Cinara is the sister restaurant of Autostrada Osteria and is known for their Italian dishes like pasta. Cinara is closing down by the end of 2018 and will be rebranded as Autostrada. When talking to the staff, they assured us that only minor tweaks would be made, so it’s not a full facelift.
For our monthly foodie blogger dinner, we decided to come have dinner here as we heard good things about the menu. I’ve missed the last few meet ups since Summer has been busy, but I was able to make it this time to see my blogging friends again as well as celebrating my birthday.
We opted to do the Carte Blanche – 6 Course Tasting Menu for $75 as it seemed like it would give us a good taste of the menu.
The space is quaint and set the mood for an intimate dinner. Reservations are best to ensure your group has a seat as you never know if it will be super busy or not.
House Sourdough Bread and Whipped Butter
To start off the tasting, we had a slice of baked sourdough for each person at the table with whipped butter. The bread was nice and rustic but we felt there was definitely excess flour on the outside that made the crust harder and more flakey.
Chicken Live Paté
This was the amuse bouche for the evening. It is a chicken liver paté on a crisp flatbread with fermented cornichon, which are pickles. You first take your knife and spread it all over so it is evenly spread out and enjoy. It was delicious.
The next dish is their creamy burrata cheese served with a dollop of preserved and fresh plum purée, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and cracked pepper. It didn’t pair very well with the plum and took away from the burrata as the star of the dish.
This isn’t your typical beef tartare. It has house ground strip-loin beef tartare with pickled pear, radish, local greens and creme fraiche. It’s not as densely packed as other beef tartares out there and was missing more of an acidic element to this dish.
Pacific Halibut Cartuccio
This dish has halibut wrapped up in parchment then baked in the oven. It is accompanied with potato, carrot, and escarole underneath. Then it is poached in plenty of butter. This was the worst dish of the evening. It was incredibly overcooked and dense.
This is a larger version of tortellini. It was very delicious and one of our favourite dishes of the evening. We wished there were most pasta dishes as part of this tasting menu as they specialize in pasta.
This is served with cipollini onion, cannelloni beans, apples, chanterelle, and brussel sprouts. It was tender and delicious, but a tad on the salty side. I wished this portion was a bit larger but as it was on the tasting menu, it looked like the pork collar was chopped in half, which made it less appealing.
Salted Caramel Tart
The salted caramel tart has crushed pine nuts and a dollop of apple purée on the side. It was a great way to end the meal. I wished this slice was bigger as it was very good.
The 6 course tasting menu for $75 wasn’t as I had imagined. There were more misses on it that hits. The portions were smaller and looked like it was sawed in half. We would have preferred to order the regular items from the menu and probably saved some money that way. We tried it, so you don’t have to. Just stick with the pasta dishes and you can’t go wrong.
350 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC