As we were walking back to our hotel from Burger Crush, we walked past Pagliacci. I did not take much notice as Italian restaurants seem to be the most carnivorous of all (or at least dairy-heavy), but then I thought, we're here...why not take a peek? To my surprise, there was a whole vegan section on the menu posted outside the restaurant! So, despite the fact that they do not take reservations and that this is a touristy downtown place, we decided to return for dinner!
Pagliacci's, Victoria - Vegan Options
This is a pretty cool and noisy, touristy area in the evening and we had to wait maybe 30 minutes to get a table (20 outside, 10 inside). It was not warm outside but we were prepared for it.
This is a pasta place and sure enough, they used what I assume is Beyond Sausage and cranked out some decent dishes but didn't try too hard on the cheese part. "Cheez" is what separates the men from the boys (or whatever expression is more politically correct) when it comes to vegan pizza and pasta etc.
We were assured that there is only one kind of focaccia and it is vegan. It was pretty tasty and not as huge as the photo seems to indicate (i was zoomed in a bit too much). It was tasty enough and we ate it all!
So I had a little trouble finding a picture of the actual menu that we ordered from but I am sure that this is The Big Easy Pasta. Not a profoundly imaginative dish but pretty tasty just the same. Sausage, spicy marinara, bell pepper and mushrooms are the main ingredients.
This dish, called The Vegan Broker, impressed us a little more. With a little bit of an Asian flavour profile, it came with a coconut curry sauce, mango chutney and cashews, all on fettuccini with mushrooms! This dish wouldn't necessarily have made Toscanini a convert (look him up. there is a clever connection there!) but we were happy to have some options and there are other dishes here to try as well.
This is a noisy, crowded fun place and we liked being here. Our server was great! If they tried a little harder on the cheese, I think that they could have a vegan following! And really, it's not that hard these days to find "cheez". If you're going to serve Asian-style pasta, you don't have to use Parmigiano Reggiano, do you? No one will really notice! Still, nice job folks!
Food 4 out of 5
Vegan options 4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort 4 out of 5
Service 4 1/2 out of 5
Value 4 out of 5
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