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Supping in Vancouver: Piato Estiatorio

Piato Estiatorio
1835 West 4th Avenue, 
Vancouver
Ph: 604-568-2929 or Reserve Online

More than thirty years ago,the first time I sailed on the Aegean Sea, I fell under the spell of the Aegean islands. Much later when our oldest child was in his final high school year, as we planned a vacation in Europe with our children,the first component of the trip that we all agreed on was to go sailing among the Greek Islands. The image of white washed homes reflecting sunshine against cerulean waters has always stayed with me - and made me into an interior decorator's nightmare. In my home I always end up painting the interior walls stark white to recapture the sense of light and airiness.

And then there was the food. Sailing up to a  taverna and eating freshly caught fish or calamari while inhaling an enchanting mixture of salty sea air "perfumed" with garlic.

As my friends and I  settled into our seats at Piato we discussed how we all loved Greek food , especially the mezes but that there seemed to have been little change in food presentation in the restaurants we had eaten in over the years.  As one asked plaintively, "why do they always serve huge helpings of potates and rice on the same plate?" 

quailWell, thankfully at Piato they do not.  Sipping our 2006 Sandhill Pinot Blanc we enjoyed the ambience  of the  space and the contemporary look and contents of the menu.  The main courses looked quite substantial so we skipped the mouth-watering mezedakia and each just ordered a main.  I had  lamb shank  with  lemon roast potatoes and caramelised onions. The lamb just fell of the bone and melted in my mouth, and though I had mentally told myself not to eat all the potatoes, I finished every last morsel.  My friend declared the quail to be succulent and quite delicious while our third diner found her lamb and pork brochettes to be moist and flavourful.

Our server brought us a bread basket and offered a choice of four spreads. We chose the tapenade and the tuna butter over the tzatsiki and the caper butter. The tuna butter had a delightfully subtle flavor but we agreed that the salt and bitter taste of the tapenade was a little too intense. We were each presented with a small water-filled glass containing a teaspoon with what I think our server said was a vanilla flavour fruit.  My companions did not think it added to the experience, but I quite liked the taste and the originality.

Overall we all were impressed. I would definitely like to come back to try their mezedakia (shared plates).
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