The 22 seat Oca – which translates as “goose” in Italian – is the first restaurant from chef Greg Dilabio, who has partnered with former employer Adam Pegg, owner/chef at the West Side’s revered La Quercia and L’Ufficio restaurants (where Greg toiled on and off for nine years). Though Adam owns half the restaurant, he says it’s Greg’s to run. They are joined by veteran La Quercia server Antoine Dumont, who will oversee front of house operations.
Located in the original, 900 sqft Absinthe Bistro address at 1260 Commercial Drive, Oca Pastificio will be a straightforward, dinner-only affair of some 22 seats. These will be in full view of a pasta rolling station and a chalkboard menu that changes daily. Expect a mix of salads and salumi to start with the main events being four daily pastas – all made fresh to order – plus a risotto. The drinks card will see an Italian beer or two, some classic Italian cocktails and a short wine list.
This is super exciting for three reasons, the first among them being entirely gluttonous: Greg is a pasta artisan of the first order. Not only has he studied under Adam Pegg, who is a Master of Italian Gastronomy (the first Canadian to achieve that distinction), but he has also done his own two turns of pasta piety in Italy, staging most recently under one of Pegg’s own mentors, Slow Food chef Fiorenzo Varesco of Trentino’s Osteria Storica Morelli. What’s more, he was the guy who is credited with elevating Kissa Tanto’s pasta game to a heavenly plane lauded by the likes of The New York Times and enRoute. The second reason Oca Pastificio is super exciting is that it suits the neighbourhood – Vancouver’s Little Italy – like a glove. The third reason is just selfish — I live nearby.
They have a green light to open tomorrow (Thursday, December 19th). Hours will be Wednesday through Sunday from 5pm until 10pm. They will not accept reservations, which is to say this will be a very tough table to get as soon as the city catches on to its existence.