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.
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!
After hearing mixed reviews from friends and from dinehere.ca, I decided to see for myself what the fuss or lack of fuss was about. Let me tell you I was very suprised, our reservation was on a busy saturday and although I can definatly assure you the restaurant is not the kinda of place you would go if your looking for something along the lines of quiet and snooty Don Francescos or Cin Cin's this place was incredibly alive not to mention well functioning, the other guests in the restaurants were incredibly mixed, young and old, high rollers and everyday types blending in quite nicely.
Definatly would not rate this place as poseur or overly trendy, just stylish and popular .The service was on time and not too intrusive and everyone working seemed to be working very well as a team waiters and clean up staff, overall I would defiantly recommened this for anyone looking for an actually full vancouver joint especially during the downturn
It will suffice to say that I registered for this site for the sole purpose of warning others about dining here. My experience was awful and I would NOT set foot in the restaurant again. If you are looking for a great dining experience steer clear.
The vegetables that came with the salmon were burnt and the gnocchi made no mention of hot chilly peppers. We sent back the salmon and it was re-plated and brought out with raw potatoes this time. The floor manager had the courage to come out and tell us that we should read the menu more carefully next time as it did say charred asparagus. I guess they didn't mention that charred equaled burnt and inedible!
That was enough for me... no chance I'll ever say a good thing about this restaurant. I tell everyone to save their money!
Oops, I forgot to mention that you only get the discount if you pay the bill with your Visa credit card as it is offered by Visa Perks.
It seems I have to enter at least 300 characters in order to post this addendum to my earlier review so I guess I will have to make a few more observations.
Restaurant is somewhat tightly packed. The guy sitting next to my friend on the banquette ungraciously parked his big briefcase next to her so room was very tight.
They also have a number of lunch features for only $12 but we did not try any of them.
Went to Italian kitchen on a Monday afternoon for an early lunch (11:30) and the place was packed by 12. I was very suprised by the quality of food and service, especially after reading the terrible reviews here and hearing similar things from friends. Perhaps the lunch service is quite different from dinner.
The service staff was very attentive, often came around to fill up our water glasses and cleared our dishes very promptly. I was quite impressed with the chickpea bruschetta - for some reason I was expecting something either overly salty, bland or very chick pea-y, but it had a great texture, the right spices, and was nothing like hummus at all.
I ordered the spaghetti with kobe meatballs (one of my favourites at Glowbal). The meatballs were ginormous and tasty, with just the right touch of spiciness; the spaghetti was cooked al dente. Other guests had the feature lasagna, also made with kobe beef, and they were also quite pleased with their choices.
Overall a great experience. I would totally recommend it for lunch.
I am a great fan of Glowball group , ever since the days when Glowball first started. However, of late they seem to have lost focus, what were once tools for great customer service , have now become mere marketing tools. Tonight we had dinner at Italian Kitchen, it hurts me to say the food was mediocre, no balance, it was not even Italian in the least bit. Italian sounding ingredients do not make for Italian food, wake up and smell the coffee guys, it has to be rooted in some authenticity.
kOBE BBEF MEATBALLS TASTED JUST LIKE THOSE ON A POPSICKLE AT GLOWBALL.
The insult to injury came when the server brought the comment card with the bill at the end, as is customary with all of this group's restaurants. It is theIr way of collecting info on you , so they can show they care, by inviting you for a return visit for your anniversary or birthday, nothing wrong with that , except, the server took it upon himself to fill the comment card himself, CHECKING EXCELLENT IN ALL INSTANCES. ALL THAT WAS LEFT FOR US WAS TO FILL UP OUR ADDRESS SO THEY COULD SPAM US!.
I tried this restaurant with my husband this Tuesday night. We were so disappointed. We ordered one Anti pasto platter, two drinks and two deserts. The bill was $83 before tips. The stuff in the Anti pasto platter taste like pre cooked. I would say only 25% of them were good. I didn't like the shrimp at all! It had no flavors! Drink service was pretty slow for $10 drinks. Deserts tasted mediocre. I would take Bread Garden over this anyday! Also guys, decor is pretty much Ikea, enough said. If you want to have some good Italian food, try the restaurant called Tramonto at the River Rock Casino.
We sat downstairs, a group of 6 people and while most of us enjoyed the night, it felt as if the money could have been spent better elsewhere. With the tables being too close together and waitresses and people trying to maneuver their way across the restaurant, it was extremely uncomfortable.
