Category Archives: Italian

Ask for Luigi – Vancouver

#98 on the Canada’s Best 100 list in Ask for Luigi, a restaurant specializing in pasta.  It seems like a lot of new restaurants are moving to Downtown Eastside,  even though the area has not completely been gentrified yet……

It doesn’t take reservations and if you don’t get the there half an hour before it opens, it’s usually a 2 hour wait after that.   So we got there 35 minutes before it opened and got a table!

We got a few appetizers and pastas to share:

octopus carpaccio… 

meatballs…..

anchovies and eggs.... this was simple but good.. anchovies and salmon roe on onsen eggs… I want to attempt this at home!

Special pasta of the day : risotto with white truffle, corn and spicy sausage…. very flavourful and our unanimous favourite pasta of the night…

Special pasta of the day with vegetables…..very light.. tastes like spring…

Ricotta ravioli, olive tapenade and marinated tomatoes…. onto the more heavy-flavoured pasta…

Fusilli nero, calamari and nduja crumbs………..

Pappardelle and wild boar ragu……

We also ordered all their desserts…..olive oil cake… very simple yet delicious.. it’s like a warm pound cake….

panna cotta

chocolate budino…..

I would come back for another meal… if there isn’t such a long lineup!

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

Ask for Luigi

305 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1C4, Canada
+1 604-428-2544

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Eating in Cannes – France

Next stop.. Cannes!!! We went to Cannes a week before the film festival and it seemed like the entire city was in the middle of setting up for this mega event.  The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès was closed so we couldn’t walk up the red carpet.  even the beach side restaurants were closed…..

For some reason, it was really hard to find a restaurant in Cannes.  There weren’t a lot of options near the Croisette and we ended up eating near the train station.  We saw that there were a lot of people at the restaurant San Telmo and decided to eat there (even though it’s Italian and I wanted to eat French food in France).

risotto with scallops, broas beans, red onions, butter and parmesan…… don’t know if it’s because I was too hungry, but this was pretty good.  Very flavourful and decent portion

margherita pizza

For breakfast, we found a fancy bakery from Paris…Bostock aux amandes….. I didn’t know what a “bostock” was but I was attracted to the almonds.  I was a bit shocked at the price, 3.8 euros, compared to an almond crossiant for  1.2 euros.  What could be so different about it???   After googling, I found out that bostock is made up of slices of day-old brioche, drenched in liqueur-syrup, topped with almond cream and almonds, then baked. It’s denser and sweeter than a croissant.. and much more filling.

iconic Carlton Hotel

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

San Telmo

31 Rue Hoche, 06400 Cannes, France
Phone:+33 4 97 06 08 65

Lenôtre

63 Rue Antibes, 06400 Cannes, France
Phone:+33 4 97 06 67 67

Eating in Manarola – Cinque Terre, Italy

The sun FINALLY came out when we were in Manarola and we could see the iconic village in its splendour!

We hiked up the hill to have another view of the water and the village…

After the very mini-hike, we treated ourselves to lemon gelato and sorbet.

We made a 6:30pm reservation for sunset dinner at Trattoria dal Billy weeks in advance as it’s one of the most famous restaurants in Manarola.  We didn’t anticipate that the sun would be setting at 9:20pm… but nevertheless, the view from Billy was pretty spectacular….

marinated anchovies in lemon and olive oil….. a bit too sour and salty..

mussels

seafood spaghetti…. al dente pasta.. extremely flavourful and so much seafood! This was the first time I saw razor clam in Italian pasta!

After dinner, we headed back down to the harbour to watch the sunset.. but the clouds blocked out the sun….. We ended up having another ice-cream!

FAIM? OUI OUI!!

Trattoria dal Billy

Via Aldo Rollandi, 122, 19017 Manarola, Riomaggiore SP, Italy
Phone:+39 0187 920628

Eating in Vernazza – Cinque Terre, Italy

After Monterosso, we caught the train to Vernazza.  The weather was still less than stellar but the village was still very picturesque.

Despite the cold weather, I still had two ice-creams! We went to the only gelateria by the water..

I have to admit, there’s not really much to do in Cinque Terre if you don’t hike. Since we were taking the trains, we saved so much time in getting to each village. However, there’s not much to do in each village because it’s so small..

We were bored sitting around and decided to have a late afternoon snack / way-too-early dinner.

mixed seafood salad….. ordered this because I wanted to eat vegetables but turns out it was mainly seafood….. kind of bland..

mussels… very very tiny mussel…

FAIM? OUI OUI!!!

Vernazza

Cinque Terre, Italy

Eating in Monterosso Al Mare – Cinque Terre, Italy

The easiest way to get to all five Cinque Terre villages is either by hiking or taking the trains.  When we went in April, it was cold and rainy; so we decided to train instead.  It’s quite convenient to train as the inter-village trains run every hour.  We trained to the northern-most village, Monterosso, which is also the largest of the five villages.

