Sabatino’s restaurant in White Rock is not your traditional Italian restaurant. This trattoria combines old Italy with West Coast flavors to create a menu that is not only delicious, but it’s also local and sustainable.
Chef Mark Lucard (formerly from the Old Surrey Restaurant), creates seasonal fresh sheets every six weeks that includes local and organic ingredients, while also maintaining a more traditional Italian menu.
There are very few things that are not made in house at Sabatino’s – sauces, desserts, even the focaccia bread that comes complimentary with every meal is made in house fresh.
We started our meal with a taste of the West Coast Crab Cakes ($12) – Dungeness crab, rock crab, Pacific shrimp with chipotle aioli. These were great tasting crab cakes, and the presentation was lovely.
If you’re looking for something a little lighter, try one of Sabatino’s salads. We had the Chopped Salad ($7) to start. Romaine, arugula, avocado, tomato and cucumber, this fresh salad was made better by the tangy Italian vinaigrette.
The wine list at Sabatino’s has an amazing array of not only local but world-renowned vintages from New Zealand, Australia, Spain and others. They also offer a full cocktail list.
For our pasta dish we had the Cappellini ($16) – spaghettini with baby shrimp, tomato, garlic and basil. This simple dish was full of flavour and I recommend trying it. Accompanied with the salad this was a perfect summer meal.
Now for the main course: We had the Roasted New Zealand Spring Lamb Rack ($31.50) – roasted lamb and vegetables with fine herb & goat cheese crusted with local mint demi glace. This was not your traditional Italian roasted lamb, oh no. The demi glace had slight hints of mint and it was thick enough to cover the lamb beautifully, almost like a gravy. The flavours complimented each other so well – red wine, mint and lamb. The meat was tender, yet firm enough to give the dish a nice texture. And just when you think this can’t get any better, pow! The sharp taste of the goat cheese hits your taste buds. I’ve never had lamb and goat cheese together, and I was surprised by how well they complimented each other. This dish is a must try at Sabatino’s.
We also had the Fillet of Sole ($25) – . The fish was perfectly cooked and it was surprising light, considering the sole was stuffed with crab meat, spinach & shrimp. Sole is a very light tasting fish, so the other flavours, specially the crab, came thru very nicely. The fish came accompanied with potatoes, carrots and bok choy. I wasn’t sure about the potatoes. I think a nice mushroom risotto would’ve been a better pairing.
I should mention that Sabatino’s is part of the Oceanwise program, so you can feel good about eating their seafood!
Ah dessert! You can’t go to an Italian restaurant and not order dessert. We had two. We had the Crème Brulee and the Grand Marnier Cheesecake.
What can I say except the Crème brulee had a nicely caramelized top that made that satisfying “crack” when you hit it with a spoon. The custard was a creamy delight and overall I loved it. The cheesecake was thick, just the way I like it. (I’m not a fan of creamy cheesecakes). Both desserts were plenty enough to share. That’s something I should say about Sabatino’s – the portions are very generous.
I truly enjoyed my visit to Sabatino’s – worth the trip to White Rock!