Serving Vancouver for over 51 years, Nick and Pauline have been serving up their famous Italian dishes at this same location, pleasing newcomers and afficionadas alike with their authentic recipes.
I read the reviews of Nick's Spaghetti House, but decided to go anyway. It's a neighbourhood institution. It's been around for over 50 years. If I go with low expectations, it will be better than expected. Right?
The decor hasn't changed in over 50 years. Cheesy Italian paintings, low stucco ceilings, red and white checked table cloths. They started us with day old white bread and prepackaged pats of butter. The red wine was drinkable at $12 a half-bottle. I'll give them that.
Our server was funny, perhaps because she knew she was serving crap, worse than home-made Italian food, and she knew we knew. We were all in on the joke. Ha ha.
We ordered a salad for 2-4 people. When we asked what kind of salad it was, our waitress said, "Tomato and lettuce." What kind of dressing? "Italian." Duh. I will give our server credit for being honest. Iceberg lettuce, slices of tomato, a few strands of shredded carrot, and some green onion. Oh yeah, with Italian dressing. We went through an entire vial of parmesan cheese trying to add flavour.
I ordered spaghetti and meatballs. You can't go wrong with that at a spaghetti restaurant, right? My two friends ordered spaghetti with veal cutlets, and ravioli with meatballs. The pasta was decent, if slightly overcooked. But then I like my pasta al dente. Maybe I'm biased. The meatballs were huge. Great if you like big balls... The sauce was okay but no better than Prego. The veal cutlets were pan-fried way past done.
I wouldn't have minded so much if our bill hadn't come to $80 for 3 people. ($90 with tip.) I was very disappointed, even though I had read reviews. Anywhere else on the Drive has better quality food.
Seriously, the reviews are true. It's not even worth it for the kitchy decor. Save yourself and your wallet the heartbreak. Make your own spaghetti and skip this restaurant.
I have been going to Nick's for at least 25 years and used to go quite often and the meals were good. I have gone once or twice a a year the last ten years as the food has gone downhill and prices up and had the odd ok meal. every bad one I would tell myself never again. Last visit and it was only 1\3 full. Crappy bread,salad was semi white iceberg, tomatoes and a few shreds of carrots and oil and vinegar dressing. All of our dinners were salty and bland. This time I mean it . Never again!
Went the other day. The bread served in a basket cheap white bread, no flavour or texture. Had spaghetti and steak. Steak tough, over seasoned. Spaghetti only so-so. Friend opted for salad instead of pasta. Just sliced tomatoes on a bed of plain lettuce. That's a salad?! Nothing else!
Prices thru' the roof. Ridiculously overpriced. Decor is 50 years old. Better meals at Anton's or even Boston Pizza. Will never return. Honestly can't see why others do. Perhaps they are clinging to memories.
The only positive is the friendly and fairly prompt service.
I havent been here for years. Craving pasta and decided to go to Nicks. The experience was awful!! The pasta was precooked overcooked and awful. The service is also horrible. I should have know something when they were almost empty. I sat there and barely ate my food waiting for the waitress to come for almost 20 minutes. After 20 minutes I finally had to go to her and say how bad it was.The waitress didnt care and said thats the way we make our pasta but check out the other reviews. Its one thing paying for a good plate of food but paying $21 for a place of crap is another.
Poor Nick I know he is older now but this is not what he had before. Its time to eithr burn this place down and close it forever. The memory of this place is are going downhill. If you dont beleive me check it out yourself.
I have heard from so many people, you have to go to Nick's! They couldn't say enough about what a great place it was. That must have been in the past.
I went there last night with friends and found it expensive and ordinary. There was nothing spectacular about it. The service was good.
I will never go back.
Upon reading the most recent review, made the mistake of dining there last night.
Basic baked lasagna just cents shy of $18. Much smaller than a random pizza delivery place (it's $20 if you wanted meatballs...). W/ the excessive (canola?) oil coating the pasta & sauce, it couldn't taste any better than "ok" mixed in w/ a whole lot of what seemed like canola oil. Aweful oil aftertaste. Simply lost my appetite. Does NOT come w/ any sides of salad, garlic toast, etc. There's the questionable house bread served.
The spaghetti w/ meat sauce was a reasonable portion but just pennies short of $15... I've had better & more a few blocks back in the more populated Drive area. As it turns out, it was linguine that was brought to the table rather than the spaghetti that was ordered. Pasta is pasta at least it was the tomato meat sauce. You can still clearly taste the oil in this dish just not as obvious & less of an aftertaste.
It's in need of a cleanup (vacuum) & update--admittedly, no cob webs or otherwise spotted. The red carpet runs into the kitchen looking old & dirty. Upon entering & passing the kitchen area to get to the dining room, I already almost turned back around but figured I shouldn't judge a place by its decor... and even dirty kitchens may produce tasty food for a tough enough stomach.
The ribs another table ordered looked impressively huge. He probably got the full rack. But the prices are pretty steep.
