Power Lunch: Old Vines Restaurant

Old Vines Restaurant | BCBusiness
The breezy dining room at Quails’ GateWinery gives the illusion of outdoor ambience.

Dining lakeside in wine country

Kelowna’s wine country is known for tours and tastings, but the epicurean side of its many vineyards isn’t just for out-of-towners. Overlooking Okanagan Lake, Quails’ Gate Winery’s Old Vines Restaurant provides sophisticated dining for an equally urbane crowd. The walls of the glassed-in dining room open up to the patio in the summer, giving the entire space an alfresco injection. Everything on the menu is conscientiously sourced, always including a vegetarian option among the local beef and fresh fish, so even the most discerning clients or colleagues can be kept satisfied (quailsgate.com/restaurant).

BEST TABLE Floor-to-ceiling glass doors give an airy feeling to the dining room and provide stunning views, but the patio tables offer unforgettable ambience. The restaurant won’t hold specific tables, so earlier reservations are more likely to secure the best view.

DRINK UP Pair the crab cakes with Quails’ Gate’s fresh, acidic Chenin Blanc ($18.99), one of its most popular bottles, which has been served to distinguished visitors such as President Obama and the future King of England, Prince William and his wife, Katherine.

MUST-TRY ORDER The “95 per cent gluten-free” food lineup hinges on fresh offerings from local suppliers. Amuse your bouche with the Dungeness crab cakes ($17), a menu staple. And you can’t miss with a Cache Creek natural-beef appetizer or main.

INSIDER TIP Make a reservation at least a week in advance in the summer. For a more casual experience, grab a chilled bottle of wine and some local cheeses from the wine shop and sit at the picnic tables perched above the lake at the foot of the vines.

Via Tevere Pizzeria

East Vancouver earns its Little Italy cred

Talk about a hidden treasure. Buried on Victoria Drive in a quiet residential neighbourhood is an Italian restaurant serving up some of the best traditional Neopolitan pizza in Vancouver. The 50-seat room is owned and operated by two brothers, Domenic Morra and Giorgio Frank Morra, who grew up in east Vancouver and spent summers visiting extended family in Italy and eating the world-famous pizza of Naples.

Open for dinner only Tuesday through Sunday, it’s not uncommon for the eatery’s beautiful blue-and-white-tiled wood-fire pizza oven—which came to Vancouver directly from Naples—to turn out several hundred pies per night. The pair has seen astonishing success since opening Via Tevere in March 2012, as evidenced by the line that begins forming just before 5 every night, regularly extending well beyond the restaurant’s storefront. Despite this, it remains a part-time gig for the Morra brothers—Domenic works full-time as a teacher and Giorgio Frank operates their takeout joint, Ragazzi Pizza Co.

While the pizza list is expansive, opt for the traditional margherita. Made with San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, it’s mouthwatering in its simplicity.

—Sarah Fullbrook