Now that some Burnaby restaurants are making plans to reopen, the big question after months of cooking at home (yuck) and eating takeout is what’s the first place you will try?
Will your choice be based on what your favourite restaurant is, assuming it’s reopened? Is there a certain dish you are absolutely craving so much that it’s keeping you awake at night? Or will it be based on the measures they are taking to keep customers and staff safe?
It’s a tough call.
I’m desperate to eat out because I suck at cooking, but also because I want to support Burnaby businesses that have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
And I have to start somewhere, right?
But where? Trying to pick that first place is difficult because there are so many Burnaby restaurants I love and have developed good relationships with.
I even made a list and then narrowed it down to just one to start. This, of course, is based on which ones will reopen soon for sit-down service. That is no easy feat due to the revenue losses these restaurants have suffered. Some big chains like Cactus Club and Joey have already reopened, but they have the kind of deep pockets that small, independent places don’t.
This is my short list:
- Bombay Bistro for the butter chicken
- O’Love Greek Kitchen for the grilled octopus and lamb chops
- La Forchetta for the grilled octopus (yes, I love octopus) – this restaurant that has installed Plexiglass shield says it’s opening, hopefully, this coming week.
- Green & Oak for the Hainanese chicken rice
But if all of these were reopened at the same time and I had to choose – I mean if my life depended on it – then I would go with Sopra Sotto on Hastings in Burnaby Heights.
I fell in love with this Italian restaurant soon after it opened.
This is what I wrote previously: “I’m telling you right here and now that I found my own personal absolute favourite slice of pizza in Burnaby and I don’t think anything even comes close … They tout themselves as being a part of the ‘slow food movement’ and the quality really does show. Their pizzas are baked in a grand wood-fired oven.”
The best pizza on the menu is the rucola e prosciutto and it’s perfection.
It’s perfect pizza dough with mozzarella and a thin sheet of prosciutto that has a nice saltiness to it. Then cool up all of that. Then they pile on cold arugula, shaved grana cheese and juicy cherry tomatoes. It’s like a salad on top of a pizza.
Sopra Sotto also has my favourite caesar salad - with baked bread croutons - which I absolutely must have when I am eating pizza. The basic cheese pizza is also a stunner.
Then, finish things off with the tiramisu.
According to its website, Sopra Sotto is still just doing takeout, but I will be watching for its reopening plans.
I’m excited to get back to all of my favourite places. I will be tipping heavily and cheering all of them on.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.