This year I have been rather careful on my spending on Dine Out, despite having planned 7 dinners in total (haha). In the past I usually had a good mix of $28 and $38 menus; this year, I only had one $38 dinner: the Poor Italian Ristorante, with the name Tony Parsons attached to it. We didn’t choose it because of its celebrity fame. We were simply attracted to its menu.
My parents and I were able to pick something different for each course (except for dessert which only had 2 options), which is always a good sign. But first, a bread basket! Wow this was the first and only bread basket I received during Dine Out this year. The other 6 restaurants did not offer free bread at dinner – there was always a surcharge to order bread on the side. A welcomed change for sure!
The Insalata Caprese di Buffala was a refreshing start to a meal. The soft yet spongy buffalo mozzarella cheese was sooo good! It’s light and creamy, and obviously went well with tomato, chopped basil, balsamic and olive oil.
The Carpaccio di Manzo was a luxurious starter. It had a generous serving of thinly sliced Angus beef, with just enough truffle aioli and capers for flavours. The baby arugala salad was well-dressed and nicely balanced with the meat.
The Raviolini in Brodo was probably the weakest of the three. The raviolis were tasty but the broth was rather light; could use a bit more seasoning.
There were actually 5 entree options to choose from. I loved my Medaglioni Di Vitello. The veal tenderloin medallions were super tender!! They didn’t even give me a steak knife. With a regular knife I was cutting it like butter. It was cooked to a perfect medium, tasty combined with the rich mushroom sauce. The portion might seem small, but it was a satisfying plate!
The Baccala Fresco del Pacifico was pretty good. Sable fish isn’t usually associated with a tomato sauce, but in this case, it worked. The fish was flaky and the chunky tomato sauce added some more moisture to the fish. Interestingly, this dish and my veal dish above had the exact same side with potato wedges, sliced bell peppers, long beans, cauliflower and carrots. Save the prep cook some work to prepare different types of sides.
You can’t eat at an Italian restaurant without ordering a pasta dish. Dad went for the Tagliorini Alla Salerno, which is a prawn & scallop pasta dish. The egg pasta was cooked al dente, tossed in a garlicy sauce with a hint of lemon zest. We were quite surprised to see so many decent sized prawns and scallops in the plate. It was simple, but done well.
For dessert, I have to order the must-have for Italian dessert. The PI Tiramisu is their house specialty. They used a creme Anglais instead of a mascarpone-based cream which made it light and airy, so light that I finished it in just a few bites. It’s missing the liqueur taste that I want in a Tiramisu, though, but overall a great end to my meal.
The other option, Torta Bianco e Nero, reminded me of an opera cake. It was rich and chocolaty. The white and dark chocolate mousse layers became rather hard and dense after refrigeration, so it was quite filling trying to finish it.
The meal was nicely wrapped up with a cup of Cappuccino. It helped cut through the richness of the desserts.
This is a traditional, white-table-cloth, fine-dining restaurant. The service was good, but servers could be friendlier. They do offer valet parking in its private parking lot. It may sound strange but it’s a tricky lot to park in – it’s quite narrow to maneuver, especially if you drive something bigger than a compact SUV.
This Dine Out dinner was very satisfying, with great quality of food all around. Well worth the $38 we each paid. I think it’s proven itself that it doesn’t need to rely on celebrity fame. The Poor Italian would make a great fine-dining spot outside of the downtown core. The East Vancouver location could be its down fall, but I hope they can keep it up and continue to let its food shine!
Poor Italian Ristorante
3296 E 1st Avenue, Vancouver