Italian Kitchen offers a coalescence of old-world charm and new-world sophistication. The cuisine includes warm wheels of handcrafted pizza, peerless antipasto platters, and dry-aged steaks. A variety of pastas including: pappardelle blanketed with pulled osso bucco; impossibly fat gnocchi; and the ultimate ravioli with Dungeness crab and fresh buffalo-milk ricotta.
The wife and I were walking down Alberni Street and decided to stop here for lunch and sit outside on the patio. We had just left a wedding and felt like some champagne. Lucky for us they offer it by the glass! Two glasses of champagne arrived. It wasn't cold enough for my liking but tasted great. We ordered off the brunch menu..
Appies were next, we ordered two to share. The Beef Carpaccio with soft gorgonzola polenta, asiago cheese - delicious! Also the Bruschetta Sampler - chick pea, tomato basil, pesto, burrata.. Very good.
After that we each had a pizza which were both good and a decent size. I had the Quattro Formaggio “Bianco” (4 white cheese) caciocavallo, fontina, asiago, mozzarella. This was tasty but only for cheese lovers! Very rich and I could only eat half. Would have been better if I added fresh tomato on it I think. My wife ordered the Tartufo Funghi - portobello mushroom, truffle cheese and it was good as well. The waitress asked if we wanted more champagne and I said I did but I wanted it to be ice cold. She smiled said no problem and our next glasses were chilled perfectly. At the end we had to take some pizza to go -) Overall we had great food and service and we will return!
A party of 6 went to IK for a group lunch. Made reservations so no need to wait and this is recommended. Great lunch specials, lassagna, lamb shanks, pizza etc. Had the lassagna and tasted the lamb shanks, both very good. Service was very attentive and speedy. The only negative was the seating, a bit too cramped for any type of intimate dinners but OK for lunch. Would go again during dinner to check it out.
Having eaten here several times, for both lunch and dinner, I can fully understand why some reviews are very positive and some rather negative. The food quality is best characterized by the term 'hit and miss'. Some items are outstanding, fully worthy of 4 stars, while some other items are only mediocre, hence my overall 3-star rating. However, because of the reasonable prices and the premium location, the place is full all the time. Service is always very good, but this will sometimes go unnoticed because of the VERY loud ambient noise here and the crowded seating, which are distracting to me. Otherwise, the decor is nice and the setting is upscale.
We were in the area and decided to try Italian Kitchen for dinner. We have been to Trattoria Italian Kitchen and since this restaurant belongs to the same group we decided to give it a try. They have a completely differnt menu than the Trattoria. Prices are slightly higher. We did not have a reservation but it was early on Saturday evening so there was no problem getting a seat.
Unlike a previous review I did not find the music too loud. I'm very sensitive to overly loud music but here I found it just provided a nice background and added to the ambiance. It is a very pleasant room and the tables are not crowded together so it is easy to talk to your companion.
We decided to try the meat and fish platter. It consisted of veal milanese, linguine carbonara, forno trout, crab stuffed prawns, fried broccoli and seasonal vegetables. The platter was a good size. There was certainly enough food. All of the food was very good but the trout was just decent. The trout was well prepared, nice and moist but it just seemed very bland. It could have used some seasoning or herbs to bring out the flavour. We shared a torta di cioccolato for dessert, basically a flourless chocolate cake with expresso gelato and pecan crocante. Very tasty.
The service that we received was absolutely amazing. We had ordered a bottle of wine. While he was taking food from the platter my husband hit the wine bottle that was sitting on the table and it toppled over. He managed to catch it but some of the wine spilled onto the floor and tablecloth. Our waiter hurried over, said "don't worry about it, just relax and enjoy the rest of your meal and we'll take care of the problem" They cleaned up the mess promptly, checked to be sure that none of the wine had spilt on us and gave us two additional glasses of wine to compensate us for the spilled wine. This is gesture that was very much appreciated, especially since the incident was our fault. It is the sort of gesture that ensures that we would return. Wine and water was topped up continuously during our meal. After we finished out entrees our waiter brought us the dessert menu. He waited a decent interval and asked if we wanted dessert. My husband said yes we would like dessert but we would like to relax over wine first. The waiter said no problem, when we're ready just turn over the menu and he'll come back to take our order. 2 minutes after we turned over the menu he was there to take our order. This waiter is a real gem. Absolutely exceptional service.
