La Quercia offers a casual setting, with professional service and exceptional Italian dishes. Focusing primarily on Italian wines, La Quercia provides a unique list to complement an always evolving menu. Ingredients are sourced locally and organic where possible for our daily fresh sheet. A mix of traditional and contemporary plates prepared with precise technique, presented simply are the base of our kitchen.
This place got "best new restaurant" a couple of years ago so we were excited to try it. The service was aloof from the get go, like she was doing us a favour, the menu interesting but the quality of food mediocre. With so many great restaurants, and so many good Italian places, I would not bother to go back.
We've eaten here twice since the start of the New Year and had fantastic meals on both occasions. The servers are friendly and knowledgeable and the value for the money is hard to beat. The ravioli and gnocchi are wonderful although the smoked pork spaghetti was a little smoky for my taste. We have also tried the veal main and squid appey, both were excellent. If the taleggio and mushroom tart is on the menu, order it! Our only complaint is that it is a little cramped inside but we are already looking forward to going back.
I normally do not write reviews but this has to be done. I have never been so disappointed by a restaurant ever.
My boyfriend and I came here for our birthdays back in May. We were really excited because of the excellent reviews on dinehere.ca. When I made the reservation, I was told that the only seat available was at the bar. I asked if it was uncomfortable and they told me that it's what the regulars usually request and that it's cozy so I decided to go ahead with the reservation at the bar.
When we arrived, we were seated at the bar, which is a high bench in the corner. At first we thought it was kind of neat, but then it got awkward when the watiress would clean glasses, pour wine, and prepare things right in front of us. Not only that, the dishwasher was right in front of us so it got incredibly hot from the steam coming from it and we were both sweating during out entire meal. The cappucino machine was also right there so it was really loud, to the point my boyfriend and I could barely have a conversation everytime it was used.
We ordered the $57 9-course sharing plates meal and told it was a surprise and that they are all unique dishes. Nothing was unique at all. All of our dishes were from their board they have up. Nothing stood out to us. Just to name a few, we had raw spot prawns which was actually very gooey and really hard to eat. The goose was really dry and was hard to choke down (although this was probably the best dish of all). The worst dish we had was the anchovy spaghetti - it was disgusting! I do not mind anchovies but it was overpowering the entire dish and i tasted anchovies in my mouth throughout the entire meal. The dessert was decent with 3 different kinds on one plate (I do not remember the names) but it still was not outstanding.
We did not receive exceptional service, either. We were barely checked on and our waitress barely had anything to say to us. I felt we were a bit neglected.
I know that this may have been one exception but I am truly disappointed by the entire experience and I will not be back.
I just got back from this restaurant with my boyfriend. We had heard about the $57 per person nine course tasting menu and had prepared ourselves for that by eating very little all day (we heard it was very filling). We ordered the $57 tasting menu and a bottle of red wine. They will ask you about likes/dislikes/allergies before serving the courses. The wine list is extensive and has a good selection of Italian wines at various price points.
We had a selection of 3 antipastos, 1 pasta, 1 gnocchi, 1 meat, and 1 dessert. Our favourite was the homemade rotini pasta with smoked pigs cheek and goat ricotta cheese. Also worth noting were the antipastos and the dessert which was a cannelloni pastry with cheese filling and lemon creme.
Service was great. The menu is small but there are a lot of specials on a black board and all the specials were explained once we were seated. Our server was also very helpful with choosing a wine. Each course was explained to us when it was served. Water and wine were refilled throughout the evening.
The place is very small and the tables are very close together but I did not feel it to be bothersome. The decorations are simple but the place is comfortable.
The seven courses took us just over 2 hours to finish. The courses were well spaced apart with enough time to enjoy the flavours and not feel rushed. When we received our bill, we were expecting to pay $57/person, but I guess because we did not have time to get our full 9 courses (it was 8:25 when we arrived), we were only charged $40 each. I think $40 for a very filling and high quality 7 course meal is good value. I would return for the great food and possibly try some of the pastas on special on the board, many of which seemed to be under $20.
.. there's more on the menu than meets the eye. This is a place with more than 10 entres, just make sure you ask your server to repeat them a few times because you will not find them on the menu :) It's most likely as authentic as it gets for Fine Italian in Vancouver, but if you are a fan of Italizan Kitchen, please don't visit, you will be disappointed. Nice small space with friendly staff, good service and amazing amazing food.
