Vancouver’s Savio Volpe Is a Playful New Take on the Italian Osteria

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By Alison Sinkewicz
Savio Volpe, a glimmering restaurant in a sleepy nook in Vancouver, is frequented—as the story goes—by a dandy fox with a penchant for good Italian food.

He’s a fun-loving snark, always on the hunt for a good Sangiovese and an aged steak. "We created a persona around a dandyish old guy who is the patriarchal figure of the family," Craig Stanghetta, founder and principal at local design studio Ste. Marie, explains of the Volpe fox. "With a bon vivant quality that’s kind of irreverent."

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The restaurant, which focuses on rustic-yet-refined Italian fare, opened in 2016 to rave reviews due to the food (a tempting and always rotating list of pastas and roasted meats), but it also owes debt to the stunning, modern farmhouse interiors designed by Ste. Marie. "We started off with an idea to do an osteria, [which] essentially translates to a roadside tavern," Stanghetta says. "Simple food, meat, pastas, vegetables." 

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To echo the simplicity of the food in the kitchen, Stanghetta paneled the dining room with warming oak and inviting textiles. It’s a bit of nonna’s kitchen mixed with the sleekness of Italian masters like Carlo Mollino, Bruno Munari, and Enzo Mari (each reference points for Ste. Marie).

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The exterior design by local architects Scott & Scott Architects sets the tone for a more contemporary experience, and those sleek touches are peppered throughout the interiors. Lighting floats above diners, and the space is accented with quarry rock, achieving both a rustic and an urban feel at the same time. Visually arresting and yet completely lending to an immersive dining experience, Savio Volpe is a sly fox, indeed. 

Project Credits: 

-Interior design: Ste. Marie Art + Design 

-Architect: Scott & Scott Architects