Cavino – Coffee by Day – Wine by Night

Do you dine out often? How many times do you dine out in a month?

After some thought, I realized aside from Vancouver dine outs, I generally dine out (by dine out, I mean eating at mid to high end restaurants) at least once a month. This probably started when I began dating my current boyfriend. We would always eat at a nice place to celebrate another month being together. Now, it became a delicious (and expensive!) habit that’s hard to break, haha.

So the other day, we decided upon a place called Cavino. To be honest, since it’s very late in the Vancouver dine out week, many of the places I set my eyes on either didn’t have a menu I could look at on-line or were already fully booked on the days we were available. Cavino’s menu barely caught my attention amongst the many others, but I am SO GLAD I went.

Here’s the address of the place: 1234 Hornby StreetVancouver, BC V6Z 1W2
It is in downtown, 6 blocks away from Vancouver Centre Skytrain.
I give directions so bad that they would lead you to China (seriously, but not literally, haha), so check out their website for more info regarding location.

Click here for their 2013 dine out menu!

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(Skip the next paragraph if you are only interested in the food review.  )

We came for dinner, so I don’t know what it would be like here during the day, but I would imagine it being equally relaxing and chill. The overly colourful  interior and modern décor was not my style, but it was very inviting and cheerful, and my gosh, was the place clean. If you told me they just opened today, I would of believed you. You can tell it’s a very versatile place as there are comfortable lounge sections (with a big tv just for YOUR section) and a section with proper tables and chairs for those having a proper meal. You can’t really see the lounge area very well in the photo..

The jazz playing in the background added a classy touch to this casual Vancouver Italian restaurant.

Now on to FOOD.

I ordered their Cavino Salad, Chicken Mushroom Agnolotti, and Tiramisu.
My honey ordered the Soup of the Day (which was clam chowder), Tenderloin, and The Cheese Plate. In addition, we also had wine pairings for each course.

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It’s not hard to make a salad. It’s easy to make a bad salad. But it’s pretty difficult to find the PERFECT salad (unless you make it yourself). The Cavino salad was my ideal salad. Fresh Tuscan greens, creamy crumbled feta, walnuts, sweet dried cranberries, and cucumbers. I love cucumbers by the way, haha. The citrus vinaigrette was subtle but super refreshing. What I loved best is that they allowed the cheese, nuts, and cranberries BE the flavours of the salad. I never believed in heavy dressings. Nothing bothers me more than over-dressed salads. This salad had the perfect balance of everything. Texture, taste, and (if only the cranberries were redder) colour. Really opens the appetite.

The wine that went with it was Riesling, 2011 (See Ya Later Ranch Winery). Insane explosion of happiness in the mouth. The wine and the taste of the walnuts and feta went so well together. I love drinking wine, but my knowledge of wine is still like that of a preschooler; however, my tongue tells me that this pairing was meant to be.

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My partner’s clam chowder and I don’t recall what the wine was.. sorry!
He did enjoy his soup though.

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Now onto the entree – Chicken Mushroom Agnolotti. I was impressed by the presentation. The garlic bread was hot and fresh. The stuffed pasta was flavourful, even without the help of a lot sauce. I really liked that about this place. They don’t let strong dressings, sauces or seasonings bring out flavour. They leave it to the freshness of their ingredients. The pesto sauce had cheese in it and the tomatoes gave the dish a bit of acidity and colour.

I think some people would wish the portion was a bit bigger, but it was just fine for me. Another thing was that I wished they heated their bowl so that the pasta would stay hot longer. This doesn’t taste very good when not piping hot.

The wine that went with this was Cactus White 2011 (Desert Hills Winery). Again, paired perfectly. The slight tart taste makes eating creamy things easier and more enjoyable.

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My partner’s Tenderloin. It was visually very appealing, but the portion is rather small. The taste of the meat was very nice, but he said the mashed potato was rather bland. I think it tasted pretty nice. Sorta like mashed potatoes – original flavour. But I know some people are used to food that’s more heavily seasoned.

Border Wines 2010 (Moon Curse Wineyards) was the wine that went with this.

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Compared to the starter and entree, the dessert was a bit of a let down. It tasted good, but nothing exceptional. It was simply tiramisu in a cup.  I’ve had better. Also, I did not enjoy so much whipped cream on top of the tiramisu.. it was too creamy altogether. Thank goodness for the wine (Cipes Brut, N/V (Summerhill Pyramid Winery) )!

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Really liked that they had a savory dessert option for those who aren’t into sweets or are not in the mood for it (like my boyfriend). I like places accommodate diverse diners. I’m not expert with cheese, but I enjoyed most of it. Worth a try for those interested.

I have yet to mention, but our server that night was wonderful. She was extremely polite when bringing and clearing plates, had a wonderful smile every time she spoke, knowledgeable with the things she served, and was overall friendly, attentive, at the right times. The other servers were well mannered and super nice as well.

It was the first time I was ever asked, “Shall we give you a little break before your dessert? Or would you like to have it now?” Even if I was at a fancy restaurant, sometimes I feel their politeness is very artificial and rushed, like they want to get rid of you as quickly as possible. I understand you may have to pretend to be polite when you work, but at least make it believable. AND DON’T RUSH THE CUSTOMER.

Needless to say they made our dining experience very pleasant, and we tipped them handsomely. The dining experience was 9.5/10.  The food was 7.5/10. I give the place 8.5 in total.

Thank you for the fantastic evening.

Tastefully yours,
Shiina Mint

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