I love it when I discover new little places with a whole lot of heart. There’s no question that’s the case at Amici Miei Cucina Italiana (1114 Denman St. 604-563-6610), in Vancouver’s West End.
Owners Manrico Serpente and Marcella Gentile told me they came to Vancouver last year for the very first time, from Abruzzo, Italy. It’s not easy to make such a move in mid-life. They’re truly delightful people and I wish them every success.
Amici itself is nothing fancy: the room is simply but cleanly furnished—and that very much reflects what’s on the menu. The fare is straightforward but the sauces are delicious. Amici’s Miei’s menu is divided into small tapas plates (which seem more generous than most) and pasta dishes listed by sauce style—as in red white and rosé. Most of the pasta is made in house fresh daily. Purchased pasta (more elaborate, Rigatoni and Fusili) is clearly marked on the menu.
This is ‘old style’ Italian, un-compromised by fickle trend or fad. There’s nothing on the list over $20. And if you hurry down before month-end you can dine for even less, thanks to some pretty generous introductory discounts. (50% off lunch and 30% off dinner.)
Amici early addictions
My initial visit convinced me there’s plenty more at Amici Miei worth tasting. Based solely on the impossibly delicious and seductive, melt in your mouth, piping hot Crocchette di Patate—potato rolls filled with molten Mozzarella and ham ($12)—I’ll be back at the first opportunity. Sorry. I was so excited I forgot to take a picture…
Also worth a nod, nicely tender Calamari al Pomodoro, which arrives in a pool of intensely flavourful tomato sauce with fresh pesto ($12).
Equally toothsome was a perky and plentiful Rigatoni alla Salsiccia—with spicy Italian sausage and mushrooms ($18), as well as excellent Lasagne Timballo ($20).
The only blip happened when we wanted soda for the Campari and were told there wasn’t any. Maybe they had San Pellegrino but it wasn’t offered. Overall, though, drinks are very moderately priced, as are the wines, with a limited but serviceable selection by the glass.
You can order the likes of Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Tollo Colle Secco Rubino ($8 glass, $36 bottle), plus Prosecco by the glass—and plenty more.
See you there! I’ll be the one with a plateful of Crocchette di Patate …