We'll definetly return. It was a great evening.
Went to the Italian Kitchen to celebrate a birthday.
I arrived 5 minutes early for our reservation, but was seated immediately.
We ordered the bone marrow, and the bruschetta sampler for starters.
The spaghetti with kobe meatballs and the carne piatta sharing plate for the mains.
And the tiramisu, zeppole ci cioccolato and the mille folglie for dessert.
All of the starters and mains were good to excellent. In particular, the rib-eye steak (in the carne piatta) and the spaghetti w/ meat balls were fabulous. We found the veal piccata (also part of the carne piatta) to be good, but it's mild flavors were over powered by the bolder flavors around it.
Of particular note, the desserts were all superb. The zeppole ci cioccolato was a stand out.... slightly crisp to the bite, but warm, rich and sooo chocolately on the inside.
Our server was excellent... warm, friendly, charming and helpful.
I can't help it, I love food and I love to eat. After trying many different restaurants in the lower mainland, I notice everything from the first time I get seated to the waiter taking my order. We decided to come here after work because it was close to the movie we were going to go watch. Upon entering the cozy, funky and cool looking restaurant, I was warmly greeted & seated promptly. My first thoughts were, "Wow, this place seems pretty cool. " It had a nice open window to the outside and comfy dining tables, not too cramped but also not too spaced out. While I waited for my husband to arrive I noticed some things, such as the paper covering the top of the table, which I've seen before but didn't expect to see given that it seemed like such a swank restaurant. The waiter kept checking on me to make sure I was okay, which was great, but then some other waitress started sweeping the floor near the tables around me. I was a bit taken back because it was so unexpected given that I assumed dinner service had already started when I arrived at 6pm! Anyways, while strange to see that I was still excited to try the food. We opted for the pasta platter for 2, and while some of it was actually yummy, overall it was a disappointment because the portion was small for dinner and at $18/person I expected a lot more, not undercooked penne. =( I heard that lunch is better there with more reasonable prices. It guess that makes sense since it caters to a larger crowd during that time, but still. Wish it were better for dinner.
Came here for lunch on a weekday and tried the spaghetti w/ kobe meatballs. For 15 bucks I definitely didn't expect the meatballs to be made of real kobe beef, but still.. they didn't have much flavor. The spaghetti was pretty good though. Only concern is I felt really thirsty and dry after wards which is normally how I feel after eating at a low budget Chinese restaurant -- makes me wonder how much MSG was in the food (and shocking since I didn't think Italian places use MSG)
Ambiance: Nice room. Really loud. My friends and I were pretty much shouting at each other the whole time.
Service: Ok and as expected but in general the servers didn't seem as polished as other downtown establishments. They were a bit intrusive at times.
On a recent non-DOV experience a group of us went to IK for a meal. They told us we could only have the table for two hours, but they need the turnover with the high rent. The restaurant is on two floors, and it looks nice and trendy. The w/c was clean too. The one complaint is the loud music and overall noise level due to the place being full. The server had an expert knowledge of the menu, and made recommendations.
I had a lamb sausage goat cheese pizza which was outstanding. The egg on top is nice, like you get in Europe. All the others at the table had the garlic clams pasta which was fantastic. The drinks are a bit pricey, but given the location that is understandable. I had iced tea anyway. Nobody had room for dessert, so I can’t make a report about that. By Vancouver standards this is a good Italian joint. It sure seemed popular.
Italian Kitchen is a upscale restaurant situated in the heart of downtown, cleverly located near its sister restaurants. If you're not really into steak (Black + Blue) or seafood (Coast), you may consider Italian Kitchen for some pasta or other cuisine. We have dined here for both lunch and dinner, but today we decided to try out their Glowbal Friday burger special. Italian Kitchen's special is actually a chicken parmesan panini with a choice of soup or salad with a beer! You can get all of this for a mere $10.
