Tappo Restobar (780 Richards Street) recently opened beneath L’Hermitage Hotel , and the restaurant hopes to appeal to both wine lovers and sports fans.
The Q4 Restaurant Group—which owns Q4 Ristorante by Quattro in Kitsilano, Quattro in Whistler, and Gusto di Quattro on the North Shore—closed its downtown location, Q4 al Centro, in September. A month later, co-owners Patrick Corsi and Alex B. Tsakumis relaunched the space as Tappo.
The restaurant’s name means “cork” in Italian, and the idea is that customers can come in for a glass of wine either before or after stadium concerts and sporting events, or watch the game on the restaurant’s big-screen television. Tappo is more casual than other Q4 restaurants. A large chalkboard menu hangs over the open kitchen and a TV screen dominates the wall above the bar.
In terms of wine, there are nearly 40 bottles to choose from, including over a dozen offered by the glass. The menu by executive chef Bradford Ellis draws from both Mediterranean and West Coast cuisine. At a media preview on October 16, Ellis explained that dishes are designed to be shared. Of course ingredients are primarily local and sustainable. Ellis is also interested in whole-beast cooking.
On the dinner menu, most dishes are priced under $20. Bar bites, which include highly addictive Cheesy Poofs (mini balls of lightly fried cheese) and bacon-wrapped dates, are all $4. Italian classics such as fresh burrata, wood-oven pizza, and Quattro’s popular spaghetti are available, but so are unexpected items, like veal rack of ribs served with a wildflower honey glaze and slaw.
Two dishes that stood out for me were the quail and calamari. The grilled quail dish, called Little Bird, is topped with raisins and pine nuts, and served with crispy broccolini and truffled cream corn. The calamari steak is grilled, sliced, and topped with an olive-caper-garlic ragu. Of course, if it’s whole-beast dining you are after, you could try the playfully named Tip to Tail Pot Pie.
For the Q4 Restaurant Group, Tappo is a departure from the fine-dining, strictly Italian style of their other restaurants. Corsi said they recognized that their central downtown location, which is open for dinner everyday and lunch six days a week, would be better suited to a more casual, on-the-go crowd.