Thursday, November 11, 2010

La Terrazza

For Dennis and my 10 year anniversary, we wanted a restaurant that was super fancy, romantic, delicious, and possibly overpriced (splurge a little for our special occasion). La Terrazza, an Italian restaurant tugged away on the edge of Yaletown, was our final choice.  We have never been their before, but the menu on their website looked irresistible.  La Terrazza did not disappoint.

Food: (3.75/5)
The warm, fluffy bread (free!) with olive baked in came bundled up like a little baby.  As we unwrapped this delicious present, we were greeted with an explosion of the mouth-watering-freshly-baked-bread-with-olive scent.  The bread came with an olive oil dip with garlic salt. This combination makes the bread particularly savory but perfectly suited for an Italian restaurant. (3.5)

Dennis, the gnocchi expert,  ordered their Gnocchi Alla Margarita($15).  The handmade potato dumplings tasted like clouds... The texture was perfect.  Its fresh tomato basil sauce was elegant, delicious, but missing that extra-something to make it extraordinary (4). I ordered Carpaccio Al Bosco ($15.88) with black truffle vinaigrette, asiago, and herb pita.  The carpaccio eaten on its own was delicious, but nothing special, but when I ate it with the warm pita bread, the truffle scent was intensified and the carpaccio became something quite incredible. This is not your ordinary beef carpaccio (4/5).

For main course, Dennis ordered Spaghettini Carbonara Al'aragosta.  Dennis loved the crispy pancetta, the perfectly cooked lobster pieces, perfectly cooked pasta, and the creamy parmesan sauce.  It reminded him of Lamb Pappardelle from the fallen Trattoria. This pasta's flavours were a little too subtle though (4).  I got the Agnello, oven roasted rack of lamb in grainy mustard, mint consomme, and fontina potato gratinato. The lamb was perfectly cooked, tender, and moist.  The flavour of the sauce was very subtle and light; I was expecting something more substantial with lamb.  The fontina potato gratin was absolutely delicious! (3.5)

Spaghettini Carbonara Al'aragsta
For dessert, dennis and I shared La Creazione, a warm white chocolate cheesecake, wrapped in layers of phyllo with sour cherries. It was beautiful and delicious, but Dennis did not like it.  He found the flavour of the cheesecake too subtle and overpowered by the sour cherry (3).

We believe the chef runs an disciplined and organized kitchen with other skilled chefs.  Every single items was prepared to perfection and perfectly consistent and executed.  The executive chef knows his/her gastronomy and manipulating and maximizing simple scents and flavours.  With that said, Dennis and I tend to like heavy, in-you-face flavours, and the flavours are too subtle and "feminine" for us.

La Creazione
Service (3/5):
Our server was an odd duck.  He is an older Italian gentlemen with the arrogance of French waiter.  If I want to be snubbed, I would go to a French restaurant.  We were served well: glass and wine were filled regularly, food arrived timely and together, but his service was intrusive and abrupt. Maybe he was having a bad day.  He was completely blown away when I ordered an d'Asti to go with my dessert without consulting the wine menu, and then suddenly he became a lot friendlier.  Maybe he initially thought I was just a Chinese tourist without any appreciation for fine Italian cuisine.

Ambience (4):
The restaurant, tugged away on the edge of Yaletown, has the most beautiful and romantic dining room in Vancouver.  I felt like a princess in an enchanted Italian castle with an opulent lounge, timeless dark oak decor, and beautiful frescoed walls.  Wine cellars lined the walls displaying expensive and rare wine collections.  The light was dim, warm, and cozy.  The music was Italian style electronics - cool, casual, and not annoying. This is like the perfect restaurant to bring your girlfriend to - to pop the big question.  Just tugged her in the corner beside the fireplace surrounded by wine cellars or into the private wine cellar room or beside the window facing a beautiful garden, or... I can go on forever.

Overall Experience (3.5/5):
Their wine list was even more extensive and impressive (and expensive) than Cin Cin's.  Cin Cin may have a book, they had an encyclopedia. I ordered one of the cheapest bottle on the menu: a 2006 Carmere for $55. It was beautiful, smooth, fruit forward and perfect for our dishes.  However, as I was enjoying my Muscato D'asti in this fancy glass, the edge of the glass was chipped and cut my lips.  It was an unpleasant surprise, but I understand things like this happens can happen in any restaurant, even though the server should have checked.  The drink was taken off our bill, but I was expecting them to do more.

Total: 14.5/20
Dennis and I would love to go back and try the rest of the menu. We do appreciate subtle and elegant dishes sometimes. Hopefully, we will get a different waiter next time. La Terrazza is better than Cin Cin in terms of consistency and execution of the food, but Brix is superior than both.

La Terrazza on Urbanspoon

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