Osteria Savio Volpe(or Tavern of the Wise Fox) opened late last year in that little circle of restaurants near Kingsway and Fraser. I’ve been curious about the place, since I saw the adorable fox they had on their storefront, and they have handmade pasta.
I was fortunate enough to visit on a beautiful Vancouver summer night, and I had a wonderful experience. Though I didn’t make a reservation, we managed to get a table for 2 in about 15 minutes on a very busy Sunday night.
We started with the Kale salad with lemon pepper dressing, romano and pangrattato. The fresh kale with the pangrattato(breadcrumbs mixed with lots of lemon zest, chillies, garlic and other aromatics…yum!) gave the salad a nice crunch, with none of the bitterness of raw kale. The lemon pepper dressing made the greens zesty, and the salad overall was very light and a great appetizer.
I’ve heard great things about the octupus from Savio Volpe, and now I see why. The octopus was fire roasted, or “dal fuoco” as the menu says, and it was incredibly tender and juicy. The peppery oil and herbs gave the octopus a lot of flavor and a little spice. The chickpea added more substance to the dish, but did not make it heavy. If I make a second visit, I will still order the octopus.
This is the pasta special, raviolo with pancetta and a beautiful buttery cream sauce. The raviolo was very light tasting, not too meaty and the pasta had a nice toothsome bite. The cream sauce was buttery and rich but not cheesy, and I regret not getting some bread(housemade, by the way) to mop up all the juice.
Tortiglioni with beef braciola and Sunday sugo. This pasta was okay, the meat sauce was delicious but the pasta was a little too tender. I was glad that they were not too heavy handed with the beef braciola, so it was not too heavy.
Agnlotti with chicken, suckling pig, brown butter roasting juice and sage. I really liked this pasta. Fresh, handmade pasta truly makes a difference. The pasta was perfectly toothsome. But the winning part of the dish is the brown butter roasting juice. It was so creamy and a little peppery, we were scooping the juice to drizzle on the agnlotti with each bite.
Zabaglione with marsala crema, poached peaches, cornmeal cookie and thyme. This was the dessert special and I enjoyed the complex layers of flavors. The crema was light, not too thick, and was a great sauce to drizzle on the poached peaches. The peaches themselves were tender, a little tart and I liked that they left the skin on to add some texture. The thyme added a nice twist. I couldn’t really taste the corn in the cookie, but the cookie added some crunch to the dessert.
Chocolate tart with olive oil, sea salt and pine nuts. Simple, creamy, chocolatey, rich but not overwhelming. The olive oil and sea salt cuts through the richness of the chocolate ganache, which kept the tart light. The pine nuts added some texture and nuttiness to the tart as well. Delicious but I prefer the last dessert.
The best dessert of the night was the cannoli with ricotta, orange, cocoa and hazelnuts. When I walked through the restaurant, I saw the empty cannolis lined up by the bar, and I was already excited. Fresh cannolis are just not the same as premade ones. The cannoli crumbled easily with a fork, and the ricotta mixture piped within was incredibly light, fragrant and airy. It was just dreamy. If it wasn’t because we were on our last dessert, I would’ve gotten another one.
I had a great time at Savio Volpe, and will probably go for a second visit. Though we went on a pretty busy night, our waiter was very attentive and the dishes came fast. I noticed that for most of our dishes, though the flavors were clear and layered, they tend to be on the light side. I prefer the lighter flavors, but some might not find it to be enough. Also, if you want to go, remember to either go early or order early. Or you may just be like a certain someone (me) that missed her spit roasted suckling pig with salsa verde and a fried egg, because she ordered too late and all the suckling pigs were gone for the night. Waaaahhhhhhhh!!!