Review: Campagnolo

by gigi on July 6, 2009

It was Jenkins’ birthday recently and luckily for me, I was in charge of choosing a restaurant. :) He wanted to be low key this year so it was just the two of us and his only requirement was that I keep the prices low. I maintain a list of places that I want to try and it didn’t take me long before figuring out that Campagnolo met Jenkins’ requirement of reasonable prices. What a win for the both of us. 😉 When I told people that I was taking Jenkins to Campagnolo for his birthday, they would inevitably ask me where it was located. I enjoyed telling pepole it was on Main Street right next to the Ivanhoe Hotel and then watching for their reactions. To say it is located in a bit of a gritty area is sort of an understatement but I suppose it helps them to keep prices low.

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When I called Campagnolo to make reservations, they told me that they only accepted reservations for parties of 8 or more. I was a bit concerned that we’d have to wait for a table but even though we showed up at about 7:45PM, the restaurant was about 70% full and we were even able to score a nice table by the window.

While we pondered the menu, our server brought some cheese sticks for us. They were a little bit oily, but in a good cheesy way. It would have been nice if we had more than 1 stick per person though.

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We also decided to order a couple of glasses of wine. I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio because I was planning to have pasta and Jenkins chose the house red.

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One of the main reasons I had wanted to go to Campagnolo was because I heard that they cured all their meats in house. Of course, this meant that we had to have the Salumi Platter, which allowed us to choose 3 of their cured meats.

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For our first choice, I decided to go with the pork terrine which was held together by fois gras throughout. Because this was one of the specials, it increased the price of our platter to $23 from $19. The terrine had just enough creaminess from the fois gras and a slight peppery flavour from the spices. We were off to a good start.

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Our next selection was the Sopressata, which looked similar to salami and had quite a peppery kick to it, more so than the terrine. It was sliced very thinly so the globules of fat were not too overwhelming. :)

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Jenkins’ choice for our last cured meat selection was another one of the daily specials. According to Jenkins, the prosciutto tasted just like the stuff we had in Italy. Jenkins is very picky about his prosciutto so this was quite the compliment. :) I have to agree that the prosciutto was very tender and just salty enough. It was also quite lean and its mild flavour made it very easy to eat.

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To go with our cured meats, we added a plate of crostini for $1.50. I don’t know about you, but I would normally expect crostini to be free and I’d also expect there to be more than the small plate that we got. Taste wise, there is not too much to say since the crostini was merely the vehicle for getting the cured meats into our tummies.

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For my main course, I decide to have the agnolotti. I actually knew I was going to have the agnolotti before I even arrived at the restaurant because Victoria had been raving about this for weeks. Agnolotti is very similar to ravioli and in this case, it was stuffed with mascarpone cheese, chives, and a bit of squash. The pasta shell was very thin and gave way to the great creamy flavour of the cheese and chives inside. Our server warned us beforehand that this was quite a small dish and despite being prepared for its size, I did wish it was larger.

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Jenkins ordered the special of the day, which was a roasted pork belly. He joked before this dish came that it was probably a fancier, more expensive version of Chinese roast pork. It was actually pretty funny when he turned out to be right! The skin was nicely roasted and had a great crunch to it while the pork meat itself was very juicy from all its inherent fat. The pork belly came on a bed of lentils and also had a small pork sausage.

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Jenkins and I had had quite a busy day and also due to the small-ish size of our mains, we were still hungry. We knew we’d be going overboard, but decided to order a Margherita pizza to share. We were actually so hungry that we almost ate the whole pizza before realizing that I had forgotten to take a picture! The pizza was pretty good although Jenkins was firmly convinced that the version we made at home was better. I, on the other hand, was not convinced. :) The crust was light and airy and the toppings on the pizza were sparingly added, which I like.

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Overall, both Jenkins and I quite enjoyed our dinner at Campagnolo. Our dishes were all prepared very well although we did lament that our main dishes were a bit on the small side. We also found it really odd that we had to add the crostini to our cured meat platter since this normally comes with the meats at most other restaurants we’d been to. I’d definitely come back, although it’s probably best to come on a day when I’m not so hungry. 😉 Although the price per dish at Campagnolo is not too bad, you do need to order a lot to fill up unless you have a small appetite. The next time I come back, I’ll also have to try the chick peas, which were recommended to me by several people after my visit.

Details:
1020 Main Street, Vancouver
Tel: 604-484-6018

Summary:
Food: [rating:4]
Service: [rating:4]
Price: $$$

Campagnolo on Urbanspoon

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