Campagnolo Roma on East Hastings is the newest venture between Campagnolo and Refuel Group recently opened this past summer 2011. Tom Doughty and Chef Rob Belcham mirrored original concepts from Campagnolo on Main with a focus to Roma Italian dishes ex. amatricianas and carbonaras. The 35 seat space plus outside patio restaurant is located in the Sunshine community, directly opposite from Red Wagon and Mr Red Cafe Vietnamese restaurant. With so many great competition a few steps away, it’s hard not to expect Campagnolo to up their game also.
Campagnolo Roma is a casual ‘walk in’ local gem featuring inexpensive and unpretentious concoctions. Interior is wood based much like Oakwood Canadian Bistro in Kits and features a bar dining area facing the kitchen staff in action.
Out of 5… (1: Don’t bother —> 5: Excellent)
Local octopus salad $12: Endivia leaf served with chilled potato, gaeta olives, and red wine vinegar. Endivia are rich with vitamins and minerals but has somewhat of a bitter raw taste. The octopus was deliciously warm with texture and chew; neither tough nor overcooked. The red wine vinegar balances the bitterness of the leafy greens well.
Initially we wanted to try the classic spaghetti carbonara; but Amy heard that it was towards the salty side from other review she’s read online. Perhaps this also why the waitress also confirmed us that because it is a classic with lots of cured meat and sauce that it tends to be saltier. It is nice that warning in case it comes and shocks your tastebuds.
Specials of the night:
Tagliatelle Tartufato $19.95: As the name suggests it is Pasta with Truffles. Melted butter, pecorino (a hard Italian cheese made from ewe’s milk) and thinly sliced black umbrian truffle. Subtle tasting truffle in a lightly tossed cream sauce with al dente pasta. I like how the sauce doesn’t overwhelm.
Surprising was the thinly slice truffle is not as pungent as I would imagine. Instead it is quite tasteless initially, the truffle flavor comes more as an aftertaste.
Carnaroli Risotto $16
Medium grained rice native to Vercelli, northern Italy traditionally used for risotto as it retains shape better than other forms of rice during slow cooking. Served with BC porcini mushrooms, diced chives, and pecorino romano drizzle lightly with olive oil. Olive oil gives is shine and extra fragrant. This risotto is cooked perfectly al dente yet supple, fluid creamy texture.
Honey Panna Cotta $8
A delicious Italian custard made with cream, milk and sugar served with local pears, shortbread sugar cookie. Tastes like a chilled almond pudding, smooth and rich with creamy. Lightly tasting pairs merrily with sweet baked pears. Overall a very good dessert, even though the shortbread was replaced by a stale sugar cookie. How disappointing.
I promised to come back here with Dave sometime soon. This was actually part of our To-Eat list but I jumped the gun for a girl`s night instead. Although I brought him some take-out, it just doesn’t beat dining in-house with a beer or two!
What we want to try next time at Campagnolo Roma:
- Pizza Marinara – tomato sauce, garlic, fresh oregano with an added egg
- Spaghetti carbonara
- The cure’s salumi platter
- Seasonal olives (I wonder if the olives are served both warm and cold)
- Tiramisu alle campagnolo
Be sure to watch for their Daily Specials! Right now they are offering “Pizza and a Beer“ every night 5-6pm and from 9:30pm until close for $15
- No reservations
Good beer and wine-list and sparklings
2297 East Hasting Street
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