Taste Vancouver Food Tours
Every Saturday from 2:00pm – 4:30pm on Commercial Drive, our special partners at Taste Vancouver Food Tours, take those wishing to experience a unique multi-establishment food, history and tasting in some of our fine Italian establishments. They couple this with an interactive guide to learn about the history that has made The Drive one the most vibrant, and delicious districts in Vancouver to experience.
Like a passport to Italy, it allows you to stuff your palate with amazing eats, visiting up to 10 great places with up to 16 hungry people. This is a recipe for a great networking and informative foodie event, so we couldn’t resist, and decided to join in! From here on, we will just get to the places, and photos. We’ll leave the history, and extras for the next time you participate!
The journey starts with our fabulous guide Brent Hirose of Taste Vancouver Food Tours, at Fratellis Bakery for a mild introduction, and a bit of good hype. From there our first stop was La Grotta Del Formaggio, a traditional Italian deli, and by the time we arrived, they pretty much already had their famous grilled paninis ready to be served. No wait times here for the duration. This tour is like clockwork, and before you know it, it was time to move on…(btw, you do have to pace yourselves, it can be a lot of food to some.)
Next on the list was Falconetti’s, a well known East Side Grill pub and live venue, home to a rich family history as well. It also allowed us to get a bit of complimentary wine served, and paired with their famously delish, Italian Sausage on a bun.
It would not be an Italian food tour without being delighted with pasta right? Well our next stop was non other than Merchant’s Workshop, as Doug, owner and chef welcomed us to an amazing Torcere (“to twist”) type noodles, with a house-made pork sausage, with chili and fennel sauce. A real delightful dish, completed in a sophisticated setting!
Just down the street a little ways, we then stop at Famoso Pizzaria for an authentic Neapolitan pizza. Not to be outdone. Chef Rob Chartrand talks a great piece about the restaurant, and the ingredients that go into their masterpiece of their fire-oven baked pizza, which is so good.
Next on the list, we go back to basics and visit the iconic Santa Barbara deli to learn about its long history on the drive, and be graced with such a delectable selection of deli meats and cheese. And yes, prosciutto is one of them!
Right about now, we are quite stuffed and satisfied with all the meat filled dishes offered and tasted. Now, we know the desserts are coming, and it couldn’t have been more perfect than to have Dolce Amore next on our list.
If you have never been there, nor have ever had gelato (that would be hard to believe), after visiting you realize it is the perfect way to start winding the tour down with something so refreshing, creamy, and divine.
Naturally, we continue to walk back towards where we started, gelatos in hand, we stop at another place to get an energy boost. They answer, by treating us at the Continental Café’ for a beautiful cappuccino at their wonderful open space to enjoy their in-house roast. By now, our group has had a chance to know one another comfortably, and start to reminisce and review to one another about how great the tour has been for all of us.
After, with cappuccino take out in hand, we take a quick stroll to the newly reno’d First Ravioli store! This was our second last stop, and thankfully, they gave us a quick bag of ravioli to go!
Once we left there, we were content…well at least until he told us we would enjoy one tour to savor. Our final exit strategy was to meet where we started…Fratellis Bakery!
If you haven’t had a cannoli, or had ever seen the beautifully made pastries they make and custom cakes to order, you really need to check in. Be selfie ready, and phone in hand because the pastries are mouth watering just looking through the glass.
Then finally, like clockwork, our faithful guide Brent, smiling, gives us our last temptation. All of us were also smiling, as we felt that this was the perfect snack to end a perfect tour of Little Italy on the Drive.
In closing, Brent had us do a little group gathering to say goodbye, and for us to give an honest nod to one of the best tours that Taste Vancouver does. We would also easily acknowledge how special and organized the two and half hour experience was. Signing off was easy. We were full, we learned a lot, and we all learned something new about the strip. That really is all to be expected, at least until you get the craving to do it all over again. And why the heck not, it is so affordable, and worth every penny for the excursion. Ciao for now!
Special thank you to Taste Vancouver, and Brent Hirose for his wonderful energy and expertise on the tour!