Il Giardino is an upscale Italian restaurant downtown on Hornby. They are closed on holidays.
I've heard mixed reviews of this place but I just had to try it out for myself. My wife & I ate there last night. We were seated in the garden (outdoor seating) at a table that was sitting on an weird angle. We asked if we could switch to one of the 2 tables beside us & it seemed like a bit of a chore for them, then the hostess who sat us said that they were both reserved.. ok no problem. During dinner an older couple sitting near by didn't like their seats, I guess the sun was in their eyes so they moved them to the table that we weren't allowed to sit at, hmmm weird!
ok ok on to the dinner now.. Appies, the wife ordered the seared ahi tuna & I ordered a softshell crab & avocado salad. Both were very good. For the entree's I had the lobster,mushroom agnolotti & my wife had the duck. She loved the duck! It looked a little dry to me but she was happy. My pasta was very good, fresh & delicate. For dessert we had the Pecorino cheese with pear & truffle honey. Yummy as well. Overall everything I consumed was great, even the bread was good! It's a little pricy but I would give this place another try in the future, the food was great & the restaurant is beautiful inside.
Hubby and I went here for Dine Out Vancouver. Like others recently, I would have to agree that I felt rushed and a bit ...."cheated"?
I had the prawns and pasta for appetizer, sablefish and creme brulee. Hubby had the tuscan soup, sablefish and white chocolate raspberry ganache cake.
It was all good, but we felt the service was superficial. Efforts to engage the serving staff were rebuffed, and we were "in and out" very quickly.
This was our only "dine out" experience this year, and we were disappointed.
I've been looking forward to trying Il Giardino for so long, and decided to capitalize on the Dineout 2008 menu to do so.
I started with the endive salad with pancetta and seared duck (very good), followed with the horseradish crusted sablefish with a vegetable medley (absolutely fabulous) and finished with white chocolate ganache cake (very good).
Our servers were attentive and prompt, and given the extremely busy Dineout event, they performed ably.
The room is a charming rustic italian in rich yellows and natural woods.
Still one of our favorite restaurants. Yes the are a bit on the pricey side but you do get value for your money here unlike some other high end restaurants.
When I made our reservations I requested a table overlooking the courtyard as these tables have a tendency to be a bit quieter.
Service was very good. We started off sharing an order of penne with Italian sausage. For the main course I had steak with peppercorn sauce and my husband had the duck. All of the dishes were superb. When I made reservations I had requested white chocolate mousse cake for dessert. They no longer have it on the nenu but it used to be one of my favorite dishes. I asked the waiter if the kitchen had prepared the dessert. Unfortunately, they were unable to honour my request. They did made a special dessert with white chocolate mousse but it was not what I had ordered and we did not care for it. It was too sweet for us. They did apologize and took the dessert off the bill.
We try to go to Il Giardino once a year and it is always a very special evening.
I have yet to experience a better Italian restaurant in Vancouver. The food was excellent; each plate was carefully prepared and tasted exquisite. The waiter was very efficient, although he left before giving us our cheque. I would like to have a dinner party in their private dining area before it closes down for the next couple of years due to hotel construction next door.
I came into this place with such high expectations since it was ranked #1 on dinehere.ca and many of times, these expectations fall flat but this was one of the rare exceptions.
Food: young romaine leaves (aka caesar salad) was very good (croutons are amazing but more needed!) and crispy soft shell crab was different but also very good - my only qualms with this dish was it was a bit small for the price but tasted great so not too much of a complaint. For my main, I ordered the half chicken roasted tuscan style which came out perfect - it takes 20 min but it was honestly roasted to perfection. Most places, the roast chicken is too dry and sauce too bland but this chicken was still moist on the inside and the flavoring was just perfect with just enough sauce. My bf had their agnolotti filled with crab meat and he just savored every bite because it was so good - may not be a wise choice for the very hearty as this dish was quite small. Raspberry chocolate ganache cake was also very good - nice and velvety with a dark chocolate crust at the bottom and the raspberry/orange (?) coulis that came with it was the perfect complement. Totally kicked Morton's ganache cake's ass...
Service: No pretentions aura felt here! It was just the right amount of service - not overwhelming but we were taken care of as well. Our server was kind enough to suggest that she take away our menus and eat our appies first and then order our mains since we couldn't decide between all the great dishes on the menu. The only problem is that they should really keep an eye out on water refills - many people, ourselves included, were out for a long time before any of the servers noticed.
Ambiance: A very warm place that welcomed all. They have a great patio that I am tempted to try sometime. Very full restaurant on a Fri night so reservations needed.
Would def. return if my bf's wallet can take another hit!!
