Cinara, a modern European bistro with a focus on Italian-inspired cuisine, is known as one of Canada’s top 100 restaurants (rank #67) and one of the best Italian restaurants in Vancouver (rank #3) by Vancouver Magazine. The restaurant is chef-owned and operated by husband and wife duo Chefs Lucais Syme and Gillian Book. Since my visit, the restaurant has renamed themselves to be Autostrada (same as their other sister restaurant) although the concept remains the same.
Cinara is located in the corner unit at Homer and West Pender in one of the oldest buildings in the city — the 117-year-old Victorian Hotel. The atmosphere is very warm and inviting with exposed brick walls and warm wood tones. There are a few tables set up for twos and small groups. Bar seating is available and
Note: None of the food or drinks in this post were complimentary. This review is done anonymously.
6-course Tasting Menu
I had visited Cinara once before and this time I came with fellow food bloggers, Diana (foodology.ca), David (pickydiners.com), Hanson (
What We Tried
To start, we were presented with fresh baked
Chicken Liver Parfait
We were then presented with burrata cheese delivered from Italy on the day, preserved and fresh plum purée, their best balsamic and olive oil with cracked pepper. The burrata tasted very fresh being milky, buttery in flavor and soft and springy in texture. The plum puree added some acidity and sweetness. It was good to enjoy the burrata with the sourdough bread.
I also really enjoyed the beef tartare with pickled pear and creme fraiche. The beef was very delicate, flavourful, juicy and tender.
Our seafood main was a Pacific halibut
The pasta dish was tortelloni stuffed with duck confit, pistachio, and salsa verde. The duck filling was meltingly tender but a rich, slightly salty but mellow
The meat entree was a braised pork collar with cipollini onion, apple, and
To finish off the meal, we had the salted caramel tart with pine nut and apple. It was something I had tried before and I found it just as good. It was not quite like salted caramel but more on caramel side.
Overall Impression of Cinara’s 6-Course Tasting Menu
I found the selection we had for Cinara’s 6-course tasting menu to be less enjoyable than when I ordered a la carte. I enjoyed the chicken liver parfait, the beef tartare, and the pasta while the fish and meat dishes could have been improved. I think the consensus at our table was that the meal failed to impress and was not as memorable as we had hoped. I would recommend trying more of the pasta dishes rather than the other mains. Rating: 3/5
Address: 350 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC