Every Damn Thing So Far At Kitsilano’s Excellent Annalena

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by Andrew Morrison | I’m digging just about everything about Annalena, the 65 seat eatery recently arrived in Kitsilano. Well, everything except that it’s a little too far from my house.

I say that because it’s one of those restaurants that anyone would want to live next to. It hits that very rare sweet spot, the one that sees killer cooking and quality bartending combined inside a neighbourhood joint that expresses itself – both in static design and service posture – as casually as it can. It has the fun sensibilities of a youthfully-managed hangout but the culinary chops of a champ. Chambar, L’Abattoir, and Wildebeest all mine a similar seam.

Everything I tried on my first pass last week – from the seared trout with charred onion cups filled with chive butter sauce to the buttermilk fried chicken with horseradish-maple aioli – was straight up superb, not to mention beautifully presented. Top marks to co-owner/chef Mike Robbins and his crew.

The cocktails I sampled were also delicious. The wine list could be deeper, but I imagine it’ll grow as these guys recoup their investment, which I trust won’t take that long if they keep the awesome up. Take a look…

Annalena | 778-379-4052 | 1809 West 1st Ave. | Kitsilano | www.annalena.ca

  • AnnaLena
    AnnaLena
  • Absolutely Darling - Absolut, Lillet, cardamom, fresh lemon and ginger
    Absolutely Darling - Absolut, Lillet, cardamom, fresh lemon and ginger
  • Kusshi oyster with compressed apple and jalapeno mignonette under finely shaved foie gras
    Kusshi oyster with compressed apple and jalapeno mignonette under finely shaved foie gras
  • Clockwork Blood Orange cocktail with Aperol, bubbles, Broker's gin, blood orange tea, and fresh lemon
    Clockwork Blood Orange cocktail with Aperol, bubbles, Broker's gin, blood orange tea, and fresh lemon
  • Beautifully arranged plate of seared trout, roasted carrot, pickled cabbage puree, and charred onion cups containing a chive butter sauce
    Beautifully arranged plate of seared trout, roasted carrot, pickled cabbage puree, and charred onion cups containing a chive butter sauce
  • Spinach ravioli stuffed with spinach and asiago sauced with a sweet tomato compote and saddled with pangratatto and baby arugula
    Spinach ravioli stuffed with spinach and asiago sauced with a sweet tomato compote and saddled with pangratatto and baby arugula
  • The same, minus the foie gras.
    The same, minus the foie gras.
  • Outstanding tahini-ginger dressde kale salad with fried cauliflower, sea asparagus, and sunchoke chips
    Outstanding tahini-ginger dressde kale salad with fried cauliflower, sea asparagus, and sunchoke chips
  • Mussels and braised garlic in a white wine fennel broth with thyme oil and fried bread
    Mussels and braised garlic in a white wine fennel broth with thyme oil and fried bread
  • Side view of the same kale salad - so good!
    Side view of the same kale salad - so good!
  • Buttermilk fried chicken with salt and vinegar-flavoured chicken skins on a horseradish maple aioli
    Buttermilk fried chicken with salt and vinegar-flavoured chicken skins on a horseradish maple aioli
  • Warm rhubarb compote and mixed nut crumble topped with black pepper thyme ice cream
    Warm rhubarb compote and mixed nut crumble topped with black pepper thyme ice cream
  • Chocolate creme brulee, honeycomb, salted caramel ice cream, lemon and bitter chocolate dust
    Chocolate creme brulee, honeycomb, salted caramel ice cream, lemon and bitter chocolate dust

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