To start off the evening, the valet parking service was not pleasant at all, he was kinda rude for what he does. We were greeted at the door right as we walked in, although we had a reservation and a dinner table looked prepared we were asked to wait as they claimed our dinner table was not ready. After 15 minutes, we were seated at our table which was prepared the minute we walked in. Not sure why they made us wait for a table when they had a table for the 12 of us to begin with..We started off with drinks and appetizers. The dishes we got were all disappointing, the tastes of all the dishes we ordered were all off, either way too bland or too salty. With exception of the salmon carparccio, it was done quite nicely, thinly sliced and prepared with a nice light taste. I ordered a rack of veal chop, which was extremely salty! I normally enjoy eating very tasty dishes too but this was way too salty. My 2 girlfriends ordered the grilled salmon and that was fine, the taste was mild and the salmon was juicy and tender. Another ordered pasta and that too was extremely salty, to the point where we had to ask for another order made for her. The food here is average for the price if you ask me and there is no consistency on the taste. Spend your money somewhere else!
We dined here last night. It's our third time at Il Giardino, and the food is very good, definitely above average for Italian food. I dont find the experience as amazing as everyone else here makes it sound. The service felt about the same as a Milestones or Earls. I felt like I was in a casual dining restaurant not a fine dining one.
The food is very good for what it is, but very pricey. The food at La Cucina in North Vancouver is equal in quality and flavour to here, but no where near as expensive.
I think they run more on reputation that allows them to charge more for the food and service than its really worth.
Honestly, I probably will return, it is a good restaurant, but I dont find it to be fine dining, its just a casual dining trattoria, and people who havent been there before should know what to expect.
This is our "date night" restaurant because we have never (and don't expect to be) disappointed by the food, service, or ambiance. My husband and I came during Dine Out and lowered our expectations somewhat as we thought they might skimp on food quality or service, like some other restaurants do--but everything was still excellent! The servers and their helpers are rather busy at times so your water and bread may take a while, and the decor inside could do with a bit of freshening up, but nevertheless, we will be going to Il Giardino again and again!
Fantastic! One of the best meals I have had in Vancouver. Service is tight, and complimented the food. The room has a very cozy feel, and made me feel at home. Prices are high, but with fair value. I will return for sure, possibly until I have tried the entire menu. Incredible private dinning room for 16.
I had high expectations as I hadn't been here in a couple years. It has a great ambience and charm to it, the service was quite friendly although a little unattentive.
The sad thing is the best thing they have is the bread. I ordered a number of dishes including Spaghetti Carbonara that had bacon as dry as cardboard and cream? There's no cream in Carbonara and the waitress got argumentative over it. It was under seasoned and sadly lacking in any flavour. The cooks also didn't take the time to wipe the mess off the rim of the plate. (I've seen cleaner plates at Denny's).
The Osso Bucco was also a great dissapointment. It was braised just long enough to be called braised but not as tender as you'd expect it. It was covered in a bland tomato sauce that was watery and underseasoned. The saffron rice was decent, and the small pieces of veg you get were, well boring.
This place is the biggest scam on the market. Charging 38-45 for entrees! I don't understand how people can give this place anything more than 2.5 stars for food quality, unless they measure it SOLELY on portion size and pinch their nose while their eating.
Another example of a big disinterest in quality food in the city. Another establishment gone downhill and pillaging customers and serving them soul-less food.
I did enjoy the bread and the fact they carry Moretti beer.
I am quite the critic when it comes to Italian food, so to me the food overall was at bar level- not above or below. .The one thing I did notice was the appies seemed as the though they were made hours before, lettuce was limp-crusty stuff was damp etc. Positives, nice drink selection although no drink list, good selection of wines. Service was fine, ambiance was very nice...perfect, we wanted a quite spot and they put us on their side patio- very nice. Our visit was mid-week so not to busy.
After years and years of great, exceptional food, I must lower my recommendation of Il Giardino's rating both for quality and value. Service remains excellent, as does ambiance, but........! On a fairly quiet evening recently I have to say I was disappointed for the first time. We ordered the antipasto to start as we usually do, deciding to forego an additional plate of mussels. The antipasto was of minimal quantity, and of minimal quality. One piece of tomato with mozzarella for a serving for four! Two slices of meat, a couple of olives.... really not even enough for two, aside from the fact that it was all tasteless.
Having been an avid proponent of Il Giardino for so long, I wasn't going to let the antipasto dampen my enthusiasm. My main course was the rack of lamb, one of the restaurants' key signature dishes for years, always of consistent quality. Alas, it is now down to three thin pieces of lamb, not the usually meaty-succulent-cooked to perfection four pieces. I also found the sauce to be lacking both in flavour and smoothness.
In fairness, my guests were satisfied with their dishes of fish. But when I consider the current prices per plate and the diminishing helpings and quality, I must truthfully, albeit sadly, lower my rating.
