Several months ago, my friend Jen insisted that I had to meet her at Why Not Italian? in Strathcona Square. Though it’s been there for probably 20 years, and is relatively conveniently located for me, I’d never actually been there. Well, once we went, it was easy to see why it’s been so successful. I liked it so much that I’ve already been back once, with my mother.
Is it super-gourmet Italian? No. But for those who like Chianti or Fiore, Why Not Italian? is a more upscale option on the west side of the city. It’s nicer than the chain Italian places, with dark wood and cloth tablecloths, but I’ve seen children there every time I’ve visited.
The menu is pretty standard, with a number of pasta, seafood, veal, and other meats choices. Mom got a good cross-section of those with her combination dish. The veal parmigiana was super tender, and covered in a flavourful tomato sauce. The fettucini alfredo wasn’t my favourite, as the sauce was separating a little bit, and the noodles a touch too firm for my taste, but the canneloni more than made up for it.
Of all the pastas, though – the penne a la vodka is queen. If fact, I’ve sampled less things than I should have over two trips to Why Not Italian, since it was so delicious when I had it on my first visit, I got it this second time, too. It’s a large portion (the leftovers reheat nicely, too!) with a creamy, spicier-than-usual sauce studded with visible pieces of garlic and ribbons of fresh basil. In fact, it’s become my number-one pasta craving lately.
If you’re looking for good-quality, unpretentious Italian food on the west side of the city, Why Not Italian’s got you covered. Be prepared though – those in the neighbourhood have kept it in business with their loyalty for good reason – you might need a reservation.
Why Not Italian?
156. 555 Strathcona Boulevard SW