Cafe Il Nido (Downtown Vancouver, Robson Street)
I used to come to Café Il Nido with JT (I remember we did have a serious talk here, that’s probably why I never have forgotten it) more frequently, and then all of a sudden, I totally forgot about its existence. Maybe the fact that it’s slightly hidden, could be seen as a hidden gem.
It’s always hard to choose what to order at Café Il Nido. The variety of dishes is substantial but the truth is, you want to eat them all. For starters, I wasn’t terribly hungry. But I wanted to try a few dishes. I started with a Minestra del Giorno (soup of the day) which was a butternut squash with a hint of spice, very tasty. At $8, it’s just the right price point for a first dish.
I chose to have a 50-50 order from Café Il Nido’s lunch menu, with Pollo (chicken breast sautéed in lemon dill sauce, $22) as one of my main dishes and combined it with Agnelotti (lobster stuffed ravioli in sundried tomato cream sauce, $18). I can almost hear my foodie friends scolding me. How dare I combine a lemon-dill dish with lobster-stuffed ravioli. Well, what can I say. I love strong flavors. The chicken was really well done and the lemon dill was supreme. The lobster needed perhaps a bit more “ooomph” in the flavor department (although it’s not as strong, I would have thought that the lobster would be more flavourful that the tomato cream sauce).
Overall, a very nice meal. I’ll definitely have to come back and try again the lobster, and perhaps a few other dishes. I do recall from previous times I’ve been to Café Il Nido, the food has been good, and this time wasn’t a disappointment (although I really would like to see a broader variety of pastas. Café Il Nido is definitely a higher-end establishment and thus the price point that you will expect is higher than the traditional, $10 lunch small joints. But the food is good, and the service is consistently good regardless of whether you’re a student bringing your date for lunch (the table behind me) or someone taking a client for a nice Italian meal (the table to my far left).
Overall, I enjoyed my lunch with my friend Danica here and I will have to come back again.
Disclosure: I was invited by Café Il Nido to come for lunch and check some of their new lunch menu items, although that doesn’t change my review perspective (given that I noticed what other guests were eating and made notes about their experience) and I will definitely visit soon again, this time on my own dime.