Torta di zuccha

I’ve always found Vancouver’s Opus Hotel to be on the trending edge of restaurant concept and design. From 100 Days to 100 Nights to Cento Notti, it appears that La Pentola Della Quercia has found a permanent base in the Yaletown dining district, next to one of the loveliest hotels in the city.

Barrel-Aged Vieux Carré: Courvoisier VS, rye whisky, Benedictine, mellowed in charred oak
[Barrel-Aged Vieux Carré: Courvoisier VS, rye whisky, Benedictine, mellowed in charred oak]

To get a real flavour of La Pentola, we recently sat down to enjoy their Famiglia Supper Series, offered the last Sunday of each month by Chef Lucais Syme. Each month, the theme changes. From 6 pm onwards, each table becomes filled with courses for friends, family, and groups to share, depending on who you’re dining with. 10 courses will make their way to your table, so arrive hungry!

La Pentola Sunday Supper-1

The atmospheric lighting and noise volume were both optimal for conversation and enjoyment. The room was full by 7 pm as we began with drinks from the new cocktail menu.

La Dolce Vita: 42 Below vodka, housemade vanilla & elderflower syrups, peach purée
[La Dolce Vita: 42 Below vodka, housemade vanilla and elderflower syrups, peach purée]

I ordered the La Dolce Vita, a smooth start to the meal with 42 Below vodka, house made vanilla and elderflower syrups, with peach purée ($12) while my husband enjoyed a Barrel-Aged Vieux Carré ($16), made with Courvoisier VS, rye whisky, Bénédictine, and mellowed in charred oak.

French Canadian '75: Bombay Sapphire gin, Blanche de Chambly, orange bitters, carbonated and bottled in house
[French Canadian ’75: Bombay Sapphire gin, Blanche de Chambly, orange bitters]

We also noticed that both bitters and barrel-aged cocktails are created in-house, a new La Pentola feature. The French Canadian ’75 ($12) is also carbonated and bottled in-house.

Tomato bruschetta, Salumi
[Tomato bruschetta, Salumi]

This month’s Taste of Tuscany theme featured several dishes perfect for the fall season, including fresh tomato bruschetta, salumi, UBC-grown Borlotti beans with Walla Walla onions, right through to the crowning touch, roasted veal shanks with bone marrow.

Borlotti beans, olive oil, pecorino
[Borlotti beans, olive oil, pecorino]

Our dishes came out at a relaxed pace, making the meal more of an experience. A bottle of 2010 Podere Lorenzo Alutto Langhe Arneis ‘Meriggiare’ kicked off our starter courses of bruschetta and salumi. I found the finish on this Piedmonte-grown white wine a bit too dry for my palate, but it had a good spring to the first sip.

La Pentola Sunday Supper-9

I much preferred the 2010 Maculan Brentino Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon ($55/bottle), grown in Northern Italy, making this a cool-climate wine that offers a more herbaceous quality than a typical California Cabernet. I tasted the black fruit and spiced plum in this wine, along with its medium-bodied texture that made the meal complete.

La Pentola hired ex-Hawksworth sommelier Terry Threlfall to oversee the wine list. Threlfall has a preference for wines grown in Northern Italy as well as those grown closer to home in the Okanagan.

Tripa alla Toscana
[Tripa alla Toscana]

Crespelle alla Fiorentina
[Crespelle alla Fiorentina]

Crespelle alla Fiorentina and confit rabbit ravioli were chosen as the meal’s pasta courses. While the crespelle was stuffed with kale, ricotta, and almonds, the rabbit ravioli contained minced rabbit meat, artichoke, and ricotta cheese, in a decadent brown butter sauce. Both wowed our palates.

Confit rabbit ravioli
[Confit rabbit ravioli]

The soft flavours of the kale, ricotta, and almonds contrasted the rabbit and artichoke perfectly, while both went down enjoyably with the Brentino.

Paccheri, pork shoulder ragu, rosemary, pecorino
[Paccheri, pork shoulder ragu, rosemary, pecorino]

A dish of Paccheri with Gelderman Farms’ pork shoulder ragu and pecorino cheese had just the right taste components to match with the wine. The pasta’s bite with the well-seasoned and cooked pork offered a burst of flavour in the mouth.

Mushrooms, poached egg
[Lobster and chantrelle mushrooms, poached egg]

Pinzimonio is Italian for crudités; our assorted vegetable sticks arrived with a fabulously addictive anchovy dipping sauce that our dining mates used for dipping fresh olive bread into as well. Torta di zuccha’s soft texture and flavour (made of zucchini and ricotta) served as a soft interlude between the hearty anchovy taste of the pinzimonio and the upcoming roasted veal.

Veal shanks
[Roasted veal shanks, bone marrow]

The veal was presented in whole on its rack straight from the oven and taken on a tour through the dining room (to many nods of satisfaction) before Chef Syme walked back into the kitchen to prep it for serving.

Roasted veal shanks, bone marrow

Desserts were light and flavourful, taking advantage of seasonal plums to create a sorbet. The smoked plums on the side of the plate were delightful, not just with the ricotta mousse but with the grappa jelly and olive oil.

Ricotta mousse, plum sorbet, grappa, roasted plums, olive oil
[Ricotta mousse, plum sorbet, grappa, roasted plums, olive oil]

A small plate of spiced, fruity panforte was the finishing touch to our evening supper.


For $55 per person, my husband and I found this an excellent value, considering the quality of ingredients, portions, wide variety of tastes, and presentation. The next Famiglia Sunday Supper will be held on October 27. Visit the website for menu information as the date approaches. Seating is limited.

Disclaimer: Our meals were compliments of La Pentola Della Quercia, for the purposes of experiencing the Famiglia Supper and of writing this article.

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