| 23 comments ]

Campagnolo, which in Italian means "country bumpkin" is a new restaurant located on Main Street created by the owners of Fuel. Campagnolo labels themselves as affordable, casual dinning. The name to me is more associated with bike groupsets rather than food.


Initially, I really liked the look of the restaurant, exposed beams, a large window in the front, wood and concrete walls. From what I read and based on the location I thought it was going to be a hip eating spot filled with hipsters in deep V necks but it looked more a reunion party from the cast of Cocoon.

The seating was a little uncomfortable and felt like sitting in nice Ikea chairs. There was also some issue with the lighting, every once and a while, the lighting would dim or fade. It felt like you were in an episode of Lost. Once seated, our server gave us a few sticks of grissini or as everyone in the world outside that restaurant calls it, bread sticks. These were really skinny and tall, they look like Pretz sticks made for basketball players.


Looking at the menu, the prices seemed reasonable. We decided to order the pate for our appetizer (9 dollars). The pate was placed on our table and I sat there and looked at my friend. There was no bread. We waited 5 mins and still no bread. I was pretty much WTF!! We then stopped the waiter and asked for bread for our pate. The server said that they do not have bread at the restaurant but they will make some croutons for us. I was thinking little pieces of bread the size of dice were going to come out and I was planning to ask for the pate to go so I can make a sandwich at home tomorrow. Alternatively, I was going to make a run to the Ivanhoe and get crackers. Who eats pate without bread????? Some nice sized croutons or crostinis the size of half a piece of Melba toast came out a bit later (I am pretty sure she said croutons).


For dinner, I ordered the Tagliarini paste (pork ragu, basil, pecorino) for 15 dollars, and my friend had the pork roast for 17 dollars. We ordered a much needed side order of kale for 5 dollars extra. My face must have looked pretty shocked when I saw how small my pasta was. It tasted fantastic but I finished it, in less than 8 fork fulls. The side of kale was very large and tasted good. The pork roast that my friend received was very small (about the size of 1.5 smokies) and clearly needed a side dish with it.

In regards to service, it was good but I detected a little cheekiness for some reason. Maybe it was because we were just drinking water or maybe he likes his pate without bread and he thought we were uneducated.

Overall, I found my experience to be quite humorous and a little more expensive than what I would call affordable casual dining. Does anyone else eat pate without bread? Whats up with those dimming lights? Dharma initiative? It wasn't the bread maker causing a power drain, because they don't have one.

My pasta was really tasty but I thought the restaurant would offer a little bit better of a value. With your side dish, the price is pretty much the same as Fuel, although I was told it would be a bit cheaper.

Campagnolo
1020 Main Street
Vancouver
http://www.campagnolorestaurant.ca/
Campagnolo on Urbanspoon

Sorry, for the crappy pics.

23 comments

Anonymous said... @ February 5, 2009 at 11:13 PM

Love the Lost reference. Maybe the lights could've taken you back in time when Campagnolo was the great hole-in-the-wall Portuguese place, Adgega.

wei ling said... @ February 5, 2009 at 11:46 PM

cocoon reunion! hahahahahahahaha!

wei ling said... @ February 5, 2009 at 11:48 PM

1.5 smokies!! now i have tears in my eyes!

degan said... @ February 6, 2009 at 11:10 AM

I thought the food was pretty good, but there wasn't a lot of it for the price. I had heard as much from other people before I got there, so I wasn't too surprised, but I've heard similar reactions to yours.

I'm so with you on the bread + pate.

Anonymous said... @ February 6, 2009 at 11:38 AM

I loved the room and the food, we found it to be fun, tasty and affordable. I have been 3 times for dinner and once for lunch, and will be back soon. Its simple, authentic Italian. Not North American Italian where you get a huge plate of pasta with bread for $12. You are meant to have several courses, and the mains are smaller so that you can order the side dishes that you want to go with your dish. During my most recent meal we had the Octopus Salad (fresh and delicious), some house made Venison Sausage, the Spicy Sausage Pizza, the Steak and a side of Polenta that was to die for. All together our meal came to $80 including 2 glasses of nice Italian white wine. The markups on the beers and wine are really low compared to most restaurants. I think thats great value for the experience.

Gyromite said... @ February 6, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Just to be clear. I really enjoyed the taste of my pasta. It was cooked to perfection and tasted fantastic. However, I rather have paid 5 dolalrs more and received a bigger portion. I know that the pasta is meant to be more of an appetizer than a meal but I guess that is an issue that I have to figure out on my own end.

