Nook Restaurant, Vancouver
I live in the West End so am blessed with a myriad of delicious, inexpensive Asian restaurants at my doorstep and that’s where I turn most nights when I’m in search of a casual bite to eat. But sometimes when I’ve had my fill of ramen and sushi and I still want to eat out within walking distance, I stroll over to Nook to see if I can withstand the queue that extends out its doorway almost nightly, a by-product of the fact that they don’t accept reservations. Nook opened a couple of years ago, and was met with enthusiasm by those looking for a casual and cozy Italian eatery to enjoy pizza and pasta without a lot of fuss. I really enjoy simple salads and theirs combines greens, chick peas, walnuts, onion and pecorino cheese – it’s a refreshing and light start to a meal. In the summer, when tomatoes are in season try their burrata and tomato appetizer – the light creaminess of the fresh mozzarella is an obvious but perfect pairing with the juicy, sweet heirloom tomatoes Nook sources. Although not authentically Neopolitan, Nook’s thin-crust pizzas are still tasty and I’ve enjoyed both their simple Margherita as well as the Ricotta which is also graced with roasted tomatoes, olives, onions and garlic – a vegetarian delight. My last visit, I tried their Gnochetti with Italian sausage, rapini, fennel and plenty of parmesan grated over – the lovely pasta was served perfectly al dente and the rapini had been cooked down so it was incredibly tender and formed a wonderful sauce for the dish. Their thoughtful wine list offers lots of Italian options at reasonable price points and I often enjoy a glass of prosecco to start, then the Nero d’Avola from Sicily, a light red. Many of the Italian restaurants in the city seem such a commitment with prices in the $25+ range for a plate of pasta so Nook is a fantastic alternative when you want a more relaxed setting with more relaxed prices to match.
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