Superb. I've eaten here twice recently. On the first occasion we put ourselves in the chef's hands. He prepared a 10-course dinner with matching wines that was as good as anything I've had in the city (including West). The second time, we simply ordered off the menu. It was almost the equal to the first.
The only complaint is the noise. The space is small and it can be a bit overwhelming. It is the only thing that keeps this from becoming one of the top restaurants within a hundred kilometers.
The only reason I didn't give it five stars is 35 years of living and dining in the best places in NYC. It's almost impossible for me to give any place five stars anymore. But if La Quercia were in Manhattan, you'd have to wait a month to get in.
I noticed that there was one negative review, from an individual who had a less-than satisfactory lunch. I believe this person has confused restaurants. La Quercia isn't open for lunch.
This restaurant has all the necessary pieces to make it a hit in the Vancouver dining scene. First of all, it’s in an out of the way location, tucked between a flower shop (which is bigger than the restaurant) and a bank in lower Kits. The room is small, apparently can fit 32 but that would be tight, the kitchen is open, and the serving staff an experienced team of two (who messed up our reservation but juggled tables so we would get to stay). A daily board of fresh offerings supplements a short menu and on my first visit our table had a sampling from both. The wine list is a bit hard to navigate if you aren’t familiar with Italian varietals, but they gave good advice and the bottle we had turned out to be quite nice and not that expensive – lots of options under $60. The food was a big hit. The soup that night was a thick pea soup with seared scallop, enjoyed by all, and the vitello tonnato (veal with tuna mayo) was indulgence at its finest. One guest had the squid, sublime texture and nice chili heat, as a secondi while all the pastas sampled were done with great ingredients and a classic Italian restraint. Polenta gnocchi were pillowy soft and adorned with a ragu of sausage and pea, while the carbonara was impressive since it is a dish one has likely had so many times. Mains both came off the chalkboard, one a roast loin of lamb on white bean ragu and the other a black cod dish with Japanese mushrooms that was indeed tasty, semi-local but not very Italian (the only clear departure from the theme that night). By the time dessert rolled around, it was time to share and the lemon cream (almost like a panna cotta) was perfect in both texture and tartness, while the almond and pear tort came with a wicked caramel. Dinner for three was $240 ($75 on drinks) and worth every penny.
We had the opppurtunity to visit this new little gem. Following the trend of chalkboard menus this place is with it. It reminded me of a restaurant in California. The room had a good feel to it. the main attraction for us was the beet ravioli. It was refreshing to see that they make there own stuffed pasta's. It shows attention to detail, originality and creativeness. Too many Italian restaurants don't take the time to make their own pasta or even sauce. This place certainly did both. Was very impressed. Thank You
My partner and I recently dined at this little gem for a celebratory dinner and were both wowed. The food was the best Italian we've had since visiting Italy a few years ago. In fact my partner felt it was even better than any meal we had in Italy. We found each dish to be fresh and expertly prepared. Each bite was heavenly and to be savoured. The wine selection was a perfect acompaniment to the food. The room, although small, is cozy and reminiscent of a restaurant you'd find tucked away in Rome or New York. I can't wait to return for another meal here.
We went to La Quercia’s for my best friend’s birthday dinner. This is the second time I’ve been there.
As soon as we were seated, we were “reminded” by our waitress that we were 15 mins late to our reservation and that we only have the rest of our 1 hr 45 min reservation window to complete the dinner.
As we talked with the waitress about getting the 5-course sampling menu and whether we can add a risotto to it, she (again) mentioned that because we were late, we cannot even order the risotto with the sampling menu because there’s not enough time. We were very perplexed as they emphasized how flexible this sampling menu is, but the option of substituting the risotto in lieu of one of the pastas in the sampling menu was not suggested to us. We were the ones who asked if we can do a substitution – and it was not cheap, we had to lose one of our pastas in the sampling menu PLUS add an additional $7 per person for the risotto.
When the risotto came, it was extremely salty and the rice was not even fully cooked yet! We told our waitress about this – she did not apologize at all, just said “I’ll let the chef know”.
The next dish came – a veal with morel mushrooms – and it was, again, very salty. The veal was also a little on the tough side. We were not pleased.
