When I shop along Robson Street in Downtown Vancouver, I always pass by the banners with “CinCin” on it and the winding staircase that goes up to the restaurant that has won awards for its upscale Italian food. Dine Out Vancouver (January 17- Feb 2) is an event where you can get a 3 course meal from participating restaurants at the cost of $18, $28, or $38. I wanted to go to CinCin (pronounced Chin- Chin) last year but didn’t have time to squeeze it in my schedule, so I was finally able to dine there with my coworkers.
CinCin’s Dine Out Dinner menu costed $38 per person. Since this as a well known Italian restaurant, I had pretty high expectations. ( I was a bit disappointed by the $38 menus from various restaurants last year as I didn’t feel the food was worth the price.)
The service was excellent the moment we were seated, as the waiters came by periodically to refill our waters and the restaurant director, Richard Luxton, came by and was extremely friendly as well. Our group of 13 people was started with complimentary bread with some kind of dipping sauce that involves olives.
I was a bit unexcited for the appetizers, as there wasn’t anything in each choice that I particularly loved or strongly preferred. I had the yellow split pea soup simmered with smoked ham hock. (And here is the worst picture of soup floating around the internet…apologies for the unprofessional quality in my photos in my post)
I’m not sure how split peas tasted like, but the soup was thick and flavourful; though it could be too salty for those picky people. I have no knowledge of how split peas are cooked, but are they supposed to be a bit hard, like it’s uncooked? It reminded me of lentils.
The other appetizers were salads:
I stayed away from this one because my tastebuds are too weak to appreciate goat cheese.
The other salad option was “Salad of Albacore tuna and la ratte potatoes/ red and green chicory, curly endive, olive oil and lemon.” My boyfriend had this plate; he enjoyed everything but he stated that the vegetables were too bitter for him.
The choice for the entree was either pork, fish, or pasta (sausage.) My coworker was surprise that there was no beef as a choice, but I guess Italian food doesn’t usually involve beef (except bolognese?)
I had the Arctic Char in Crazy Water- chickpeas, chili, spinach and piquillo peppers, extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs.
I’m not sure what “crazy water” is, is it the liquid that is the “sauce” on the plate? It did have a watery texture, but I don’t know how it’s crazy haha.
(Edit: Just googled “crazy water”: It means poached white fish using a light herb broth.”
I am usually a beef eater when it comes to ordering entrees, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone and order fish. The fish was soft and tender whereas the skin was crispy and had a light crunch. I love eating fish skin so I was happily eating the skin before consuming the meat itself.
One of my coworkers ordered the pork loin and she gave me half while I gave her half of the fish. It was very juicy and much more filling than the fish. It took a while for me to bite and chew it down though and I had a little bit of difficulty cutting it into small pieces.
The last option for entree was pasta.
Then came my favourite course of the meal..dessert! I was torn between the tiramisu and the panna cotta, but luckily my boyfriend ordered the panna cotta so I got the tiramisu so I could try both.
The presentation of the tiramisu is more unique compared to other ones I’ve seen. There was quite a bit of mousse in there, so I coated the ladies fingers with it. I love the smokey after taste of dark chocolate. I just wished that the ladies fingers was a tad more moist and spongey.
I really enjoyed the Vanilla panna cotta with toasted coconut, lemon curd and almond cake. It tasted like a lighter and sweeter lemon tart. However, if you like heavier tasting desserts then you should opt for the tiramisu or the last dessert option; Milk Chocolate mousse with dark chocolate crumble, blood orange sorbet and caramel sauce (as another member of our table preferred that over the panna cotta.)
To conclude...I wish I got a bit more bang for my buck. I was full from the food, but not extremely satisfied. I checked the regular menu on the CinCin website and cannot find the same appetizers, entrees, and desserts, so I’m guessing the chef created special dishes for Dine Out Vancouver, so I cannot judge the whole restaurant based on the food that I had at Dine Out.
I do note though, the service was very attentive and our plates were cleared out very fast. We ate till 11:00pm there were like 6-7 waiters clearing our entrees so quickly, it was a bit “whoahh” to watch.
Also, there is an automatic gratuity of 18% since we had a larger group; so the total was just a bit over $46 including tax and tips. As I said, .I wish I got a bit more bang for my buck given that I paid almost $50. However, I can check off another restaurant off my To-Go list!