Review: Nook

Oooooooh yes. One of Vancouver’s most beloved Italian spots, Nook actually has several restaurants around Vancouver. Ironically, the OG store is a teeny tiny restaurant around the corner from our house (you can see how its name originated) but it was never the West End restaurant that caught our eye. I think the pandemic caused the West End branch to be closed for such a long time, then when it did open it was takeaways only and now it has opened for dine in but with very limited seating. Throughout summer, we would walk past the Nook in both Kitsilano and Olympic Village and both looked so big by comparison.

Recently, we finally (yes, finally!) found ourselves at Nook in Kitsilano. It is a very spacious restaurant, with a semi partition down the middle – almost creating the effect of being two separate places entirely. We were seated in our own little nook (ha ha) near the kitchen, which was perfect for eyeing all the delicious meals on their way out.

We have heard very good things about the meatballs, but our anti-beef stance prevented us from making this order. Instead we went for the orecchiette pasta with Italian sausage, the proscuitto and arugula pizza, a beet/endive/apple/gorgonzola salad and of course, the tiramisu. This order came after we trusted our drinks choice to the waiter, who took our preferred riesling (me) and pinot noir (Andy) tastes and brought us something Italian with a similar taste and fullness to the wine. We were both very happy with our selections, so thumbs up to the waiter for that!

Our meals all came out quite quickly, meaning we were finished well before the 90 minute time allocation for our table. It didn’t feel rushed at all, there just wasn’t much time from the moment we made an order to when the plate actually arrived. Maybe everybody orders the same thing, so they are just constantly churning them out!

I loved the salad: it was fresh, light and healthy feeling with a dressing that wasn’t too intense. The salad definitely took backstage to the pizza though, which also played second fiddle to the pasta. The pasta was the real highlight of the night. With Italian sausage, rapini and fennel seeds, I hadn’t expected the pasta to be as saucy as it was. The pasta was clearly house-made and cooked perfectly, each mouthful packed with texture and flavour. I think we were both surprised by how much we loved it, even though the combination of ingredients were already a winner in the making. The pizza was also delicious: the hunks of roasted garlic were so creamy and strong, something that would definitely only appeal to garlic lovers. The meal was finished on a high: tiramisu all round. It was a great version of a dish that I can be skeptical about (I don’t like cream, never have) – not too creamy, not too rich, light in flavour that left you wanting more of everything.

The only weird thing about Nook was the music. I’m an 80s gal at heart so loved the retro tunes, but hearing the likes of Starship and Whitney Houston really transported me to playing Singstar with my cousins, which was not at all something I expected from a relatively classy Italian restaurant. Maybe they had a karaoke machine out back!

I’m so pleased we finally made it to Nook. The food was good, it wasn’t outrageously expensive, and it was a fun atmosphere. I can definitely see why it’s as popular as it is. Maybe now we will venture to the nooky Nook in the West End.

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