Chicken Panini - $8.95 (regularly) (6.5/7)
This was actually one of the best sandwiches that we've ever had! We honestly enjoyed this more than the pastas and fish that we have ordered in the past. The bread had the perfect crunch to it but wasn't too hard nor too soft. The fior di latte complemented the breaded chicken cutlet perfectly, making it a light but satisfying lunch.
Pumpkin Soup (6/7)
The creamy soup was nice, thick, and hot. It was really cold today so the soup warmed us right up and dipping the panini into the soup was a great combination.
Ceasar Salad (6/7)
This was just a typical ceasar salad that didn't really have anything special about it. The vegetables were fresh and the sauce was nice and light.
Italian Kitchen is definitely a trendy restaurant that you should visit for lunch or dinner! It gets quite packed though so make sure you make reservations!
My first time there, I was quite disappointed.
The penne with tomatoe sauce was so over spiced with enough salt to see my blood pressure go through the sky. It came out warm.
However, the lasagna came out cold. Apparently this was one of the recommendation by their employees. For a feature of the menu, VEEERY disappointed. The middle of the compressed lasagna was stone cold.
The service was quite nice though.
The ambiance was pretty much the identical look of Glowbal.
Don't think I will be going back here.
Came here with my friend on a weeknite. The hostess was not particularly friendly. The room is very nice, there were people watching the hockey game in the bar (though I was surprised there would be a tv in this type of restaurant) For starters we shared the antipasto plate, it was quite good, for mains, my friend had the sable fish, she really liked it. I had the veal scallapini piccata. it was pretty average. Our server was ok, but not too knowledgeable about food. Overall I don't think I would come back but you never know.
Went for lunch with some of my buddies from University. The restuarant was full. Lucky one of my friends had made reservations. Service was very good and we did not have to wait for the table. The restuarant was full. We all had the pasta special and it was very good. Coffee was good also. Did not have room for dessert. It was loud place so hard to talk. I will go back another time and try it for dinner.
We went to Italian Kitchen for my mother's 60th birthday.
We had reservations and were promptly seated on the upper level when we arrived.
The decor was quite nice, modern and tasteful. One interesting note is the kitchen is wide open by the entrance, so you can actually watch the chefs preparing meals. Kind of cool.
There were 6 of us, and we ordered a few items from the menu. 4 of us shared a Pasta Platter for 2 , and a Fish(seafood) Platter for 2 along with some other appetizers. My sister's calamari was very memorable. Fried to perfection, with salt and a hint of hot peppers. The Kobe Beef Meatballs were very good as well.
Now as for the pasta. We were less impressed. The flavours were good, but a little overly garlicky. Most of the pasta on the pasta platter was undercooked. The Pappardelle pasta was very undercooked and when I bit into it, it was partially raw in the middle. The spaghetti was on the hard side, certainly not al dente. Other than the pasta, everything else was quite good.
The service was great, our water was refilled constantly, and the waiter checked on us often. He was friendly and helpful with questions as well.
Price wise for a downtown Italian place, the prices are certainly reasonable. Entree's range from about $18-$40, depending on what you order. For 6 of us, and 1 bottle of wine, all in it was about $300. Not too bad for a downtown "upper class" restaurant.
Overall a mixed experience. As it's downtown and there's plenty of other choices, chances are I won't be returning.
Four of my coworkers and I went to the Italian Kitchen for lunch about a week ago. They are usually booked well in advance, so I made the reservation about a week ahead of time. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the hostess who led us upstairs to another hostess, who seated us immediately.
The service is very laid back, in the sense that they really don't bother rushing around for anything. They just sort of saunter around, taking their time with everything. The manager actually came by to fill our water glasses and apologized for the delay with our server. When we asked a couple of questions, he kind of froze and simply said that our server would be right with us. Odd.
