Sabatino’s Trattoria and Bar

I don’t eat at Italian restaurants in this town because most of them are awful. There are exceptions to every rule though, and Sabatino’s in South Surrey is actually pretty great. My Twitter pal Jeremy, who works at Sabatino’s, asked me if I wanted to come down and give their menu a try a few weeks ago. I haven’t been to Peninsula Village, the strip mall that Sabatino’s calls home, in a LONG time. The Starbucks is now a Papa Murphy’s. Hampton’s, a sports bar I used to be a regular at, is now Cora. In other news I’m old and change scares me.

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Let’s get to the food. First up I had the Arancini di Riso. Sicilian deep-fried risotto rolls, stuffed with spinach & mozzarella served with marinara sauce. As risotto balls go these were really nice. Creamy, crispy on the outside, hot, rich, and seasoned perfectly. The marinara was on point too. Did I mention they have Fat Tug IPA? Ya, they do, in 650ml bombers. Risotto balls and IPA are a tasty combo.

Inside the balls.
This is what the Risotto balls look like right before you burn your eye.

Next I had Insalata Sabatino’s, romaine lettuce, crumbled goranzolla cheese, crispy prosciutto, red onions, served with Sabatino’s “signature house dressing”. What a great refresher after the rich risotto. Crisp, fresh romaine, salty prosciutto, I really liked this simple salad.

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For my main Jeremy recommended the Chicken Piccata, chicken breasts with capers and lemon butter, herb roasted potatoes, and veggies. I don’t think this dish will win any plating awards but who cares. What it lacks in presentation it makes up for in flavour. The sauce was rich with a citrus note that worked with the capers. The potatoes and veg were, well, potatoes and veg. Nothing earth shattering there. The chicken itself was cooked just right, not too dry. I’d order this again.

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Dessert was a WFLBC favourite, Crème Brûlée. As most of you know if there’s Crème Brûlée on a menu it’s going to end up in my mouth. This was a fairly average version of my favourite dessert that had been made sometime earlier and refrigerated. I’d rather have it fresh with the caramelized sugar still hot and the custard a little more “loose” from the torch. You can’t win them all.

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Overall Sabatino’s is very good and I’d recommend it to anyone craving Italian. Also having some decent beer on the menu helps, put that Fat Tug on tap and South Fraser Beer Club will put you on their list!

Twitter – @gm_sabatinos

Facebook – Sabatinos-Trattoria

Web – sabatinostrattoria.com

Scott.

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Bibo Brunch Party

Introducing our good friend Kurt who is a Seafood salesman, husband, father and singer. Loves food, and is a cousin of the father who birthed WFLBC. 

Arriving at BiBo

When Scott asked if I could attend a launch party for Bibo’s new brunch menu, I believe I may have said “YES” before he finished asking the question. With my beautiful wife on my arm, I headed to Bibo at 1835W.4th Ave. in Vancouver.

Bibo is owned and operated by Andrea Bini and Lorenzo Bottazzi (hence Bibo). Their mission is to present the most authentic Italian dishes possible, and I have to say I was impressed.

When I arrived there was wine and Antipasto aplenty. The wine is from their 400 year old family winery. The cheese and meat were great (I am looking at you Chili Gorgonzola), but the star for me (and maybe for the whole night) was the Bagna Cauda. Although it is a very common dish of the Piedmont
region, I have never had it before. It is a warm dip made from olive oil, butter, garlic, and anchovies. Served with fresh vegetables for dipping, it was everything I need food to be. Rich, deep buttery flavor, and a little salty kick from the anchovies. I think I stood in front of it for a while so that
nobody else could take any (I am like that).

Yummy sauce for dipping things in

The focus was on the Farinata and the Foccaccia Al Formaggio Genovese. Farinata is a flatbread made from chick pea flour, and cooked in a wood burning oven. Foccacia Al Formaggio is a thin Foccacia with cheese, also baked in the wood burning oven. Farinata and Foccacia joints are as common
in Italy as pizza joints are in North America (This according to Lorenzo Bottazzi). Matteo Ortu owned one such restaurant in Italy, and is now part of the Bibo team. Unfortunately I did not get to try the farinata, but I can give you the low down on the foccacia.

Focaccia di Recco… or baked heaven

The particular foccacia that came out was a focaccia al formaggio di Recco. It is made by dotting soft cheese between two thin sheets of dough then baked in the wood oven. This dish was much anticipated and it barely hit the table before it was gone. Imagine dropping a sack full of free Coach Bags in a mall on Black Friday, it was kind of like that. Even though I elbowed my way past a few very attractive girls that were all taller than I (I am 5’11”), I only managed to
get my hands on one sad little piece. Looking back, I should have let my wife have some of it, but it didn’t occur to me at the time. It was crispy, cheesy, and oh so delicious. It had a slight fried cheese flavor that reminded me of saganaki (Greek fried cheese). With one tiny piece left in my hand, I knew what I had to do……I gave it a bagna cauda bath and deposited directly into my pizza pie hole. Perfection!!

I finished off the meal with a nice house-made chocolate gelato, and I was out the door. Although I was bit bummed to not get my hands on the farinata, it gives me a good excuse to go back. I definitely will, and I can already taste the bagna cauda.

Matteo and Salvatore