The former Paprika restaurant, remerged last year as the Italian themed Padella. I loved the idea and thought it was a good business move to make the restaurant more approachable, but the menu was a bit unusual. I’m now happy to report some recent changes, including a new menu and new chefs that has really brought it all together. It’s a well constructed menu with something for everyone. Prices are reasonable and the execution of menu items exceeded expectations.
Patty started with the zucchini frito ($8), or sexy zucchini strips as I’m calling them. The portion was generous and the long thin strips very crispy. The chili aioli was very tasty, perhaps even a little too tasty… I could have eaten that little bowl of fat with a spoon.
I had the Calamari ($14). The big, thick slices of calamari were very tender and served on chick pea puree (think very smooth hummus) and topped with arugula and olives. Being one of the higher priced items on the menu, I think it would have greater perceived value had it been served on a larger plate with a little more garnish (like a buttery crouton to scoop up the puree), but the actual portion of seafood was totally acceptable.
For our main courses, Patty had the Vitello ($23), veal scallopini with polenta and tomato sauce. The veal was tender and properly cooked, the polenta was light and fluffy and the accompanying vegetables pleasantly firm.
I had the Pork Milanese ($20), a big fat pork chop, breaded and fried crispy. Who doesn’t like that!? The accompanying rhubarb agrodulce sold me on the menu item in the first place and while normally I would mutter to myself about the traditional culinary faux pas of serving a cold condiment on a warm protein, everything else on the plate was so incredibly hot, it didn’t matter that the agrodulce was a little cool for my taste. It certainly didn’t disappoint in terms of flavour and I'm always happy to see a clever use for rhubarb.
We were too full for dessert, but the dessert list was printed on the lunch menu and we were quite keen to see some tasty looking sandwiches for future daytime visits.
The wine list is paired down, but has lots of good choices at a fairly modest price point, with a few special occasion selections.
The service was as always, friendly and efficient. The ambiance is somewhat refined, but with a comfortable, familial feel. Our bill was about the same as we’d spend at the pub and the food was incomparably superior.
2524 Estevan Ave. tel: 250.592.7424 http://padellaitalianbistro.com/