DINER | First Look Inside “Cinara” – Highly Anticipated New Eatery On West Pender St.

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by Andrew Morrison | Cinara, the new 40 seat European/Italian eatery from La Pentola owner/chef Lucais Syme and his wife Jill, is set to open next week at 350 W. Pender. That’s the 1,500 sqft space occupying the main floor corner of the recently renovated Victoria Block at West Pender and Homer, right nexG door to our friends at The Paper Hound bookshop, across the street from the original location of Finch’s, and umbilically attached to the Victorian Hotel.

I took a look inside the highly anticipated eatery this morning and they look very close to being finished. The final building inspection is slated for this afternoon, so the place was a hive of activity. All of their staffing is done, and if all goes according to plan, they hope to do a trial run with friends and family on Wednesday night. If everything goes off without a hitch, they’ll offer their first proper service to the public on Thursday.

The dinner menu had me drooling. There’s plenty of small plates (duck pie, venison bresaola, humpback shrimp in bisque sauce, seafood antipasto); starters (prosciutto-wrapped rabbit terrine, corned veal tongue with fregola and clams0; mid-sized sharables (stuffed squid, coarse-grained polenta with nettles and pecorino); mains (beef shoulder with anchovy salsa verde, roasted branzino with sauce grebiche); plus dolce with a selection of cheeses. It all reads very well, and since we know who we’re dealing with in Lucais and Jill, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Vancouverites are in for a real winner here.

But what’s in a name? Here’s what we made of it when we broke the news of Cinara’s coming back in October:

“The name of the place – pronounced Chinara – is a nod to the humble artichoke (“Prickly on the outside and sweet on the inside,” Syme says). While it is one of several ancient monikers for the wild artichokes of the Levant and the thistle family’s Greek catch-all (Cynarae), Cinara is actually a place, an almost mythic island in the Aegean Sea (now known as Zinara). It was said to be home to some especially alluring Sirens, as well as a mysterious place of banishment. It was where the emperor Tiberius once sent a cheeky Greek named Zeno who dared to employ some flowery language in his presence. Cinara was also the name of a particularly greedy but irresistibly sexy ex-lover of the Roman lyric poet Horace (“the grief I knew in my cups when the delicious Cinara left me” – the poor dear)…Alas, Syme, as far as I know, is not a poet (lyric or otherwise) and, thank goodness, has not been banished from Yaletown. Operations at La Pentola will continue as normal.”

Cinara will be open for breakfast 7 days a week from 7am to 10am and for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm until 10pm. Click through the photos below to get a feel for the room and to take a look at a draft of their dinner menu (subject to change, natch)…

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

GOODS | Special Nose-To-Tail Heritage Pig Supper At Yaletown’s La Pentola March 30

March 18, 2014 

La Pentola is located in the Opus Hotel at 350 Davie St. in Vancouver, BC | (604) 642-0557 | www.lapentola.ca

La Pentola is located in the Opus Hotel at 350 Davie St. in Vancouver, BC | (604) 642-0557 | www.lapentola.ca

The GOODS from La Pentola

Vancouver, BC | We’re celebrating the 1st Anniversary of our Famiglia Supper Series on the night of March 30th. Chef Lucais is taking us back to the sold-out event that kicked things off one year ago, the nose-to-tail heritage pig dinner. Working with Windsor Meats, we’ll be serving the best in free range, all natural pork featuring Tamworth & Berkshire breed from Thompson Heritage Ranch. Join us at 6pm to dine family style at a communal table with your neighbours and friends. The cost is $55 per person for 10+ courses. We encourage you to reserve as seating is limited. Read more

DINER | Award-Winning Chef Lucais Syme To Open Cinara Eatery At Pender & Homer

October 8, 2013 

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by Andrew Morrison | La Pentola owner/chef Lucais Syme and his wife Gill have secured the 1,500 sqft ground floor corner space of the Victoria Block. That’s underneath the old Victorian Hotel at West Pender and Homer (350 W. Pender), right across the street from the original Finch’s and next door to the awesome Paper Hound. With it, they plan to open Cinara, a 40 seat eatery that will feature picture windows looking out onto the street, a small wine-focused bar, and an open kitchen plating contemporary European cuisine with a strong Italian accent. “It’s really our chance to cook from the heart,” Syme says. “We want to create simple, beautiful things.” And I expect that that’s exactly what we’ll get.

