When it comes bargain dining, Vancouver is generally the land of plenty. It’s hard to walk a few blocks without passing a cheap sushi joint. And the city’s diverse population means that authentic, accessibly priced Korean, Persian, Thai and Chinese food is easy to find.
But bargain hunters often strike out when looking for what many consider the world’s most popular cuisine: Italian. While on the East Coast mom-and-pop Italian restaurants are staples of the dining scene, in Vancouver they’re hard to come by. So I thought I’d ask for your help.
Do you have a favourite cheap (or reasonably priced) Italian restaurant in Vancouver? Weigh in by leaving a comment below.
Of course, this isn’t to say that Vancouver doesn’t have some great Italian restaurants.It does – but most are the white-tablecloth variety. True to Vancouver form, these places generally highlight the best local, organic ingredients, offering a high-class and high-priced take on the classics. If you’re willing to pay $24.95 for a plate of spaghetti and meatballs and $30 for a half-litre of house red wine, you can eat good Italian every night in Vancouver.
But what about a simple spaghetti joint? Or a place where you can get a good lasagna or plate of calamari or veal scallopini without breaking the bank? Considering that Italian cuisine is centred around pasta – which doesn’t cost a whole lot – there should be at least a few restaurants in the city offering up decent dishes at a fair price.
To get things rolling, I’ll mention one place that does kind of fit the bill: IK2Go, the takeout counter connected with downtown’s Italian Kitchen restaurant. There are actually two of these, one on Alberni Street and one on Hornby Street. Neither is a full-service restaurant and both close by 6 p.m., but these two little takeout counters must represent one of the best Italian bargains in the city. Ingredients are high-quality, flavours are bang-on and the prices are ridiculously low. Beef lasagna: $7.95. Chicken parmesan: $6.95. Veal Milanese: $6.95. Large Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and bocconcini: $5.95. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
But there must be more examples out there. Do you have a go-to cheap Italian joint in Vancouver? Share your favourites by leaving a comment below.
For more on bargain dining in Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.