about us

Welcome to acquafarina, Vancouver’s Michelin Guide recommended fine-dining destinations in the heart of downtown. Here, we redefine Italian cuisine with old-world elegance and a modern twist, offering an exquisite culinary experience made to be remembered.

Nestled on West Georgia Street, acquafarina stands as a culinary anchor, just steps away from BC Place, Rogers Arena, and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The restaurant itself is a collection of beautifully designed spaces catering to every dining mood.

Experience all-season outdoor dining in The Terrace with a retractable roof that opens up in the summertime, allowing guests to dine beneath the stars. Step into our Main Dining room with vaulted ceilings creating a cathedral-like atmosphere, custom chandeliers and a collection of lockers for clients who wish to store precious bottles stretched from floor to ceiling.

Through a small door, just past the service station is a private stairwell with graffiti celebrating iconic Italian figures from Italian film and fiction to coincide with our modern edge. Up these stairs you will find our Private Dining area that seats 25, complete with its own 8 person copper bar and a collection of custom artwork and family photographs.  From this vantage point you can see Pinocchio; his wooden visage watches over the restaurant’s entrance. In addition to this, guests can step onto a Juliet balcony, offering a panoramic view of the remarkable 5,000-bottle wine cellar that extends over two stories.

the food

We specialize in modern Italian cuisine made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. The menu is a collection of reinterpreted classics and entirely new creations. Dining at acquafarina is an artful experience and dishes are designed to entice both the eyes and the appetite. Even the pizzas are works of creativity, combining luxury ingredients with classic techniques. Pastas and bread are all made in house daily and features change with the seasons. Each dish on the menu is designed to excite, to delight and most importantly, to be remembered.

the bar

Inventive cocktails from Bar Director Barry Jackson never disappoint. Whether a riff on a classic or entirely new, cocktails at acquafarina are an event. Gorgeous stemware and a selection of some of the world’s finest alcohols make the bar at acquafarina in a class of its own. The stunning copper bar top, which seats ten, is one of the anchors of the restaurant, an ideal spot for an afterwork drink, pre-show aperitif or late night indulgence.

Jefferson Alvarez

culinary director

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Jefferson Alvarez knew he wanted to be a chef from a young age. Born in Venezuela and later raised in Canada he spent much of his time experimenting with international cuisines. Like many young chefs he trained in some of the world’s best kitchens: El Poblet Quique Dacosta and Arzak in Spain, Morimoto in Philadelphia and Canoe in Toronto. He credits El Poblet Quique Dacosta and Arzak for teaching him to think outside the box and Anthony Walsh of Canoe for introducing him to fine dining and encouraging him to travel to gain international experience. 

After years of harvesting knowledge and experience from renowned restaurants, he decided it was time to get back to his roots and create something of his own. While in Europe he had learned of the emerging food scene in Vancouver and took a chance to embrace yet another new challenge and create his own identity. Jefferson has been named one of the most daring and innovative chefs in Vancouver by the top food critics. 

He is perhaps most well known for his restaurant Cacao, where he offered inventive cuisine based on his Latin roots, or for his culinary achievements at Secret Location where he once cooked 300 different dishes in 30 days. 

At Acquafarina, Chef Alvarez continues to push the boundaries of what is possible with his cuisine, focusing on creating dishes that are works of art, offering guests the opportunity to experience flavours and techniques they may not have previously seen or tasted. He has a deep-rooted connection with Italian cuisine and  continuously travels to Italy. It’s here, amidst the enchanting landscapes, bustling markets and restaurants that Alvarez refines his skills, discovers hidden gems, and bonds with his fellow chef.

Paolo Cattaneo

chef de cuisine

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Meet Paolo Cattaneo, the accomplished Chef de Cuisine at acquafarina in Vancouver. Hailing from Como, Italy, Paolo’s culinary journey started in the picturesque landscapes of his hometown. Trained in Como, he developed a deep appreciation for the culinary arts. Paolo’s career soared when he interned at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Italian Alps, immersing himself in the world of haute cuisine. London beckoned next, where he contributed his culinary expertise to the acclaimed Oblix in The Shard, expanding his culinary repertoire.