When our server finally arrived, he answered our questions and took our order for food & wine. It took a LONG time to get our wine - which was a bit weird, since we just ordered a bottle for the table. I didn't think it would take that long to ring in and bring back to the table, but it did take about 15 minutes for him to return.
We ordered an antipasto platter to share, and it was incredible. First of all, the portion is huge. We ordered for two, but shared between four of us. The fifth person in our group opted for the bruschetta as a starter. I think if only two people were sharing the platter, they wouldn't need anything else as there is so much on the plate and it's very filling. There were jumbo prawns, baked clams, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, kobe meatballs, char-grilled brussels sprouts, caprese salad and a few other items - everything was so flavourful. I think the brussels sprouts were a bit salty for some, but I really liked them.
I think it was about a half hour before our mains arrived. Far too long for a lunchtime wait, if you ask me. When the food finally arrived, there were no complaints from anyone - we all really enjoyed the food. The portions on some entrées were HUGE, while others a bit small - I guess it depends on your order. My lasagna and salad were a decent size, and I had to wrap most of it to go as I was still full from the appetizer. No one had room for dessert, and two of us left with take-out bags.
For a glass of wine, appy & entree, my bill was about $27 plus tax & tip. I didn't think it was outrageous, but I wouldn't spend that much on lunch very often. The food was definitely worth it.
My only complaint really, was with the service. Everything took so long to arrive and our server did not seem at all fazed by the fact that we were becoming impatient. If I go back for lunch, I would probably just stick with an appy OR an entrée to save time. I recommend this place if you are not in a hurry.
I came in this restaurant hoping to hate this place... I know that's shallow but at least I'm admitting it... It started when I saw the Ferrari parked in front of the joint... Oy vay! That pretentiousness takes 1 star off the ambiance!
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised with the whole package. We had a reservation for a Christmas lunch and were told we'd have to vacate by 1:15 - understandable for Christmas but a little bit declasse, in my opinion... you don't tell guests to your home they are welcome but make sure they get the hell out of your place by 10PM. The waitress was excellent though - she was very attentive, but not intrustive.
My only overt compalint is that Italian Restaurant is a noisy place. If they had 15 foot ceilings, it wouldn't be a problem. The restauraunt does attract the "poseur crowd" who couldn't care if they were eating broken glass smothered with ketchup, just as long as they were acknowledged...
I had the linguine vongole which was excellent, except the noodles were a little "pre-al-dente" - a little tough on the teeth... I hope my dentist doesn't mind.
All in all, the Italian Kitchen suffers from guilty-by-association - poseur crowd, but good food and pretty good service. If you can survive the 'tude, you'll enjoy this spot.
came here a couple months back to meet a friend for lunch and was expecting a good dining experience and it was the opposite.
we were hosted to our seats and it took a while for the server to finally come to our table and ask what we wanted so i just brushed that off and ordered a pizza while my guest had a pasta dish.
nearly 1 hour later, my lunch finally arrives while my guest's dish had arrived shortly before.. sure the server apologized once or twice before our meals had come but the length of time for them to make a simple pizza was absolutely unacceptable regardless of how busy the restaurant may have been.. when the pizza did arrive, i told them i would just rather have it to go so they packed it for me (my guest had finished her meal by that time)... they could tell i was pretty disgruntled as i made it very clear to my waitress so she gave us the meal on the house (that did little to change my opinion)
and it wasnt just me, the table to my left was having their company lunch and they were being quite vocal about the slow service and not surprisely, the table to my right which was a family and they complained about the same thing! both tables thought it was horrible and i couldnt have agreed more!
i really hope that the kitchen have fixed up their act because if they havent, one is better off buying a frozen pizza and cooking it at home!
i would not come back here again, the experience was so bad that it has completely turned me off from ever wanting to step foot in this place.
