Sometimes you come home from work and just feel cranky. In those instances, we turn the page on our list of Go-To Places to eat on short notice. To make The List, the restaurant has to be a few things.
be close to home and have reliable seating,
possess a nice ambience and pleasant service, and
have consistently good food.
It’s not complicated, but we figured out these things make us happy. Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria in North Burnaby checks all those boxes. It’s our favourite place to eat Italian food – although not far away, there are fancier digs (The Poor Italian), ones that serve monster pasta portions (Anton’s Pasta Bar) or just ones that also compete with artisan pizza (Lombardo’s).
This casual but feels-dressed-up pizzeria has only been around a few years. Yet it has built a strong neighbourhood following, so it can get packed on an average weekday. The crowd is mellow and feels very adult – like people who are close to paying off their mortgage. Look around and people are sipping a wine with their wood fire grilled pizzas. There are big TVs and you can get comfy at the long white marble bar to get a close up of a Canucks game.
Or you can just soak in the beautiful modern room. It’s not a huge restaurant, but it does have a covered, heated patio that they use year-round. If you’re planning a visit, I recommend reservations; but we’ve lucked out by being able to get a seat just walking in. You should feel lucky to get a seat since it’s an increasingly popular place. All in all, it feels very cozy and like a hush-hush neighbourhood secret.
Needless to say, the food is always fresh and tastes authentically Italian. We recommend the Piatto di Antipasti, with is a good-size antipasto platter with an elegant selection of cured meats, cheese, rosemary flatbread and pickled vegetables and olives in a jar.
Pizza is a very personal preference, but my favourite standby is the signature (and award winning) Piazza di Spagna. It’s a fire grilled thin crust pizza with what their menu describes as, “arugula pesto, fresh mozzarella, chorizo sausage, copa ham, roasted red & yellow peppers, mohon cheese, fresh baby arugula, parmigiano reggiano”. The layers of this pizza create salty, smoky, bitter and sweet perfection.
I love how they pile the fresh arugula leaves high in the middle, like raked fall leaves. I’ve yet to have been able to finish it in the restaurant, because that thing is massive.
Italian food is remarkable in how it can taste delicious hot and fresh, but next day, it can have a more delicious, marinated depth of flavour the next day. I greedily reach for it, chilled straight from the fridge, maybe eating over the sink – all the while Mike is saying I should put it in the toaster oven. But I’m barely listening. I’m too busy eating and blessing Italians everywhere.