Staying & Dining in Vernon
On our way from Kamloops to Penticton we decided to stay overnight in Vernon to visit and have dinner with our friend Lee Ranger, Head Golf Professional at The Rise (see photo set). We did live in the Okanagan for 7 years but were never able to grow fond of Vernon. After checking in at The Sandman Hotel we were still not fond to say the least. The hotel is in need of some serious upgrades and some staff training would not hurt either. Not wanting to have a similar dining experience we asked Lee to choose the restaurant and we were happy with his choice.
Apparently The Italian Kitchen has been a local favorite since it opened in 1995 and has won numerous Okanagan restaurant awards. Who knew? I guess Salmon Arm is just a bit too far from Vernon at 45 minutes. No one in the valley will drive that far for a good meal; we are lucky that Lee lives in Armstrong and works in Vernon. The Italian Kitchen is located in a historic building in downtown Vernon and features original brick walls and a tin ceiling. Local art is hung on the walls. A long wooden bar runs along a partial side of the long and narrow space. The ambience is dark and cozy at the same time as loud and fun. The service was fast and friendly and the wine list deep with both local and international selections.
Menu and Food
The menu includes antipasto, insalata, pasta and dinner specialties. On the day that we visited the daily zuppa selection was creamy Carrot & Ginger. The soup was served in a large bowl (a bit too big for an appetizer) and with a side of two pieces of grilled garlic toast. The soup was delicious but the toast a bit dry and over-grilled. All three of us chose a pasta dish for our main course. I chose the daily special which was a penne with Italian sausage, red peppers, onions and black olives in a light oil. Jeff chose the classic Fettuccini Alfredo and Lee the Salsiccia which was spicy Italian sausage with mushrooms and onions in tomatoe sauce. All of the sauces were very good and the pasta well cooked. Overall the meal was very good just not quite as good as a few of our Vancouver Italian favorites. But for the North Okanagan region I would say I had better lift my expectations because I was too low going in.
Nothing beats a good meal and a good bottle of wine with a good friend that we had not seen for a while. Thanks Lee for the great company and pointing us in the right direction!