We’ve heard a lot of goods things about Nook, a relatively new Italian kid on the block. The Denman block just North of Robson to be precise. This modest sized, 30 seater restaurant boasts a humble exterior and a heavily edited menu. And they don’t take reservations, so waiting for a seat on a weekend is a distinct possibility.

(Top to bottom: 1. Handmade Burratta Cheese Crostini with Pancetta and Asparagus. 2. Smoked Wild Boar Capeletti.)

Our server seated us with a smile and a question, “Are you thirsty?” We responded with two glasses of Chianti. As our drinks were being prepared we perused the menu which we noticed was fairly brief — half a sheet of paper, no more than a dozen and half dishes with a focus on pastas and pizzas. While studying the menu, we were pleasantly serenaded by the sounds 80’s rock: The Cure, Billy Idol, et. al. — a strange counterpoint to the modern, yet bare bones Italian restaurant.

Our server returned with the wine and let loose the daily specials, which sounded so good we put aside the menu and ordered those instead, beginning with the Burratta Cheese Crostini with Pancetta and spears of grilled asparagus. The handmade buffalo mozzarella cheese was richly creamy, yet had an amazing elasticity. The soft creaminess was a nice contrast to the crispiness of the crostini, and the grilled asparagus was super tasty. You could taste all the ingredients — simply prepared and well seasoned.

(Top to bottom: 1. Double Americano, 2. Strawberry Rum Panacotto.)

For our main dish, Case and I had the Smoked Wild Boar Capelleti, a hat-shaped pasta with shards of smoked wild boar in a light creamy sauce, covered in a mound of fresh grated parmesan cheese. The dish looked plain, yet the flavours danced off our tongues the moment we tasted the pasta, which was perfectly Al Dente (something we’ve become unfamiliar with in most pasta dishes lately).

We finished our meal off with two Americanos and a Strawberry Rum Panna cotta served in a pint-size mason jar. The Panna cotta was creamy (not the last bit runny, or rubbery) and the tartness of the fresh cut strawberries played well with the drizzle of rum.

Our meal came to $87 including taxes and tips. Although not the thriftiest meal, it was certainly one of the best value.

Perfect for: good, rustic Italian food.

The Details

781 Denman Street, Vancouver

Nook on Urbanspoon

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