Carlino is located in the Shangri La hotel in Vancouver and occupies the space that was formerly Market by Jean Georges and then a short lived Italian-Chinese concept named Mintiao which I tried but never had the chance to write about. I knew at first bite Mintiao would not make it. The kitchen was trying too hard to be unique with many of the dishes that came out leaving me wondering “why?”.
Anyway, I am happy to write that Vancouver has another solid option for Italian food. We started with a fried cheese that reminded me of a similar Greek dish Saganaki. My only wish was that they provided a slice of lemon to cut through some of the fat from the cheese. Otherwise, it was heavenly.
We also had a whipped cod on polenta that was good.
…and a really good kale salad (not pictured). What was unique about the salad was that the kale leaves were chiffonade like. This made it very easy to eat the salad and gave it a nice fluffy texture. The dressing and seasoning were also spot on.
The star of the show was a guinea fowl ragu. First, the pasta was cooked perfectly. Then the meat choice for the ragu was interesting and the sauce was packed with umami and very well seasoned. Hints of wine and sweetness from the mirepoix also came through. The sauce was just rich enough. Absolutely delicious. I would order this again in a heartbeat.
Overall the food and service were good. Its great to have another solid option for Italian food downtown. I will definitely be back to try other items on the menu.