When we first sat down with Claire Livia Lassam at Livia, the bakery/restaurant she runs with husband Jordan Pires on Commercial Drive, she mentioned their desire to add dinner service to the offerings in addition to breakfast and lunch.
The time has come. A year into operations, the neighbourhood spot is now running Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., with the bar staying open later.
The dinner menu features chef James Frost’s fresh, hand-made pastas, which change weekly. Look for dishes like gorgonzola ravioli with radicchio, potato, and balsamic vinegar; chanterelle-mushroom tajarin; and pizzacherie, a buckwheat pasta with cabbage and straight-from-Italy Valtallina cassera cheese.
Other items, most of them house-made, include marinated Italian olives, sourdough with whipped ricotta, and burrata with beets. Then there’s the vitello tonnato with wine-poached veal, preserved tuna, capers, and anchovies.
Dinner service was inspired by the northern Italian meals Pires grew up with, and dishes are meant to be shared.
"We’ve been working towards opening for dinner service since the beginning,” Lassam said in a release. “In fact, I convinced Jordan to quit his job on the grounds that dinner service would feel like the dinner parties we throw at home. Plates of deceptively simple Roman food, magnums of wine, vintage silverware. We really do want our dinner service here to feel the same way, in a cozy room, where you're never wanting for anything. Though James's pasta is a world better than anything I make at home!”
Pires also created the drinks list, which includes rare Italian finds, like Torino’s Martini & Rossi Special Reserva Ambrato Vermouth and Amaro Nonino from the Friuli region where Lassam’s family is from.
Lassam, who started out selling her baked goods at local farmers’ markets, continues to supply breads to various local restaurants.
Livia opens at 7 a.m. Tuesday to Sunday.