Sciue, Vancouver.

Any time.

This West Coast-Italian daytime trattoria was near a downtown job of mine, and caught my interest because of its incredible coffee. Really the best in town, which is saying something.

Sadly, the morning and dessert baking was pretty ordinary, dry and non-flavourful baked goods, but there was one exception: an Italian doughnut (“bomba”), fresh and deep-fried, which usually came filled with Nutella, the Italian chocolate-hazelnut spread, constituting a fabulously sybaritic breakfast of champions. More, once in about six or eight times the bomba would be available filled with custard: an exquisite dynamite accompaniment to their creamy mocha. But then they stopped making the bomba, and so I stopped going there in the morning.

Then I woke up to their lunchtime show. The owner is from Rome, and they put up a very respectable “pane Romana”: warm or cold racetrack-shaped pizza on display on a marble slab behind a sneeze panel, which is more or less competently chopped off for you, as much as you want.

My favourite is the smoked salmon.  A cool wheat-flavored pizza base covered with mouthwatering mayo-tomato sauce, then arugula leaves, then a good layer of absolutely creamy sliced salmon with cracked pepper to emphasize the heat of the arugula. God it’s good. I always have it with a small glass of fresh cold grapefruit juice and head out the door happy. The pizza isn’t that hard to make. I’ve duplicated it at home with my own pizza dough.

If you want a drink they have a license. There are two new locations testifying to its success. It’s strictly daytime (closed by 6 PM) and you have to be selective and avoid the low-reward items. But a little research here pays off, and you can enjoy a couple of wonderful treats along with that dazzling coffee in big warm cups in a lively cosmopolitan city atmosphere. Food… variable (8.4 for the good stuff), service… variable, ambience 7.8, overall value 7.6.

 

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 30 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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