The name of the place – pronounced Chinara – is a nod to the humble artichoke (“Prickly on the outside and sweet on the inside,” Syme says). While it is one of several ancient monikers for the wild artichokes of the Levant and the thistle family’s Greek catch-all (Cynarae), Cinara is actually a place, an almost mythic island in the Aegean Sea (now known as Zinara). It was said to be home to some especially alluring Sirens, as well as a mysterious place of banishment. It was where the emperor Tiberius once sent a cheeky Greek named Zeno who dared to employ some flowery language in his presence. Cinara was also the name of a particularly greedy but irresistibly sexy ex-lover of the Roman lyric poet Horace (“the grief I knew in my cups when the delicious Cinara left me” – the poor dear)…

Alas, Syme, as far as I know, is not a poet (lyric or otherwise) and, thank goodness, has not been banished from Yaletown. Operations at La Pentola will continue as normal.

Cinara will be open for dinner only, but breakfasts could be added to the menu as the hotel continues its slow burn of boutiquification (a new lobby is also under construction). Predictions? Lucais and Jill are devotees of quality (witness their tenures at La Quercia and La Ghianda), so I’d be shocked if this wasn’t one of the best new restaurants of 2014. Construction starts this week and opening day is slated for some point in January.

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

GOODS: Yaletown’s La Pentola Continues Famiglia Series With Frutti Di Mare Supper

La Pentola is located in the Opus Hotel at 350 Davie St. in Vancouver, BC | (604) 642-0557 | www.lapentola.ca

The GOODS from La Pentola

Vancouver, BC | On Sunday, May 26, La Pentola’s Famiglia Supper Series continues with a Frutti di Mare dinner hosted by chef Lucais Syme. Join us at 6pm to dine alla famiglia style at a communal table with your friends and neighbours. This month we feature local Ocean Wise seafoods like local spot prawns, Dungeness crab, oysters, halibut and salmon. Details after the jump… Read more

GOODS: “La Pentola” Waiving Corkage For BYOB Nose-To-Tail Pig Supper On March 31

March 20, 2013 

La Pentola is located in the Opus Hotel at 350 Davie St. in Vancouver, BC | (604) 642-0557 | www.lapentola.ca

The GOODS from La Pentola

Vancouver, BC | Adam Pegg and Lucais Syme will host La Pentola della Quercia’s first ever nose-to-tail pig dinner on March 31. Join them promptly at 6PM to dine alla famiglia style at a communal table with neighbours and friends. The restaurant is waiving corkage for this seating, so it’s BYOB. The cost is just $45 per person, and seating is limited. Call 604-642-0557 or email info [at] lapentola.ca to reserve. Our full menu will also be available throughout the evening for those not reserving this event. Read more

DINER: Casual West Side “La Ghianda” Set To Serve Its Last Customers This Weekend

by Andrew Morrison | One of our favourite West Side lunch spots is shutting down for good after service this Saturday. The Italian-themed La Ghianda delicatessen at 2083 Alma St. has proven to be too much work for chefs Adam Pegg and Lucais Syme, who also own the nearby multiple award-winning La Quercia, it’s neighbouring L’Officio wine bar, and Yaletown’s new La Pentola Della Quercia. “It’s our fault for not being able to spend enough time there.” Adam told me by phone this afternoon. “That’s the bottom line. We just couldn’t be there as much as we needed to be, and that’s not fair to both our cooks and our customers.” They could keep it as a commissary space (for salumi, etc.), but since it picked up a liquor license back in August it would be a crying shame to see the West Side lose an option for a solid meal with a glass or two. Word has it that Yuji from Yuji’s Japanese Tapas has taken a peek at the address, and that’s pretty exciting. He may have shut his West 4th location nearly two years ago, but he’s been on the lookout for new digs. Wouldn’t a finely tuned 20 seat izakaya be awesome for this space? Either way, I’m sad to see La Ghianda go. After a muddy, Saturday morning hike through the Endowment Lands, their meaty orrechiete with ragu always hit the spot!

