Updated: Now Open. See below…
Giardino is just about ready to welcome its first, lucky guests. And judging by the number of enquiries on this site, there is no more highly anticipated event on the culinary calendar than Umberto Menghi’s return to Vancouver.
In the past couple of weeks, all that remained of Il Giardino — except for the little yellow house itself — was bulldozed into oblivion to make way for more glass and steel. So it seems even more fitting that Giardino’s opening is just around the corner, hopefully by month’s end, if all goes well in the final phase.
The Tuscan-toned new room doesn’t try to precisely replicate the old. But it does add up to an ‘hommage’ of sorts. Diners will be wowed for all kinds of reasons both inside and out but especially by the attention to detail and little touches.
Umberto is renowned for his attention to detail: Giardino is no exception.
One item that did (only just) survive the demolition to make the trip up the street, the original Il Giardino sign was saved at the last minute and is being installed beside the entrance.giardino:
Other touches include a giant cedar bar and lots of detail in the new garden stonework. The kitchen has been carefully planned and is a lot more spacious than most. While there will be a street side patio on Hornby, the serious action will most definitely be happening in il “Giardino” –the garden itself. But you won’t be able to spy on who’s there from the outside. It’s extremely discrete.
For weeks, people have been popping their heads around the door asking: “When are you going to open?”
“Soon” is the answer.
…. Here’s the opening announcement in full:
GIARDINO RESTAURANT OFFICIALLY OPENS ON HORNBY STREET
Umberto Menghi brings Tuscan Italian cuisine back to the city
Vancouver, BC, June 29, 2015 – Umberto Menghi’s classic, signature Tuscan and Mediterranean cuisine makes a highly anticipated return as Giardino Restaurant officially opens on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 1328 Hornby Street, just steps away from the original Il Giardino.
“Giardino is a continuation of my passion for the food born in my home country,” explains Menghi, who closed his venerable Il Giardino two years ago. “From farmer to the kitchen, and then to the table, everyone can do fresh, and everyone can do local, but it is all in how you execute the clean flavours, especially with Italian cooking. I have put together my dream team to really echo the memories of my beloved Il Giardino and carve out new celebrations at Giardino. I’m glad to also see the return of some of my old loyal staff.”
With vaulted ceilings, wooden beams, Tuscan tiles, and hand-painted artwork, the space was designed to symbolize the granaries of old and how they represent the storage of food, where every grain is sacred and protected. The main dining area leads into a lounge and then the open kitchen. The restaurant seats about 160, with an additional 80 outside.
“When guests dine at Giardino, I really want them to feel transported into another world and for them to feel like family,” adds Menghi. “There is an air of the Renaissance in the room, very open and inviting.”
A Menghi restaurant would not be complete without a garden patio. Situated at the back is a cortile (courtyard). Diners are transported to Tuscany with its red-tiled roof, stones, and lush garden. The tiles hold further significance, as they are 150 years old, from an old granary. There is also a small front patio by the entrance.
Giardino Restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday for dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. Lunch service will follow a few weeks later.