I had the greatest birthday yet this year. Originally I decided I wanted to go out for dinner and dancing, get dressed up and have a good (drunken) time. Instead, as it seems to be every year, some people were short on funds, others were sick and others were too bloated and crampy to go out dancing (among other reasons like lineups, cover charges and drink prices, we are indeed, old). We decided just to do a nice dinner (and by we I mean Lauren and I, we were born on the same day).
Lauren suggested Trattoria on 4th avenue (near Burrard), she had been before and enjoyed it and I’ve always wanted to go. Then there’s the added bonus of Italian food always being safe and everyone could find something they enjoyed. My meal was phenomenal. I started off with the chick pea, roasted garlic and parsley bruschetta and had the linguine carbonara for my pasta. Like I said, the food was phenomenal (the egg in the carbonara was cooked, thank god, I’ve been to places where they literally just break an egg on top of it and hope the heat from the pasta cooks it), the prices are reasonable and the wine list is good too (and fairly cheap!). For dessert I shared the tiramisu with Kim, which was also amazing if not for the taste but the fact that Emma discovered the term “lady fingers” and hilarity ensued. I could also recommend the Zeppole al Cioccolato which a few people at our table also ordered, they’re these little chocolate filled balls that were like little bites of heaven.
I loved the atmosphere as well, it’s small but well decorated. Our table was a big round one which I enjoy because I hate when you have a large party (ours was 7) and you’re seated at a long table, the conversations tend to stick to only the people sitting around you. Aside from the loud noise (downside was the music, they had it fairly loud when it would have been beneficial for everyone to lower it, Kim pointed out this as a Vancouver thing, the loud music in restaurants, I agree) we could all converse with each other well and listen in on each others crazy conversations.
There were a few downsides, for example some meals were sent back. One was a beet salad due to no goat cheese on the dish (as promised) and wilted arugula. As well as a pasta dish which was not really cooked. I would think my biggest drawback with the place would be their reservation policy. I get that on a Friday night they can’t really reserve tables, so Lauren and I decided to go early and put our name down. When I arrived I had told them it was for 8 to 10 people, they made me settle on a number and then said it would be 45 to 60 minutes, not that bad honestly since the place was packed. The hostess then informed me a few minutes later it would most likely be 30 to 40 minutes and that I should start “rounding up my party” since at this point Lauren was the only other one there (well it was only 7:45 and we told people to come at 8). Once the table was ready she informed us we couldn’t sit until everyone showed up, which was unfortunate since we had known two people would be late, when they finally arrived we were worried they wouldn’t seat us because our party ended up being only 7, not the full table of 8. Thankfully this was not a problem.
My only concern is this, they made us wait in the (very nice) sitting area where they do offer you drinks (we consumed two glasses of wine before we actually got to our table) and free bruschetta, but I don’t agree with them not sitting us until the whole party shows. The table sits there empty, whereas if we had sat down at it we probably would have ordered more bottles of wine or pitchers of sangria plus appetizers, so they potentially lose revenue with that policy.
Aside from that it was one of the best birthdays ever. I was surrounded by friends and I don’t remember the last time I laughed that hard. My only regret is not taking a picture of (or taking) the placemat I had. Each spot is given a different one, some people had maps of different cheeses in Italy, others had wines of Italy. Mine was how to speak to an Italian and it had hilarious (real) interpretations of hand signals as well as a few key phrases.
I should also note that I call this my very Italian birthday not only because of the venue but also because I received an Italian themed gift from Kim, a book/cookbook which I’m certain she bought in hopes that I would invite her over and cook for her, as well as Verona coffee beans from Starbucks and a card with the Statue of David on the front. She seriously is trying to make me into an Italian housewife, her veiled plot is getting thinner and thinner.