The service, albeit w/ a slow kitchen, is pleasant and full of smiles but I wonder if that's what brings the regular flow of patrons coming through. I really don't get it. Strangely enough, the old carpet does not carry a dingy soaked odour. The place only smelled of an East Indian operation when it's clearly not.
Min. charge $10 per person. A side order of mushrooms $10.95. Various salads $9.95. Small spaghetti w/ smthing or other $15+. Nothing runs cheap except for the quality of the food itself.
We've been going to Nick's for years. It's definitely not the place to go if you're hoping to have a nice quiet evening with your significant other. It can get downright noisy when it gets busy. The decor is definitely old style Italian - red checkered tablecloths, dim lighting etc. but that's part of the charm.
We've never had a problem with the service. It's not fine dining so we adjust our expectations accordingly.
My husband had the spaghetti and spareribs and I had the combination platter that consists of spaghetti, ravioli, spareribs, meatball and mushrooms. It is very well prepared and for the price that you pay it is fair value for the money.
With a 1/2 liter of the house wine and our tow meals the total before tip was $48.00. A great place to go if you've looking for a reasonably priced well cooked Italian meal.
We've been going to Nick's for years and will continue to go when we feel like a casual Italian meal at a reasonable price.
I thought I would have my say about this restaurant eventhough I was there two years ago.
I've always heard wonderful things about this place. Large portions and authentic Italian.
It's been two years, and I haven't been back. I would prefer to go to Anton's and they're not even Italian cooking!!
The meal was not memorable - all I remember is not being blown away from the taste, and very, very, very SMALL portion. And it was expensive!! If I had known, the quality and the taste, I would have stayed home and made it myself.
Overall - everything was ok but nothing outstanding!!!
Nick's is quite the institution. The pasta and salad are quite consistent and good. There is quite a following for this place. Evenings can sometimes be frustrating as the place is packed. Definitely worth a try if you haven't been.
I've been dining at Nicks since approx. 1984 and I can honestly say that it has gone way down hill. The quality of the food, has really slipped. I am surprised that I actually gave this place another chance, after I bit down on a very large bone that was in my meat sauce a few months ago and ended up breaking a tooth. Last night once again, I bit down on another chunk of bone that was thankfully not as large, and I was lucky enough that I never broke a tooth. This is totally unacceptable, and off putting. It's very obvious that they are cutting corners to save $$$ but of course keep raising their prices. The interior has not changed since the day it opened about 52 years ago. The washrooms are gross, and need to be gutted. In fact, that entire place needs to be gutted !! Last time I will ever step foot into this establishment. It's a real shame as Nicks use to be one of my favorite restaurants.
I started going to Nick's back in the very early 80's. At the time I dubbed it "Nick's Fettucini Palace" and I used to frequent for lunch.
It was busy, the atmosphere great & overall just a good spot to dine away from the beaten path.
I'm afraid the place is now dated and way too expensive (they even have a minimum $ per person charge. )
Service has always been good and the staff pleasant. Unfortunately I won't be going back, knowing exactly what I will experience. The value for the dining dollar isn't there and in this city, that isn't going to fly.
I use to go to Nick's years and years ago - back when I was in highschool (wow - that was over 20 years ago!). The decor has not changed a bit ... it looks exactly the same - but I guess why change a good thing if it's working for you.
I had the lasagna, which was delicious. You can tell it was freshly made and I loved the extra sauce that was in the dish. I'm a saucy kinda person. My friend used the extra sauce on the spaghetti and veal dish that he got because there wasn't a lot of sauce on his spaghetti. What we both did not like about the veal dish was the taste of the veal. It had this weird "in-ards" type taste to it. Almost reminded me of eating gizzards or something. After a few bites, we both decided to give it to his dog as a treat. Too bad, because he ordered the 3 veal plate instead of the 2 veal plate.
The server was nice, but the meal and atmosphere was not enough for me to return any time soon.
I have been to Nick's about 3 years ago...and I don't ever remember it being this bad! The only thing I remember was waiting about an hour for a table.
This time around, we walked right in and got a table right away. For it not being really busy, the waitress took FOREVER to bring us our drinks. When they came, we already knew what to order. We could not believe the prices in the menu. I ordered Fetticine Alfredo for $ 21 ! My boyfriend got Ravioli for $ 18. For that price, we were expecting a huge portion, enough to last for lunch and dinner the next day. Nope, not the case. My noodles were swimming in sauce. So so gross. The ravioli was really good, but crazy priced.
By the end of the night, 2 small servings of average pasta, a coke, 2 beers and NO appy's plus tip was $ 65.00.
I try to frequent family run restaurants whenever possible. There are some terrific ones in Vancouver.
Unfortunately Nicks is now coasting on it's previous reputation. I will not eat there again until I see a sign saying Under New Management.
I was a frequent customer during the nineties and early 2000s but I had not been back in a while until recently.
I remember recommending it to friends and the people at work. At one point I was eating lunches there at least once a week. I eat out a lot.
