For fans of Italian cuisine, a new restaurant in downtown Courtenay has officially opened its doors.
Il Falcone, a new Italian eatery located at 536 Sixth Street, opened for the first time on Nov. 14.
Married couple Andre and Sian Durbach are the co-owners of the new business. The pair moved to the Valley a few months ago from Vancouver, where they previously managed three restaurants.
Andre Durbach said Il Falcone’s goal is to offer Comox Valley residents a culinary experience similar to what patrons can find in an Italian villa.
“When you go to Italy to eat, the food is always really local,” he said. “Everyone cooks very regionally. And when we came out here, we knew we wanted to do Italian food.
“We thought, what would an Italian do if he landed in the Comox Valley? So we decided to pretend the Comox Valley was like a region of Italy and that we’d cook like the Italians would, with the same sensibility.”
Although his training as a chef is in classically French cuisine, Durbach said Italian food has always been his favourite style to cook. As is customary in the Mediterranean, he said the restaurant’s focus will be on incorporating locally farmed or produced ingredients.
“Italian cuisine is very ingredient-driven and focused. What you do — if you’re a good cook — is find the best local ingredients, prepare them as simply as possible, and let your ingredients shine,” he said.
Long-time downtown goers in Courtenay will likely note that Il Falcone is located in the quaint yellow house that used to be home to Tita’s Mexican Restaurant. While they decided to keep the bright yellow exterior, the Durbachs worked throughout the summer to refurbish the building’s interior, which can seat about 30 patrons.
Sian Durbach said the building was part of what enticed her and her husband to buy the property.
“We’ve travelled quite a bit in Italy. You go into these tiny towns, and they’ve all got a restaurant. They’re always this beautiful, small-scale, family-run restaurant that is kind of tucked away. There was definitely a similar feel,” she said.
As an Italian restaurant, the Durbach’s said that Il Falcone will, of course, put a big focus on its wine list.
“Wine is just very important to Italian cuisine,” said Sian. “They just go together so well. There are so many wine varieties in Italy, and very small geographical areas have their own distinct varieties. They develop side by side with the cuisine.
“And it’s a very food-friendly style of wine,” she continued. “So, we’ve got a strong focus on a variety of Italian wines, We’ve divided the wine list into Northern, Central and Southern Italy. And of course, because we’re in B.C., we’ve got our own healthy wine industry, so we’ve cherry-picked our favourite B.C. wines to complement the Italian list.”
Il Falcone serves dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Lunch is served once a week on Sundays, noon to 4:00 p.m. For reservations or more information, call 250-871-7770 or go online at ilfalcone.ca or facebook.com/ilfalcone.