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As Cambie says goodbye, Pronto, the West End says hello, Centro. Is it a fair trade?
Yes, Cambie was devastated to lose neighbourhood favourite Pronto to the ongoing march of development. But the West End cheered the arrival of Centro, owner Angela Maida’s new neighbourhood spot transforming the former (and forgettable) Hub restaurant, in its wake. Though eyebrows were raised at how a sweet place like Pronto would fare in the cavernous Denman Street space, designer Scott Cohen (who did Yaletown’s Fayuca) has winningly converted it into a ’70s-modern vibe, all red Lucite and arched ceilings and sunlight streaming in from formerly boarded-up clerestory windows.
Overall, it’s a great addition to the ’hood. There are still some inconsistencies in the kitchen—my first visit, the Meatballs alla Nonna were moist and rich, the second, a little dry—though a healthy portion of chunky pomodoro aided in that shortcoming. The gnocchi, however, are soft, pillowy delights nestled in a creamy pesto that’s perfectly seasoned. Some lovely lamb loin chops are simply prepared, and that’s a good thing—a little charred corn, mint salsa and c’est tout.
Cocktails are both elegantly crafted—the Meadow Negroni, one of six versions of the classic, softens the Campari edge a little with Long Table cucumber gin and slender strips of veg, too—and decently priced at $12-$14. Grab a seat on the streetside patio and keep ’em coming.
Centro, 1037 Denman St., Vancouver604-722-9331centroristorante.ca