ALL ANTICIPATED RESTAURANTS

WELCOME: “La Pentola” In The OPUS Hotel Has Joined The Growing Scout Community

We’ve invited Yaletown’s La Pentola in the OPUS Hotel to join our GOODS section. The Northern Italian-themed restaurant (from the same folks who brought us the award-winning La Quercia) are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be posting their news in addition to hosting a page for them on our awesome list of goodnesses. We’d like to take this chance to thank them for their support, and for making Vancouver a more delicious city to live in.

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ALL THE LOCAL “GOODS”

La Pentola

Details

350 Davie Street | Vancouver, BC , V6B2G2
Telephone:  (604) 642-0557  |  Email:  info@lapentola.ca
Reserve: reservations@lapentola.ca
Website: www.lapentola.ca | Twitter | Facebook

Hours

Open 7 days a week (closed daily 3-5pm)
Breakfast: 7am – 3pm | Lunch: 11:30am – 3pm
Dinner: Sun-Thu: 5pm | Late, Fri & Sat: 5pm – Later

VIRTUAL TOUR

Gallery

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People

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Chef / Owner – Lucais Syme
General Manager – Ricardo Ferreira

About La Pentola

Chef Lucais Syme delivers rustic Northern Italian inspired cuisine at La Pentola della Quercia inside OPUS Hotel. Simple, handmade pasta and traditional nose-to-tail meat and fish dishes served family style are the focus of this award-winning Vancouver restaurant.

“La Pentola is inviting and warm. Ditto the service. The food is rustically elegant, a distillation of real Italy and the food is similar to their northern Italy-based La Quercia and La Ghianda offerings – they zero in on great ingredients and capture the Italian soul. Their pilgrimages and work experience in ‘Slow Food’ Italy is evident”. Mia Stainsby, The Vancouver Sun

DINER: Long Awaited “L’Officio” Is (Almost) Ready To Open Next Door To La Quercia

November 16, 2012 

by Andrew Morrison | Yes, it’s true. The second most delayed restaurant in the entire city (1st is the new Vij’s) has passed all its permits and is on the very cusp of opening to the public at 3687 West 4th. I saw the finished L’Officio with my own eyes last night, and the wee 20 seater is clearly ready to go. But there’s a snag, because of course there’s a snag! It might even be open to the public already if they weren’t short three or four workers. They can’t pull an opening off without them. Specifically, they’re looking for at least two wine-savvy front of house people and a pair of cooks. So if you know of any good people with a passion for food and wine who are currently looking for work (sure you do), please instruct them to send their resumes to owners/chefs Adam Pegg or Lucais Syme at info@laquercia.ca as quickly as possible to save us Vancouver diners from further wait. As you can see in the shots above, right now the staff from La Quercia next door are using the little would-be wine bar as a place for staff meals alla famiglia before service. I consider such behaviour to be of a taunting nature. That could be us, damnit! So tell you friends – look under rocks – let’s get this place staffed and good to go. Thank you.

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

DINER: La Ghianda Gets Upgrade, L’Officio Back On Track, And La Pentola Staffs Up

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by Andrew Morrison | Adam Pegg and Lucais Syme’s acclaimed West Side lunch spot, La Ghianda, has just secured a liquor license. It has accordingly shuttered for a rapid aesthetic upgrade and will reopen with table service, beers, tumblers of wine and new hours this upcoming Tuesday (11:30am until late). The deli is shrinking to accommodate the expansion – to 9 joinable two tops – but rest assured we’ll still be able to score their awesome sauces, cured meats, pastas and such at retail. As for the menu, it will be a set affair of La Ghianda greatest hits: veal scaloppine, orecchiette bolognese, duck confit, penne arrabiata, and so on. The “no reservations” policy will continue as is. Stoked.

In other news, the long anticipated L’Officio (a seemingly false-started restaurant project next to Syme and Pegg’s award-winning La Quercia), has been resurrected after a lengthy entanglement with red tape. They are on track for an opening this winter – November at the earliest.

And there’s also good news for Syme and Pegg’s upcoming Yaletown adventure, La Pentola Della Quercia (in the Opus Hotel): they’ve hired on former restaurateurs Nathalie and Stephan Meyer as manager and chef respectively. This will be the French couple’s homecoming to the Vancouver restaurant scene. You may remember that they gave up “the life” a few years ago when they closed their restaurant, Saveur, on Thurlow off Robson (it became the Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe and is now home Ensemble). Welcome back!