A pivotal moment in Paolo’s journey was his involvement in EXPO MILANO 2015, collaborating with global culinary visionaries. His lifelong passion for food, rooted in his childhood, continues to drive him to explore flavors worldwide. At the heart of Paolo’s work in hospitality is daily interaction with a diverse array of people. Each encounter is an opportunity to share stories, create lasting memories, and introduce guests to the rich tapestry of flavors he’s uncovered throughout his culinary journey.

As Chef de Cuisine at acquafarina, Paolo thrives in Vancouver’s vibrant culinary scene. Here, he seamlessly blends traditional Italian techniques with global inspirations, creating unforgettable dining experiences that reflect the city’s multicultural ambiance. Paolo Cattaneo, a culinary virtuoso with an unwavering passion, elevates the art of cuisine at acquafarina, captivating taste buds and hearts alike.

Barry Jackson

bar director

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Barry Jackson began his hospitality career at just fifteen years old and since then has worked behind the wood at some of the top restaurants in Vancouver including Elisa, Blue Water and Gotham.

He begins his creations by first deciding which spirits he wants to play with, then carefully considers what the kitchen is using in an effort to craft cocktails that best reflect the seasons and spirit of the menu. It’s a system that has served him well; in his twenty years as a bartender he has created over 800 original cocktails (yes, he has them all written down) and he doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon, not when the team at acquafarina are so supportive of the out-of-the-box and unusual flavour combinations he develops.

Take for example his Division Bell cocktail inspired by the classic caprese salad, created with mezcal, tomato infused aperol, caffo maraschino liqueur and finished with lime and basil oil, an utterly unique take on a classic Italian dish, designed to be imbibed alongside the luxurious pizzas and pastas on the Acquafarina menu.

In fall seasons he’ll play with porcini mushroom infused gin, and on his off days you’ll find him wandering the aisles at the nearby T&T market in his constant pursuit of new and adventurous flavours and ingredients.

Oli Bureau

operations director

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Oli Bureau grew up in Quebec City where his passion for food began at a young age thanks to his mother, who would create from scratch the stews, sugar pies and fondues they would enjoy as a family. His appreciation for wine came from his father, who embraced French wine while completing a doctorate in France and loved sharing his passion with his son.

After moving to Whistler, BC, Oli spent six years at the legendary Bearfoot Bistro as General Manager and Wine Director where he led the team through the Olympic Games in 2010. From there he went on to be the General Manager of Market by Jean Georges in Vancouver, then, following some time off to bond with his newborn daughter, he was brought on to assist the wine program at Cioppino’s, where he acted as sommelier for four and a half years. He would next move over to Tableau Bar and Bistro as General Manager.

In August of 2020 he joined the social corner group as Director of Operations, where he is excited to be working on new concepts while mentoring his exceptional service team.

Caleb Quinton

development director

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Caleb was born and raised in Vancouver BC. His passion for food started at a young age, cooking with Grandma and squeezing fresh juice with Grandpa. His passion for the hospitality industry grew as he got older starting in the kitchen at Umbertino’s at the young age of 13 working nights and weekends while in the hospitality career prep program in high school.

When Caleb turned 16 he joined the Spectra group that owned Milestones and started in the dish area and worked his way up to Sous Chef at 18 then Chef at 19. Caleb went on to help open new Milestones in Kirkland Washington, Whistler and West Vancouver. Caleb stepped away from restaurants for a few years, though still doing catering jobs on the side, and getting his real estate license.

The hospitality industry was always a priority and he joined Cactus Club Restaurants where he spent 10 years managing, developing and helping new store openings in Metro Vancouver and Toronto Ontario. He joined The Social Corner Group in June 2023 as the Director of Development.