La Quercia is a wonderful Italian restaurant on 4th Avenue in Vancouver that showcases local and organic ingredients on their daily fresh-sheet menu. Prior to receiving a gift certificate, I hadn’t heard about La Quercia, and really started to look forward to dinner with my husband on a Friday evening. I was intrigued by the fact that their website doesn’t offer up a menu, because it is “ever-evolving” and dependent upon what’s local, in-season and fresh. They actually don’t print a menu for in-house, but instead write the daily offerings on a chalkboard. Even more intriguing for me (yes, I get excited about these things) is that they suggest ‘alla famiglia dining’, where the chef decides which plates to serve your table, and you share each dish with your dining mates.
We had an early seating, but upon arrival saw that the restaurant was already starting to fill at 5:30. It’s an intimate, casual setting with around 25 seats. After ordering our cocktails, I convinced Manaen to experience dinner “alla famiglia’ for $45/person. Here is the lovely 7 course meal that followed!
This salad was light, cool and fresh. The cold smoked salmon melted in my mouth. Alongside the salad, we were served fresh, crusty baguette and a smooth and buttery oil for dipping.
Next up was pork belly, breaded and fried until crispy. It was served with a side of cabbage coleslaw and dried cherries. The tartness of the cherries was a nice contrast to the meat, and the sauce added a touch of sweetness to the dish.
I have recently become obsessed with beets!! and our third course was one of my favourites. Buttery burrata was served with a beet and kale salad and crisp crackers. And you can’ t go wrong with a little balsamic glaze!
Our first pasta course did not disappoint! These little agnolotti were stuffed with veal and ricotta, then coated in a brown butter sauce.
This was my preferred of the two pasta dishes. I am a huge gnocchi fan, but have never tried them made with polenta. The sausage ragu was delicious and rich without being too heavy. This plate went fast. =)
Okay, this was the best dish of the night! For our meat course, we were served lamb shoulder that had been crusted with semolina. It was a huge piece of lamb, and perfectly cooked throughout. Tender doesn’t begin to describe. It was placed on a bed of broccolini with the most delicious jus.
Dessert was a elderflower panna cotta topped with rhubarb. Although good, dessert was my least favourite dish of the night. It was a bit disappointing to end on what I felt was the low-note of the meal! My expectations were cumulatively elevated by each of the previous courses that I was expecting a climactic dessert. The rhubarb wasn’t cooked enough for my liking,and I was wishing there was more vanilla bean in the panna cotta.
Our experience at La Quercia was one to remember. I would absolutely recommend the tasting menu, and for $45, you get amazing value. I appreciated the fresh, local ingredients and the anticipation of not knowing what the chef would send out next.
3689 West 4th Ave Vancouver, BC