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Jul 23, 2008 06:29 PM

Mid-range pasta in Vancouver?

Can anyone recommend a mid-range pasta/Italian place in Vancouver? Something along the lines of a trattoria, with $12-$20 pasta dishes? Nothing fancy, but not a chain either. And preferably not someplace that tries to do 30 different types of pasta.

Any recs appreciated.

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  1. La Buca's pastas are very good and under $20, and so are the ones at La Piazza Dario at the Italian Cultural Centre.

    La Buca Restaurant
    4025 MacDonald St, Vancouver, BC V6L2N8, CA

    Dario's La Piazza
    3075 Slocan St, Vancouver, BC V5M3E4, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: im_hungry

      Excellent. I'll give those places a go, especially La Buca.

      The other day, we ended up trying Cafe Luxy on Davie St. They make their own fresh pasta. I ordered that day's special, which was linguini with mussels and shrimp in a plum tomato sauce. I'm pretty sure the shrimp were frozen, despite the waiter telling me that they were fresh. The mussels were overcooked, and the sauce was quite boring. The serving size was insane -- easily enough for 3 people. At $15, which included a small cesar salad and garlic bread (both of which were mediocre), you might call this place a bargain, especially if you take it home for lunch the next day, and you don't mind mediocre food.

      Their lunch dishes are about half the price, and probably much smaller, which to me would be a better deal.

      I left very underwhelmed, and would probably been more satisfied with a pasta dish at a chain restaurant. I won't be going back.

      1. re: im_hungry

        I second La Buca for pasta -- best in town that I've tried. You might want to check out La Quercia on 4th, run by former La Buca and Parkside types. Couldn't find any prices on line though (opening menu at and I haven't had a chance to go yet...

        If you're feeling red saucy, there's always Cipriano's on Main... haven't been for a while but I hear it's still dishing up massive servings of North American Italian for not much cash.

        1. re: grayelf

          I wish I can recommend Italian joints on the Drive (which is "Little Italy" after all) but for the most part, I can't with good conscience.

          There's always Nick's on the North end of Commercial for that North American Italian carbo-load. It's not that cheap for what you get. Lombardo's which is known for their pizza has good al forno pastas (the lasagna is quite good, IMO).

          Dario's at the ICC was already recommended by im_hungry above. Around the bend on Hastings St towards Burnaby are a number of small, medium range Italian places which I hear are decent. I have not been to any (except the infamous Anton's - strike it off your list now...) first hand. Baci, Vita Bella, etc come to mind.

          1. re: fmed

            I like Vita Bella. It's reasonably priced, food is solid and service is good. I've also eaten at L'Artista (not as good as VB), La Villetta (don't bother), and Domenico's (don't bother) along Hastings.

            I had a reservation at La Quercia this weekend. The pastas and other dishes looked great. I say "look" because I didn't actually get to eat due to a massive, unapologetic screw up at the front of the house. The front is still in (very) soft opening mode and needs to be better organized, with a better focus on customer service. Let's just say the service was as good as what you'd find in a bad Chinese restaurant :-)

            I'm hoping that my experience was a one-off and that others have better news to report.

      2. I would definitely give the nod to Incendio in Kitsilano and/or Gastown. While known for their signature pizzas, their pasta selection is quite good as well!

        1. Aren't Cioppino's lunch pastas in that range? Well worth it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: toutefrite

            Cioppino's is slightly outside that range ($20-$30)...but indeed well worth it.

          2. I didn't see a rec for Italian Kitchen (both locations). They have a pasta platter for two for $16 at lunch. Lunch pastas at $12-ish, dinner pastas $16-$28.

            1. The Trattoria Italian Kitchen at 4th and Burrard has teriffic pasta. Try the Spagetti with Kobe Meatballs--it's in your price range. This is a sister to the Italian Kitchen on Alberni, downtown, but it's prices are much cheaper. Also note, that and the lunch and dinner menus at the 4th St. location are identical. The pasta platter for two is, I think, $16-$18 each, but the better choice is the carne & pesce platter for two. It's a lot of food but if you want more, order the above noted spagetti to go with it. Overall a great addition to Vancouver's dining scene.
              BTW, no reservations accepted.