A girlfriend and I have been meaning to check out this place. She lives in New West, and the travel for me to here from home is a lot closer than me going downtown. So when the stars aligned we came to “Piva” for some modern Italian fare.
Immediately the decor stood out from anything else in downtown New West. There was an emphasis on the “modern” with vaulted ceilings, marble table tops; and single bulbs hanging from the exposed piping above. We sat in the lounge within eye line of glossiness of the golden bar that went sky high. Comfortable in faux leather scoop back seats, we surrounded a circular three person table top. The bar was well stocked, offering diners a place to park themselves at, sitting in front of their black tile bar top. The kitchen on the dining room side featured white tiles. White to match the chefs in their uniforms, visible from the open window pass. This feature was highlighted by the restaurant’s name in neon yellow.
Our server was just fantastic, he was charismatic with great energy. Really engaging with great recommendations, asking questions to help direct us towards a delicious meal. He even took interest in my photo taking, helping to curate a few shots. Including this one with the bottle and glasses of bubbles for us each. Although, another server did warn us to get on to eating, as the marble table tops do tend to help cool down the food quicker.
When our decision was split between the “calamari steak” or the summer special octopus, our server suggested the latter as it was the more photo-worthy. It was, and we ate it with no regrets. “Grilled octopus” seasoned with a smoked paprika maple glaze and served with corona bean, braised garlic, spinach, and pickled fennel. The octopus was plenty tender, served as a tentacle you cut off slices from, piece by piece. I wasn’t too excited by the vegetables it was served with; they offered no flavour, simply a change in texture from chewy to crispy.
Next our choice of pizza was between the sweet and tangy duck and fig or the “Modern Italian” that was recommended. In hind sight we should have went with our first choice, it’s flavour would have been a nice change of pace from the others, with their similar tomato base.
But the “Modern Italian” was still a fragrant thin crust pizza, done classically with a classic flavour. Roast game hen, capicola, braised garlic alfredo, sweet onion, smoked caciocavallo, and arugula pine nut pesto. I liked the blobs of pesto scattered about. It offered variation, the large onion rings gave the pizza a certain fresh quality, where as the chicken was a little bland. Each pizza slice was a little too heavy to feed directly into your mouth without it drooping, yet very difficult to cut with fork and knife. A slice was good, but a whole pizza, a little too monotonous in flavour.
To round our meal off with some vegetables we had the vegetarian gnocchi. Chewy balls of dough paired nicely with a collection of crisper vegetables. Eggplant, broccolini, tomato, chickpea, cipollini onion, and artichoke; with roasted lemon to flavour. Sadly all the tomato based flavours had me wishing for some alfredo instead.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Definitely the nicest restaurant in downtown New Westminster, giving you a reason to look out of downtown Vancouver for your next night out. And best of all it is conveniently adjacent to the skytrain, should you choose to drink. They do have a great cocktail selection to tempt you with, including the “bagpipes in a Ferrari” that caught my attention for its name alone. You will see me back for this one. Don’t deny your cravings.