Presto Cucina

Restaurant: Presto Cucina
Cuisine: Pizza/Italian
Last visited: February 27, 2011
Location: Surrey, BC (South Surrey/White Rock)
Address: 2655 King George Hwy
Price Range: $10-20

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2 (based on what I tried)
Service: 2 (pay at cashier)
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 2
Additional comments:

  • Italian pizza and pasta franchise
  • 4 locations in Metro Vancouver
  • Known for pizzas
  • Offers pastas/appies
  • Pre made sauces
  • Family friendly
  • Simple “Italian” food
  • Quite pricey
  • Very casual
  • Eat in/Take out

**Recommendations: n/a, but if you’re coming than I’d stick to the pizza. I had the garlic chicken pizza and it was pretty good.

This is a bit embarrassing, but I actually didn’t know Presto Cucina was a franchise with four locations in Metro Vancouver. However I was not surprised one bit after discovering that it was. The outside was kind of attractive, and it looked clean and contemporary, so I decided to come check it out. Originally I was on my way for schnitzel at Black Forest when I realized it was closed forever (too bad, I was so curious), so I ended up here instead.

I was expecting the inside to be a bit fancier, but it’s a casual family friendly kind of place. ItΒ  reminded me of the old Pizza Hut restaurants, with that old fashioned “trying so hard to be Italian” kind of look. For this kind of atmosphere I was expecting prices to be more affordable than they were. It’s actually quite pricey for what you’re getting and I didn’t see the value.

To my surprise they also serve a limited selection of basic wines and beers too. The wines are 1/2 price every Tuesday… but 1/2 price Yellowtail wouldn’t exactly be incentive for me to really come back.Β 

They offer eat in or take out service, but it wasn’t really busy for either on a Sunday night. The service is a pay at cashier operation where you place your order, pay and then wait for it to be brought to your table. It’s pretty much high school students running the kitchen and I was really pleased to see the brick oven, until I realized it was more of a decoration πŸ™ Well it could have been used, but those iron metal doors facing the front, with recipes stashed in the handles, yeah those were never opened… so maybe there’s a back door to the oven?

I kind of feel really bad for posting this photo, but I also kind of don’t. If they’re not embarrassed to showcase the canned pineapples and artichokes, then should I really be embarrassed to feature them in this post? Well I made the image a bit smaller because I do kind of feel bad. It’s not a crime to use canned ingredients, but you can at least hide them because it’s not really something to be proud of either.

To be honest, I can’t say I was impressed by Presto Cucina, and I wasn’t expecting much either after discovering it was a franchise. There was just so much pre-packaged/pre-made sauces going on that I wasn’t feeling it. The dishes are made upon order, but also from mostly preserved ingredients. Most of the stuff tasted the same with a few added fresh ingredients here and there, but more or less it was singing one note. The food actually didn’t taste bad, if anything it was just okay, which means I ate it because it was there but not really because I enjoyed it. However for what you’re paying, you can certainly get better elsewhere and that kind of leaves me not very inspired to write much more.

On the table:Garlic Chicken Pizza – 3/6

  • Creamy garlic sauce, sliced chicken, fresh roma tomato, mushrooms & feta $10.99/$25.99
  • The pizza actually tasted pretty good, but it was just overpriced for the size and ingredients.
  • There wasn’t much chicken, but the chicken had that precooked rubbery texture and flavour.
  • The pizza tastes like a garlic alfredo chicken pizza so really no surprises.
  • The crust tastes like well seasoned salty, garlic, herb and cheese bread sticks, so it was actually very flavourful, but it’s just soft throughout.
  • It was creamy, cheesy and saucy, and the mushrooms were a bit dried out and shriveled so they weren’t sweet or adding much flavour.
  • The roma tomatoes were basically the only fresh thing on it, and there were salty bites of Feta at times, but not much of that either.

  • I look forward to the execution of the pizza crust.
  • The pizza crust didn’t have a smoky or charred flavour from supposedly being baked in a brick oven, and it wasn’t crispy at all.
  • The salty flavour of the crust just enhanced the saltiness of the toppings, so for some it may have been too salty, but for me it was fine.

Chicken Pesto Penne – 2/6

  • Creamy pesto with toasted pine nuts, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms & fresh spinach $11.99/$15.99
  • This is something you can make at home with some jarred pesto from the store. However you’d probably be using fresher ingredients at home so it would taste better.
  • The chicken again was rubbery and precooked, but the flavour of the sauce was actually not bad.
  • The mushrooms were pretty dried out and I literally had two toasted pine nuts throughout the whole thing.
  • The noodles are overcooked and it’s not ultra creamy, but it’s well sauced and there is and herby flavour, but it’s not necessarily basil.
  • It tasted like the sauce from the garlic chicken pizza, but with some pesto sauce, which didn’t have any pine nuts in it either.
  • At times it was a bit too salty especially if you got one of the two pieces of sun dried tomatoes in it.

