Presto Cucina is a casual Italian restaurant offering rustic pizzas, pastas and salads in a cooked to order, quick service style.
Mrs. C and I were trolling for dinner in WestVan when we spotted PC. We scampered in and got a table. This place does quick serve Italian, and you order at the front and then the food is eventually brought to your table. The flaw in the system is this: What would happen if you ordered and someone grabbed the last table (or all tables were full) while you were ordering? Sounds like a recipe for disaster, unless maybe you had a table squatter to assist you. I prefer to get a table assigned so I can avoid that sort of risk. Luckily for us, the place was only half full. We also noted that the restaurant was quite clean, including the w/c.
The menu wasn't exactly vast, so we were able to make our selections quickly. I had the Italian sausage penne rustica which had a tomato sauce, and my favorite dinner companion had a panini terzetto, which was basically deli meat and cheese. We also had both a Caesar and a house salad, plus a glass of inexpensive red wine. Service was okay, by which I mean the cashier was able to take our order without incident.
The food was acceptable if not life-altering, but it was a little pricey for what we got. Kind of like at a certain garden of bread restaurant you may know. I thought my pasta dish was tasty, as was the house salad, but the rest of the meal was forgettable.
We left with full bellies, but no urgent desire to return.
I made a dinner visit here with my lady on the way back from a light excursion in the woods and rocky shores of Lighthouse Park in West Van. Famished and tired, we walked by the restaurant and decided to try it out. I've read some solid reviews of the Kits location so I thought this was well worth a try. The idea of walking up to the counter to make your order, pick up a cold alcoholic beverage from their attractive and glowing display filled with ice was pretty novel considering the varied Italian menu they had - well, not really if any of you remember visiting Mrs. Vanelli's at your local shopping mall to order that suspicious and drab looking slice of pepperoni pizza bathing under the heat lamp...oh, that wouldn't be a fair comparison would it now....
Anyhow, my Spaghetti & Meatballs for 9.99 (Dinner size) was a good deal. It came with two 4-bite garlic toasts and was generously sauced in the Italian-American tradition. Meatballs could have benefitted from being larger and more moist - noodles suffered a little from the lack of Al-Dente-ness. In spite of the shortcomings, I was happy to eat it nonetheless. My lady's Spinach-ricotta canneloni received a similar subduedfanfare -it tasted like it should in a good-enough way.
The restaurant looked very clean, very brightly lit and I loved the use of cherry wood, red brick, and yellow mustard walls. The only thing that was really lacking was the white and red checkered vinyl tablecloths. Window side seats were excellent, especially with the windows completely open, letting in the Dundarve airiness of the warm summer evening.
Service was very non-chalant at the counter from a young Italian-looking manager who seemed to be looking forward to getting off from his shift to enjoy the rest of his Saturday night.
I would be interested in visiting the Kitsilano location for a similar if not slightly better experience.
A friend suggested we go here because it's close to home and reasonable... however, for $10.99, a pizza should have toppings and flavour.
I tried a chicken garlic pizza... all I could taste was the crust. Very few toppings. Frozen supermarket pizza is better. And it was the size of a dinner plate.
The counter order system doesn't seem to work as I received my pizza well before my friend's. The servers were in a flap and not very polite.
It's very fast food in terms of ambiance, food and service but with higher prices.
They call their pizza Pizza Rustica. Well, let me tell you there's no rustic quality about their pizza. Every time you see a restaurant that has a brick oven but uses domino/panago style industrial machine out back to cook their pizzas, run away. You know how they say "that some pizzas taste like shoe"? That's presto pizza for you. Maybe a bit of glue, too. They said tell us next time you come about your experience and we're sorry. "Next time you come"?!
I have been here a few times now and have had very mixed feelings about it already. The food was amazing one of the few times I have been there, everything was cooked perfectly and up on the counter waiting to be taken out within 5-10 minutes. Everybody working in the kitchen seemed to know what they were doing and appeared to be having a good time with it. It took another couple of minutes however for the gina's to bring the food out to us however. On top of that with around 6 people working up front there must have been 4 or 5 dirty tables just sitting there. However The other times I have been there the food has been below average, the pasta I had was cold and seemed like it had been dried out by being cooked for way too long, and my friends pizza was cold, and had large bubbles on it. The front was just as dirty and most of their staff looked like they were just waiting for us to leave so they could finish their shift. All in all I think the place is over-priced and on average the food is so-so and seems to be going downhill fast, and the staff do not seem to be as friendly as they once were. .... P.S. 5 breadsticks with a small bowl of sauce for $8 is an extreme rip-off, just ask for extra sticks with your meal and they usually will get you some extras free of charge.
Oh my god. Try the garlic chicken pizza. It is the best in Canada. I rarely waste time writing a review for anything, and usually am very non-challant about food, BUT this is awsome. I fully recommend it.
GO there and order garlic chicken pizza, or marinara pizza. You ll be going there again.
The first few times I went to this restaurant years ago the food was really great. I still recommend the baked smoked salmon pasta; however...it seems that over the past year or so they've hired young cooks (you can see the people making your food) and the quality really has suffered. It seriously looks like a bunch of frat boys are making your food. I don't think I will go back again...I also always found the prices a bit steep, you can go to numerous other italian restaurants in the area and receive better food and atmosphere!
We have been there a few times over the last seven months.
Our first experience with Presto Cucina was to put it bluntly bad. The thirty something African American woman running the place clearly no experience running a restaurant. We immediately found a table only to be told by said manager, quite rudely I may add, that we were order at the front counter. Our food then took ages to arrive only to be basically thrown on the table and us left to our own devices. My lunch date wanted another coffee but needless to say we were to put off to ask for another.
Our next experience was early this fall. There was a new manager. (no wonder) and low and behold she's another dud. She clearly had no respect from her staff which caused our order to be incorrectly made and the blame to be passed back and forth. After finally getting the correct salad (a Caesar which had no croutons! Shame!) We ate our pasta and dessert (chocolate cake) and ran off into the night wishing we had gone elsewhere)
We decided to give Presto another chance the other week. (third times a charm right?) I have to say we were pleasantly surprised! Again there was a new manager, a young man in his late twenties I'd say. He was pleasant to deal with. He made our food personally after we had a small conversation about our prior dining nightmares. This tine we ordered more drinks and even dessert with confidence. My only complaint is they have changed the chocolate cake and it's terrible! More of a cheesecake now. But compared to our last experiences this is nothing.
I was ready to give up on this place but now after seeing the restaurant in more capable hands I won't be
afraid to go back.
We live in West Van and have been here before. Four years ago they made great pizza but and every visit it is a little worse. The last visit was the last visit though. Half litre of wine, salad, pizza = $70. Okay, not cheap but great food would make it all okay. Wine was good. Salad generic. The pizza was absolutely horrible. Doughy, limited toppings, it didn't even look or smell good. The place should be ashamed of selling such bad product. I spoke with the young fellows who made the pizza and they said that they have no control over the crust, it just comes that way. For better pizza just go to Safeway and buy a frozen one, add a couple of fresh things on top and cook it at home.
Great value for money, fun place to take family or friends. Choice of pizza and other typical Italian cusine is enough for all appetites. Family style, bistro table cloths, booths - cozy, cheery atmosphere with some amore music thrown in. I have eaten there with friends and family on a regular basis and always enjoy the dinner and the friendly staff. It's casual and the tasty comfort food is dependable.