Francesco's Ristorante Italia shutters in Vancouver's downtown core

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      Amid all the openings and closings around town, Vancouver's downtown core has quietly lost one of its Italian restaurants.

      In a Facebook post dated June 24, owner Dan Odobas stated that Francesco's Ristorante Italia (860 Burrard Street) closed on June 25. It was located near one of the city's major intersections at Burrard and Robson streets.

      Francesco's Ristorante Italia

      Restaurateur Francesco Alongi, originally from the central Sicilian city of Enna, Italy, opened Don Francesco Ristorante in 2002. It was sold to new owners in 2013. Alongi died in May 2015 after working in Vancouver's dining scene for 50 years.

      Francesco's Ristorante Italia

      The menu covered all the classic Italian bases of antipasti, salads, pasta, chicken, veal, seafood, and more, with some West Coast influences. 

      Dishes included crab and ricotta cannelloni, rigatoni with sockeye salmon, chicken breast in porcini mushroom sauce, veal saltimbocca, and free-range bison fillet.

      Francesco's Ristorante Italia

      As it was located across the street from the Sutton Place Hotel, where many movie stars stayed while filming here, the restaurant boasted visits from Hollywood celebrities ranging from Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie to Ben Affleck and Ben Stiller.