The Comfort Food Guide to Vancouver: Pepino’s Signature ‘Spaghetti & Meatballs’

This series maps out our editors’ picks for Vancouver’s best and most legendary comfort foods. We encourage readers to steer us towards their favourites in the comments or by using the hashtag #ScoutYVR on social media.

Spaghetti & Meatballs is not only one of the most classic and broadly adored dish on the Italian-American menu, it also sits in a special place of prominence in the comfort food pantheon, where it is kept eternally warm by a bright light that shines upon it from the heavens. The one from Pepino’s Spaghetti House on Commercial Drive is Vancouver’s exemplar. The big meatballs are made with a combination of beef, pork, three cheeses (pecorino, grana, ricotta) and just enough garlic and chili flakes to make their presence felt. The pasta is a touch softer than al dente (proper mangiacake-style) and the tangy, well-salted, basil-flecked tomato sauce is one step down from being way too much. The presentation is finished with a snow of grated parmesan. It is about as satisfying as comfort food gets, and those with average appetites will be hard-pressed to finish the whole thing.

NOTE: With table service closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can only get Pepino’s signature Spaghetti & Meatballs (plus many other items) via take-out.

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