After finishing our dessert, the waiter came over and reiterated that we were late to our reservation, we are way past our reservation time and people are waiting. Again, we were perplexed as nobody was waiting at the door – we were prepared to leave if we see people waiting – I’m assuming the people eating and drinking happily at the bar are the ones he was referring to? The waiter was quite rude in talking to us.
The restaurant is VERY crowded and loud – it’s difficult to even talk inside the restaurant! Not recommended if you want a decent conversation with a group.
All in all, I’ll NEVER go back again. It’s not worth the attitude – I can go to Trafalgar Bistro and have a decent risotto in a comfortable environment without being constantly reminded that I have to leave.
I love small intimate restaurants with a buzz, and la Quercia delivers on this score. You have to admire the inventive use of space in the many long narrow storefront properties that are so typical of Vancouver neighbourhoods. Size dictates seating (tight, but not off-putting), bathroom locations (a single washroom in behind the kitchen etc.) and so on.
The menu is confined to a single sided sheet the size of a half piece of paper. It does not try to be all things to all people, instead focusing on seasonal and tasty dishes of the moment.
My companion and I had different tastes in wines and so opted for the selections by the glass, but these were quite adequate and fairly priced. The wine list itself reminded me yet again why I should spend more time learning about Italian wines. There are few clues to varietals or wine characteristics unless you already know the regions and sub-regions and what each is noted for. Had we been after a bottle I'm sure the staff would have been able to select the perfect wine.
My only complaint about la Quercia is one that I (and many other reviewers) share and that is the practice of rattling off the many daily specials verbally. Not only is the sheer volume of information you receive daunting and confusing - especially when the cuisine is unfamiliar - but our server was a woman with a fairly soft voice and a very strong Italian accent struggling to be understood over the background chatter. Combine all three of these elements, and I fear that many of the goodies on the "fresh sheet" are bypassed simply because no one can understand what they are!
Yes, there is a single blackboard listing the daily specials hanging over the kitchen, but we were seated tight against a bulkhead wall and were unaware of the blackboard until half way through our meal.
Either print a fresh sheet daily, rattle off the choices as now, but refer to the blackboard, and perhaps add a second blackboard. The specials are simply too good to risk missing out on otherwise.
I did manage to concentrate hard enough on the specials to select both a starter and a main from among them, while my companion ordered from the printed menu. All of the food was outstanding, inventive, reasonably priced and oh so tasty. I will go back for sure and update this review, but I will know enough now to listen r e a l l y closely to the specials, and seek out the blackboard!
I've never been to Italy, but I can say that this meal is probably the closest thing to being in a real Italian restaurant in Italy, and its right here in our city. It was simple and fresh. Clean flavours. The pasta was unlike anything I've ever had. The fish was cooked perfectly and seasoned just right. It was a fantastic meal. Yes, you do have to pay a little more, but its a lot cheaper than taking a vacation to Italy! The room was very tiny, but it felt right. Definitely going back for a special occasion there.
I recently had the good fortune to experience La Quercia with five friends. We opted for the $50 per person dinner that included multiple platters of antipasta, fish, pasta, meat, and dessert.
The antipasta course consisted of tonnato, carpaccio with arugula and shaved parmesan, and eggplant sformata (orgasmic) with sweet tomato coulis. All were presented simply with the individual flavors of the quality ingredients coming through beautifully.
The fish course was seared trout with an asparagus puree. The fish was fresh and not overdone in the least, and the puree complemented it beautifully.
The pasta course was a trio of platters… gnocchi in a porcini mushroom sauce, penne with Bolognese sauce, and agnolotti stuffed with chard and asiago in a butter sauce. All were delicious with the pasta being center stage and not drowned in too much sauce.
The first meat platter was lamb loin served on a bed of lentils du puy. The loin was cooked perfectly – medium rare – and the earthiness of the lentils worked wonderfully with the gaminess of the lamb.
At this point, our attentive server inquired if we were full or if we’d like another meat course! All of us, while not overly hungry at this point, decided on another meat course, and a veal scallopini with tallegio cheese in a marsala sauce appeared. It was again delicious, the meat perfectly cooked and moist.
The dessert platters were slices of ricotta cheesecake (absolutely to die for) and plum tart, and a chocolate jelly.
With only about thirty seats in this small restaurant, the owner did an absolutely fantastic job of getting our food and our wine to us in good order. His wine recommendations were all excellent and very affordable, most in the forty dollar range. La Quercia’s wine list, although limited, does pride itself in regional wines from northern Italy. The ambience of the restaurant is great! Although it was full from the moment we arrived until we left, we were able to easily carry on a conversation throughout the evening.
