The Farina crew made short work of renovating the space, setting up a warm and bright dining area with street-facing windows and an open kitchen. A reception area features plenty of spots to sit and wait for your table with quirky vintage Italian-inspired decor - think old maps and posters, a wall-mounted bicycle, and jars of dried pasta.
The staff at the new Farina a Legna ("farina" means flour and "a legna" means "with wood," - a nod to their wood-fired pizzas) say it's been busy non-stop since they opened, and it's easy to see why. The room is cozy and hums nicely with a meld of music and chatter, and the beautiful pizzas fresh out of the brick oven sit like beacons on raised stands at most tables. If you weren't in the mood for a slice or two before walking in the door, one glance at the pizza will change your mind in a flash.
The new restaurant comes from the partnership between the Giannakos Family of Revolver Coffee and the Kitchen Table Restaurants hospitality group that also owns and operates the original Pizzeria Farina (as well as spots like Pourhouse, Di Beppe, and Ask For Luigi). Leading the kitchen at Farina a Legna are Executive Chef Alessandro Vianello (Pourhouse) and Chef de Cuisine Jeffrey Tang (Pizzeria Farina), while on the floor Angela Dean (Ask For Luigi) is overseeing front-of-house operations as General Manager.
The menu features a lineup of antipasti, like tender meatballs nestled in marinara sauce, salads such as the burrata with roasted squash and pesto, along with pizzas, handmade pastas, meat mains, specials, and desserts. There are beers, Italian wines, house cocktails, and even Lambrusco - a sparkling red primarily from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, and a real treat to find on tap.
The pizzas and the pasta steal the show here, as you would hope. Showcasing classic flavour and topping combos, the pizzas have that beautiful bubbly-burnt crust and the sauce a standout bright and distinct pure tomato taste, with the perfect amount of cheese for that Instagram "cheese pull" boomerang. There are some add-on options, which is how I ended up tucking into a quattro formaggi (four cheese) with whole white anchovies.
If you follow Chef Vianello on Instagram, you might get a peek at what pasta is on special, which is how I knew I had to have a handmade ravioli panna e prosciutto (cream and ham), which was good to the last drop of sauce on the plate. Since you're already heading to carb heaven, make sure you get some of their fresh bread to sop up any other sauce or cheese from your plates of pasta or appetizers.
For dessert, fewer things put an exclamation point on a pizza and pasta feast like a little tiramisu. Here, it's creamy and coffee-forward, served up in a glass jar with as many spoons as you need for sharing. You're going to be very, very full.
Farina Pizza a Legna is located at 119 2nd Street East in North Vancouver.