Went for a staff lunch here today. The service is very thorough here. The waitresses are in a attractive Grey dress uniform ( a nice change from all the LBD's at say earls et al) and the waiters in whites and the wine staff in black..a lot of staff=attentive service. The menu is not overly large, a good sign that they stick to what they know. both varieties of the bruschetta are awesome and a deal at 4 bucks. The pasta is amazing! I highly recommend the parpardelle with spicy lamb sausage..it was one of the best pastas I've had, a real gem. My buddies had the raviolis and the stuffed large pasta shells (conchiglioni) both very well done. The pizza look divine too. The prices are a bit high but consider it the price to pay for good Italian food and service in Vancouver (T.O. and Montreal are MUCH better in this respect). The bottled water and coffee were reasonable and the desserts were huge and delicious albeit expensive, they have a very good tiramisu! the only down side is two things, it can and does get a bit loud ( we were upstairs) and the wine/drink prices are down right usurious!!
Not a regular lunch or dinner spot for my budget but a definite must try and great for special occasions as it is truly a very beautiful restaurant, I'd recommend it.
First came here in the middle of September at lunch.
Slick, upscale and trendy eatery. Quickly whisked upstairs to a table by the window. Servers are fairly good but a bit too attentive. They need to turn it down a notch. Food was very good and it was a surprise to see some very decent sized portions. Had the prosciutto bruschetta, tasted great and a really good deal.
Had the Antipasto platter. Pricy and beautifully presented. Some exceptional tastes and others regular fare. Main course of the lamb pasta and the veal tenderloin were good choices. I had the veal and my lunch guest had the pasta. Had a taste of the pasta and wished I had ordered it myself. When I returned for a second lunch in October I ordered it but it wasn't exactly the same although still very tasty. Dessert was tiramisu and one of the better tasting tiramisus.
Good food and generally good sized portions for your money. Service the second time was better. Less effusive. My only complaint is that they do not accept debit. They have an ATM machine that charges you to get your money. Debit would be a nice courtesy to the customers.
It has been quite a while since I felt so catered to in a restaurant. Even some so called fine dining restaurants seem to be suffering from the shortage of good staff. But not the Italian Kitchen! They have some sort of complicated hierarchy of service staff (from guys dressed in all black, to waitresses in a black and white dress, to waiters in white shirts black ties, to another lady not in any of these above outfits but would "serve" as well) that are so attentive, helpful and alert.
Hubbie had a good time here with a friend so he thought I would have a good time too. All the beautiful patrons here added to the surreal experience. Even for the downtown lunch crowd this lot seemed extraordinarily au courant in hair, fashion, and the latest accessory, the tan. And these are the machismo-exuding male patrons.
Our starter salad of beets was the perfect portion and very refreshing. My pasta portion was very generous but I would have to say the meatballs slightly bland. My husband's chicken meatball "soup" was very interesting; I think I liked his slightly better.
So why would I say the "food" is "outstanding"? Because the tiramisu we had for dessert was out of this world. It was fantastic. I was in bliss. Even Hubbie who claims he doesn't like dessert was very impressed.
I took a star off because the restaurant was slightly too noisy. There are a other restaurants I put in this noisy category--Chambar and the Sequoia Grill. It's not that you can't hear the conversation at your own table, but the overall noise level seemed at a dull roar. Also, I did not enjoy the greeting at the front door. It seemed the hostess had lost control of the small mob which had assembled and some Suit Guy with the charm of a prison guard took over. Otherwise, the Owner made his rounds to the tables, including mine, and he was very charming, and the rest of the staff were just outstanding.
This is a place that's about the benjamin$. The hostesses will seat you according to your look and the efficient, if cool, service takes over from there. The food is Italian but more Tony Montana than Mamma Mia. By this I mean is that it's very much N.American/expense cheque Italian, often tasy but a little soulless. There are exceptions and that is the spaghetti and Kobe beef meatballs. How this gem got on the menu is a mystery as it's everything a place like this aspires to - audacious, delicious, messy and well served and well priced. The wine list has some aggregious markups, depending on your taste, catering again to the expense accounts but again, you can find some decent offerings there. Still, this is a place to eat, pay and move from and there's very little here that encourages you to linger.