All in all, this was a memorable evening at a restaurant that obviously loves the quality of the food, wine, and service it offers its customers. A fantastic value… I’ll definitely be back soon.
Bella bella bella!!! Finally!!
La Quercia was an instant favorite, and a standout in the glut of recent restaurant openings. If you love regional Italian fare with a local influence on ingredients, hurry up and make a reservation.
We visited La Quercia exactly one week before visiting Italy for a month, and to be honest, La Quercia hands down beat most of the restaurants we visited in Italy for great food and fresh ingredients. The menu is limited, but deliberately so...the chef seems to dote on having fresh ingredients and a quality selection of choices. The risotto, served for two, was divine (we had pine mushroom risotto), as was the gnocchi. Our appetizers and contorni were perfect portions and wonderfully flavorful. The desserts were bang on some of the best Italian I have ever had in Vancouver...and served with obscure Italian liquers (mmmm...millefiore!).
The service was attentive, but inobtrusive, and very helpful in making food and wine selections. The restaurant is small and personal (and a much needed addition to the West side of Kisilano, I must add!). This is a great place for a date, a family dinner and even for business.
Ate hear last week with a friend. She had been once before but it was my first time.
We both had the smaller tasting menu. All of the food was well executed. Good balance of flavours and nice presentation. The dishes are however quite small and I was left wanting a little more but overall we were pleased. My friend told me that if the gnocchi was on the menu we should ask for that but sadly it was missing that night. The pros and cons of a rotating menu I guess. The service was quite good. As soon as our plates were done they were promptly cleared and the next dish arrived very shortly after. The service did become a little rushed near the end of our meal however. I presume this was because we were the early seating and they needed us to leave by a certain time to accommodate their next seating.
Overall a good dining experience and I'll put it on my return list so I can get this famed gnocchi that they sometimes have.
My husband and I were given a gift certificate from my employer to try out La Quercia for christmas, knowing how much we love little boutique restaurants we had been wanting to go for a while. Problem being I have some (still relatively new to me) dietary restrictions, and I'm a vegetarian. Before she purchased the gc she went in to the restaurant in person and spoke with the people there letting them know all the things I can't have and asked if it would be possible to accommodate me or if she was best to try some place else. They were enthusiastic in promising if we booked our reservation a few days in advance they would work their daily specials around to have something on the menu for me and create me something special. Let me tell you... we booked on a Sunday afternoon and dined on a thursday night. Upon arrival our server asked me what I wanted, much to my surprise. I told her again the items I could not have and said my only request is that I don't get a plate of vegetables, because I could make that at home and is typically a big disappointment when eating out.
The only thing on the menu that was vegetarian was pasta. Any other veggies out there know, nothing is a bigger let down when eating out. Just because I have ethics, doesn't mean I don't like good food! Any well rounded chef should have the ability to produce something else.
I get the feeling the girl serving us was relatively new, because wasn't much help with the wine list. If I say I'm looking for something like a Viognier don't drink me a chard. For our starter I ordered an arugula salad with pine nuts and parmesan, tasty but incredibly boring. The cheese was quite mild and there were few pine nuts. I ended up just chewing miles of arugula and couldn't finish it, the salad was definitely missing something. My husband ordered off the fresh sheet; pulled pork tortellini with pork belly. He said it was good but boring as well, was ultimately disappointed with it.
Then the main course, the look on her face said it all as she was approaching the table with our dishes... He had the rabbit wrapped in prosciutto. Me, a plate with some green bitters (that tasted like gasoline, literally), 3 baby potatoes (1/2 inch each), 10 green beans, some soggy spinach, and a cut up radish. No puree, no sauce, no salt or pepper.... NOTHING. I nearly cried at the table, I was SO let down. I ate a couple beans and asked her to take it away. The rabbit was good apparently, but the rabbit at La Brasserie (Monday night special) still beat it by a long shot.
We decided to drown our sorrows (and use the damn gift certificate) so we ordered desert. One of each (as I has still hungry) and shared them. They were TO.DIE.FOR. And almost, just almost, made up for the rest of the meal. We had a poached pair and a flourless chocolate cake with pistachio gelato. Really really tasty!
