The Great Pizza Search
Many people know that Tara’s two favorite food groups are pizza and popcorn. Pizza is great in restaurants and to go while popcorn is a great dinner when I need to make it myself in a hurry. Until this week my favorite restaurant pizzas were from Nook on Denman and Inferno on Alexander with an honorable mention going to Bellagio on Hornby. I have now found some new favorites. Last week we went to Al Porto Ristorante on Water Street for dinner (see previous blog) and the wood oven pizza with the sauce and dough made in house was terrific. A few days later we met our Aunt and Uncle for lunch on Commercial Drive. They picked Marcello Pizzeria and Ristorante because they had been there several times before for the great pizza and thought that we would enjoy it as well.

Commercial Drive
We took the skytrain from Burrard and Dunsmuir to the Commercial/Broadway station. Having only ridden the Canada Line in the last year the old trains are definitely in need of an upgrade. The restaurant was about a 10 block walk from the station but since we are rarely on Commercial Drive it was a nice walk and we picked out stores to stop at in our way back.

Marcello Pizzeria and Ristorante
The dining area is very spacious with large windows looking out onto Commercial Drive (or The Drive). An enormous wood burning oven in the shape of the Sun God is the centerpiece of the room. The décor is more Italian café style than dining room; relaxed and laid back. Restaurant owner and chef, Marcello Lombardo was born in Palermo, Italy. He owned a restaurant on the Adriatic Riviera before moving to Vancouver, where he’s been serving authentic classic Italian dishes for over twenty-five years. The restaurant is open at 11am daily for lunch and dinner.

Food and Wine
The menu has a good selection of zuppe, insalata, antipasta, seafood and pasta but is most know for its pizza. The wine is list extensive and filled with mainly Italian choices. We started with an Affettato Misto Antipasta platter of salame, proscuitto, pancetta and ham with foccacia and a Pomodoro E Cipolla salad. The platter was a very large potion and good for sharing between 3 or 4 as an appetizer (even though the menu recommends it for two). The tomato salad was covered in a chunky gorgonzola dressing, and I mean covered. It was very tasty but might have been a bit too much given the richness and strong flavor. Then it was on to the pizzas – two pizzas and one calzone actually. The medium pizza which is sliced into 6 pieces is definitely enough for two to share; as is the medium calzone which actually appeared a bit larger than the medium pizza. The crust was thin and perfectly cooked; crispy and flavorful. The sauce was also delicious. I said this in my previous blog but it still amazes me how such a small amount of sauce could have so much flavor. With more than 20 varieties of pizza to choose from a few visits will be necessary to find a favorite. Both the ones we tried were delicious.

Fratelli Authentic Italian Bakery
On the way back to the skytrain station we stopped for a few items along the way. For some reason green, red and yellow peppers are significantly cheaper in this part of Vancouver so a few made it into our shopping bag. A stop at La Grotta Del Fromaggio was a must but the selection was not overly impressive this day. It was Fratelli Bakery that got most of our attention. Since we were too full from the fabulous pizza and carrying half of it in a box on the way home we decided on a Nanaimo bar and a couple of Canolis to take home for dessert a bit later. They actually ended up being part of dinner and were so rich and so delicious that we now need to find more reasons to head to Commercial Drive this summer.