A Bee-view of the Drive – Marcello’s Pizzeria & Ristorante

by admin - October 20th, 2012.
Filed under: Commercial Drive Restaurant Reviews. Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , .

One of our most recommended restaurants on “the Drive”, Marcello’s Pizzeria is easy to review. This very popular family style Italian restaurant is, fortunately for us, within easy walking distance of our little Vancouver B&B. When Michael & I crave a little bit of comfort food, one of our first thoughts would be “lunch at Marcello’s”.  Big, open and definitely noisy, this is not a place to go for a quiet romantic dinner. But if all you want is good food, good service and a warm and friendly atmosphere, you can’t go too wrong with Marcello’s.  They also have a lovely patio which is a  very popular spot on summer evenings.  We’ve been so busy that I am behind on writing up the blog, but we were lucky enough to get a great spot on the patio a few weeks ago when we dropped in with some relatives for dinner (especially lucky because we were still in the midst of that amazing Fall weather that blessed Vancouverites until only a few days ago, so the patio was lovely!).

We must admit to having fallen into a bit of a routine with our visits to Marcello’s.  Michael & I almost always order a chef’s salad ($9.95), which is so satisfying you almost forget you’re eating salad!  The ingredients are not unusual – Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, ham, artichokes, black olives, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, but it’s the dressing that is yummy.  I try to figure out the recipe every time I go there!  We usually team it up with a Capricciosa pizza ($14.95 for medium, which is lots for 2 people sharing/$28.95 for large) – tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, salami, artichokes, black olives and mushrooms (basically, the chef’s salad turned into a pizza!).  We’ve gone there for staff dinners more than once, so between us and our staff have probably tried most of their pasta & gnocchi dishes as well. All were well received and whenever we plan a get together, many of our staff vote to go to Marcello’s. The restaurant is fun and relaxed and the food is good.  Just one word of caution – if you’re looking for a posh or elegant Italian restaurant, this is not it. We once made the mistake of recommending it to a guest who wanted to take some co-workers out for dinner. We didn’t realize he wanted to treat them to a  big splash, i.e. impressive, dinner and he was, unfortunately, quite disappointed in our recommendation. So, yes – if you’re looking for that kind of experience, go downtown to somewhere like Cin Cin.

Looking at Marcello’s website was interesting. It seems that owner and chef, Marcello Lombardo is originally from Palermo, Italy and he owned a restaurant on the Adriatic Riviera before moving to Vancouver more than 25 years ago. The website also mentions that all of the pasta and gnocchi are made daily in house. Rich Italian heritage and home cooking – two excellent ingredients of great food!

After writing of our own experience up to this point, I took at look at the reviews. Hmmm – interesting. UrbanSpoon 3 1/2 stars, Yelp 3 stars, DineHere only 2 1/2 stars – yikes! We obviously are missing something!  Many of the negative reviews appear to be about service, but some also didn’t like the food. We have experienced slow service at Marcello’s but I can’t say that’s been the norm and I don’t recall ever having an unfriendly waiter. They can be really busy, often there’s a lineup, so wait & kitchen staff no doubt have to hustle to keep up and that could definitely lead to some service issues. Perhaps living in the neighborhood makes a difference for us as we rarely go there when it’s really busy, more often dropping in for lunch or an early dinner. If we do go at peak time, we know we will be packed in a little closer than we might like, that service may require a little patience (and a bottle of wine) and that it definitely will be noisy (energetic?).  Yet we keep going back and, other than the one fellow looking for a special night out, have not had any guests less than pleased with their experience at Marcello’s.  I only recently started checking out Zagat reviews and they are showing 93% of their reviewers “like it”, so there you go – one can often find an opinion that agrees with yours if you keep looking!