It was also extremely hot inside the restaurant and it actually made me quite nauseous. The washroom is nice but with one toilet, this could pose as a long wait time for some.
When I went upstairs it seemed a lot quiet, nicer and it felt more comfortable, almost night and day.
If I go again, it will be upstairs...
As for the food, I had the ravioli, it was decent. A little heavy on the butter but it was definitely decent.
Overall, I wasn't comfortable and it really was a shame.
I heard this place was not the greatest food so had to check it out for myself
This is exactly my experience:
Walked in the door, no body opened it for me -- it was raining and quite windy outside .. I made the effort to come to their restaurant you think someone could have opened that big door which the wind was trying to shut as I was trying to open.
There was no hostess to great me, I thought Italian was all about the "Family"
We got seated fairly quick because it was a Tuesday and 1/2 the restaurant was empty at 7PM
Sat there for about 10 minutes, no bread !!! Where the hell is the bread, where is my water.
I had to wave the waiter to come over for us to order, I ordered spaghetti and meatballs and side of grilled greens.
The food came in about 17 minutes, still no fresh baked bread, olive oil, balsamic....which is a staple in Italy -- was I suppose to order this and pay extra ???
Got my main course: meatballs looked great, but first thing I noticed is not much tomato sauce, I bit into one, WOW was it spicy, never had one this spicy before, didnt like it and the texture was abnormal it was fine ground meat. Tried my greens dish, never had much flavour and was 1/2 potato wedges??? huh
Also, the waiter took my umbrella and put it where other umbrellas are located, there much have been 20 of them... where was mine ??? I had to sort through them, about 4 looked the same, I grabbed the wrong one, then had to head back and look again till found my umbrella, while they were looking at me like I was trying to take an extra umbrella....... why didnt a hostess or waiter bring my umbrella ??
There you have it, never going back, Don Francescos much better a few blocks away if you want good food and to be greeted properly, fine wine selection
I have been here a few times, the lunch menu and dinner menu is almost the same as their sister restaurant trattoria in kits.
Appies: bone marrow with beef tenderloin tartare was was delicious! It is not a big plate, the flavours just came together so well.
Mussels was ok I have had better, it was not as fresh and a bit smaller. This of course will depend on the season, stock etc and it just wasn't good enough compared to restuarants like sandbar.
Chickpea bruschetta: for the price this is a definite must try, drizzled with a sweet basamic vinegar sauce.
Entrees: I had the steak and it was very mediocre. Overall, all of our entrees were mediocre, rissoto, lasagna, kobe meatball spaghetti.
Coffee: I am a coffee fanatic, everyone just try the cappuccino. It was so frothy and light, they get this imported from Italy. The beans are called Miscelad'oro Espresso gran Crema. If they ever setup shop next to Starbucks, Starbucks is going down.
Service: I am very picky when it comes to service quality. She was very knowledgeable and helpful. She went beyond her service to write down the coffee brand, beans, where it's from and, where I can purchase it. Her name escapes me so if her manager is reading this, kudos to her.
My first visit to Italian Kitchen in Sept '08 was really good, but my second visit a few weeks ago was bad and I don't plan to try again. In both cases the service was horribly slow and unapologetic, and even weird. On both visits one person at my table was so frustrated with the service that she/he got up to chase down the server! But the similarities were only in the service.
The first visit was with a group of girlfriends. We ordered a bunch of bruschetta to start and we all loved it, especially the mushroom one. Eventually the wine appeared and it, too, was to everyone's liking. We all had different pasta dishes, but each of us was extremely happy with the flavours and how it was cooked. We had brought a special birthday cake with us and the servers couldn't figure out how to cut and plate it for us, but they managed to bring us plates and a knife so we could do it ourselves.
The second visit was just me and my husband. The service was at least as bad but seemed worse because we didn't have a lot to talk about to fill the time, and we were very hungry. We ordered a bruschetta appetizer to share, which helped to placate our empty stomachs but had very little taste. The pasta plate for 2 came next (after a loooooong wait) and none of it lived up to the previous experience. The spaghetti and meatballs were more bland than the sauce you can buy in a jar at Safeway, the spicy dish wasn't spicy at all, the cheese sauce was not cheesy, and the creamy sauce tasted like a basic white sauce with no flavourings and too much flour.
