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 7 of us made a reservation at 6.30 on a Saturday evening, but not all of us arrived till another 20 minutes later. The restaurant was full and remained full during the two hours we were there. We never got rushed to order or anything at all, which we appreciated. But I reckon that also had to do with the fact that our server was simply too busy to care anyway.
I had the Panzanella salad, with a side of soft polenta Bolognese. I have never had Panzanella salad before, so I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a warm salad, and be so moist (that is, before I blended in the salad dressing). Although it was not what I expected, I quite liked it. The portion was reasonable for the $10 price tag. The polenta ($8) was likely in reasonable portion, but it seemed under-seasoned and a bit bland to me.
My companions enjoyed their food in general - among the food they ordered, there were the fish platter, the spaghetti with 4 pretty big meatballs, the honey mussels appetizer, and the calamari appetizer. I had some bites of the calamari, and was very impressed - they were fried quite perfectly, not greasy, and seasoned just right. Given the $11 price tag, I think it was an excellent deal.
The music in the restaurant was ridiculously loud - we ought to yell in order to barely hear each other.
Italian kitchen seems to have been designed for the suburban , big hair crowd . Flashy tacky decor . Food that is average at best and bland always . Service is fine but no better than at Anton's or any other suburban pasta place . In fact for the price Anton's is a much better deal as the food is tastier and comes in bigger servings .
Maybe it was an off night but I won't be back soon .
When the little take-out window opened, it looked quite promising... Good menu and reasonably priced for the portions. That lasted for about a month. I grabbed a small container of the tomato-bocconcini salad today and received 3 slices of tomato and 2 slices bocconcini - which basically ended up being this tiny pile in the bottom of the container. I was too shocked to say anything other than "wow is that ever small" (server didn't care that I wasn't happy with it)... and I was too hungry to return it and walk away... But wow - was I ever disappointed...
On another note, beware of the WATER when dining in the restaurant! They offer sparkling or still - but the still water is not free tap water, but an $8+ bottle of some sort of mineral water. And the servers just take it upon themselves to bring additional bottles to the tables without you requesting it. Not much we could do after the fact - but a little mention of the exorbitant price of the water at time of ordering would have been nice to avoid the nasty surprise when the bill arrived!!!!
If this restaurant doesn't improve their food, service, or reduce the bloated prices of their wine list, they'll be toast. The room is attractive and the location is great, guaranteeing them a thriving lunch crowd, but the restaurant in general is just not up to snuff. It may be good enough for the plastic surgery'd cougars and idiot, greasy brokers, but it does not do its name justice. I'm sure any italian foody would be insulted that this half-assed trend-fest decided to insult the italian kitchen by taking it's name.
This downtown restaurant attracts the pretty boys and girls you might see in a trendy club and the ambiance is similar to a disco with low lighting and music that is far too loud. The hostess and server we had were both very young but did a great job, getting us seated without a reservation on a busy night and answering all our questions about the menu. The pastas are solid, well-flavoured and were cooked al dente. The pizza however isn't really pizza but more like a flatbread with toppings. There is an extensive wine list but most of the people around us seemed to be drinking neon-coloured cocktails. If they lowered the volume of the music I would be more likely to go back. The room itself is modern and attractive, though the open kitchen is already looking pretty beaten up.
I really wanted to like this place. I really like trattoria kitchen in kits which is owned by the same group and is supposedly supposed to be very similar to italian kitchen at lower prices. I also wanted to like it because some people I had talked to at work said they thought it was too loud - which usually I don't mind as long as there is a good vibe.
This however was not a good vibe at all. There was a table of 8 guys behind us seemingly trying to out-yell the other with awesome stories about search warrants and trashy girls. It probably would have been ok without that particular table, but even the wait staff were fake and not very prompt.
The food was fine - honestly no better than trattoria kitchen which is about 1/3 the price.
Ambience was also fine. I'm being generous here given the annoying table of d-bags behind us, but I'll pretend they were there. I also don't get the layout. It's a really warm and inviting space but then you have these massive windows facing alberni street which really isn't much to look at.
The service was fine but no better than an earls or other chain.
Due to the fact its sister restaurant serves the same food at 1/2 to 1/3 the price, value MUST be a 1.
Really disappointing due to the fact trattoria kitchen is really solid. If the prices were equal I'd still go to trattoria kitchen any day, but because they aren't I'll probably never return to italian kitchen if I'm paying.
Came here on a busy Valentine's day for lunch and was seated within 5 minutes in the bar areas upstairs. Restaurant is very narrow, so no much seating room.
Food: Had the mushroom risotto. Well cooked with enough flavour. My partner had the wild salmon cooked medium rare, so that it was still juicy. We also had a complimentary desert, which was a raspberry torte with vanilla ice cream. Very well done.
Service: We were seated in a busy traffic area, so it was not too comfortable. Luckily, a gentlemen who is either the owner, matire d, or manager, made an effort to get us better seats even though we had no reservations. Since he didn't get us better seats, he took care of us with a delicious desert. Can't complain about the other parts of service; we were seated at the bar so service was right in front of us.
