Italian Kitchen on Alberni Street is one of my friend’s most bragged about eateries in Vancouver. With a reservation on short notice, we were able to visit this modern sophisticated Italian restaurant on a Monday evening to beat the crowd at peak dinner hours.
Ushered past the dimly lit, casual lounge and bar area on the first floor, we made our way to the marbled terrace-like second floor and were seated at a private table. With its fine dining decor, Italian Kitchen tends to attract formally suited business people, along with well-dressed locals who like to enjoy classic Italian fare.
The menu offers a good selection of classic Italian dishes created by simplicity and fresh traditional ingredients. Driven by the “Art of Sharing” philosophy, it offers appetizer, pasta or meat platters that allow guests to sample a few popular dishes in one visit! No need to worry if you don’t come in a big group. The portion size and prices of the platters are on a per-person basis.
For starter, we ordered the burratta & proscuitto ($16.95). The plate came with forno bread, prosciutto, burratta, pesto and roasted tomatoes. Baked in brick oven, the bread had a thin, crispy crust that is perfectly charred like the pizzas. The ultra soft burrata cheese resembled mozzarella cheese, but had a rich-tasting, super creamy filling that was utterly delicious. Topped with a moist, thinly sliced prosciutto, there you finished the masterpiece.
The pasta platter ($22.95 per person) was an excellent option for out-of-town patrons like us who would like to try as many things as we could from the menu 😉 The platter included 4 types of pasta – truffled spaghetti & signature meatballs, linguine gamberi, lamb pappardelle and seafood fettuccuni (as a substitute for penne pomodoro which my friend said was quite ordinary). All the pasta were cooked al dente. Piled with freshly caught, luscious seafood and mixed with fragrant, creamy sauce, the seafood fettuccini was the best out of all. You could find a generous blend of prawns, mussels, lobster tail and salmon over a bed of pasta.
Served with roasted tomato sauce, linguine gamberi was sure a crowd-pleaser with all giant tiger prawns and bright and smooth garlic flavor.
The lamb pappardelle was mixed with shredded cabbage for a crunchy texture. Impressively, the spiced lamb was wonderfully aromatic, taking away the strong gamey smell. On the contrary, the truffled spaghetti which was my friend’s favorite dish, was a big disappointment. Even after mixing the truffle cream and herbed ricotta, the pasta was atypically bland and lacking the creamy texture. The meatballs, on the other hand, were finely grounded, fragrant and jazzed up with a kick of chili to tickle the tastebuds.
To make up for our disappointing experience with the truffled spaghetti, the manager treated us their signature dessert – zeppole al cioccolato ($8.95). The Italian-style deep fried mini-donuts was was a genuine heaven for chocolate lovers. Filled with dark chocolate, coated in gianduja (chocolate hazelnut paste), and drizzled with vanilla crème anglaise (sweet custard), oooooh, there’s nothing like the sensation of biting into a warm, chewy donuts. Every bites permeated the gentle sweetness. It’s the perfect indulgence.
Overall, I was happy with the delicious food and the attentive service. The incidence with the truffled spaghetti got me a little worried about their consistency in food quality. I would give it a second thought before ordering the truffled spaghetti again.