Part of my issue was the thought that it was going to be more of a inexpensive experience. I am going to give La Buca and La Quercia a try to see how they stack up. We walked out paying 60 dollars for the pate, pork, kale and pasta.

esme said... @ February 6, 2009 at 6:35 PM

i went there the other night, what a disappointment. we had the carne cruda, which was good, the celery was a refreshing twist. we were not expecting huge portions of pasta, but i swear our server looked embarassed when he gave us our food. my date had the Tagliarini, which looked massive in comparision to the 6 pieces of herb agnolotti i chose. i was seriously done in about 3 minutes, and stared wantingly whilst my dinner companion finished his meal. the agnolotti resembled mini perogies in taste and texture, and while the Tagliarini was better, it was nothing to write home about. The total, with a half bottle of crapola wine(not the cheapest on this list either), cost almost 80 clams, including a rather large tip thanks to the self serving change making of our server. it was smirky and filled with older people who looked like some of my former unversity professors. we were so starving when we left, that we went to foundation for nachos and beer. much warmer atmosphere, and despite the hipster crowd, far less of a scene.

Anonymous said... @ February 7, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Totally agreed! I was really excited to try this place, but it is way over priced for what you got. I find the whole place annoying. If you are going to call a place "Country Bumpkin" and locate it on the fringes of crack town you gotta offer good value. I was hoping this place would be a bit more like Grub or something. Nice food, a vague hipster scene, but still good value. Was totally disappointed. Won't go back and will not recommend. Oh yeah my server was jerk too

Anonymous said... @ February 9, 2009 at 5:41 PM

They probably did look at you like your uneducated, because you are. I realize this is an honest persons opinion, but the fact is that both Fuel and Campagnolo make great food. The owners have more tradition and skill instilled in their product than arguably anyone else in the city. Eating at their restaurants isn't something you do just to get full. In France and Italy the joy of eating takes time, patience and money.

I'm trying not to say something that makes me come off like a jackass or a name caller...

It's hard though. You should probably stick to your slop...

Gyromite said... @ February 9, 2009 at 11:59 PM

It is true, compared to many, I may be considered uneducated in this field. However, I have never claimed to be an expert and I am simply offering an average persons opinion. On that note, VancouverSlop is my karaoke bar and I own the microphone so I am going to say what I feel and let the readers form their own opinions. I try to be as objective as one can when writing about food.

I challenge you to show me some credible references to pate being eaten without bread. It seems that most people consider it a spreadable paste. If you can't then perhaps there are some other people that lack an education.

Campagnolo labels themselves as affordable, casual dining. I feel if I need to spend 40 dollars to be happy with my meal, it is no longer an affordable, casual meal and is misleading to label it as such. Most restaurants in this city where you have to spend 40 dollars on your dining experience (not including wine) are labelled as fine dining. I, like many people, just like to know what I am getting into.

BTW Good use of your vs. you're. Which witch is which?

I am not one to talk about grammar but like I said this is my karaoke bar.

Please post your comments or email me to discuss. I am happy to explain why I felt misled.

beth said... @ February 10, 2009 at 1:29 PM

wien wien. the deep fried chick peas were good, that's about it. it wants to be so much and misses...

Anonymous said... @ February 13, 2009 at 8:10 PM

i love that picture of the pate. lol

Anonymous said... @ February 15, 2009 at 10:04 PM

This review was spot on!!
I went with a group of five friends, we ordered 4 appies, 1 pasta, 1 pizza, 2 main entrees and veggie sides and after $70 each, I left the restaurant hungry.

Anonymous said... @ February 28, 2009 at 5:22 PM

I had the same experience.. 80.00 each and left the restaurant hungry. I was not looking to get full, but at least satisfied. I actually found Fuel a much better value for money than Campagnolo, because I left full for that price. Nice try with the place though.

Anonymous said... @ March 1, 2009 at 10:44 AM

If you want proper italian at a similar price point, but leave overjoyed with the portions and quality of food, goto LA BUCA!!

http://labuca.ca/

I have yet to have one bad meal there, and everything is done properly... Top quality. They are changing parkside over to La Buca as well down near dunbar there.

Anonymous said... @ March 6, 2009 at 5:54 PM

The person calling out Sloppers for being 'uneducated' is a total jerk. Slop is the best... I learn so much about the food scene in this city from the site. If you don't like it, maybe you should stay away from the slop...

Norman Farrell said... @ August 6, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Some of the folks commenting here should get in line at Anton's Pasta Bar. Take $15, dine until full, then enjoy the leftovers for 3 days.

Anonymous said... @ August 6, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Some of the people who post here should jump on a flight to italy, realize what real Italian food taste like, and not become enchanted with frou frou places like this.

