Chef Gonzalez-Perini Returns To Yaletown With New “Lupo” Digs


I went by the old Villa del Lupo location at 869 Hamilton tonight (by new I meant old) to have a peek at its newest incarnation, simply dubbed “Lupo”. The restaurant, which is currently enjoying its soft opening, brings three “Villa” alumni back together: Julio Gonzalez-Perini (owner/chef), Takeo Hiroi (chef de cuisine), and Michael Mameli (general manager).

The new room is sleeker, cleaner, and more charming than “Villa” in its last throes. The old nobility of the building remains, only its more expressive, almost jovial with the complete facelift. The many paintings framing the whitewashed walls give it splashes of controlled colour, while the front salon’s fireplace lends it all an aura of expectations well met. The old bones are there where they need to be to give it character (the window frames are stunning), but it doesn’t feel the least bit rickety. I also loved the new floor and the completely reinvented upstairs bar, and mowed through a pizzetta prepped by a real pro (this is home for Gonzalez-Perini).

With the triumvirate at the helm ready to receive Vancouver and a knockout Italian menu priced at the $20+- sweet spot, Lupo is a restaurant I’m looking forward to slipping into for a long winter’s night. I’ve included a gallery of photos after the leap, plus a copy of their opening press release…

Vancouver, BC | After 10 days of rave reviews for their rehearsal dinners, partners Julio Gonzalez Perini and Michael Mameli are ready to welcome hungry and discriminating diners to their thoroughly modern Italian eatery. Located on the cusp of Yaletown and the downtown theatre district, Lupo Restaurant will have its Grand Opening on Dec. 16.

Most recently the creative forces behind the kitchen and the dining room, respectively, at Cin Cin – one of Vancouver’s finest rooms – the duo of Gonzalez Perini and Mameli have decided to make an adventurous departure from high-end dining. Lupo captures current trends by offering creative and modern twists on classic Italian in a casual and contemporary setting. Although the partners have brought their fine-dining sensibilities to this freshly renovated restaurant, don’t expect a resurrection of the former Villa Del Lupo; theirs is a reinvention of Italian classics with a brand-new edge.

“We want people to feel like they can show up anytime, without reservations, and enjoy a great meal in a lively atmosphere.  Patrons should feel like guests in our home – only the kitchen at home wasn’t big enough!”  With this sentiment in mind, Lupo has created a welcoming, neighborhood vibe that is sure to have guests returning again and again for great food, attentive personal service and good prices.

Lupo will specialize in modern Italian cooking – unique but accessible gourmet food and a wine list that highlights both Italian and local wines – served in a casual, neighborhood bistro environment.  This is a restaurant and menu to be enjoyed, a kitchen-away-from-home for the owners where they will dish up pizzetas, Fettuccine with classic Bolognese, Braised Short Ribs with soft mascarpone polenta and a well-rounded selection of Contorni to be shared at the table.  For those who want to explore some of their more exotic creations, you can opt for the Winter Caprese Salad with oven dried tomato, pesto and saba; the Ricotta Gnocchi with braised pork cheeks and porcini mushroom “sugo;” or the Housemade Sausage with sauerkraut and cannelini bean ragout.  Lupo will also offer a Pre Event Menu, served from 5:00 – 6:15 on event nights, in 2 course or 3 course options for $28 and $37 respectively.

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