I won't get into a lot of specifics but they just don't seem to care any more. Perhaps they don't have to. The place was packed on that particular weekend night. With the new prices they must have been raking it in hand over fist. Let's face it; pasta is cheap.
I am a big red meat eater and I used to really enjoy their steaks. Not anymore.
The prices are up considerably and the quality of their food is significantly down. The decor is tired and old and dirty.
The one thing they still have going for them are their faithful customers but who knows how long they can retaing them at this rate.
Four friends decided to " go down memory lane" at NIck's. Have been going there since the late sixties.
Had read many negative reviews but decided we would go and judge for ourselves.
Two orders of Steak and Spaghetti, one order of Ribs and Spaghetti and one order of Meat balls and Spaghetti. Three glasses of wine, one of water for the designated driver.
The Spaghetti was tasteless and watery. The Ribs were grey and stringy, could not eat them. The Meatballs were good but the sauce was the same spaghetti sauce poured over the meatballs, tasteless.
We were seated right away, the place was only half full at seven pm on a Saturday, very unusual for Nicks.
We waited forty minutes for our meals to be served after ordering. Our waitress was very pleasant.
I would never complain about the bill for this meal if indeed it had been good food, but, it was terrible and the bill certainly did not reflect that.
Nick's decor has not changed in thirty years, it has just gotten more tired and grungy, bordering on looking dirty. So, most of the reviews proved to be correct, we hope to find a replacement restaurant so we can enjoy that great Italian flavour again.
This is the second time I've been to Nick's, and I don't see a reason to go back again.
Maybe I am not the target audience for this restaurant: the menu is entirely "safe" classic dishes whose ingredients are uninspired. My party ordered an agnolotti with white sauce, and a half-order of ribs with spaghetti and red sauce, and a rotini with red sauce and meatballs. While the ribs were decent (there are better places to go for ribs), the meatballs were bland and the red sauce was watery. The agnolotti was actually ravioli and the white sauce a bit too simple.
The pricing is completely out of touch with the quality. Mediocre red sauce over spaghetti and three Italian sausages should not cost $20 anywhere, let alone a family restaurant. We didn't order desserts, so no comment on those. All told, entrees for three and a half litre of wine came to just over $60 before tip.
On the up side, even though they do not take reservations on the weekend, my party of three was seated fairly quickly. Although this has less to do with the running of the restaurant than the volume of guests.
Nick's is The Italian Restaurant that Time Forgot; I'm sure the menu was a hit in Vancouver in the '60s, but I have a feeling that the bulk of their clientele are people who have been coming specifically because the food is just how they remember it from their childhoods. Unfortunately for Nick's, what people consider "Italian food" has changed drastically in the intervening four decades, but the increasing sophistication in ingredients, dishes and preparations seems to have passed them by.
Nick's would be a good destination if you are going out with very unadventurous eaters and don't care about the price. But for dollar value, it's just not worth the visit.
This review is for the Tiramisu at Nick's ONLY
For 5.99 you get a generous portion of the home recipe, with a delicate hint of liquer. Light and rich. Best slice I've ever found.
Agree about the run-of-the-millness about the pasta after 2 trips. It's nice to support the long-standing Vancouver establishments, but I will be ordering the Tiramisu only, and I do pick it up regularily.
Two of us went here for dinner last night. I found the menu to be quite strange......it seems that there are only a few items, repeated in a variety of combinations. I got the linguine with red sauce and my friend got the same with white sauce. Both dishes were tasty, but I thought a bit overpriced.
A major disappointment was the wine list. We only wanted a glass each, and the only local wine by the glass was some sort of Burgundy (the waitress couldn't tell me from where). It was far too sweet and fruity for our meal.
There was an odd odor in the place as well...not musty, but smelled of a cleaning product or room deodorizer. Not too appetizing. I for one won't be back when there are many more appealing places to try.
A family member said to meet them at Nick's spaghetti house and so i checked out the reviews, needless to say they were not too positive, so i was not expecting much.
yes, when you walk in it's obvious that ppl do not go there for the decor. The women's bathroom (i cant say anything about the men's lol) was sooooo disgusting i can't even explain except to say that when i walked out i tried not to touch the door handle and i shuddered once i got out. It's gross...so pee before you get there!
It was very full, 3 tables left at 7:30 on a sunday.
We had the lasagne and speghetti with meatballs with cheese. both were actually good. i dont know why other ppl said the pasta was bland bc neither of our pastas were bland at all. the meatballs are huge and super tasty. The lasagne was pretty heavy and it seem sthat this past is homemade too?
all in all i would say this was a solid experience. Personally i think i would save this place for take out ...its not the type of place you go on a first date, but for a family restaurant with good pasta, it works.
My first taste of Nicks was as a 4 year old eating my parents leftovers.41 years later I still love it. Don't miss the spareribs.Just like Nonnas. Nicks never dissapoints. Not many places left where you can feel like your eating in the 60's. Don't be surprised if you run into Jimmy Pattison eating his spaghetti and 1 meatball