Greg Dilabio and Antoine Dumont
Oca Pastificio, Vancouver

Ask any artist (okay, at least any modern artist) what the most difficult task is and they will tell you it is drawing that perfect circle—anyone looking at it will know exactly where the mistakes are, because there’s no hiding space for error like you’ll find in shading or colouring. Which sort of makes Greg Dilabio the Titian of fresh pasta, Antoine Dumont the Bernini of the front of house, and their modestly sized Oca Pastificio the Uffizi of Commercial Drive—except that it’s easier to get into the Uffizi in July than it is to get into Oca, with its firm no-reservations policy and eight zillion people out there hankering for its wares.

Greg Dilabio and Antoine Dumont. Photo by Leila Kwok.
Greg Dilabio and Antoine Dumont. Photo by Leila Kwok.

The fuss over the spot comes from the lack of fuss—the pastas are made literally right in front of you by Dilabio, cooked just feet behind him, and then delivered to your table by Dumont and his small team in a relaxed choreography that’s a necessity in such a small room. The whole dance is accomplished with an air of the everyday, but one bite of Dilabio’s squash tortelli (one of the few staples on the ever-changing menu) and you’ll realize you’re in transformative territory here.

Food for Thought with Greg and Antoine

What’s the most useless tool in the kitchen?

The melon baller.

You can only have one cookbook for the rest of your life: what is it?

Ratio by Michael Ruhlman.

A killer bottle of wine under $40?

Ferrari Trento for the bubbles.

THE WHOLE STORY: Introducing Western Living’s 2022 Foodies of the Year