There’s two parts to Monterosso, old and new town.  The old town is more picturesque with the signature colourful buildings.

lemons everywhere…

passed by a bakery and couldn’t resist!

baci di dama…….. sooooo good! This almond cookie is so soft and buttery.. and there’s also chocolate!

Because that chocolate cookie was so good, I decided to try their apricot cookie; however, this was hard and dry.

A minute after buying that cookie, we passed by another bakery, Wonderland Bakery….and obviously, I couldn’t resist…

got a lemon and chocolate sfogliatella…  AMAZING! crispy and flaky on the outside!

For lunch, we went to a random restaurant with a Trip Advisor Excellence sign… not too good of a choice….

we ordered a pizza with tomato, mozzarella and Italian sausage….. this was so bland…

trofie al pesto…. oily and bland…

Monteresso Al Mare

Cinque Terre, Italy

Eating in Riomaggiore – Cinque Terre, Italy

The main reason for this Italian part of the trip was to visit Cinque Terre! Cinque Terre isn’t one town but is composed of five villages along the rugged coast of the Italian Rivera.   We chose to stay at Riomaggiore, the first village for La Spezia and the southern-most of the 5 villages.

 It’s very charming.. look at all the bright colours!

For dinner the first night, we decided to eat at Il Grottino as it was raining and the restaurant was right by our apartment. Right from the start, we did not receive any service at all.  The staff was very cold towards us (no hint of smile nor made any conversion) but was friendly and attentive to the other patrons…… No points at all for the non-existent service….

The food, however, was decent…

stuffed mussels.. it’s a local speciality.. mixture of eggs, parmesan, parsley and breadcrumbs stuffed into the mussel shell.. the mussel is so tiny you could barely taste it…  It’s not worth it because you’re basically eating breadcrumbs..

seafood spaghetti…  fresh seafood, the pasta was cooked perfectly but was a bit bland…

Apart from restaurants, there are also a few take away restaurants selling fried seafood….

Across from our apartment was Mamma Mia.  We could literally smell the aroma of fried calamari from our door.

fried calamari!

I picked a mix, so it included fried anchovies…

pesto focaccia.. kinda oily…

We also found a pasta laboratory!

you pick the type of pasta and the sauce…

we picked trenette pasta and pesto sauce as both pasta and the sauce is a specialty of the region…this dish is known as trenette al pesto… It was pretty good for the price (5 euros only!) but I think my mom makes better pesto pasta.  This was too oily and didn’t have enough basil taste.

FAIM? OUI OUI!!!

Riomaggiore

Cinque Terre, Italy

Eataly – Milan, Italy

Just came back from a whirlwind trip to Italy and France with the bestie.  I arrived in Milan earlier than her, so I spent the day exploring what I missed in Milan last time.   After dropping off my bags, I headed to Eataly for lunch.  I’ve been to the Eataly in New York and I wanted to try it in Italy.

Milan’s Eataly is ginormous… 3 whole floors dedicated to restaurants and groceries!

1 euro espresso…. the first of the daily espressos on the trip.. oh how much I miss this type of morning wake-up!

 prosciutto and mozzarella piadina….  Italian flatbread..

chocolate and vanilla gelato….

After my heavy lunch, I walked it off by touring Milan on foot!

I managed to get tickets to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper!!!! It’s one of the hardest tickets I’ve ever gotten as most of the tickets get snatched up by ticket scalpers… Each time slot has only 15 minutes of viewing time.  It really is quite incredible to see such a legendary masterpiece in real life.. and in such close proximity too.

Afterwards, I met up with my friend and decided to head to Eataly again for dinner.  We chose the pasta restaurant…. I’m guessing it’s a type of fast food restaurant as they provided paper cups for water and bread in paper bags… which isn’t quite environmentally-friendly…  Even though this was supposed to be a fast “eat-and-leave” restaurant, we waited 40 minutes before our order was taken!  The servers kept missing us (accidentally, they claimed) so as compensation, they gave us ONE coke to share.  O! and this was after they made us switch tables.  By the time the food came, we were NOT AT ALL happy.  From sitting down to the food arriving, it was about an hour..

tortelloni di ricotta al profumo di limone, con spadellata di verdure….. this was pasta stuffed with cheese and vegetable.. this was an interesting pasta because of the lemon sauce…

la pasta di Gragnano con pomodoro ebufala di “Roberto Battaglia”…… this was BAD… the pasta wasn’t even fully cooked….  at this point, we were so disappointed with the service and the food, that we didn’t finish and left.

We were soooo disappointed with Eataly that my friend said she won’t ever visit it again…

FAIM? un peu….

Eataly

Address: Piazza XXV Aprile, 10, 20124 Milano, Italy
Phone:+39 02 4949 7301