So the bill arrives. They comp us one of our $7 deserts for the disappointment with my meal, and in turn charge that pathetic plate or flavourless steamed veg; $21 (That I didn't even eat)! What a joke! The snooty man server (who really reminds us of that old ass kisser from Parkside who used to drum on about "the flavours") then steps in and tries to get confrontational saying "oh, well when you made the reservation I said it was an italian restaurant"... OK. You don't go claiming to be so accommodating and eager to please someone with dietary restrictions if you can't!! It's as simple as that.
So he claims he must talk to the chef/owner about it, struts into the kitchen to fill him in. The chef/owner then tells him to take it off (not only can we see them, but they're a mere 5 feet away in the kitchen and we can hear them too) the chef then turn around towards us and mumbles "why the f* did you come here then?!"
We won't be back, that's for sure.
We went to La Quercia for Valentine's Day. We had been hearing good things about this restaurant for several months so we were exciting to finally try it. Unlike a lot of restaurants we have tried recently, La Quercia did not disappoint. I had a half order of gnocci bolognese to start. Bolognese is a little obsession of mine, I find that it is the ultimate comfort food and am always on the lookout for good bolognese. La Quercia's version was excellent, pillowy soft gnocci immersed in perfect, mop-up-every-last-bit bolognese sauce. I preferred this bolognese over La Buca's which I found a little salty and not tomato-y enough. My BF had the eggplant sformato, an eggplant custard paired with a tomato jam. He loved it. my BF had a spaghetti with zucchini for a main, which was very good. I had a pork tenderloin with scalloped potatoes and mustard gravy for a main, which was also very good (but I was still craving more bolognese). The service was good despite it being a very busy Friday night and a party of 15 taking up half the restaurant. The value was excellent, the prices make this places an option for a nice weekend meal, not just for a "special occasion". I am hoping to visit La Quercia again very soon! It is a MUST TRY for any food lover in Vancouver!
Tried this place out last night and was very very impressed. We called to get reservations the same night and could only get either 5:30 or 8:30, so we chose 5:30. You definitely need reservations for this place as it's a very tiny room and I think people have definitely caught on about how good it is here.
When we arrived at 5:30 there was only one other table in there and I was a bit hesitant because I don't like eating in empty restaurants, but by 6:00 every table was occupied. Just a heads up, they have a 2 hour time limit for every table and when we called the hostess said we could just sit at the bar and not worry about having reservations or a time limit. When we got there I was really glad we asked for a table because the bar is so small I don't really see how anyone could sit there comfortably.
The food was super super good and the portions are HUGE. As I've mentioned in my other reviews, both of us have big appetites and we were literally rolling out of there. In fact (gasp) for the first time ever, we actually asked for our leftovers to be packed up to go. Normally I would never do that because frankly I think it's kind of tacky but there was no way I was leaving all that deliciousness behind. The risotto for two is really for four, and the entrees were also massive. At first glance the prices seem a big high but for what you get in terms of food quality and service it is well worth it. Great experience, I can't wait to go back with a couple friends and order that risotto again!
Lovely and intimate restaurant (without seeming cramped), with attentive and, above all, enthusiastic service. The staff was lovely and the owner came out to chat at the end of the meal.
And what a meal! The mushroom gnocci was amazing, the bread was delecious, and the wine selection quite good. Actually, I have to talk more about the gnocci: organic, local mushrooms and freshly made gnocci. I could have died then and been happy.
As for value, four of us went, had lovely meals and a botle of wine and it came to $100 for the table. We were shocked. We thought it'd be far more expensive. If you want to really treat yourself and not break the bank, its fantastic place to go.
I would reccommend making reservations (and early), and I will most definitely be going back. There's a mushroom risoto I'm dying to try.
La Quercia is the most genuine italian food i have had since living in Vancouver. I found that my favorite thing about the food was that it was gourmet without being pretentious, overwhelming or over-the-top. I am quite the picky eater (vegetarian too) and although the menu is not extremely large, i felt i had some choices. I have been twice and both times my company was extremely delighted with the choices of foods for those who are more adventurous than myself, as well as those who are meat connoisseurs, so i truly feel there is something for everyone. The atmosphere is perfect, it does distract from the food, and steers clear from the over-stimulating decor of most new restraunts. La Quercia was a very pleasant experience, and although it was sometimes obvious it was a new establishment (needs more servers etc.), the food was remarkable and fulfilling as all italian meals should be.