To celebrate a March birthday, we made reservations at Tutto, a newer Italian restaurant at the corner of Homer Street and Smithe Street in Yaletown (opened Fall 2020). It occupies a century old heritage building that was originally built as printing house, but was last home to a coffee shop and an art gallery.
We arrived 15 minutes early, and the restaurant was not ready for us, so we waited until our table was prepared.
Tutto has a menu that ranges across Italian regions.
We started with an antipasto of Vitello Tonnato
this is a cold platter of thinly sliced roast veal, topped with a albacore tuna aioli, capers, cornichons, radish slivers, served with crostini. I assumed we were meant to top the crostini with the veal and dressings, if that be the case, I think we needed more crostini. Like twice as much, because there was way more veal than there was bread. The veal was tender and smooth, and the tuna aioli was savoury and creamy. The capers added saltiness, and the cornichon provided a little sourness. Overall, I liked the dish but felt it was a little too salty for my liking.
We also ordered Focaccia della Casa
This is warm yeasted bread, sliced in narrow strips, topped with salt and rosemary, served with extra virgin olive oil. This was really nice bread. It was crusty on the outside, but pillowy soft on the inside, warm, lightly salted and slightly herby. It was fortunately that we ordered this, because it provided the extra bread that we needed to finish the aforementioned vitello tonnato.
Our pasta dish was Strozzapreti Carbonara
Strozzapreti (priest strangler) is a hand cut pasta, tossed with sautéed guanciale (cured pork cheek), egg yolk, pecorino (a salty aged sheeps milk cheese), artichoke hearts, and black pepper. This exceeded by expectations. Well, that just indicates I had low expectations, I’d tried carbonara before, and didn’t enjoy it, but this was nicely done. The noodles were al dente, the sauce was savoury and rich without being heavy. The seasonings were spot on/
For the main, we had Pan Seared Branzino
This is a seared striped bass, served with roasted baby gem potatoes, sauteed broccolini, dressed with a salsa verde. The fish was nicely prepared, the seasoning was right, it was cooked to just the right doneness, with a crispy skin. The potatoes were tender on the inside, and lightly crisp on the outside. The salsa verde added some herby notes.
The other main was Lamb Shank
This is a lamb shank, slow braised with red wine, served over saffron risotto, grilled asparagus, dressed with a gremolata (parsley, garlic and lemon zest). This was a rich heavy dish, the lamb was tender and luscious, with a heady meaty gravy. The risotto was creamy and al dente.
For dessert, we enjoyed a Tiramisu
This is a luscious dessert of lady finger cookies, soaked in espresso, layered between mascarpone cheese and meringue, and finally dusted with cocoa. This was an excellent tiramisu. It was soft and creamy, but light. The coffee and cocoa complement each other.
The dining room is gorgeous. The high ceilings, exposed brick and iron grating gives the place a rustic feel, but it’s countered by modern lighting
The room was fairly crowded (by my pandemic standards), but since the restaurant opened for business during the coronavirus pandemic, it doesn’t have a pre-pandemic seating arrangement. They’ve installed extensive plexiglass separators between the tables, and all the servers are masked. For a higher end restaurant, it was surprisingly noisy.
Our server was very pleasant, attentive and courteous.