Ambiance: The decor is very modern for this restaurant. However, like I said, the restaurant is very narrow, meaning you sit back-to-back to the other patrons.
This place is great for lunch. They've obviously perfected serving the Downtown lunch crowd as we were in and out in 1 hour. Recommended.
to start im not the most diehard fan of italian food. just the basics of pasta or pizza and im good to go. i love how their open kitchen is set up but its a little to close to customer traffic. it can get busy at times so go early if you can around 5-6pm. they have a lot to chose from the wine list although im not a drinker myself
i like how the our server described everything once it came to our table, especially since i didnt know anything!!! haha
i would come back if i had out of town guests or long time friends i havent seen, but as a regular its kinda pricey for me.
Oh Italian Kitchen--we have been such loyal customers of yours for years. But tonight's service was enough to make me boycott this restaurant forever.
Having frequented this restaurant since my husband and I were dating, we have always been pleased with this restaurant. The food is fantastic and the ambience pleasant, We have had many a celebration, recommended it to our friends, etc. The past three times we have been with our children to enjoy a nice early dinner, the reception has been less than friendly. They could not wait to get us out of there.
Tonight's service took the cake. We were seated, politely i must say, but with such attitude--clearly it was Friday night and having a family of four in their hip restaurant seemed to be messing with their mojo. Our server never offered the specials, and when it became apparent we were not consuming any alcohol, developed even more of a passive aggressive attitude. We placed our order and it arrived in a split second, I kid you not. This is fine when you have small children who are famished, but he could not clear our plates away fast enough, and as soon as dessert was served our bill was on the table. I barely pulled out my credit card and there he was ringing it through. Hinting basically, please leave as soon as you can. Meanwhile the couple on our right was getting coddled and getting offered all the specials of the evening, amuse bouche and recommendations. In sharp contrast to our service.
I left feeling, wow--I spent my hard-earned money for such a sub-par experience with my family. How unenjoyable, how disappointing. Never again, they have lost my business.
Had lunch here last week, it is a BUSY place; we showed up for lunch at around 12:15pm, which is definitely dead in the middle of their lunch prime-time. We stayed until just after 2pm, and it was almost as busy when we left as it was when we walked in.
It took forever to get our food so we asked for some bread for the children to eat...we had to ask 3 times before the waiter finally brought it. When the food finally arrived, (just like the drinks) the dishes came out one and two at a time.
Order the Antipasto Platter, Vine Ripe Tomato Bruschetta and the Zeppele Doughnuts mmmmmm! All the Pastas are cooked al dente perfect and tasty!
The kobe meatballs and pasta are amazing. Make sure you order a side of brussel sprouts.
Friends here from Houston, staying at the Hyatt next door.
Server attempting to do too many things poorly.
Appy was O.K., but when server came to clear table, took dirty cutlery off the dishes, and put it back on the table!
2 tables over, 4 drunk girls having a birthday party and constantly yelling. Couple between the tables with 2 kids mentioned it to the same server who apparently talked to them.
Yelling continued, and the couple had their meals packed up and left.
Main course plain, uninspired, had better pasta that tasted like something out of a box!
Skipped desert as still could't hear ourselves, asked for and talked to the manager, who had a hard time hearing me over the yelling! Seemed surprised????
My 1st time there and I had heard some good/bad things about the restuarant. We had a reservation, as our party was 12 people, but we still had to wait after arriving on time. We were seated upstairs after a while. A few people in our group had been there before, and said it's hit or miss. They gave us this risotto sampler dish (to each of us) and everyone in our party said it was undercooked! Didn't the chef try a spoonful before serving it? I ordered the roast chicken penne as my entree, and again, my pasta was undercooked! Sure, I like my pasta al dente with a little bit of a bite, but this was just plainly undercooked. I was not impressed at all.
I would not take a date there, unless you're both into sign language. It is loud inside and you have to raise your voices to each other to be heard!
Another thing, larger parties (more than 8) are automatically charged 18% gratuity, just a reminder if you're going in a large party.
And one last thing, why do restuarants use such LARGE menus?!? I mean physically large! Our server had to come back 3 times to take our entire order, because he could not handle all the menus at once. Make it easier on the patrons (& the server) by having a reasonable sized menu! After I selected what I wanted to eat, I had to leave the menu on the floor against my chair. Sorry, just a peeve of mine.
Been wanting to go their for awhile a went their recently to start our night. Me and the girls went in for some appys and drinks. The place is very nice to look at and the crowd was fun. The room had a buzz for sure. The appys we had were awesome and the chef even sent us over an extra dish for us to try. YUM! Try the share platter if your their with friends. If you have room try their deserts for sure. The Tiramisu was fantastic. We will be going back to start another of our many nights for sure lol!
From start to finish a wonderful experience. This is a modern looking Italian restaurant, with style. The food was well presented, delicious and worth every penny, the service was pleasant, professional and accommodating, and it has a very hip yet classy atmosphere. A very nice experience was had by all.