Maybe it was an off night, but since several reviewers have posted similar comments I think it has probably just gone downhill since September. Maybe the Glowbal group let it slip when they turned their attention back to Coast and moving it to it's new location on Alberni.
We went (party of 5) to The Italian Kitchen even knowing (from friends), that the place is not a 5 star place. The hostess was lost as her supervisor was too. She put in a small table where we couldn't stay. We were in Five, remember? We asked the manager but the man was lost. All depend of the hostess. We moved for a corner...
Asked drinks, fine. Wine and beer no problem, but no water refills. We have to wave and wave. The servers were more concerned in have olimpics conversation. Again, the supervisor involved.
The food - not a big deal at all. Wrong temperature and took too long.
The place is a new place, well renovated but the owner was too greedy and put more tables then the place and the staff can handle. Again the worst was the service. I'll come back to see improvements ( I hope ).
This restaurant is where you would go if you want to feel trendy, in a hip, socialable setting. The food is very mediocre though - nothing to rave about and extermely overpriced for what it's worth. Portions are also quite small. I think there are better places for food and atmosphere combined.
I honestly give it a 7.5/10..
Had a bday party there yesterday. Items that I had tried.
1. bruschetta- delicious... simple, and fresh
2. calamari- a bit salty but the stewed tomatoes were delicious
3. spaghetti- american kobe... thought it was delicious BUT what a waste of a good cut of meat.. turning it into a meatball ..
4. papardella- very straightforward.. nothing wow
5. gnocchi- same as above..
6. ravioli - wonderful... the only WOW dish.
7. creme brulle- done perfectly..
8. tiramisu- basic tiramisu...
9. chocolate torte- nothing special.
the bruschetta, ravioli and the creme brulle were the highlighted of the night... everything else was just okie..
nothing tasted bad.. but i think it's missing the WOW factor !
I didn't go here expecting the best Italian food in the city, but the Glowbal group definitely knows how to create a vibe in a restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised by the food however, especially considering some of the negative reviews. Top dishes that I tried included the spaghetti with Kobe beef meatballs and the beef carpaccio. Top notch service, and a great looking room, will make me come back.
I went to Italian Kitchen once before and didn't have a good experience. My friend was telling me that it was great when she went so I said ok, let's try it out again. Boy, was I in for a big disappointed.
I called in on Thursday to see if I could make a reservation for 6 people on a Saturday night and was able to get a table but was told that it was a 2hrs seating. I said ok because normally, restaurants can't kick you out when you aren't done. By the time I arrived, I was carrying a cake and the host at the door said that since they did not know where the cake was made and which bakery it was from, didn't know what the ingredients were, they were not allowed to serve it due to dietary reasons and cross-contamination. I was like, what, nobody told me that?? The host said that they normally ask if it is a party of 8 or larger to see if they were celebrating anything. So my friend asked the host, can we cut it ourselves?? The host again said no but that they could present it. I said fine, then and he put it in the fridge for us. We went upstairs to the table and no menus were given to us. Another friend was already there and he had 1 menu. By the time the rest of my friends came, I had to flag a waiter down to give us menus. He blamed it on the host not giving us menus when we sat down. The waiter had told us the specials once but since the table was not complete and hard to hear over the noise in the room, I had to ask what the specials were again.
We ordered a bottle of wine to share and gosh, this waiter did not know how to pour at all. Some glasses had more wine than others. It was all uneven. No towel around the bottle at all.
When we ordered our dishes and he just stood in one spot. He didn't even bother to come around to the seats to see what you were ordering. We had to shout across the table since the waiter said that it was noisy and couldn't hear. When he served our appies the meatballs were good but no one came around to ask if everything was alright. By the time we were done eating, my friend still had a piece of Burrata & Cantaloupe on the plate and another waiter who was helping the waiter to clear away the dishes said "what are you going to do with that??" My friend wasn't even done eatting and was trying to rush to clear away the plates!!!! What's the rush when we had to wait awhile for the main course to come. The waiter didn't come around the table to take the plates away. I had to pick up mine and hand it over. He just stood in one spot.
