Okay folks, if love, romance, and most importantly pizza pies is what you’re after – look no further because Commercial Drive is your answer.
Nothing screams amore more than Italy and here in Vancouver, Commercial Drive is our “Little Italy”. And what more could you ask for in a Little Italy? Plenty of pizza shops, gelato joints, fruit market grocery stores, and coffee shop sports bars filled with old pervy Italian men who give off a slightly seedy vibe – this neighbourhood pretty much nails Italy.
On the hunt for pizza on a Saturday night, BoyToy and I decide to make the trek to our Italy to scavenge some authentic pizza. With so many Italian ristorantes lining The Drive, it’s almost difficult to choose one but we finally stumble our way from the rain into Marcello’s Pizzeria and Ristorante.
This is mainly due to the fact that I’m attracted to shiny things and with Marcello’s big blazing red sign and bright indoor lighting, I didn’t stand a chance. I’m even more pleasantly surprised to enter a spacious restaurant with high ceilings, massive windows, and a ginormous pizza oven in the shape of a sun – THE SHAPE OF THE SUN.
Versatility is Marcello’s strength. With it’s warm, bustling atmosphere and the mediterranean touches like the gate at the entrance, it manages to strike a bizarre balance between being both ideal for romantical date nights and for family dinners where annoying children are present.
This versatility also extends to the menu because it not only features the typical pastas and pizzas, but also poultry and seafood dishes. After ten minutes of intense, moderately heated debate, we ordered grilled calamari and a medium contadina pizza.
The grilled calamari arrived first with colourful bell peppers and a piece of focaccia bread, which the gluten monster in me is always ecstatic to see. Tossed in an olive oil coating, there is an ample amount of squid that is all cooked tenderly. For the most part, the dish is well seasoned but I would have appreciated more of a zesty lemon flavour that would help cut the slightly oily taste of the olive oil coating.
No matter though because once I get my hands on some balsamic vinegar – problem solved. Despite the fact that a torrential downpour is essentially happening as we eat, the fresh veg and grilled aspects of this dish not only make this a refreshing antipasti option to a pizza dinner but also make me yearn (that’s right, I said yearn) for those warm summer nights where the wine is plentiful and free flowing.
Pizzas at Marcello’s come in medium and large sizes. At first glance at the large pizza belonging to our neighbours, I instantly knew we had made a mistake ordering the medium. Rookie mistake, Meg. In life, when large pizzas are an option, that opportunity should always be seized.
Our contadina pizza with fresh mozzarella came with tomato sauce, ham, salami, green peppers, and mushrooms. A pizza with a decent thin crust and a nice amount of fresh toppings, I would have enjoyed a bit more flavour. We attempted the fresh mozzarella for an additional fee and I would have liked to see more cheese. Going forward, I will just be getting the regular (no extra charge) mozzarella, possibly with the addition of pesto which will hopefully help with the flavour situation.
To help with the flavour tonight, I decided to compensate by adding both tobasco sauce and srirchachaachchachachacha sauce to my pizza. This is always a good choice to make when on a lovely and romantic date because if you, like me, are an expert at going on dates, you will likely end up that person in the corner of the restaurant with beads of sweat rolling down your face while you blink hard to fight back tears all while profusely claiming you’re fine just a little too loudly.
In the name of sweat, tears, but also romance, would I return?
Where others may fail in the ambience category, Marcello really nails it with his quality date environment. With average prices, our two dishes and two drinks came to just over fifty dollars, making this a feasible date night option. This combined with their lovely seafood antipasti dishes, large pizzas, and most importantly its proximity to Dolce Amore gelato shop all make a repeat customer of this sweaty girl.