So we checked out this newish Italian restaurant in Kitsilano for the SO's birthday on Wednesday. Though I called a week ahead, they were booked until 8:15 but we were seated very promptly and had the table for the rest of the night.
We are lightweights on weeknights so just had a glass of wine each (server recommended Salice for SO which he loved and a moscato for me which server warned was a dessert wine -- so sue me, I like a sweet bubble with my meal!). We dithered a bit before ordering because there are so many good-looking specials but finally decided on a scallop and mushroom (sorry, forgot which kind) app for the SO and a 1/2 order of spaghetti carbonara for me to start. Both were very tasty and well prepared, with the scallops being a standout for the SO.
We followed with a tagliatelli with a veal and pork housemade sausage for the SO from the fresh sheet and the beef cheeks in a pinot noir reduction with rosti for me from the regular menu. The pasta was properly cooked but we both found the sausage a bit underseasoned. The beef cheeks had a lot of flavour but were very fatty which may be just how beef cheeks should be (I've never had them before); not entirely my cup of tea but good to try a new-to-me cut. The rosti was nicely season although it seemed like a patty of mashed potatoes that had been crisped on the outside -- I was expecting something more grated. There were carrots and asparagus as well as a spin on a cabbage roll stuffed with diced seasonal veg that was very nice.
We tried a layered blueberry, vanilla custard and fillo dessert as well as a creme brulee with almonds and a caramel sauce that were both worth being overstuffed for. And we enjoyed two very fine decaf cappuccinos which I sadly did not enquire as to the provenance thereof but we both found them full bodied without being too strong.
The tab all in after taxes? A very modest $105. Although La Buca still wins for both of us on flavour, La Quercia is a close second and a bit easier on the wallet if that is an issue. The ambiance is quite intimate without feeling squeezy and would be suitable for anything from a first date to a table of 6 or 8 friends. And parking is free around the corner on Alma!