Smoked Salmon with Cheese Tortillini – 1.5/6

  • Tri-coloured tortellini baked with alfredo sauce, feta cheese, red onion, mushrooms & fresh roma tomato $14.99
  • This was really overpriced for what it was, it’s edible, but not something I would order again. This is when I started to feel like it was “Subway” for pasta.
  • It pretty much tastes like the garlic chicken pizza, but instead of chicken it’s smoked salmon and instead of pizza crust, it’s pasta.
  • It’s premade tortellini and sauce with a few fresh ingredients tossed in before it’s baked. It tastes somewhat okay, but there’s no value.
  • The tortellini was obviously frozen, but it was overcooked and it was stuffed with some pastey cheese that I think was supposed to be white cheddar cheese?
  • The alfredo sauce tastes like the same pre-made sauce on the garlic chicken pizza.
  • The smoked salmon were a few thin sheets just laid over the top the pasta with another layer of baked cheese on top.
  • It’s quite a cheesy, rich and hearty pasta, but the sauce is actually quite thin, yet savoury and basically a regular alfredo sauce you’d get at the store.

Zia Gina’s Tiramisu – 2/6

  • With whipped cream & a sprinkle of grated chocolate $5.99
  • All desserts are imported from a company in the US.
  • I really could have done without the bottled caramel drizzle, but I can see how they may have wanted to “present” it better.
  • The tiramisu actually didn’t taste bad, but there’s not much of a mascarpone layer or any espresso flavour, so it wasn’t well made either.
  • It was quite dense and creamy, rather than moussey.
  • The lady fingers weren’t really soaked enough so the espresso flavour didn’t come through and it seemed a bit “sitting there”.
  • There was no Rum in it, which makes sense since it’s a family kind of place, so I wasn’t expecting it, but just noting it.

They actually have a corner of the restaurant which operates as a gelato shop. I’m not sure if it’s only at this location that has it available though.

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Presto Cucina (Surrey) on Urbanspoon

19 Comments

  • Sara says:

    Oh I feel you Mijune!!! This looks really bad. Often when dining out, my friends who aren’t foodies often suggest going to random places such as this, which obviously makes no sense to me!

    This looks really bad… …workplace cafeteria level. Ok, let’s be nicer: FANCY workplace cafeteria! LOL!

  • a4ryn says:

    Oh Black Forest… I miss you so. <3

  • Bow says:

    Ate at the one in West Van years ago and found it to be “franchise” food, nothing special, and pricey.Once was ‘enuff.
    Heard of a new place in Kits,on W. 4th that’s opening soon and that has imported a pizza chef from Napoli(the home of pizza); paper thin, soft(not hard crust), eaten with knife and fork…scant toppings but true Napoli pizza is FLAVORFUL without 2″ of toppings. Mon ami, Lino who just came back from Puglia after his organic olive oil harvest(look up brazza olive oil on Youtube) said the Neoploitan pizza he ate was so tremendous, so simple, so delicious, it stopped him in his tracks and almost moved him to tears! Lucky me, got a bottle of that oil and am going to enjoy it tonight…and Italians DON’T add balsamic vinagre to oil before dipping bread into it.

  • Linda says:

    o dearie where do i begin? i have no idea how you ended up eating here especially since your last few posts have been at majorly delicious places – i honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they had jarred tomato sauce here either πŸ™ mm i love garlic chicken pizza – my fave is actually the one from fresh slice πŸ™‚ but this one looks so greasy and the crust looks soggy too – too bad – this totally had potential.

    for the portion sizes and the quality of the food executed, this place looks totally overpriced.. i would rather go to the old spaghetti factory and get my pasta, salad, bread and spumoni for under $15 πŸ™‚

  • Jayda Home says:

    Oh no! You came to Surrey again and ate here….. you’ll never want to come back if this is the last place you’ve visited. There are much better places to eat around here. Generally we try not to eat at chains or franchises since the restaurant business is such a struggle and the little mom and pop places have first priority for us. As the chains move into South Surrey, unfortunately, the little guys lost out. I have a few suggestions…… For ambiance, Harbour House in Crescent Beach. For sushi, Black Tuna in White Rock (since you’ve already visited Taka). For deli, Sheila’s Deli right up the hwy. from Presto Cucino or Delitalia in Ocean Park. For good fish and chips, the Fish Boat on Marine Drive….. there are many others but it’s late and I’m too tired to think!

  • Mijune says:

    @Sara – lol!! You’re totally right!! I almost want to insert your quote into my post because you summed it up so nicely!

    @a4ryn – you went?! AND it was good?! Boo! I missed out!

    @Bow – omg Bow that olive oil sounds AMAZING!! I’ve totally been moved to tears with food! Love hearing I’m not the only one. Thanks for the insider tip as always! Also have you tried that new pizza place that opened in Gastown called Nicli? It’s supposed to be similar to the one you’re talking about.

