In the heart of Vancouver’s mini Rodeo Drive, sits one of my favorite restaurants owned by the Glowbal Group called Italian Kitchen. Sounds modest and cozy; cozy it is, modest it’s not. Surrounded by high end shopping such as Burberry, Tiffany’s, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Escada, the restaurant offers Alberni Street patio seating where you can people watch and see who is adding to their closets. This is the best pre-shopping brunch spot. When you walk in, there are two levels, the decor is upscale and posh but because it is Vancouver, it’s never too formal so you get a variety of people with the touristy district of Robson Street just up the block.
I’ve been there for brunch, lunch and dinner and am always greeted with sincerity and smiles by my favorite managers Gurpreet Bains and Alenrry Inniguez. The place is constantly buzzing with high energy, amazing aromas and the staff are always on the go so you definitely have to make a reservation to beat out the rest of the young and beautiful people that frequent this kitchen. The music is always upbeat and loud enough that you don’t hear the conversation at the next table and you don’t have to scream at your date. If you like kicking it at the bar then it’s a guarantee that you will learn something new by watching the chefs in their open concept kitchen, making their lively creations from different regions of Italy, as well as Italy’s all time favorites such as the Spaghetti Bolognese, all made with classic imported and fresh local products. Their kitchen is run smoothly by Chef Craig Scherer who always has a huge hug and smile for me and either one of their popular acclaimed Kobe meatballs (classic, delish, must try with chili oil and chili flakes) to tease or something really magnificent prepared before I even look at the menu. The service and energy is always positive and very impressive. Their bartenders are some of Vancouver’s best creating ‘to-die-for and do not stop at just one’ craft drinks and are always so knowledgeable with their exquisite wine list; you can leave it up to either Joe Cheng, Scott Clifford, Isabelle MacMillan or Thomas Davidson-Park to keep you entertained and taken care of. Emad Yacoub, Proprietor of The GLOWBAL COLLECTION has been named Restaurateur of the Year at the 25th Annual Pinnacle Awards and you will see him back and forth at each restaurant making sure that his staff and clients are happy and his energy is quite contagious.
Upon my return from a month detox in Calgary, I gravitated back to Italian Kitchen, my second home, and even after 3 years I’ve noticed that they haven’t had much of a staff turnover so that says a lot about their work culture and it makes this restaurant the Cheers of my neighborhood. I’ve checked in so many times on Foursquare that people started to think I worked there. The food is always consistent and the portions are not to be mistaken for a chi-chi restaurant style quantity, so be prepared to take home leftovers. Tip: if it’s pasta your taking home then fry it up the next morning with some oil and an egg and voila, instant gourmet breakfast! There isn’t anything that I would not recommend on the menu (brunch, lunch or dinner and of course dessert) but my favorites are noted below and know that they are very catering to their clients and you always get what you want. The service is impeccable and the food is AMAZING and they’ve got it right – Old-world charm. New-world vibe.
Burrata & Pancetta smoked pancetta, corn, leeks, sage, corn nuts, herb crostini || Beets & Arugula pistachio, pecorino, grapefruit, poppy seed vinaigrette || Crispy Fried Calamari spicy sicilian tomato sauce || Fusilli Lunghi wild mushrooms, pancetta, oregano cream || Lobster Capellini golden tomato coulis, orange & lemon zest, italian parsley, fresh chilles || Linguine Gamberi tiger prawns, capers, olives, oregano, roasted tomato aglio e olio || Grilled Lamb Chops eggplant caponata, olive jus || Roasted Pork Chop roasted brussels sprouts, grainy mustard jus || Halibut tomato coulis, kale, cherries, spiced walnuts, zucchini blossoms || Brussels Sprouts lemon, capers, parmigiano reggiano || Antipasto Rustico selection of imported cured meats, artisan cheese, mostarda, olives, truffle honey, grilled baguette || Pasta Platter truffled spaghetti & signature meatballs, penne pomodoro, linguine gamberi, lamb pappardelle
Did you call for a cab to rush you there yet? I may be biased because I have a seat with my name there and I get top notch service but when I take my friends there they are always thrilled to find out that it’s got a different vibe than the other Glowbal Group restaurants; it’s modern casual meets upscale, friendly, fun and fab!! This is a wonderful restaurant that works for so many occasions. I’ve celebrated my birthday upstairs, I’ve gone solo and sat at the bar, I’ve had business meetings there, dates, girls night out, family dinner, whatever you want, it’s a overall a great restaurant that has more than just pasta. I give Italian Kitchen a 5/5 forks! #RinaRatesIt
1037 Alberni Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 1A1