ALL ANTICIPATED RESTAURANTS

DINER: “La Quercia” Chefs To Open New Restaurant In Yaletown’s OPUS Hotel

by Andrew Morrison | I’ve been hunting rock wrens and roadrunners in the desert for the last little bit so I missed this missive when it landed in my inbox yesterday…

Nicholas Gandossi, General Manager of OPUS Vancouver, is pleased to announce a new partnership that will see Adam Pegg and Lucais Syme of Vancouver’s award-winning Northern Italian eatery La Quercia, open a new restaurant concept at the globally recognized OPUS Vancouver. Gandossi sees the involvement of Pegg and Syme, together with Peter Girges, as yet another opportunity to keep OPUS Vancouver on the leading edge of hospitality. “We like being ahead of the curve,” says Gandossi. “We were the first hotel in North America to embrace the pop up restaurant and we will continue to be at the forefront of dining and drinking trends.” For their part, Pegg and Syme see the collaboration as an opportunity to expand their culinary repertoire beyond the walls of their acclaimed west side trattoria. “We’ve always wanted to work on a larger food program and we were thrilled when this conversation began,” says Pegg with Syme adding: “We’re looking forward to working with a new dining concept in such a vibrant part of the city.” Restaurateur and nightlife impresario Peter Girges, of Cento Notti and OPUS Bar, is thrilled to welcome his friends Adam and Lucais. Since Girges’s involvement with OPUS Vancouver began, he has been instrumental in the operation of the pop up strategy and he will continue to host and welcome guests. OPUS Vancouver’s current pop up, Cento Notti, will close on the evening of August 12 for renovations and a new restaurant is scheduled to reopen in early September 2012. Award-winning hot spot OPUS Bar will remain open throughout this changeover.

The food at the OPUS has terrified me since Elixir Bistro was shuttered, so at first glance this press release read (to me) like a bit of far-fetched fiction, like chef/restaurateur David Hawksworth announcing a pop-up at The Old Spaghetti Factory or Rob Feenie joining the Cactus Club as Food Concept Architect (oh wait, what?). Stranger things have happened, and if it’s the weirdest thing the OPUS has done since they installed closed circuit TV screens above their urinals (so every male guest could awkwardly scope their date at the bar, penis in hand?), it’s definitely the smartest move Girges has made since leaving the Glowbal Group. So before you food wonks have a freak out, it’s good to remember that while the “nightlife impresario” and the chameleonic Yaletown hotel may have dropped the ball in the past, Syme and Pegg throw strikes. If Girges et al can resist the temptation to interfere with the soundtrack, stop themselves from outsourcing the decor to a graffiti artist, and generally leave the chefs entirely to their own devices, I expect they’ll shine with blinding wattage. The new joint will be called La Pentola della Quercia.

ALL ANTICIPATED RESTAURANTS

GOODS: “La Quercia” Welcomes Tenuta Sant’Antonio To Supper On The West Side

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The intimate La Quercia is located at 3689 West 4th Ave on Vancouver's West Side | 604-676-1007 | www.laquercia.ca

The GOODS from La Quercia

Vancouver, BC | On Wednesday March 14th at 6:30pm, La Quercia will welcome Aldo Steccanella from Italy’s Tenuta Sant’Antonio (makers of fine Amarone, Valpolicella and Soave). We will be pairing six of Aldo’s premium wines with a menu crafted by La Quercia chefs/owners Adam Pegg and Lucais Syme. The menu will reflect the Veneto, offering several classics dishes from the region. The event is nearly sold out already. Tickets are $150, which includes all wines, food, taxes and gratuities. To book, call 604-676-1007. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more

DINER: A Sneak Peek Inside Syme & Pegg’s “L’Officio”, Soon To Open On West 4th Ave

December 8, 2011 

by Andrew Morrison | After a lovely lunch out on the West Side at La Ghianda the other day, co-owner/chef Lucais Syme invited me across the street to take a look at how the much anticipated L’Officio was coming along. As you can see from the shots below, it looks as if they might actually open ahead of schedule – as in before Christmas – which would rejoicing. I particularly love how deep the bar top is – perfect for amassing dishes – and the back bar wall blackboard, which will list all the plates and wines on offer. Here’s a recap just in case this is the first time you’ve ever heard of the place… Read more

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