West End Memories & Hidden Patios: A Visit to Adesso Bistro

Adesso Bistro Front Entrance

Sentimental. That’s what I was feeling last weekend.

Astrologically speaking, it was bound to happen. I am a Cancer Ascendant, celebrating a ten year anniversary, during a uniquely intense retrograde period.

For the Astrologically un-savvy, Pluto, Neptune, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are all in retrograde mode right now.

Retrograde periods are all about looking back, before moving forward. Even if you are someone who thinks Astrology is BS… there is something truly beautiful in this practise of evaluating past actions and beliefs, possibly making adjustments and corrections, and then moving on.

I dig that whole heartedly! Additionally Cancerians are supposedly prone to nostalgia. So there is simply no escaping the sentimentality.

2008 > A New Chapter on the West Coast:

I moved to Vancouver exactly ten years ago. This fact about my life is so surreal to me. So soooooo much has happened during this time, and yet I cannot believe it’s already been ten years!

Many different ideas on how to ‘celebrate’ the big 10 year marker had crossed my mind over the past few months. In the end I settled on what I needed most; a week long break and lots of me-time!

West End Vancouver Map

West End Neighbourhood Borders according to Google Maps. I’d argue that the blocks East of Denman and North of Robson Street are no longer part of the West End anymore. 

My beloved Harwood on Burrard:

From all the apartments I have occupied during these past ten years, nothing compares to the one that I shared with my friend James for a good four years. What a gem of a place!

It was a large SE facing corner unit with plenty of light, and stunning water views. And I had a fabulous walk in closet.

Trading my current Yaletown pad for that former apartment would entail downgrading to only one bathroom and giving up in-suite laundry. Big no-nos right? And yet I still totally would be tempted to move back in! I really did love it that much.

But that is nostalgia for you!

At some point in this past year I discovered some very sad news. Almost all the buildings along my former street are scheduled to be torn down for condo development.

Ever since then I have been meaning to go and take photos of the street before this happens. It’s been months in the making… but I finally went and took the ‘memory-capsule’ photos I desired. And I am so glad I did!

There are ten buildings along that portion of Harwood street, sandwiched between Thurlow and Burrard. One building was torn down and redeveloped a few years ago. From the nine remaining buildings, five are slated to be demolished in the next 1.5 years. The area will be truly unrecognizable.

As though by fate, while I was adjusting my angle for one of the photos, I realized the man walking his dog along the sidewalk was someone I knew! A former neighbour who I hadn’t spoken to in a good five years. It was so nice to catch up and exchange contact info before he too has to leave the neighbourhood.

Patio Entrance to Adesso Bistro

Adesso Bistro – A hidden patio: 

Snapping away at the various interesting buildings along Harwood street I remembered something else I had been meaning to do for a super long time. Visit Adesso Bistro – one of Vancouver’s top hidden patios.

This place is so obscure that Thomas and I had to do a Google search to remember the name of it, and its exact location. All I could remember was that it was somewhere west of Denman street.

Nestled among the trees in a residential neighbourhood on Haro Street, about a block and a half past Denman, Adesso Bistro offers patrons a secluded al fresco dining experience. Tucked out of the way, it’s no wonder that people are surprised when they stumble upon this little beauty. Flaunting beautiful hanging flowers, the bistro’s 50-seat patio is the perfect place to perch oneself on a summer evening, whilst tucking into an antipasti platter. Reservations for the patio are required.

– Daily Hive Vancouver

As though prompted by the name (Adesso means ‘now’ in Italian), we decided we both needed a mid-afternoon pick-me-up sooner than later. So we headed over.

What a beautiful Euro-style patio!! Tucked away on a quiet street, surrounded by lush greenery, this patio is perfect for a solo afternoon of drinking wine, nibbling on snacks and catching up on some reading or writing.

Adesso Bistro Happy Hour Menu Adesso Bistro Happy Hour Drink Menu

Thomas and I ordered the following from their Happy Hour menus:

  • Haro Bellini
  • Fiorente Spritz
  • Cheese & Charcuterie
  • Tuna Crudo
  • Beef Tataki
  • Roasted Root Veg

On sight I thought the drinks looked very elegant and Instagram-worthy.

I do wonder what happened to the rosemary for my Bellini though. An odd addition that wasn’t added in the end.

Also I do think a gentle stir is required to blend up that Aperol/ Peach mix at least 1/2 way up the flute glass. For Thomas’ Spritz, mint was used instead of thyme, so we think the bar might have been lacking is some key herbs that day.

Cocktails at Adesso Bistro

Roasted Root Veg & Cheese Charcuterie Board

As for the nibbles:

So many delights! My definite ‘order again’ choices would be the Tuna Crudo and Roasted Root Veg.

The Tuna Crudo had a finely chopped topping of radish, celery and pink grapefruit. That flavour combo is deletable and so refreshing! The main menu version has some additional ingredients like campari caviar and black olive crisp – I’d definitely want to try this fuller version.

The Roasted Root Veg was so surprisingly delicious, I kept trying to reverse engineer each new bite. The slivered sweet yellow carrots, the orange carrot ribbons, the cashew curd. Yum, yum, YUM!!!

I don’t think I have ever tried popped sorghum before. When you want to recreate a dish at home, exactly as it is plated… that’s when you know you’ve found a winner!

Worthy mentions:

  • The generous helping of thinly sliced, olive oil drizzled, toasted bread slices… which were probably not made in house but I enjoyed them a lot anyway.
  • The smoky castelvetrano olives.

Beef Tataki

Tuna Crudo

Roasted Root Veg

West End Girls:  

I may live in Yaletown now… but I’m still a West End Girl at heart!

Beautiful tree-lined, LGBTQ proud, immigrant friendly, oasis of a neighbourhood… hopefully you don’t change too much.

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