In September of 2019, the carb-hungry residents of North Vancouver were blessed with the arrival of authentic Italian ristorante Farina a Legna. Luckily, this meant that many were able to part with the nearby pizza-by-the-slice establishments that—quite frankly—do a disservice to Italian cuisine. When it comes to pizza, overly greasy takeout should only be consumed during a night of heavy drinking.
But the authentic, uncomplicated pizza and pasta made in-house at Farina a Legna (119 2nd Street East) is a whole different story. The quaint Italian dining establishment can be found tucked away on one of Lower Lonsdale’s side streets, sandwiched between a Vietnamese eatery and a Korean bistro.
For those familiar with Vancouver’s burgeoning restaurant scene, Farina a Legna is owned by Kitchen Table Restaurants. The company also owns and operates four other impressive restaurants: Pizzeria Farina, Di Beppe, Ask For Luigi, and Pourhouse.
We had birthday to celebrate last weekend, which meant a trip to Farina a Legna was in order.
Upon entering the charming space, I was captivated by the friendly atmosphere and one-of-a-kind décor. I was instantly reminded of the two times I ate my way through Italy, gaining a modest 10 pounds each visit.
The ristorante sports terracotta and cream-coloured checked flooring, and light green seating and table accents. The white walls were covered with colourful custom artwork. Plants hanging from shelves and large front windows give the restaurant a bright and airy feel, even after the sun has gone down.
Because of the pandemic, half of the tables had been removed to ensure that guests are able to follow the physical distancing recommendations. Servers were also wearing mouth shields and delivered food from the end of the table.
Despite Farina a Legna’s décor being far funkier than the restaurants in Italy, the food is exactly the same—authentic, simple, and delicious.
The evening began with a welcoming server collecting drink orders, which included a beautifully bottled Aperol Spritz, a short glass of Prosecco, and the house white wine.
Since we’re an indecisive bunch, we enlisted the help of our server to guide us through the proper Farina a Legna culinary experience—and boy, did he do that.
For an appetizer, our table shared the daily antipasti special, which was a creamy burrata (mozzarella on the outside, stracciatella on the inside), placed atop a bed of sundried tomatoes and roasted red pepper. The glorious ball of soft cheese was drizzled in olive oil and served alongside a plate of warm housemade focaccia bread.
I vaguely remember wishing my friends would leave so that I could devour the entire appetizer by myself.
For the main course, my carnivorous friends ordered the Bison Pappardelle (this was the dinner special) and the Prosciutto & Arugula Pizze. I try to follow a plant-based diet most of the time so I opted for the Funghi Pizze—one can never go wrong with mushrooms slathered in cheese.
The mouthwatering pizza had a base layer of creamy white sauce and was topped with mushrooms, parmigiano reggiano, aged mozzarella, roasted garlic cloves, and handfuls of fresh arugula. A small white dish of hot chili oil was brought over to the table when dinner arrived.
The pizzas at Farina a Legna are fairly large so you’ll most definitely be leaving with a takeout box in tow. We like this.
Since a birthday was being celebrated, skipping on dessert was not an option. Deciding between the restaurant’s three dessert options proved to be a task too difficult to handle. We let our friendly server bring us his favourite sweet treat, the Torta al Cioccolato. The flourless chocolate cake was topped with a generous spoonful of hazelnut cream, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt. Similar to the other dishes consumed that evening, it was heavenly and will be remembered for years to come.
For more information on Farina a Legna, visit www.farinaalegna.com/.