When the main course arrived, the waiter puts down the wrong dish in front of my friend and when he finally realizes it he picks it up and hands it off to the correct person. He didn't even bother to come around the table to put it down. My friend had to put his hands out to receive the dish. I would have expected that with fine dining you wouldn't have to touch anything. Some dishes had more meat than pasta and others had more pasta than meat. Some dishes had a lot of sauce on the bottom of the plate while others didn't have any sauce at all. The pasta was hard, gummy and chewy. Again, our waiter didn't come around till close to the end to ask how was the food. My friends are fast eaters and I was the last one to finish. I wasn't even done eating when the waiter came by to ask if we wanted dessert. We declined and next thing you know, they bill came to the table. I repeat, I wasn't even done eating and they were trying to rush us out the door. How rude is that?? The bill didn't even come in those bill folds but just a card with the Glowbal Restaurant names.
I understand that I was told I had a 2hr seating but I didn't think they would take it seriously. I've been to other places and they never rushed us out. I decided to go to the washroom before paying and so did 2 others. The waiter tried to tell one of my friends to swipe the credit card for someone else. How do you do that when you don't even know someone else's PIN?? You don't do that to someone elses credit card!!!!
The cake was never presents so by the time we left, I had to ask to get the cake out of the fridge and the hostess upstairs was giving me the look of what are you talking about?? Thank goodness the host who took my cake came up the stairs and brought the cake back to me.
It was a total hit and miss and never again will I come back to this restaurant. This is the first time that I was told that I could not cut the cake at the resturant because of cross contamination. If they have this strict rule, they should have told me over the phone and not be surprised at the door. After saying this to me, I wonter how clean do they clean everything there.......
My friend is visiting from Montreal and we were looking for an Italian restaurant in Vancouver that not only had fresh, authentic Italian food, but a fun Saturday night ambiance in a good location. I was really impressed with Italian Kitchen (and I am picky and a foodie!!) Although really busy on a Saturday night, our waiter Alistai was friendly, attentive, knowledgeable and easy-going. We ordered the Antipasto Misto for 2 to share: the Tuna Arancini, Dungeoness Crab Arugula Salad and Beef Carpaccio were delicious (it was all good, except for the fried ravioli tasted heavy and a little too "breakfasty" for my taste). I had the Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle which was good- not too big a portion, tasty. Could have used some truffle oil or something though. My friend had the Prawn Linguini which was fresh and delicious. We were too full for dessert or coffee, but I am definitely going back to try it out. Staff in general were courteous and friendly. The only thing was that the tables were a little tight so it's not the most intimate restaurant (romance scale 6 on 10) but great for friends/big dinners. All in all, I was really impressed for such a busy, large restaurant...we were still able to find yummy Italian at an ideal downtown location (accross from Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and around great shops for window shopping ops after dinner). Go try it out!
I've been to Italian Kitchen a handful of times, the lats time being this past Sunday, and I found it be be quite consistent overall.
Food - From the salads, pastas to the steaks, the food has never disappoint. Price is acceptable. Atmosphere is hip. You get what you pay for.
The only issue I have with this restaurant (and it's been consistent), the hostesses are clueless. We put our names on the list for a table and waited at the bar, after 30 minutes and 2 drinks, she never came by (this was not a weekend). We went up to her and ask if our table is ready, and she said "Oh, I thought you were eating at the bar". Not once did she come up to us at the bar to officially check if we were eating. I also peeked at the computer screen and saw that she pasted our names a long time back.
For such a nice place, it is quite unfortunate to have hostesses like that. It sadly ruins the first and foremost experience. Perhaps they should hire hostesses with more experience, or girls that are not 18, and do not play with their hair every 5 minutes.
Went to Italian Kitchen on a Friday evening for a low key supper with family members. We hoped to catch up on each other's news, but that proved impossible as we couldn't hear ourselves think. Too many tables crammed into too small a space meant that the noise level was through the roof. In addition, the musical selection seemed like a never ending club track with overly loud base. Not fun.
The food was passable but nothing special at all. Service on the scale between indifference and open irritation at having to spend any more time at our table than necessary.
Good location and good selection of wines by the glass but that's about it. Vancouver has way better to offer so I won't be going back.
We went after a movie on Friday night. Made a reserve for 10 pm for dinner. By 1030 we still didn't have a table, but at least had a seat at the bar. Finally seated, and at 1045 the music got cranked up way loud. We couldn't talk across the table. I asked a passing busperson if they could turn the volume down a bit - he said he would check. Came back a minute later and said it was all computer controlled. Nothing they could do. Finally the food came, it was even louder now. Asked the waiter the same question - his reply - "The Manager likes it this way" and left. No tip that night. We won't be back.