Lupo, Vancouver

What’s old is new again at 869 Hamilton Street. The Italian Restaurant at this particular address, Villa del Lupo , has dropped the “Villa del” and is now known simply as Lupo. And it’s far more than just a name change; the place has had an entire revamp.

In 1990, Chef Gonzalez Perini was one of the founding partners of Villa del Lupo, but moved on to cook at West Van’s Beach House and most recently CinCin . Since then the restaurant had gone downhill. When the recent owners were forced to sell, Gonzalez paired with star sommelier and former CinCin colleague Michael Mameli and returned to scoop up the spot.

Gonzalez and Mameli have an eye for design and smartly decided to open up the space. Walls have been knocked down and the former dark paint is now a solid white. Modern lighting has been added, while clever artwork brings colour to the room. The lovely stained glass windows remain, as does the warming fireplace, but tablecloths are gone and the floors have been redone in a solid walnut. The building still reflects its 1800’s birth era, but has been classily renovated, giving it a far more comfortable, neighbourhood feel.

Chef Gonzalez’s menu is intelligently designed to make diners feel comfortable stopping in for a quick mid-week dinner or to linger longer over several courses. Antipasti include items such as pizzetta with prosciutto and caramelized onion, spinach and ricotta ravioli or grilled local scallop, while Primi might be veal cannelloni or risotto, and Secondi a lamb shank ossobucco or roasted arctic char. The priciest item is the generous plate of lamb chops at $26. Diners are encouraged to share the Contorni for the table. Lupo pays tribute to local food, but sticks to Italian tradition.

Mameli has put together a wine list of mainly Italian and BC Wines, rather than overshooting with a list that jumps far too freely around the world. There’s plenty of grappa, beers for sipping and a liquor selection that could accommodate most cocktail request. For now, Lupo is just open for dinner, with plans for brunch and lunch. There’s also do an early evening pre-event menu priced at $28 for two courses and $27 for three. With a proximity to the theatres, it’s sure to be popular. With excellent food and a great space, Lupo’s reasonable prices are just an added bonus. It certainly is a welcome change.

Address: 869 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, BC
Contact: 604-569-2537
Cuisine: Italian
Area: Downtown
Venue: Restaurant
Hours: Daily: 5:00pm – close
Price Range: $$$ (Within Reach)
Payment: Master Card, Visa, American Express

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