Who loves pasta??? We do!! We learned of Oca Pastificio on Commercial Drive which recently opened up. It’s not often that we go to that area with a few exceptions but we decided we will travel great lengths for good pasta.
Knowing that they’re only open Wednesday to Sundays, starting at 5pm and that they do not take reservations we made sure we arrived early on Saturday night. We were in line at 4:50pm and there were about 6 people in front of us. The restaurant is small and can seat around 20 people. By 5:08pm the restaurant was full. The staff took down names of anyone who came in after that and they came back when their table was ready. There is no seating area to wait.
Our server suggested if we were big eaters that we ordered their tasting menu. This would be $60 for 5 dishes but we wanted to be in control of what we were served and so we opted for 3 pastas to share instead.
We started off with the Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca ($21). We knew that Oca Pastificio makes their pasta from scratch. Actually, you can see the owner making the pasta at his station next to the bar. What we didn’t account for was how freakin’ delicious fresh-made pasta was. We went crazy over the texture of the noodle. It wasn’t dense in any way and had a light bounce with each bite.
The puttanesca sauce was brilliant. A beautiful blend of flavors that didn’t overpower each other – we could taste the olives clearly alongside the tomatoes. With this as the first dish, we were off to a great start.
Our next dish was the Orecchiette with lamb, kale and anchovy ($21). We were used to orecchiette being roughly the size of peas but these were coin-sized pieces of pasta. This pasta was amazing because the edges were thicker than the center. The result was a chewy edge but the thin center held a pocket of sauce. I wish we had some bread to soak up the sauce because I could drink it. The mix of the anchovy and lamb was the perfect blend.
Howie was so impressed with how the kale was sliced and we never got the hard stems of the kale. The lamb had an amazing rich flavor and we were completely blown away by it.
The last dish was the to arrive was Rigatoni with pork sausage ($21). This was our least favorite dish not because it was bad but mostly because the first two were so good. Howie liked the sweetness of the peas in the dish but I’m not a peas person. The pork sausage was good but after how flavorful the lamb was, it fell a bit flat.
Nothing wrong with the noodles but after the the multi-textured orecchiette, the rigatoni just didn’t seem that special. This dish was also drier compared to the previous dish and since I was still dreaming of that sauce, there’s no comparison. We would have liked this dish more if we didn’t have anything to compare to!
We know we will be back to Oca Pastificio on Commercial Drive very soon! A lot of other diners ordered the tasting menu and if that’s your thing, try it! Overall, we were very happy with what we chose for ourselves. Our server was wonderful and it was clear he cared about the food. We’re happy to see this new restaurant on the Vancouver food scene!
Quick tip: This restaurant is small but there’s lots of coat hangers around the restaurant.