A Bee-View of the Drive – Via Tevere Pizzeria Napolitanaby admin - February 8th, 2013
One of the great things about operating a Vancouver B&B in the Commercial Drive neighborhood is that we have such a wonderful array of restaurants to choose from and new ones pop up almost every week. Via Tevere Pizzeria has been getting such rave reviews ever since it opened that it seemed imperative that we include it in our restaurant reviews as soon as possible, even though it’s not exactly on Commercial Drive. It is, however, very conveniently located at 1190 Victoria Drive, only two blocks from the Bee & Thistle. This wonderful little pizza restaurant has actually been open since March, 2012, but it’s been so popular and there have always been such big lineups that we have simply not had the time to give it a try. Many of our guests have brought us back rave reviews, though, sometimes going back several times during a short 3 or 4 day stay with us. We did have one guest recently who wasn’t a fan, but food is such a personal choice that there will never be one restaurant that is right for everyone. That’s ultimately a good thing, of course, or the vibrant and always changing restaurant scene in Vancouver would not exist! Fortunately for us, our pace at the Bee & Thistle is a little slower in the winter months so we finally found an evening to stop in and find out what everyone is raving about!
We popped into the pizzeria on a Thursday evening, right after they opened at 5:00, and were fortunate to get there before the lineup had started, so that would be our first recommendation – go early and preferably on a week night. The restaurant was almost full but we managed to find a table and were happy to be inside the warm and welcoming little restaurant with the wonderful smells of pizza cooking and the sounds of happy chatter. We are still trying to get back into our pre-Christmas jeans, so we were not very extravagant in our food choices, finally settling for one Capricciosa pizza between us – the most expensive pizza on the menu at $19.00. While waiting for our food and drinks, we chatted with our neighbors at nearby tables and ogled their food. The appetizer call “frittura napolitana” looked particularly appealing – we will definitely have to try those yummy looking fritters next time! One couple with a small child told us that they frequently find themselves dropping by at Via Tevere, as it’s become their “go to” eatery in the neighborhood.
Via Tevere’s website tells the charming story of how this little pizzeria came to be. Apparently, the family originated in a small palazzo on a street in the heart of Naples called Via Tevere. Lucky them, they spent many summers on Via Tevere and learned the secrets of the traditional wood-fire cooking method and Neopolitan ingredients. Lucky us, we get to experience a little bit of their summers in Italy by popping into our neighborhood pizzeria!
Our pizza arrived and was definitely not a disappointment. Very thin with crispy crust and loaded with generous amounts of proscutto, salami, artichokes, mushrooms and olives – delicious! Our only regret was that we didn’t toss those pre-Christmas jeans in the trash and order two pizzas! However, in the end we agreed that we were really quite satisfied with half a pizza each and any more would only have been because we didn’t want to stop eating!
One of the marvelous things about a neighborhood like Commercial Drive is that your neighbors at the next table are also your neighbors who live only a few streets away from your house, so each dining experience where you are able to chat with the family at the next table is also an experience in building community. We feel so blessed to living in the small community called “the Drive”, even as we live in a relatively big, worldly city. We can choose to remain near our neighborhood and feel like we live in a small town, or we can be downtown in 5 or 10 minutes and at the heart of the hussle and bustle of the shopping and business community! The second benefit of owning a B&B in a small neighborhood like the Drive is that many of our guests are here to visit their children and/or grand children in the neighborhood so we get to know more and more of our neighbors as we are host and hostess to their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters.
But, back to our comments regarding Via Tevere Pizzeria. One of the things we particularly appreciated about Via Tevere, besides the food and the very pleasant wait staff, is their efforts to retain the heritage character of their building. If you approach the restaurant from the south, you will be delighted by the wonderful, faded mural on the exterior wall that is a legacy of an earlier era. Since we chose to open our B&B in a heritage house, it’s pretty easy to guess that we like historic buildings, and this one tells a wonderful little story of Commercial Drive history.
As usual, we couldn’t finish a review without checking out the standard review sites, 83% of Urban Spoon reviewers like Via Tevere, and Yelpers rate it four stars. As for us, we definitely liked it a lot – the food was delicious and the lively, friendly atmosphere was fun. We will be going back at our very first opportunity, as well as recommending it to our guests. We also notice on their website that there are some intriguing little tweets about the t.v. show “You Gotta Eat Here”. Could it be that we will see some of Via Tevere’s inside secrets on an upcoming show of this Canadian t.v. series?