this spot, always promising myself I would try it. Missed the chance and was sad to see it bordered up last Fall. Another one bites the dust, I thought, wondering if anything would reopen in this dilapidated stretcth of Main St. In December, Campagnolo did just that. The decor looked pretty barren from the outside. But every time I drove by, I saw people inside. Then the reviews started appearing. Kudos from foodies, mixed reviews from the rest. Last week it was voted one of the hottest new food destination in the city. It was time to try it and tonight my partner and I did just that. They didn't take reservations, so we arrived slightly before 6 and were warmly greeted at the door and given a choice of where we wanted to sit. We chose along the wall, flanked by a continuous bankette. The decor turned out to be indeed barren, but functional. Looks like they stripped the old interior, revealing the basic masonry and wooden ceiling beams. Wooden accents in the bar, separating wall and false ceiling warm up the atmosphere. Service was prompt and attentive. We started with the homemade country paté (which could have used a bit more spices) served with crostinis (which were extra, don't know why, as with what else would you eat paté?...). My partner had the ling cod (nicely prepared and presented) and I chose the fennel sausage pizza (best pizza crust I've eaten in a while - want recipe). Not a lot of stuff on the pizza (maybe a quarter of a sausage, chopped up, some arugula, chilis and tomato sauce), but it was still very tasty. The food style is definitely italian rustic. Portions are not very big, so I would probably be more inclined to come back for lunch or an afternoon or after-show snack than dinner. They seem to have a nice wine list. By the time we were done the place had filled up. Not bad for a rainy Wednesday night.
This restaurant has a great atmosphere, the modern design is original and stylish but also comfortable. The quality of the food is outstanding, and I was impressed that nothing on the menu cost over $18 (even though I was somewhat disappointed in the portions!).
I'm still confused that they don't offer bread or crackers for the cheese plate, was I supposed to use the cylindrical crostinis like chopsticks, or balance the cheese somehow on them, or just eat the cheese with my fork? Kind of wierd. (And they're really salty crostinis too, not great to top with salty cheeses)
Giovanni in the wine bar is fantastic. What an asset he is - he made us feel like he was there just for us, we were so well taken care of! The other 2 times I was there, the servers made me feel rushed, and didn't inspire confidence in their knowledge of menu description.
All said and done, I'll be back. This is a great place to relax over wine and a small bite of delicious food (try their cured meats, mmm!). The only other noteworthy suggestions would include putting a space heater in the f-f-f-freezing back room, and making the menu more accessible (I feel quite confident in my food knowledge, but didn't know what *anything* was on the menu)
So...I don't see what all the fuss is about with this restaurant. We arrived early (6 pm) on a Friday night and got a prime window seat (first come, first served philosophy).
The menu is in partial Italian and required translation.
Server appeared to be knowledgeable negotiating the wine list but the recommended choice was thin and nondescript (certainly not what we were looking or asking for. A second choice was also a disappointment.
We took the server's recommendations on the Chick Pea Salad - basically flash fried chick peas - tasty but nothing to be over the moon with. The recommended risotto was rich and sumptuous but unfortunately swimming in a small lake of oil - not very appetizing and we left over half of it untouched.
Pizza - okay, how can an Italian restaurant get this wrong? We ordered the Salciccia - the crust was great, but the tomato sauce tasted like canned Hunts (too sweet and salty) and I had to wipe my hands after picking up a slice - again too liberal with the oil. The flavorings on the pizza could have been better but were detracted from by the subpar tomato sauce.
The juxtaposition of the Ivanhoe regulars stumbling by and the upscale foodies inside was also a bit sad- I used to live in this neighbourhood and I don't think anyone slinging $2 beer at the Hoe would be frequenting this establishment. I wouldn't call it a neighbourhood joint (at least not yet; whether this restaurant will be around once the Oly Village is complete and it will be a different story).
I would not return to this restaurant - Vancouver is flush with great restaurants meaning mediocre ones can be avoided on the second pass.
I am not sure what all the fuss is about (mental note to self - stop paying attention to pretentious foodies and self-appointed experts), but, I for one, was most disappointed. Had the special - spot prawn withh spag - very poor. The spot prawns were floppy and tasteless - worse acutally - had a distinctive fishy taste - gross. It's now several hours since my dinner and I can still taste that fishy mush - yuk.
Also had the chick pea appet - avoid it; dry and tasteless - need something to take it up several notches.
On the other hand - great ambiance . . . too bad about the food. Those morons at Van Mag and other critics - get a life; better yet, go to school (college at least) and qualify for a real job.
Went to Campagnolo before a hockey game with three other people including at 10 year old picky eater and we sure were glad we did! We had the Tagliatelle, Spaghetti, and the Salsiccia pizza. I can't really say much about the pasta as I only wanted pizza, but my dining mates, including the picky 10 year old loved it! He and his dad shared both pastas, and they both agreed that the Tagliatelle was the better one of the two.
My husband and I shared the pizza and it was amazing! Much better than Nicli's as I found Nicli's to be quite chewy. The pizza was perfectly seasoned and I loved their crust. It was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The service was good. The place was busy and our server was attentive enough. Will definitly be paying Campagnolo another visit in the near future.
We had the chance of eating twice at Campagnolo. Although they have only been open a short time both experiences were great. The food was consistently very good especially the Ceci,chickpea salad, the octopus salad and pizza. Staff was warm and friendly. A great addition to the Vancouver dining scene. The only negative is the dodgy neighbourhood.
The menu is short, but everything we tasted was delicious. It's definitively not the 'classic' Italian food, they've put their twist on rustic Italian fare and it works.
The drawback is the room. It has cool design features, but the open kitchen and the concrete floors mean that it's very loud. It's fun to go with a group of friends but not awesome as a romantic date. It's also very drafty in winter- that wood canopy is stylish, but it doesn't cut the cold air on a rainy Vancouver night.
It's maybe slightly overpriced for people that like to eat a lot (the portions are reasonable but not huge). I think the originality and quality of the dishes are outstanding, and it's nice not to have gargantuan portions.
I will go back, I'm a fan. I think it's cool that the restaurant is set in a 'run down' area of Vancouver, I'm all for urban regeneration.