Since I went to Osteria Savio Volpe I’ve had a tough time putting it out of my mind… Here, in no particular order, are a few thoughts on what sets this laid back Italian apart.
Well, that’s the reaction I get from most people when I mention the name—which I happen to think is pretty clever. It means, literally, “The Tavern of the Clever Fox”. To be fair, for anyone who maybe doesn’t have an ear for Italian, it’s a tad challenging. Never mind. Once they’ve found it they won’t forget.
I like the idea of the tavern reference. It’s a nod to the old roadhouses that were common on the colony’s early wagon trails. And Kingsway was one of those. It started out as a little more than a muddy track. The route linked the capital of New Westminster (aka Royal City) to English Bay. Dotted around it were the sawmills that were precursors to Granville and Vancouver.
If you know Les Faux Bourgeois, it’s just down the street from there, a few doors west of Kingsway and Faser. In a way Osteria Savio Volpe lends a happy symbiosis to LFB, with similar feel and the same kind of passion behind the food. Not to take anything away from Les Faux, because it was the trailblazer, a few years back. I love the way that restaurants like these act as bellwethers to neighbourhoods in flux.
On the plate …
Any menu that leaves you wishing you could just order the whole thing is a sign that something good’s afoot. The first hint that Osteria Savio Volpe is noteworthy comes with an addictive black kale salad. It’s a simple, straightforward dish. Then again, it’s often just those kinds of plates that make a lasting impression. The key, says Savio chef Marc Perrier, is to find the right kind of (tender and fresh) kale. And not lose your fingertips on the mandolin.