    @Linda – LOL! good call on The Old Spaghetti Factory! No I felt severely ripped off, and that’s what happens when I “wing it” and don’t do my research ahead of time. Boo! Lesson learned!!

    @Jayda Home – Jayda!!! You are so awesome!!! This was definitely an unintentional stop and I had no idea it was a franchise. πŸ™ Franchises can be good, but i really didn’t get this one. Okay I’m writing down your list and thank you for your recommendations!! I really appreciate you saving me from wasting another $40 πŸ™‚

  • Jayda Home says:

    My husband is so fed up with the lack of good pizza places here in Vancouver, we are having our contractor build our own brick oven pizza in the backyard. In France, many of our friends have brick oven pizzas at the back of their houses….. making a good pizza crust is quite easy if you know what you are doing….. and it’s so awesome to choose your own ingredients…… the pizzas are so phenomenal….. and a fraction of the cost to make.

  • a4ryn says:

    Haha, to be honest, The Black Forest was a childhood favourite restaurant and I think the only reason why I liked it as much as I did was because I always got an Shirley Temple while I was there. My taste in food didn’t come about for 5-7 years later.

    I also remember when there was a lovely coat check at the door and the dress code was dress casual and the walls were painted with warm murals of cherubs and other things that I don’t really recall. Naturally, since it changed operations a number of times, the restaurant that I remember is not the same restaurant that closed down.

  • Jayda Home says:

    I grew up going there too…. and Ocean Park Pizza….. before it became a pub. I had Shirley Temples at both too! The food was simple and honest at both…. great for families. The Black Forest was really dark and oppressive…. very Bavarian….. and I loved it! I miss these types of restaurants where you knew the waitresses and they knew you…. and you had your favourite dish that you knew would be reliable comfort food.

  • Mijune says:

    @Jayda Home – WOW!! I’m soooo jealous!! AMAZING!! My friend who lives in South Surrey did the same thing!! He also got a copper pit roast to roast an entire pig as well!! Gotta love the space of living in the suburbs!! You definitely married a foodie!! You guys must eat well all the time!

    Yes that “Cheers” atmosphere when “everybody knows your name”!! I’m really disappointed to have missed out on The Black Forest!

    @a4ryn – i love Shirley Temples… well not sure how much anymore because I haven’t had one in ages. Omg no wonder @jayda Home commented on your comment… it brings back so many warm memories!! DAMNIT … really wish I had gone earlier.

  • Mijune says:

    @Jayda Home – Oh no!! I was planning on going to Black Tuna tonight and discovered the restaurant is now closed πŸ™

  • Jayda Home says:

    Well, we have a small chateau in France (in Burgundy) so it allows us a lot of access to great food and restaurants (and wine…. plus we make our own cider from our orchards). There’s absolutely nothing better than going to the local markets and picking up locally grown food in France….. it’s an experience any true foodie would truly appreciate.

  • Jayda Home says:

    Oh no! I’m so sorry…. not many restaurants here in the suburbs are open on Sundays (except the chains)….. Black Tuna was originally open on Denman a couple years ago, but I believe the competition and rents finally did them in. They are starting anew in White Rock and I was fairly impressed by what they had to offer….. maybe not the best, but they are at least being creative and the service has always been quite nice.

  • Dilara says:

    Oh this place looks and sounds positively awful! We generally try to avoid chain restaurants and this place is now definitely on my ‘do not bother’ list now πŸ˜‰

  • Mijune says:

    @Jayda Home – Oh my.. you ARE a true foodie! Wow! What a dream! A chateau in Burgundy sounds magical! I spent some time in the South of France and a couple times in Paris, but I can only imagine the difference living there. I had to research so hard to find non-touristy places and I just can’t wait to go back! I really wish I started this blog before my time in Europe.

    Ohhhh I see what happened!! I didn’t actually go to Black Tuna tonight because I googled it and on urbanspoon it said it closed for good… but that’s because I was looking at the Denman location!! ok ok well I guess I’ll try again πŸ™‚ Thank you! I also think I have to give Taka another chance though.

    @Dilara – lol yes yes save yourself $40… that’s how much this meal cost and I tried to give it a chance by ordering a few things πŸ™

  • Ryan's mommy says:

    Uggghhhh…sorry you had to eat such sorry food! Have you been to Villa Verdi (sp?) on King George Blvd, xroad around 80 Ave? Cute little place kinda in the middle of nowhere. Try it if you have the stomach for Italian food on KGB! I think it should be better than this place….

  • Ryan's mommy says:

    Actually, we should go there for lunch soon! I work not far from there. Let me know!

  • Mijune says:

    @Ryan’s Mommy – YES! Let’s go together! April! I’ll call you! You probably know what’s good there too πŸ™‚ miss u!

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