I love being pleasantly surprised by a restaurant, and Italian Kitchen recently did that.  We were feeling a bit puckish on a sunny Saturday afternoon, thought we’d live dangerously and eat on Alberni Street in Vancouver.

Italian Kitchen has all the hallmarks of a pretentious, chi-chi restaurant and so I was a little skeptical about what I would expect.  All of my concerns, however, dissolved within about 5 minutes of settling in.

We were greeted warmly, seated immediately, and served some sparkling water as we reviewed the enormous (it was the unwieldy size of a small coffee table) menu.  We ordered a number of dishes which were brought to us very quickly.

Lobster-tastic Monte Cristo

I decided to splurge and have the lobster and crab monte cristo.  It was absolutely delicious.  The outside was crispy and the seafood inside was fabulous.  The sandwich was served with a delicious soup of the day, which was finished with truffle oil, and really balanced out the robust taste of the sandwich.

We also ordered spaghetti with meatballs.  Again, Italian Kitchen’s cooks knocked this meal out of the park.  The pasta was amazing, the sauce was delicious, and the meatballs were succulent and well-seasoned.  My sense is that they make their own pasta (my wife saw a room full of noodles being made when she went to wash her hands) which was certainly appreciated.

Delicious Spaghetti and Meatballs

The service was also quite good (despite one waitress being unusually intense) with our main waiter being attentive without being fussy.  It was also very “democratic”, in that we were given the same professional service as movie star Terrance Howard who was sitting a table away.

Though Italian Kitchen is a bit overpriced, it’s well worth going to.

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