The Poor Italian is a restaurant on East 1st Avenue that showcases fresh handmade pastas, meat dishes including sausages and hams that are cured in-house, seasonal vegetables and other local ingredients.
I have never been more disapointed in a restaurant before. I had heard all of this great hype that the ex- head chef from Il Giardino was cooking here and being a fan of Il Giardino, I was excited. BIG MISTAKE!!! First it took 20 minutes to get our drinks and then I had to ask for our orders to be taken. The waitress was extremely rude and had no education on food or wine. I ordered the Calamari and Sausage appetizer which consisted on 4 rings of boiled Calimari (undercooked) in a bland tomato sauce with a couple slices of gross sausage. My fellow diners ordered the mussels, crab cake, carpaccio and antipasto platter. The only appetizer that was enjoyed was the antipasto platter. For my main course I ordered Spaghetti Carbonara (let me indicate here that I am Italian and am a good cook myself) It was the worst carbonara I have ever had. The pancetta tasted rancid and there was no flavour at all. My other friends ordered pasta as well (all various ones) and they were all so bland that between the 10 of us we used 2 full containers of Parmesan cheese to try and give it some flavour! I decided to complain about my pasta and the waitress took it back. Then the maitre'd came and actually had the nerve to tell me "this pasta was made with Pancetta Not Bacon, you are aware that they taste different right?" I couldnt believe after I was given dog food to eat he would question my food knowledge. I simply replied with "yes I am aware and have had Carbonara about 50 times and I know that this one is off" He begrudgingly allowed me to switch my order to Tortellini in cream sauce (how can you screw that up?) again bland and undercooked tortellini. I ordered coffee and tiramsu (coffee was cold, tiramsu dry with barely any mascarpone) Also if you plan to go here, bring cash as they dont appreciate credit cards??? They only have one terminal and the rude and very inexperienced waitress told us it would take 25 mins to run our cards??!! To finish off the evening the waitress accused us of shorting the bill and berated us like school children to then realize she had lost 2 of the slips and then she didnt even apologize for her mistake. And as a finale our car got blocked in the ridiculously small parking lot and we had to wait while they went around the restaurant asking people to move their car as they blocked 3 vehicles in. All around this was my worst experience. If you want Italian food take the trip downtown and hit Cioppinos or Amacord or Il Giardino. I would NEVER go back.
I visited this restaurant with some trepidation. I had heard good things about it from a trusted friend but I had also read the many bad reviews on this site. It turns out that I was pleasantly surprised. Our experience got off to a good start with quick and inexpensive valet service. We were seated in a quiet corner and were greeted by a server who was friendly and knowledgeable, although maybe a little insincere. (He seemed like an actor pretending to be a server.) We started with a half-litre of delicious and well-priced wine and the calamari. I have to agree with previous reviewers that the calamari was a disappointment. It was rubbery and tasteless and the portion was small for the price. The entrees were better. I had the clam linguine and my spouse had a veal dish and we were both satisfied with the taste, size and presentation. Our bill came to $110 before tax/tip which seemed quite reasonable. I don’t think this will be a regular haunt for us, but I’m certainly glad that we tried it.
Had lunch on Friday the 21st Jan. 2011, loved it. The service was prompt and flawless, the decor rustic as should be for an Italian restaurant.
The restaurant was packed, a mix of professional/business/casual lunches. The seating was well spaced giving each table enough privacy.
Loved the menu. The executive chef John Costanzi’s dishes were well prepared, size of portions just the right amount, aroma and taste just perfect. I opted for a salad as a starter, it was crisp and fresh with just the right amount of dressing, then for my main course I decided to try the Gnocchi which the waitress assured us John made from scratch; I found them to be melt in your mouth, the perfect taste and consistency, topped by a mushroom butter/ sage sauce that was delicately balanced.
I would easily recommend the restaurant to all connoisseur's of good Italian food.
This past weekend we had a celebratory dinner party for 40 people at The Poor Italian Restaurant. I have to say without a doubt the most incredible dining experience we have ever had. In preparing for my party I spoke to the General Manager who guided me through the planning and selecting the menu for 40. She was so accommodating and made the entire planning process stress free. The evening began as we entered the restaurant greeted by the Maitre D, the tables for our party had been set to perfection with a special personal touch added by the General Manager which made the evening begin with an incredible welcome feeling. We decided to have the dinner served family style on platters. We began our meal with platters of antipasto, which one would have to see to believe the artistic beauty of their presentation. Each of the items on the antipasto platter were so delicious (one could have made a meal on that alone). After the antipasto course, platters of two different kinds of pasta (Penne Arrabiata and Linguine with Pesto) arranged beautifully on platters and cooked to perfection. Then arrived the main course of chicken and seafood, both also cooked to perfection and mouth-watering flavor. The desserts that we ordered were artfully displayed on plates and probably the most delicious desserts I have ever tasted. All courses were served in a timely manner so as not to rush anyone or keep anyone waiting too long. All in all, the evening was beyond any experience I have ever had at a restaurant serving a dinner party for 40 people. The ambiance of the restaurant was incredible, the service was beyond compare and the food was the most amazing I have ever had.
