I’m really surprised that some Vancouverites on Yelp and Zomato complain about the prices at Ciopinno’s. Yes, it is spendy but hello people, look around you. The room is gorgeous and intimate. The glassware sparkles in the candle-lit room. The staff are professional and have service down to an art. If you want a bowl of inexpensive but delicious pasta, then line-up for over an hour at Ask for Luigi and sit in a cramped table in a packed noisy room. If you want to have a leisurely experience with expertly prepared food and service, well, save up and splurge here.
I took my older sister – Me Shell- here for dinner. We haven’t dined out together since 2009 and I wanted to impress her. So I chose one of the nicest looking restaurant with the best reputation in the city. Plus, I saw the chef, Pino, on Anthony Bourdain’s show and therefore, the restaurant could do no wrong.
While I was waiting for my sister to arrive, Pino came out to say hello. I shouted “You’re Pino!” I’m sure he knew that indeed, he was Pino and what I was saying wasn’t new to him. He smiled and nodded. When I get excited, I tend to state the obvious and talk too loudly.
Me Shell arrived late and announced she wasn’t drinking. That was fine with me. I already met with my girlfriend at Joe Fortes, so I was drinking for two. I ordered glass of white wine – SB Vieu Pin ($13.00) while she drank a virgin mojito ($7.00). We shared the following dishes: Carpaccio ($18.00); Mozzarella di Bufala ($25.00); Pappardelle ($25.00), Veal Ossobuco (38.00), Classic Sicilian Cannoli ($12.00) and an American ($3.25). Our server split the portions for us at our table.
Me Shell’s favourite dish is Carpaccio. She orders it at every restaurant. The AAA Canadian beef was sliced finely, beautifully fanned out and covered in fresh arugula, Parmigiano, and Harry’s bar mustard dressing.
The Mozzarella di Bufala special came with pickled vegetables. The cheese had an amazing texture and almost melted in your mouth.
The Pappardelle was one of my favourite dishes. I’m a sucker for pasta. You could smell the beef in this dish the moment it hit the table. The noodles were light with a nice bite to it. The four hour-braised veal cheeks were rich, tangled with porcini mushrooms. Our server paired this dish with a glass of red, Crognolo ($18), which I really enjoyed drinking.
The Veal Ossobuco came with saffron risotto. I enjoyed eating the marrow. The risotto was cooked perfectly. The portion was large enough for both of us. I was very full after sharing the four courses.
For dessert, we shared the Classic Sicilian cannoli filled with light ricotta cream and mascarpone sorbet. Simple but delicious. The sorbet was my favourite part, rich, sweet and creamy.
If you haven’t tried Cioppino’s and you appreciate classic Italian food, do come here. I’ll be back and recommend this restaurant to all my friends and family in Vancouver and Calgary. Next on my wish list is Hawksworth.