Today marked the last day I would be with my employer, which also marked the end of my tenure that I would be reporting live from Kitsilano. While the company mourned, I spent the last few Tuesdays, including today, at Trattoria, taking advantage of the $10 pasta special with my fellow coworkers, whom I will sadly miss. Why would I keep coming back? Why would this be one of the things that I will also miss when I move on?
Trattoria had always been located on West 4th in Kitsilano, so I’m not sure why it didn’t show up on my foodar during the five years that I was operating in the area. Despite the clearly visible sign that said “Dresscode in effect at all times”, I didn’t see why it was necessary, as the restaurant had a casual setting. I personally loved taking late lunches at work, but to fit everybody’s schedule, we usually go at 12:00pm, just as the restaurant was heating up. This usually meant that the restaurant was packed, lively, and loud. The restaurant had an open kitchen concept, which meant you can see and smell the kitchen in action. I loved that smell of garlic while we waited!
On my first visit, I had the Linguine Vongole, with manila clams, tomatoes, thyme peperoncino, and garlic. It was dressed in tomato sauce, but the peperoncino added a bit of heat. The pasta also had a generous amount of clams (with shell). It was good, but didn’t blow me away.
Next I had the Cannelloni, filled with ricotta, spinach & sun dried tomato, sweet pea cream, arugula, and almond salad. Beneath the thin layer of pasta were the creamy mesh of peas, chopped spinach, and ricotta. This was simply divine. However, I thought the cream could be slightly thicker as it tasted kind of watery and bland. The salad was of course served as a side.
Up next was the Spaghetti and Kobe Meatballs. Normally I wouldn’t get a tomato based pasta, but as of this writing, most of the pasta on the menu were tomato based, and I never had a bad meatball dish (except Ikea meatballs, which were pretty much plasticky sphere shaped erasers). And, excuse me, KOBE beef? How can I not order it? I was glad that I tried it. I was served with three gigantic Kobe meatballs topped with tomato sauce and spoonfuls of ricotta cheese. Mixed that together and you get a creamy, tomato based sauce with some meat flavors with just the right consistency. So lovely! I couldn’t determine if the meatballs were indeed Kobe, as I couldn’t detect a buttery flavor and texture, but they were well cooked with just a tiny hint of heat. I would easily have this again, and I did, twice!
Nothing could go wrong if you put Kobe beef, cheese, and tomato sauce together.
The Garganelli was one of the few pastas that was not tomato based, so naturally I went for that on one of my visits. And again, another winner. The dish housed a very generous amount of chicken. On my particular dish, the chicken was almost more than the pasta! Nothing to complain about here. The chicken itself was bite size and seasoned well. The sweetness of the peas and sun dried tomatoes provided some balance to the dish, and I felt that it was definitely necessary. Overall, a very balanced and flavorful dish.
Wanting to try something that was different, I got the Gnocchi Aglio e Olio, with garlic, peperoncino, and olive oil, on one of my visits. The gnocchi was slightly bigger that what I used to have, so you would expect it would be more bland, since it was bigger. But it’s not. Every gnocchi was well seasoned with herbs, and I just loved the browning on the sides of each gnocchi which provided the much needed flavors. You can just let that flavor melt in your mouth, and I loved it.
The dishes I didn’t get to tried was the Linguine Gamberini and the Lasagna. The Linguine Gamberini had the biggest prawns I’ve ever seen on a pasta dish, and I’ve heard good reviews from my coworkers. You can check out the pictures of both here.
I loved my experience at Trattoria. My only regret was that I discovered this place about five weeks before I had to leave my place of employment, and subsequently didn’t get enough chances to try out their other dishes. For example, I’ve heard good reviews for their pizzas, and I would love to try some of their items from their burrata bar. Guess I am going to have to try those dishes at Italian Kitchen, which pretty much shared the same recipe, when I start my new job in downtown. From what I had here, I don’t think Italian Kitchen would disappoint. Reservations highly recommended, especially on Tuesday, because it does get pack because of the special.