Tuesday, October 04, 2005

La Piazza Dario Ristorante Italiano

How many times have I driven past this restaurant and thought "Ooo, I want to try this restaurant!"? La Piazza Dario Ristorante Italiano (3075 Slocan St. at Grandview Highway) is at the Italian Cultural Centre, so I already had high expectations that the food would be authentic before we even stepped in. When Bac'n Girl, Definitely Not Bacon Boy, and I did walk in, we all remarked on what a warm and inviting room it was. It has a bit of an 80's look to it (like Bonsor Pool), but after all, the restaurant has been around since the 80's. With it's tablecloths and traditional decor, it is nice enough to feel right for a special occassion, while being comfortably relaxed with its rich, amber glow. In fact, Bac'n girl and I both had the thought that this would be a great third date restaurant. Well, actually I'd be just fine if someone brought me here on a first date, but that's just me. It also felt quite right for other celebrations, like the quiet birthday dinner for Bac'n Girl that we were there for that evening. In fact, I almost wish that I had known about this place when I was trying to plan a dinner for my birthday, as their website has set menus all laid out on their website for large groups. A nice bonus for large groups is that it also has plenty of parking, and is near 29th Avenue skytrain station.

While all the elements were there, food is usually the most important one to me, and this meal definitely surpassed my expectations. Every item that we had was delicious. We shared the house antipasto ($11.95) which included some really tasty cold seafood bits like incredibly tender and flavourful baby shrimp, and some nice squid pieces. Not to mention a crazy giant green olive that Bac'n girl assures me is now illegal in Canada, and difficult to come by. Too bad, because I really liked it. The insalada capresse ($8.50) was good but I guess it's just not the right time of year for tomatoes. The tortellini in brodo was a really tasty soup of veal tortellini in clear broth. The server listed many specials that all sounded good. I chose the gnocchi (which we misunderstood to be an appetizer when he was listing the dishes, and it wound up being an almost overly generous main dish sized portion). It was covered in the best tasting tomato cream sauce I have ever had. I'm glad the server suggested that sauce when I asked. The gnocchi itself was on the soft side, but I loved it this way. Bac'n Girl's veal parmesan (a daily special) was really tasty, without feeling greasy at all. I was hugely impressed by how adeptly the chef cooked the chicken for Definitely Not Bacon Boy's chicken breast in gorgonzola sauce ($18.95). I'm not usually one to enjoy white meat (not willing to take the risk of overcooked, dry, stringy flesh), but the chicken breast here was tender and juicy, with really tasty seared bits on the outside surface. By the way, we had a bottle of red wine with dinner, so I was eating under the influence, and I admit this probably makes everything just a little bit tastier to me. It doesn't really matter though, because I will always feel like having a little wine with an Italian dinner, so I will get the same effect whenever I come back.

Service was hospitable and attentive, and they did what too few restaurants do these days - they encouraged us to take our time throughout, and did not bring our bill until we asked, while still remaining easily accessible by a little eye contact across the room. We were absolutely stuffed by this time, but none of us could resist the idea of dessert, so we each ordered one. We had the tiramisu, the torta della casa (garnished with a profiterole), and the chocolate mousse cake. They were all good, but my favourite was the chocolate mousse cake, a fluffy, yet deeply chocolately version. La Piazza has been around for a very long time, and it shows in all the best ways. I can't wait to have a chance to go again. It also looks like a nice place to have a meal outdoors on the patio during the summer.

Tiramisu Posted by Picasa

Torta di Cioccolata, Chocolate mousse cake

Torta della Casa (St. Honore Cake)


Tai said...


That sounds fabulous!

My suggestion for you..."Wild Rice"

Address : 117 W. Pender St.
Phone : 604-642-2882

The sticky ribs are fabulous, but you won't have any trouble finding your very own favorite, everything is interesting and delicious.

Dumpling-girl said...

Thanks, Tai!