One of the best experiences in client focussed dining I had Internationally.
My girlfriend and I stepped in without reservations on Boxing Day, 2009.
Were asked to wait, but we took ourselves straight to the bar. Sitting facing the kitchen started a casual chat with the executive chef Ryan G. The meals were custom made for us just upon our requests without any menus (host was non existant). The quality, innovation and initiative of the chef are suited upscale dining. At Italian Kitchen I had Kobe beef and veal canneloni with some fresh baked pastry also filled with meat in incredible soft cream sauce. Meat lover feast suited for a hungry man any time.
My girlfriend had smoked fish with bean and bacon rague and vegetables. Complimentary appertisers while waiting for the drinks (bartender was busy) and complimentary deserts (specialty of the chef) were not expected at all but well accepted and eaten. Drinks were strong (alchohol, yes!), food was well served and presented, friendlienes of the staff was overwhelming.
Highly recommended. Very talented chef, please do not hesitate to ask if he is on duty to request good food.
Good job, Ryan!
Ususally when you think of Italian food the first thing that comes tomindnis a nice plate of spaghetti and meatballs! So I decided to get the spaghetti and Kobe meatballs = out of this world!!! Very modern trendy place which was recomended from a fellow coworker. Johnathan, thanks for the suggestion!
Italian Kitchen is part of the Glowbal Restaurant Group - which also owns other Vancouver hotspots such as Coast, Trattoria, Sanafir, Glowbal and Afterglow. It is located in a great downtown hub along Alberni, and boasts consistent food and service. In the summer, I recommend trying to grab a spot on their small patio, as it is a great place to people-watch.
Without a doubt, my favorite dish is the pappardelle with lamb sausage. It also includes potatoes, which is a bit unusual but it compliments all the flavors of the dish wonderfully. They also have an incredible donut dessert which is divine; mini-donut holes stuffed with warm chocolate.
During the work week, I also enjoy grabbing a meal to-go from Italian Kitchen's take-out window (located right next to the restaurant; ask hostess for directions).
I work a few blocks from IK, so have been there a number of times for lunch (very tasty although the service can sometimes be a touch long). Never been there for dinner before, however, and I can say unreservedly that it was an excellent experience.
Running late for our Anniversary plans, my partner & I decided to slip into a restaurant nearby. The host caught us perusing the dinner menu and, upon learning we had gluten & dairy allergies, checked with the kitchen and recommended their gluten-free pasta and the fish. Sold.
We were given a nice corner booth and, to our surprise, the (sous?) chef Paul Marshall came out to greet us . He inquired about the allergies, suggested dishes and then whipped up an amuse bouche (a gift from me, he exclaimed). The heirloom tomato soup with seared tuna (etc) was fantastic. My partner then turned to me and asked if I had previously arranged this. Unfortunately no. But the chef & restaurant got big brownie points from her.
The rest of the meal came and went smoothly. We had a traditional italian cocktail, which I thought was nicely bitter -- if you can say such as thing. And we shared the salmon and the arrabiata penne, both of which were lovely. We left impressed with the personal service and the quality of meal. We'll definitely return for dinner, soon!
Last note, if you're there for lunch, I'd suggest the bruschetta & the Kobe meatball spaghetti. My co-workers like the veal sandwich.
Me and my girlfriend decided to have her birthday dinner there. We requested a nice seat and we had the worst seat ever: a small square table by the window, with a big pole blocking the view and two sides of the table. We had to squeeze in for the whole night. When the server approached us, her attitude was like "you won't tip good for sure, so I am not going to provide great service to you" kinda look. At first I didn't believe she's like that, so I tested her by asking which red wine she suggest. Her neglect told me that she was for real.
Me and my girl friend didn't enjoy a lot that night and we regret choosing them.
Recently (Sat. Aug. 22) I made a reservation through OpenTable and managed to find a time to suit. My wife and I had eaten here once before and were pleased with the outcome, so this time we decided to take our teenage kids.
When searching the restaurant's website I came across some reviews that were not entirely favourable, so it was with some in trepidation that I ventured this way again.
I'm happy to report that once again it was a great meal & evening out. The antipasto (for two) and brushetta sampler was a perfect start. The entrees (Jumbo Prawn pasta, Kobe Meatballs and 4 cheese pizza) were delicious and in fact received the best pizza yet award from my daughter.
We were seated quickly and enjoyed the music and ambiance throughout our meal. The service by Tom was very good. He was very attentive and didn't bat an eye at the repeated requests for more water by my parched son.
If I had two suggestions for improvement it would be to 1) offer a slightly larger pour on the wines by the glass for the same price or reduce the price a little. Although our wine was good I felt it was a little overvalued and 2) provide a clean set of cutlery for the main course instead of leaving the previously used cutlery on the table for the next course.
We also appreciated being thanked by the chefs/cooks when we past them on the way out (nice touch) and the sincere thank you for coming and good night by the hostess.
We look forward out next visit and I'm getting hungry just writing this!