Humans are chemoheterotrophs, which means that we gain energy through the manipulation of chemical reactions, and we also depend on organic molecules created by other organisms in order to survive. Sounds intuitive, right? I live for carbohydrates, particularly of the more savoury variety. Carbohydrates are the body’s prime source of energy. Before a complex polysaccharide like starch, which is commonly found in wheats, can be absorbed in the intestinal villi, it must first be broken down into disaccharides and monosaccharides, which may then, respectively, complete its catabolism through a disaccharase enzyme embedded in the wall of the villi or simply diffuse through this membrane. Once inside of the cell, these monomers, namely glucose, are further broken down to eventually generate energy in the form of ATP. After the consumption of some aphrodisiacs, our little threesome decided that we needed some energy in order to keep the engine running, if you know what I mean. Thus, we migrated over to Zefferelli’s.
Located above Cactus Club and on the outskirts of the many stores on Robson Street, Zefferrelli’s is relatively easy to miss. Incidentally, it is located close to the more upscale Cin Cin, if that is any kind of landmark. We waltzed in at around 7pm and were seated immediately.
The inside of the restaurant has a very rustic, Italian feel to it, what with the chalkboards and shelves of wines. The tables and seating did feel somewhat dated, however, even if they were supposed to add to the atmosphere. The ambiance itself felt very family or middle-aged-date oriented, as awkward dinners were ubiquitous around us. The darker, supposedly romantic lighting and setting sun made these photographs turn out just lovely.
To get this carb-fest rolling, we were given complimentary bread. This tasted relatively standard and was your typical offering of free carbs. The inclusion of the tomato sauce on the side was interesting; perhaps this was some leftover pasta sauce? Regardless, the tomato taste was quite strong, with just a hint of heat. If you’re not too keen on the bright red fruit, then you may find yourself wishing for some butter, instead.
The pastas took their sweet time in arriving; just compare the lighting between the previous picture and this one. I ordered the Spaghetti e Polpette ($16.50), veal & ricotta meatballs braised with tomato and red wine. The meatballs were relatively plentiful, large, and chewy, although they did not have too much of a taste themselves. Clearly, I was craving for some protein along with my carbohydrates, which were incidentally cooked tremendously al dente. This texture seemed to overwhelm everything else in this generous portion of pasta, as they gave quite the distinctive chew; you could say that they were far from being “QQ.” In spite of being perhaps a stage and a half undercooked, their mastication was not particularly difficult. In terms of the sauce, the red wine was not overly discernable, although the tomatoes were certainly not as noticeable as they had been with the dip that had accompanied the bread.
The Penne all Pomodoro ($13.50), penne in a rich tomato sauce with fresh basil, garlic, and olive oil alos presented itself. You may be able to glean the generous portion size of the dishes here from this photograph, but I think Anton’s still takes the cake. The flavour of this was apparently alright, although “al dente” was used yet again to describe this dish. Eventually, this had to be doggy-bagged, although a more petite, tasteful individual was trying her hand at this.
Another at the table had the Spaghetti con Vongole ($17.50), which had clams, garlic, white wine, and olive oil. These were also cooked to be quite stiff, I’m told.
I’ll have to be honest: I had some serious concessions that Zefferelli’s would be a tourist trap, especially given its location and offered cuisine. However, I found my experience to be quite acceptable. While the dishes were not of the utmost quality nor overly imaginative, they more than fulfilled our desire for carbohydrates. That said, given the plethora of other Italian places that have been arising as of late, I’m not sure a return visit is in my near future.
Conclusion: Andy ate a lot.
1136 Robson St.
(604) 687- 0655