Once known for its mom-and-pop shops and dilapidated storefronts, Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood is undergoing a fast transformation thanks to adventurous designers, creative types, and restaurateurs who are setting up shop. 

The latest addition is Savio Volpe, a 75-seat osteria and labour of love between three partners (L’Abattoir’s Paul Grunberg, Chef Mark Perrier and Ste Marie studio principal Craig Stanghetta) that fuses simplicity, drama and cheekiness—both in its design and farm-fresh menu. Here, diners can watch Perrier in the open kitchen as he works his magic at the wood fire grill. Dishes like grilled squid on a bed of chickpeas with tomato and chilli, and rib of beef drizzled with aged balsamico and Grana are unpretentious but hearty. There’s an all-Italian wine list, classic cocktails, house made Italian sodas, and fresh made pasta that would make any Nonna proud.

Like the menu, the design is rooted in an honest, unadorned style that juxtaposes humble with pretty. Stanghetta chose quarry tiling, pleated red and white oak panelling, and mixed banquet seating that showcases sartorial workmanship. Above the bar is a playfully modern light that riffs on the classic Stilnovo chandelier. Meanwhile, tomato cans, olive oils and preserves are as ceremoniously displayed on custom-built shelves as the Bruno Munari-inspired collage style canvases that hang on the walls.

Savio Volpe is a modern farmhouse eatery in a neighbourhood on the brink— the type of place you’d want to walk into and stay a while.