Osteria Savio Volpe, Vancouver.

February 2016.

Another new restaurant near Kingsway and Fraser, this one has caught on and serves creative Italian food as small plates to share in a bustling cool atmosphere.

The room is medium-sized with the open kitchen action at the back. Furniture and atmosphere are modern minimalist, there is a high ceiling, and with an enthusiastic young crowd there’s a fair bit of clatter and other noise. We were dealt with offhandedly by a thirtyish guy in a hurry who verged on impatient. He warmed up, but the damage had been done.

Our choices were six dishes for four, pretty well all of them delicious, and quantities about adequate for dinner. A white anchovy salad laid strips of the fish across cold fresh vegetables with a lovely salty and sour vinaigrette over top. There was a penne pasta with a convincing rich tomato-flavoured sauce and some good-quality parmesan, a mixed vegetable dish, and one other I’ve forgotten, the online menu changing daily so it’s gone from retrieval. Then there was a fantastic roast suckling pig done in a sour reduction which was really satisfying. No dearth of flavour and variety.

Server was evasive about the wine, but I eventually found a dolcetta d’Alba that was reasonably priced and perfectly respectable. Dinner was pretty much at-expectation cost -wise, around $65 per person counting tip and the wine.

We would go back. It’s a creative kitchen in a new and interesting restaurant, where the atmosphere and service aren’t perfect, but at least the latter might improve. Food 9.1, service 5.5, ambience 7.8, value overall about 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 40 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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