No. 30: Cioppino’s
This early adapter to Yaletown still flies the same culinary banner with which it started.
Which is good, because no other restaurant in town delivers luxurious Italian dining—and drinking—of such estimable range, passion and authenticity. Chef-owner Pino Posteraro’s in-house salumi program is exceptional.
He has weathered the eating local trend with his dignity and principles intact: he is only interested in the best. If that happens to be local spot prawns in their season (in tomato consommé with basil) or mussels from Salt Spring Island (in Spanish chorizo-spiked tomato broth, with rouille), or prawns in their season, fine. But also expect Nova Scotia lobster with squid ink gnocchi, and a range of summer dishes using fresh farmed winter black truffles from distant Tasmania.
Pappardelle with fourhour braised veal cheeks and porcinis never comes off the menu. Linguine alle vongole attains new heights—with its dried pasta cooked in salty clam liquor instead of water. There are few better places to find yourself during white truffle season. The wine list is magnificently deep and something of a magnet for the expense account. Service is highly professional.
Many of the best Italian dishes I’ve ever enjoyed have been at this restaurant—and I include many trips to NYC and the years I lived in Italy in that assessment. – GARY ROSS