Cotto Enoteca… Opening Soon! (Pizzeria in Burnaby)

Cotto Enoteca… Opening Soon!

Follow Me Foodie to a sneak peek of Cotto Enoteca…

I rarely write about restaurants that are opening soon, but when my friend Alex Tung invited me for a catch up session and sneak preview of his newest baby, I was happy to visit. He already has two adorable kids, but he’s about to be a father of 3 any day now – with the opening of Cotto Enoteca. The anticipated opening for this restaurant was rumoured to be this week and antsy customers are just waiting for the “Now Open” announcement, or tweet.

Replacing the burned down Anducci’s Restaurant will be Cotto Enoteca at 6011 Hastings Street in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of North Burnaby.

“We are thrilled to be opening our restaurant in Burnaby. We chose the Capitol Hill area as the location for Cotto because of the highly dynamic and diverse neighborhood. This area is comprised of families and residents who desire simple and delicious food, paired with extraordinary service. We are very much looking forward to serving our new guests here at Cotto.” said Alex Tung, Executive Chef/Managing Partner of Cotto Enoteca.

The il forno wood fired oven is a beauty and a dead give away to what this restaurant serves. Pizza. Neapolitan pizza. Authentic Neapolitan style pizza. VPN (Vera/Real Pizza Napoletana) Certified Neapolitan pizza. Okay, I think you get the point… I know what you might be thinking, or at least I was. Another “authentic Neapolitan style pizza” place? Does Vancouver really need another Neapolitan pizza place? Not really, but Burnaby does! I have my preferences for it already, but on the other hand new players are always welcome and I’m sure you feel the same. If there is room for even better, then bring on the competition.

I must say I was surprised when Alex told me he was opening another Neapolitan pizza place. I’ve known him since he was Executive Chef at Tapenade Bistro in Steveston Village in Richmond, and I’ve always considered him a fine dining trained French chef. On the other hand, he’s worked under Cioppino’s which is one of Vancouver’s best fine dining Italian restaurants and a good chef is a good chef… but a new restaurant is a new ball game! I have an idea of his style and personality and he’s a confident chef that wouldn’t put anything on the menu unless he wasn’t proud of it.

It sounds like a general statement, but over the last month he’s been tweeting things like “Tasting 14 brands of tomatoes; are San Marzano tomatoes really the best? We’ll see.“, followed by “I’ll be using a tomato specifically for Neapoletana pizza and a tomato for my basic tomato sauce”. He is pretty convincing, specific and passionate with his approach to food, so I have high hopes. Besides, the co-owners are Italian so he had to pass their standards too. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nonna was brought in for a menu tasting as well.

Rough draft of one page of the menu.

Besides pizza, Cotto Enoteca will be offering house made pastas and other Italian classics along with Chef Tung signatures. It’s a casual but sophisticated restaurant with pizzas ranging from $12-18 (average $15) and pastas in half or full portions. He said that his concept is “simple, with high quality ingredients”, the essence of what Italian food is. And that, I would have to agree.

Being in Vancouver, we’re not going to get lemon trees or olive trees, so the ingredients at Cotto Enoteca will be locally sourced and sustainable. Chef Tung is even growing his own herbs on the patio and he’s making every effort to ensure everything is made in house… except for the wine.

And the wine. Oh the wine! The selection of wine will be a drawing factor. There will be a selection of affordable BC and Italian wines including Joie Farm, Nichol Vineyard, Blasted Church, Fairview Cellars, La Frenz Winery, Poplar Grove Winery, Meyer Family Vineyards, Blue Mountain Winery, 8th Generation winery, Orofino Winery, La Stella Winery and Misconduct Wines, and that’s only naming the BC wines he’s offering. It’s a pretty impressive list for a semi-casual restaurant, but it has the Capitol Hill neighbourhood to impress even on a week night. I imagine that will be the main clientèle, and it’s a taste of downtown without having to go downtown.

The following are samples of dishes that will be offered at Cotto Enoteca. Although I tried them, I won’t be commenting because they’re not representable of a normal portion or dinner there. It gave me an idea though. Oh and yes! There will also be a brunch service. Watch for the tweets when Cotto Enoteca officially opens! I’ll be sure to let you know.

Prosciutto e Melone – Prosciutto di Parma, compressed cantaloupe, marinated roma tomatoes, crispy ham and extra virgin olive oil. There were also a couple other cured meats on the plate.

Calamari Fritto – Crispy fried squid, marinated roma tomato, salsa verde and micro herb.

Cotto Polpetti – House made meatballs, crispy bread crumbs, San Marzano tomato sauce, fried pizza dough Parmigiano Raggiano and extra virgin olive oil.

Crostata di Cioccolato – Callebaut chocolate tart, Nutella powder, whipped cream, caramelized milk

Last but not least, guess what this is? No, it’s not white and red wine. No, it’s not olive oil and vinegar. It’s barrel aged negroni and limoncello. I know! Yup! He’s making his own.

Cotto Enoteca… opening soon! Watch for the tweet.

PS: If you’re waiting for me to be guinea pig I normally don’t visit a restaurant until at least 4-5 weeks after it opens. There are always kinks to be worked out in the early stages and I like things to settle down. I just think it gives a fairer representation. However I’m not discouraging anyone to go early, and if you do, feel free to leave me a comment here with your experience.



  • KimHo says:

    Having lived in Burnaby “long enough”, I will have to say it is quite interesting the choice of location. If memory serves me right, Chef Tung mentioned in his blog he lived “in the area” so, from that perspective, he is familiar with it. In my mind, there are two “catches” with the location:

    1) Anton’s. As odd as it sounds (and despite it is over a dozen of blocks away), regular Joe will compare large(r) portions with fine(r) dining.
    2) How to attract more people towards Burnaby. After all, it does not have the same enticement as Commercial Drive or Gastown.

    Then again, “what do I know!”

    Regardless of this, I am more interested in trying this place than other recent “fancy” pizza places. (With the exception of Pizzeria Barbarella: Mr. Dean knows his stuff…).

  • LotusRapper says:

    @Kim: I doubt Cotto Enoteca will attract the Regular Joes who value quantity (Anton’s) over quality. There’s a dearth of fine(r) dining on Hastings in Burnaby as-is (Peartree notwithstanding, and if you squint, Chez Meme’s new dinner offerings) and perhaps a few other up & coming ethnic restos not in the fine dining segment but have a loyal following like Chad Thai, etc. Now, east of Gamma Ave there is NOTHING worth eating (IMHO) all the way to Sperling, and that’s kinda scary. So to have a fine establishment like Cotto Enoteca bravely take hold at this location I say bravo. Imagine what Scott Jaeger felt when he chose his location in the late ’90s, eh ?

  • chanman says:

    That’s the fattiest prosciutto I’ve ever seen! I thought it was raw bacon!

  • Caryn says:

    Have been twice now — love it. Took pizza home for dinner. Dragged my friends there and they liked it, too. Cotto is still working out some kinks but the food is as good as the expensive downtown restaurants I’ve been to.

  • Mijune says:

    @Caryn – that’s great to hear!! Alex is a great chef! I’ll wait a bit more, but so happy it’s getting positive feedback.

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