Monday, December 13, 2010

Ciao Bella

Linguini alla Toni
Good Italian food is hard to find in Vancouver. Restaurants (and patrons) seemed to have deconstructed the cuisine into various categories in which each restaurant specializes in.  For example, I have yet found great pizza in the same restaurant that serves great ravioli.

After the fall of our beloved Trattoria, my family's odyssey for a good Italian food has begun again.  Ciao Bella is located in the heart of downtown by Robson and Denman; we were drawn there by its 50% off pasta lunch specials and free parking.

Food (3/5):
Penne alla Miditerranea (not on sale)
The 6 of us all ordered pasta and they were all good, well portioned, and satisfying, especially for $8.  In fact, it would be hard to find deal this good anywhere downtown or west of Vancouver.  However, I would not pay the usual price for these dishes, because there are other Italian restaurants that offer better pasta at the same price or lower, such as Bella Roma.  The appertizer soup and salad were very ordinary and the pasta was boring.  The food lacked any rusticity or complexity that I loved about Italian food, and I can probably cook better at home.  Maybe we were all cursed by the ghost of Trattoria, but none of us eager to give the restaurant a second chance.
The only dish that stood out was Spaghetti alla Zambrotta was probably the best.  I liked the spicy sausages and zesty fresh tomato sauce.  If I have to eat here again, I would most likely order this dish again.

Spaghetti alla Zambrotta
Service (2.5/5):
For lunch, there was only one waitress on staff.  She seemed almost dismayed when the six of us entered the restaurant and almost frowned when we decided to sit inside away from the patio where other customers.  It was hard to blame her disgruntled attitude, since she was holding down the fort alone and playing superwoman.  She was probably underpaid too.  Although she was visibly unhappy, she served us adequately: take our orders, explained the dishes, served the food, and filled the glass all timely and efficiently.  In cases like this, I blame the management.

Linguini alla Pesto
Ambience (3/5)
I think their small patio area under the sheds of the trees on the side street is their main (tourist) attraction.  If I was a tourist in Vancouver on a sunny day in the summer, that patio plus cheap pasta would seem irresistible.  There are live piano music at night from Wednesday to Sunday.  However, the interior space during the day time was as depressing as that poor waitress.  I am sure it's very nice at dinner time though.

Overall Experience: (2.5/5)
The wine list was pretty lacklustre, and I was pretty sure their desserts were proprietary. The whole experience was very ordinary and unmemorable.  I even dragged blogging about it.

Total: 11/20
I didn't feel ripped off like when I was at Gramercy Grill.  I believe I got exactly what I paid for, but I was disappointed that this place was supposedly for fine dinning.  If Ciao Bella wants to survive the increasing competitive restaurant market in vancouver, they are in need of a Restaurant Makeover, and a menu and management overhaul.

Ciao Bella Italian Restaurant & Piano Bar on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment