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Slowdive Apr 6, 2011 07:43 AM

My dad's coming to Vancouver soon and would like to take me out to dinner, he asked me to choose a restaurant. Any suggestions for nice restaurants (only in Vancouver proper please) fairly expensive is okay. No Japanese or Chinese restaurants please! I may be the only person in Vancouver who doesn't love sushi, and I grew up in China anyway so I tend to prefer something different. He really likes Italian food, so I was leaning towards Lupo which I've heard is good. True? Any other suggestions? It will be a Friday night if that makes any difference.

I know this is a pretty generic question but what can I say, I'm a poor student and don't go out to dinner very often, unless it's The Naam (ugh) and I want it to be a nice meal.

  1. grayelf Apr 6, 2011 07:52 AM

    If Dad's treating, I'd go for La Buca. Nice neighbourhood vibe, great food and the added bonus of free parking, usually right outside the door. If the weather continues to be vile, go for something braised, or maybe the beefsteak Fiorentina for two (quite manly!).

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: grayelf
      b
      bdachow Apr 6, 2011 08:42 AM

      Seconded, loved loved loved my experience at La Buca and it wasn't over the top for pricing.

      If you want over the top pricing, Cioppino's in Yaletown would be your place.

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

      Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill
      1133 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B5P6, CA

    2. toutefrite Apr 6, 2011 09:40 AM

      Just to answer your question about Lupo, yes, it's really good. Full disclosure: I know the owner. BUT I truly enjoy the food every time I go. I have had everything from the lobster risotto to the grilled ribeye, and everything is delicious. I also like the atmosphere. A little less "old boys' club" than Cioppino's. I haven't been to La Buca though, so can't speak to that.

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

      1. grayelf Apr 6, 2011 11:07 AM

        I'll chime in on our one visit to Lupo post reno/name change last September. Our experience was shaped by where we were sitting for the meal. The first part was in the centre of the restaurant (it is a remodeled heritage house). There was a very loud group across from us. I finally asked if we could move and we were much happier in the front room (where the fireplace was, not the porch that has been converted). The food wasn't as much to my taste as La Buca's but it was good quality.

        I also like Cioppino's but it really is splurgey for most people, I think. And you have to contend with the Yaletown parking situation (just go for valet, I'd suggest). The upside is if you are seated near the open kitchen you will often be treated to back-of-house goings on, if that floats your boat.

        1. k
          kroekerj Apr 6, 2011 01:35 PM

          Lupo's food is amazing, but it's more of a romantic place, not sure it is the father/son(or daughter) kind of atmosphere.

          Go for Cioppino's if he really likes Italian. A Vancouver landmark for sure. I've heard lots of good things about La Buca as well (I've never been), so I'm sure that would be great as well.

          Another option is Market in the Shangri-La. Not an Italian restaurant by any stretch of the imagination, but they do have a great black truffle pizza and some delicious seafood and braised meats! Market is my go-to for out of town guests in the downtown core. Impressive building, big name chef, local ingredients (somewhat), and very consistent execution. Can get boring if your a regular, but a great special occassion diner.

          Cheers!

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

          1. d
            Dan G Apr 6, 2011 01:40 PM

            Been to Lupo twice and it is very good, but not overwhelmingly so. I would actually recommend Cibo - a bit more interesting, a bit more innovative... Maybe less consistent, but on its best days it beats Lupo for me (but then I'm a nose-to-tail, offal kind of guy...).

            1. s
              selena03 Apr 7, 2011 08:29 AM

              Well I dream about the food at Lupo after I have eaten it. This is how much I like the food there. I like Cioppino's but think it is way overpriced for what you are getting in terms of food and service. Cioppinos used to be my fave resto until Lupo came along. I think it's about your taste buds though. I like traditional trattoria type food when it comes to Italian and I think Lupo is just one level above that and does it perfectly. The pasta is comforting, the service is warm, they have a great concise wine list, prosseco on tap, and a wonderful chocolate cake to end things. I like the setting very much and would ask to sit in the front or middle room if you decide on going there for your special dinner.

              1. s
                Slowdive Apr 9, 2011 10:41 AM

                Thank you all! I'm probably going to go with La Buca, although Lupo's online menu is making me salivate. It's closer to me (no car), has free parking for my dad, and is a bit cheaper.

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

                4 Replies
                1. re: Slowdive
                  i
                  islandgirl Apr 9, 2011 07:58 PM

                  The only comment I have is that the tables at La Buca are quite close together while Lupos are a little further apart. This only really matters if you care whether your neighbours are "eavesdropping" on your conversations :)

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

                  1. re: islandgirl
                    s
                    Slowdive Apr 10, 2011 03:57 PM

                    Hmmm. If my neighbours are that fascinated to hear all about how my soil biology, weed science, etc courses are going when I tell my dad about school, I suppose they're welcome to listen in.
                    Anything thats particularly good on their menu? I know someone mentioned the steak for two but I'm not a steak fan.

                    1. re: Slowdive
                      grayelf Apr 10, 2011 10:17 PM

                      I feel like Chef Durbach's strength lies in the braised stuff, and he does really well with any kind of lamb (he used to do a pea agnolotti with a lamb ragu that was killer so if you see any lamb ragus lurking around, try that). Long skinny pastas here can be very good also, as the kitchen turns them out properly al dente, which prolly should be a given but sometimes isn't

                      :-). This might be obvious but if you like the sound of any of the blackboard specials, they are based on what's freshest that day. I always like his salads, and the desserts are often stellar, especially if they are deep fried. If you're really lucky they might have cannoli. Can't go wrong with the panna cotta either, unless you don't like whatever fruit they're putting on top. And I guess you could ask them to hold the fruit in that case. Hope that helps and have fun.

                      1. re: grayelf
                        b
                        bdachow Apr 11, 2011 06:36 AM

                        Second the deep fried desserts, they had these little Italian doughnuts served with a chocolate dipping sauce, our entire table was fighting over these at the end. :)

                2. f
                  firecracker2 Apr 11, 2011 07:38 PM

                  I was just at Al Porto in Gastown on Saturday night. Food and service were terrific and well priced to say the least!

                  1. foodforbuddha Apr 12, 2011 01:21 AM

                    I know it's not Italian, but I take oversea friends to Cru on Broadway.

                    1. s
                      Slowdive Apr 20, 2011 10:43 PM

                      Really stupid question but how do you get to La Buca? I walked down 24th and Macdonald today but didn't see it on either side of the street (walking past West Side Bakery, that little corner grocery store, etc.)

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

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Slowdive
                        LotusRapper Apr 20, 2011 11:36 PM

                        They don't call themselves La Buca ("The Hole") for nuthin' ....... ;-)

                        See Google Streetview below, they're wedged between "Big Mama's Place" (I hope that's a restaurant ......) and "Totters of Knightsbridge" antique store:

                        http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&...

                        1. re: LotusRapper
                          s
                          Slowdive Apr 21, 2011 02:13 AM

                          Wow, I'm more blind than I thought. Thank you!

                      2. LotusRapper Apr 20, 2011 11:39 PM

                        Another option, not quite as acclaimed as Buca, Lupo, etc. is Campagnolo on Main St just north of the train station.

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                        Campagnolo
                        1020 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A, CA

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