One of the guests at the party was from Beverly Hills, California and has managed some of the top restaurants in that City and he was astonished at the level of professionalism displayed by the staff and the incredible presentation and taste of the food. Overall the evening was beyond successful and all due to the complete professionalism of the management and staff and the accomplished expertise of the Chef.
I have eaten in a lot of fine restaurants in the City of Vancouver, and in my opinion there are none that equal the ambience of The Poor Italian and more importantly the service, presentation and taste of the food. If I could give this Restaurant 10 stars I would.
I have spent one of the best evening of my life at this restaurant.
On September 28th 2010 the Poor Italian organized a winemaker's dinner. The occasion was the presentation of the Longo&Sincini portfolio of premium italian wines.The event was appropriately named "una serata di vino", an evening of wine: seven courses paired with seven unforgettable wines. Of the seven courses, after 2 weeks, I still salivate at the Pappardelle alla Lepre, red wine braised wild hare with homemade pappardelle paired with a solid Pianirossi Solus Maremma Toscana IGT from 2004.
Carmine D'Onofrio of Stile Wines and winemaker Serge Leveque of Longo&Sincini presented the wines. Serge Leveque introduced them in English and Italian (with a delicate French accent) showing an unmatched passion for grapes, terroir, wines and winemaking. Chef John Costanzi and sommelier Gianfranco Loi received a thunderous applause at the end of the evening.
I am looking forward to the next winemaker's dinner.
Kudos to the management: the "serata' has been "fantastica"!
We heard about this place from a friend who has a keen appreciation for taste and value. His recommendations are always taken seriously and this one certainly lived up to expectations.
We had the soup (a chilled watercress), which was fabulous. I had the salad, which was fresh and delicious and used seasonal ingredients (mushrooms in particular) and my wife had the calamari. It was the best calamari she has ever had and she has had it all over the world! It was fresh and perfectly cooked (NOT rubbery or fishy tasting and not disguised under breading...straight up and perfect). We had the Berkshire pork chop and the clam linquine...both well presented and, more importantly delicious! For dessert, I had the chocolate souffle. I was warned that it would take a few minutes to make...which it did (but not unreasonable) and it was....outstanding. Simply outstanding.
I have read some other reviews here and I wonder if I was eating at the same place as those reviewers? The service was very good, the prices were reasonalbe (although not an inexpensive meal) and the overall experience was...."very very satisfying". We thoroughly enjoyed every dish and we would go back to this restaurant in a heartbeat...and we will!
It is not so bad.
Darios remains my favourite with their great food, service and ambiance.
However, the Poor Italian is getting better with every passing week. I have been there six times and the only time I did not enjoy the food was a time when the head chef was off. The service is getting better and they now have some really great staff. Greeting is friendly at the door. I think I enjoy the lunch experience more as the place is not so frenetic as in the evenings. i do think the value is good as you can get a great plate of pasta for $15 and a there is a nice selection of wines by the glass.
Few weeks ago (around middle of January), I went to this place and had a meal with my girl friend. It is very expensive compare to the quality and the value of the food. Waitress seems like unwilling to work as we were there around 7PM.
I'd say the quality of the food is not even worth half of the price.
1) They got great selection of wines
2) The ambiance is fantastic
3) They used a nice POS system that looks professional and fits for this kinds of restaurant settings
4) All the routine such as order taking, getting the bill, clearity of the bill and make payment was really smooth.
5) Waiter seems to know the menu inside out
6) Menu looks really professional
1) Food is really bad
2) Waitress looks angry
3) Food is somewhat half-cooked
4) Really cheap on the dressing for salad
5) No parking space
In general, as topic states, Poor Italian is nothing special except things they don't make. So if you want to experience anything but food, i'd say its great choice. Otherwise, stay away from it and there is better place to spend your money.
It was excellent. Good food and the service was even better.
I've been to lots of places and been sorely disappointed. This party was a total winner. Nothing is cheap these days but if you're going to have a special party this is a great place to do it.
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