I first heard about this restaurant about a year ago when someone I work with was raving about how amazing it was. For a date night, Chris and I decided to finally go and check it out.
So first thing to know is that Oca Pastifico does not take reservations. It’s kind of a smaller space. They have about 19 seats. They open at 5 p.m., so we went down a bit earlier. We thought we would walk around a bit and then be there right for opening, but when we arrived at around 4:35 p.m. there was already a line-up. It was a cold, rainy fall day and I was really surprised, but that made me even more excited to try it out. There were exactly 19 people in front of us (of course), but I was happy to learn that after the first group is seated, they take down your name and phone number and call you when a table becomes available. I was initially thinking that they were seating from the line-up and we would need to wait there. We walked around a bit and browsed in shops nearby until our seats opened up about an hour and a half later. When we came back we noticed a sign stating that they were full for the evening. Moral of the story – get there early.
The menu is written on a chalkboard at one end of the restaurant and changes daily. On the far end of the chalkboard, it said that they have a Chef’s Tasting Menu option for $70 a person that is 5 courses including a salad, antipasti, pasta and dessert. This is the option that we went for and the option I highly recommend for each of you. I loved it so much and I want to do it again and again and again.
I explained that I don’t eat pork and they were able to accommodate. The cool thing about the Chef’s Tasting Menu (especially if you’re a foodie or an adventurous eater), is the surprise factor. The food started flowing our way. We had:
- Pear and Gargonzolo salad with hazelnuts
- Antispasti plate with imported salami and prosciutto, with some pickles and peppers (I didn’t have any of this)
- Squash Rotolo with smoked pecorino cheese
- A pasta with a fresh tomato sauce and basil
- A pasta with rabbit and chanterelle mushrooms
- Gnocchi with beef shank and onion ragu
- Almond semifreddo
I loved the tasting menu because I ended up trying things I would have never opted to try on my own. I’m not someone who normally would every order squash anything, but it was unreal. I maybe wouldn’t order rabbit, but the dish was sensational. Their ragu is a process that takes over 2 days to make. The semifreddo was smooth and delicious (I thought I didn’t have enough room, but I surprised myself when I made room to finish it off). I want to go as far as saying Oca Pastifico has the best pasta I’ve had in Vancouver. Each dish blew me away. So good!
Another cool thing that I need to mention – Chef’s Tasting menu was marked as 5 dishes, but we had 7 dishes. We had our salad, antipasti and two pastas. We were positive that the next thing that they were bringing out was dessert. We weren’t ready for the experience to be over yet because each bite was like we’d died and gone to heaven. We decided that we would order a pasta off the regular menu just so it wouldn’t have to end. When we called our waiter over to ask if dessert is next he said no, if you want more we will bring you more. I will bring you dishes until you are done. We had to tap out at 7 dishes because we were absolutely stuffed, but I was so impressed that this is how they operate. You can tell it’s about passion. There is a lot of love and care that goes into making the food. It’s really amazing.
The service was wonderful. The space is quaint and inviting. I do wish that they went into a bit more detail when describing the dishes (which is why some of my descriptions above say “a pasta” haha), but in my book when they hit it out of the park the way they did, this is minor.
My rating system is out of 5 on here, but I wish I could give them a 6. It’s that good. You gotta go eat here.