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Apr 23, 2011 06:20 PM

Pronto in Cambie Village

Walked by the block between 18 & 19 today (son was doing Easter activities, yada yada) and noticed a new resto in the making. It's two doors south of Black Dog Video (or two doors north of Choices Market). Used to be a flower store. Now will be "Pronto", an Italian joint. The owner lady was busy with a worker doing the renovations. I didn't want to bog her down with lengthy questions so I came away with some snippets of info, as accurately as I can remember:

- hope to be open in ~ 2 weeks
- working on liquor license
- working on back alley patio w. tables
- casual, rustic Italian fare. Exec chef will be working with her in short while to get the menu going. She wasn't explicit on the menu itself
- owner lady herself is Italian

The furniture (I saw a few wooden booths) looked better-than-average quality, so I'm guessing custom work was involved. Also some shiny new kitchen bits on one side (convection oven ?), all of which would also suggest this ain't gonna be just an espresso & panini operation.

If anyone hears more about them, feel free to add to this thread :-)

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  1. Thanks for the tip, will investigate in a couple of weeks. Hopefully they won't take their name too literally -- it would be good to have Italian slow food in Cambie Village.

    1 Reply
    1. re: À la carte

      But I hope the food comes pronto after ordering ;-)

    2. "....all of which would also suggest this ain't gonna be just an espresso & panini operation." - Oh yes it will be.
      They are going for the feel of a very authentic central Italian paninoteca with Porchetta as their signature item.
      Now the wait to see how authentic they will be.

      1 Reply
      1. re: eatrustic

        Oh, that's disappointing -- I was hoping for something Campagnolo-ish...

      2. Pronto is now open. Haven't tried it yet, but heard good things about the daily special pasta dish and the soup from friends who went there yesterday.

        5 Replies
        1. re: À la carte

          I went the other day and its not very good.

          1. re: Gaseous Clay

            Could you give a tad more info than that? What did you try and not like?

            1. re: eatrustic

              I stopped by on the weekend. The room is welcoming and well designed...the staff were also welcoming and happy to talk about their food. I ordered the porchetta panini. Appeared to be a house made bun and the porchetta was good - a well portioned sandwich with juicy meat with crispy fat and skin. It was a simple sandwich, maybe overly simple. Only a mayo-like spread and meat on bread. I'd say it was a good sandwich, but not something I'm dying to go back for. I won't pretend to understand the tradition of this sandwich, but I feel that it was missing tang and maybe some fresh toppings.

              A pretty good start, but room for improvement. Hopeful for some tweaks to the food to compliment the great space they've got.

              I'll go back.

              1. re: wueric

                Popped in for lunch today. I thought the porchetta on its own is pretty good, but the sandwich it's packaged in is a bit lacking. The mayo really gets loaded on thick, to the point where it's hard to taste much else. Because of that, I'd be curious to see how the porchetta plate is instead.

                1. re: clutterer

                  Went there last week for dinner with fam ....... I forgot to post my thoughts here. Sorry.

                  Overall I think they're on the right track, but there's definitely room for improvement. There was only one other family of 3 when we were in. They were waiting forever for their food. We walked in, ordered porchetta plate, rapini, cheese plate and pasta of day (rotini). Cheese plate came first, but took almost 10 mins. 10 mins later the rapini arrived. About 30 MINS *after* the rapini, the pasta and porchetta arrived. The cook/chef dude out front kept going back & forth btwn front and back kitchen, doing what exactly I don't know. The two young ladies working the front of the room were more interested in talking with each other than tending to the needs of (famished and increasingly impatient) customers. Staff service glitched by growing pains ? ....... certainly not when the place is > 1/2 empty and during first few weeks of business. I attribute it to poor training. The young brunette was rather talented at standing still and watching the others work, esp. her female peer who was moving about a lot more.

                  Now to the food ..... porchetta plate was ok, but lukewarm and the meat was tough and dry in places (strangely much more tender and juicy a few bites away). Rapini was pretty ok. Cheese plate was ok. Pasta (rotini marinara) was ok with what might have been chopped whole canned romas. Rotinis were definitely packaged generic variety. Sadly the dish totally lacked meaningful seasoning and garlic. We wolfed it down cuz we were simply too hungry by then.

                  So to end it off, I don't want to come across as being too harsh on Pronto on my 1st visit, but I really think there's no excuse to keep customers waiting a long time to eat when the restaurant is at less than full capacity, esp. given Pronto's very simple and fast fare. I'll give them another shot in the near future just to be fair.