Don Francesco Italian Restaurant on Burrard Street

by Victoria on January 22, 2010

It was time again for another monthly lunch with two of my foodie friends.  I find it to sometimes be difficult seeking out great places that are open for lunch and not just dinner, so we had a hard time picking a new restaurant for this meal out.

One of my friends has been going to Don Francesco Ristorante for years, though, and said that we should still try it, even though it wouldn’t be new to her.  She said the food was delicious and had been here for many private birthdays (as they have a great separated area by the bar), and it couldn’t hurt to eat there again.

So a couple days ago, off we went, and for one of the few times in my life, I let someone else order for me. Okay, so this isn’t true if I’m trying some totally new cuisine or type of place where I’ll ask for recommendations, but when it’s something I’ve had before (Italian food), it’s not really the norm.

Anyway, my other friend saw Lobster Bisque on the menu, and she really wanted to start with that, so we all ordered, and then settled in for some conversation and catching up in the high-end restaurant, over glasses of water (it was the middle of the workday and our meal would likely already make us sleepy on its own).  I don’t have too many details on this soup, except that it tasted ‘good‘ and the pieces of fresh lobster looked delicious – I’ll leave you a picture…’

After this, our mains all came, and the three of us chose to mix and match pastas a bit.  We got two different half orders – I had the Spaghetti Carbonara a la Romana (smoked pancetta, eggs, cream, parmesan cheese and black pepper), and the Squash Agnolotti. I’m not huge on creamy pasta sauces, but the carbonara one was really tasty – it just got a bit difficult to keep on forking down once I started to get even slightly full (which didn’t take me very long at all)!

Spaghetti CarbonaraRating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3

As for the Squash Agnolotti, I definitely enjoyed this more of the two.  The truffle puree gave the white wine and tomato sauce a slight sweetness that I always love, and the squash dumplings were quite a bit larger than I expected.  This dish was really flavourful, and I would order it again.

Squash Agnolotti Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4

One last dish that our girlfriend ordered was the Linguine Alle Vongole con Salsa Bianca (blanched baby clams, pan sautéed with garlic, onion, parsley, white wine, fish fumet and beurre manie) – again, I didn’t try it, but I’ll leave you with a final picture. 🙂

After this meal, I knew that I would not be able to have a very productive afternoon.  Too much pasta with cream sauces and it’s nap time for me!

Overall, Don Franscesco had a great fine dining atmosphere, and the service was great (was almost even a bit overwhelming when we had two people at our table at once – one for parmesan and one for fresh ground pepper).  However, I only tasted the pasta and I’m usually more inclined to eat other types of Italian food, so I’m not sure it would live up to my other current favourites (Lupo and La Terrazza).

Don Francesco Ristorante
860 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1X9
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Overall: Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5
Food: Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5
Service: Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4
Atmosphere: Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4
Price: $$$$

Don Francesco on Urbanspoon

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne April 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm

My parents and their friends went to Don Francesco on Tuesday and were apalled by the service they received. First of all, the owner seemed eager to help when they entered the restaurant however, his attitude changed completely when they were leaving the restaurant. The whole staff were pretentious and were only interested in making money. They kept insisting that everyone order something more expensive on the menu which made them feel very uncomfortable. Shouldn’t people be able to order whatever they want on the menu? Also, the food itself was so salty it was almost inedible. In the end they were splitting the bill and the servers saw this and assumed that they were poor or something and so when they were leaving no one not even a single person said thank you or good bye and purposefully ignored them. I wonder how a restaurant can still be in business with this pompous and pretentious attitude. The walls are covered with pictures of celebrities and I guess those are the only kind of people that they want to serve. If you want to pay outrageous prices for food and wine and get treated like crap then I recommend this restaurant to you.

Gina October 26, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I agreed 90% w/Anne since my situation was slightly different. I’d lunch & dine there many times & was always satisfied. On more than two occasions I was w/Italians and Italians that Francesco knows (that probably helps). On one occasion I was w/my ex-Boss who lunches there periodically, so a familiar face to the servers. I took two out of town guests there for dinner last Sat (Le Croc was fully booked). These two had just placed an order of 2 containers of wine from two private vineyards in Napa to be shipped to Asia so they know their food & wine. When my friend query about the year of the Le Volte he ordered, the lady that brings the bottle advises us this is the “entry” level wine of Le Volte, and said they’ve a lot of better year(s) bottle of Le Volte in a somewhat condescending tone. When I asked how’s the oysters, the server made some sort of a shape w/his index finger & thumb – meaning what?? Didn’t answer my question so we didn’t even bother asking further. The food was barely ok, my guests tasted the scallop from my plate & commented that it tasted like the Chinese fishball (as in the Fishball noodles). When I speak Italian (short polite phases) to the waiter, he replies in Spanish!! The Osso Bucco could use another half an hour or more… The Don himself was totally occupied entertaining some young hot chicks at the bar so he never even come up to say hello or check on us. The dinner was well over $350 for 3 but no one greet us as we’re leaving; like Anne said, not even a single person said thank you or goodbye, and they’re not busy at the time. Though when I come back in from the rain to ask if it is easy to get a cab, our server (probably saw the good 15% we left), another server & the Matre’d all ran out to help fetch a taxi for us. The next night we were at a random hotel restaurant in Whistler & the food, service & price was superb, a far cry from the fame Don Francesco. My two friends said they’d never go back & I’m more than embarrassed to recommend and take them there. Needless to say, that will also be my last time visiting the Don.

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