Lunch here has always been a Vancouver experience for me. I have had many memorable experiences in the yellow house. Unfortunately my last Lunch visit was very underwhelming. My short rib dish was luke warm and lacked tenderness, my guest’s pasta was an average rendition of an old classic, and the desserts were uneventful. I have a feeling that Vancouver may have raised the bar past this type of dining. I think it is time for an upgrade.
Il Giardino was by far my favorite restaurant that I visited during Dine Out Vancouver. The food was fantastic, the service was good and the restaurant itself is beautiful. The have it set up with just a few tables in each room so that it feels like a small initimate restaurant even though it is actually quite large.
I had the lobster salad to start, which came with a huge lobster claw and mixed greens with a yummy dressing. My entree was close to heavenly - it was the tastiest, juciest sable fish I have ever had! The chocolate ganache cake was a perfect end to a deliscious meal and a great evening.
My boyfriend and I have always heard really mixed reviews about this place, so we knew we had to try it ourselves. Went on a Saturday night, 8:30 reservation. It took about 15 minutes to get a table but a large group was just leaving when we arrived and it was totally packed, so it was understandable.
The service we had all night was amazing, if a little slow. The server was attentive, genuinely friendly, and had personality. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is b/c the server lost our appetizer order and had to come back about 15 minutes after we ordered to ask us again what it was. We weren't in a rush, so we were alright with it.
The Beef Carpaccio was alright, nothing special. The slices of parmesan oin the carpaccio were on the small side and not very flavoural, not like the big rich slices you getat La Terrazza. The mussles and the broth they were in were to die for, probably the best I've ever had.
I ordered the traditional squah tortellini w/ porcini mushrooms which was awesome. The tortellini dough was so thin it was like wonton wrappers, balanced w/ a slightly sweet squash filling and LOTS of porcini mushrooms in the sauce. My boyfriend's spaghetti aglio olio w/ scampi was also delicious. We were so full we didn't have dessert.
The ambiance was great, cozy and lively. Honestly, I was very surprised this was such a great place, after reading all the bad reviews here. O bill with 2 appys, 2 entrees and a bottle of wine came to $130 before tip. Very reasonable considering the quality of food and service.
In many ways I agree with grnbastard's review of Il Giardino. The food here is very good, though a bit pricey. But very good Italian food is very easy to find in this city. What really matters is service.
I'm sure if I was some celebrity, or rich regular, we would have had better service. It looks like for anyone of us regular people, we should feel privileged just to be allowed in the doors of this place.
The waiter was rude, rushed us for our orders. When we wanted to order more drinks, we could not get attention-he was busy with another table of apparent high rollers-as he had mentioned to us. They were apparently some very rich regulars that demand extra special attention, so we have to pay for it.
I will never return here, as I don't really enjoy being made to feel like I'm a nobody-especially when I'm paying for it.
I must agree with KitsGourmet in many ways. There is nothing spectacular about this restaurant. There are literally dozens of Italian restaurants that are as good or better than here, and a lot cheaper.
I wouldn't say the food is that bad, it's average, but when you factor in the extra cost, then it is below average. The cheese tortellini tastes just of a basic cream sauce. I really did not get any flavour or texture of cheese.
Service is just like Milestones. Very functional, routine-efficient, but not particularly intersting, or friendly.
There are tons of Italian restaurants in Vancouve that are better, friendly and a LOT cheaper than here.
Came here for "dine out" Vancouver when it was super busy. Expecting poor service and a watered down menu, I was pleasantly surprised.
Food & service was first rate and depite the high volumes of people staff was curteous, prompt and timing of food was perfect.
Each dish I had was cooked to perfection with excellent presentation.
I want to go back again and was definetely impressed one of the better restaurant in Vancouver without overly snotty prices like "C"..where it's more show than substance.
Thursday evening, party of four. An amazing, classic, traditional, right out of the movies evening. It was a special treat. To be alive, in Vancouver, in the rain, at this great restaurant.
I've spend most of my life in Vancouver, am aware of Umberto's adventures. Don't know exactly but hasn't this place been going for 30+ years? It's fresh as ever. Decor, ambiance, tables, wood finishes, food, service, maybe he's taken this long to make it perfect. I don't know, I'm not in the restaurant business but he has my respect.
Wine selection, vast, impressive. Inexpensive and up. Staff, well selected and trained. Comfortable people who know their business and make you feel at home.
The valet, umbrella in hand got us into the restaurant dry. I tried to tell him about my car's security, - he just shooshed me along. "I've been doing this for 25 yrs" he said, "don't you worry, enjoy your dinner." Cool. I loved it. People bring greatness to their work, doesn't matter what the work is.
Cannelloni, pheasant, I can't remember the other dishes, but all exceptional.Portions, flavor, you're in good hands start to finish. The evening just flowed.
I expected out bill to be more, but in the end, it was still less than Seasons in the Park, - which is also a great restaurant.
Il Giardino, - a predictable, reliable, first class dining experience. Classic. Beautiful.
Thank you Umberto