Anonymous said... @ December 10, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Atmosphere: everything was boring, It had no wow factor, it was very utilitarian, had bad lighting, no little touches and was in general a snooze to walk into. Think, hospital meets NYC subway station. Service: We were ordering bottles of champagne and we were drinking them rather fast. I would say that I sat for more than half of my meal with an empty glass in front of me. Let me stress that we were not ordering individual –take-a-long-time-making-them-behind-the-bar-and-the-server-has-so-many-tables-she-can’t-keep-up drinks – no. BOTTLE service. A lovely finishing touch: I watched the servers take everyone’s jackets and coat check them behind the hostess table and then 1 by 1 as guests left I saw them lingering around the front desk waiting for their coats…….and then when no one would acknowledge them they went behind the desk and took their jackets themselves. Not a big deal….but rude.
Food: Probably the worst thing about Campagnolo on Main St is the food. Let me quote their website: “Campagnolo serves rustic dishes inspired by the Piedmont and Emiglia-Romagna regions of Italy” Are you telling me there are regions in Italy with no taste buds? I’m sorry but I just don’t believe you. News flash Campagnolo – Our fresh ingredients do not even have HALF the taste that fresh grown “Italian” ingredients in Italy have – the menu just doesn’t transfer to our side of the world. Tomatoes and Basil alone are almost unrecognizable in taste in Italy; it sure doesn’t taste like the stuff we get in Urban Fair. In 2 words I would describe the taste of the 3 salads, 3 pizzas, 4 pastas, and 3 desserts – BLAND and salty (isn’t that an oxymoron?). We were given a set menu and all shared the same food each person had to pay about $45 for the food alone. The website says this is an “affordable” restaurant?
We made a reso for 15 people, but only 13 people showed up. Once we were given our first round of drinks we told the hostess and gave up one of the small 2 seater tables we were holding. Then the bill comes and we were charged for 15 plates. We let them know of their mistake and we were told that it is their policy to charge for the number of people on the reservation. We told them that that was absolutely ridiculous especially when we told our server that 2 people would not be joining us and they could take the extra table. We continued to argue with them for a few minutes and they were dead –set on not making us happy. How does a restaurant stay open that operates like this in a city FULL of amazing restaurants? Now, even if the kitchen had started working on our food the moment we walked in (which they so OBVIOUSLY didn’t – or maybe the kitchen has very slow bill times to boot?) is it hard to adjust a group portion of salad, pasta, and pizza? Especially since each course was sent out timed apart? The food they make (and not very well at that) is the simplest menu possible! Not to mention losing 10 thirty something’s with nothing but disposable income who dine out nightly as customers.

Anonymous said... @ December 10, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Atmosphere: everything was boring, It had no wow factor, it was very utilitarian, had bad lighting, no little touches and was in general a snooze to walk into. Service:We were ordering bottles of champagne and we were drinking them rather fast. I would say that I sat for more than half of my meal with an empty glass in front of me. Let me stress that we were not ordering individual –take-a-long-time-making-them-behind-the-bar-and-the-server-has-so-many-tables-she-can’t-keep-up drinks – no. BOTTLE service. A lovely finishing touch: I watched the servers take everyone’s jackets and coat check them behind the hostess table and then 1 by 1 as guests left I saw them lingering around the front desk waiting for their coats…….and then when no one would acknowledge them they went behind the desk and took their jackets themselves. Not a big deal….but rude.
Food: Probably the worst thing about Campagnolo on Main St is the food. Let me quote their website: “Campagnolo serves rustic dishes inspired by the Piedmont and Emiglia-Romagna regions of Italy” Are you telling me there are regions in Italy with no taste buds? I’m sorry but I just don’t believe you. News flash Campagnolo – Our fresh ingredients do not even have HALF the taste that fresh grown “Italian” ingredients in Italy have – the menu just doesn’t transfer to our side of the world. Tomatoes and Basil alone are almost unrecognizable in taste in Italy; it sure doesn’t taste like the stuff we get in Urban Fair. In 2 words I would describe the taste of the 3 salads, 3 pizzas, 4 pastas, and 3 desserts – BLAND and salty (isn’t that an oxymoron?). We were given a set menu and all shared the same food each person had to pay about $45 for the food alone. The website says this is an “affordable” restaurant?
We made a reso for 15 people, but only 13 people showed up. Once we were given our first round of drinks we told the hostess and gave up one of the small 2 seater tables we were holding. Then the bill comes and we were charged for 15 plates. We let them know of their mistake and we were told that it is their policy to charge for the number of people on the reservation. We told them that that was absolutely ridiculous especially when we told our server that 2 people would not be joining us and they could take the extra table. We continued to argue with them for a few minutes and they were dead –set on not making us happy. How does a restaurant stay open that operates like this in a city FULL of amazing restaurants? Now, even if the kitchen had started working on our food the moment we walked in (which they so OBVIOUSLY didn’t – or maybe the kitchen has very slow bill times to boot?) is it hard to adjust a group portion of salad, pasta, and pizza? Especially since each course was sent out timed apart? The food they make (and not very well at that) is the simplest menu possible! Not to mention losing 10 thirty something’s with nothing but disposable income who dine out nightly as customers.

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