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Via Tevere, Main Street

You might not know the name, but I am sure you recognize this pizza parlour tucked away on a quiet street in the Commercial Drive area. Catching your eye is their food truck and branded VW beetle with its sunshine logo. This long standing institution is known for their authentic, thin crust Neapolitan-inspired pizza and now they have a second location on South Main to serve their loyal customers.

We were invited down, along with friends and family before they opened mid May. Their new home has taken over the former Pizzeria Grano and they have given the space a clean and rustic aesthetic, echoing the design details of their original East Van location. The dining room will offer seating for 32 inside, plus an additional 24 outdoor seats available on the sidewalk upfront and on their curb side patio.

Their rustic menu includes fresh salads and antipasti bites, plus more than a dozen Neapolitan-style pizzas. The latter are all prepared with “hand-stretched dough topped with a base of pomodoro (red sauce), bianca (olive oil), or alla panna (cream sauce). Guests can choose from a range of signature pizzas that feature authentic Italian toppings such as San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte, prosciutto crudo, capicollo, salame, rapini and much more.” (As taken from the press release).

As “homage to the former occupant of the restaurant space, the Via Tevere Main Street menu will also feature a few modern plant-based pizzas from Pizzeria Grano.”

The weather permitted so we were seated outside, shaded. However, made sure to sneak inside to watch our pizzas being topped and baked to order.

We started with some sparkling before transitioning to classic Italian cocktails. They also have “espresso-based drinks, and a curated beverage program highlighting Italian and local B.C. wines and craft beers. There are also classic Italian cocktails and after-dinner digestivos such as Amari, Grappe, and Limoncello.

The Campari Soda gave me flavours of orange blossom, liquorice, and oddly cinnamon.

The Spritz Rossa on the other hand was floral in nature and fairly medicinal. Not for most.

Next round we went with a glass of their house red and white wine. Both poured to the rim of a water tumbler, as per Italian tradition.

For appetizers we shared a plate of their homestyle meatballs in tomato sauce. I am typically not a fan of meatballs as I find most dry. These on the other hand were moist, with the chunky salsa- like tomato sauce only furthering this. Great as is, but better with the garlic knots below. Or better yet, made miniature and put onto its own pizza.

The Garlic Knots are hand tied knots of dough baked then drizzled in olive oil, garlic, parsley, grana padano, and house-made marinara. A delicious filler, but in hindsight, we should have saved more stomach space for the pizzas.

The Caprese was our healthy vegetable dish. Equal sized slices of tomato to fresh mozzarella. Dressed in a lemon-almond-caper vinaigrette, with basil and virgin olive oil; served with a side of arugula. Nothing unique to them, just as simple and clean palate refresher for us.

As for pizzas we went with pies that had stand out ingredients. Each came unsliced, and equipped with large shears we had the ability to dictate how large or small we wanted our slices.

Capricciosa with tomato, fior di latte, prosciutto cotto, salame, artichokes, mushrooms, and olives. It was like a fine Italian deluxe pizza. A similar flavour profile of meaty, salty, and earthy like an all dressed pizza, except it was soggy ant the centre. Heavy and dense, the thin crispy crust couldn’t carry it. And as a result this is the one we liked the least. The crust is the best part here, and this pizza didn’t capture that.

The Ortolana is their vegetarian pizza and the one that we all surprisingly unanimously liked the most. San marzano tomato fillets, fior di latte, garlic, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and oregano. The roasted veggies is what made this a top notch pizza that I would order again when I return.

I had high hopes for their mushroom pizza, but I found it flat and salty, overwhelmed by the amount and flavour of the cured meat. Some neutral fruit like cantaloupe or lemon zest would have helped to add some acidity and balance. Prosciutto E Funghi with tomato, fior di latte, prosciutto crudo, and mushrooms. This would have had been better suited as a white cream sauce pizza with various mushrooms and a sprinkling of bacon bits instead.

The Pizza Gatto was our cream based pick. Cream, fior di latte, prosciutto cotto, whipped potato (with parsley), black pepper, and grana padano. It was basically mashed potatoes on a thin crust pizza. We used the table side chilli oil for all our slices, but especially this one, it was flat and one tonal with out it.

I also really liked the Tricolore with fior di latte, ricotta, son marzano tomato, basil, walnut pesto, and grana padano. This was similar to a margarita pizza as both are clean and light with herbal notes. It is dawning in me that simple is best and more isn’t necessarily more when it comes to Neapolitan-inspired pizzas.

And for dessert they kept it classic Italian with Tiramisu made in house. Layers of coffee drenched lady fingers topped with silky mascarpone cream. My table mates felt it could have been more moist with the ladyfinger better soaked through.

And they also have cannolis with in house made shells, ricotta filling, and a rotating flavour. This afternoon cannolis was a refreshing tart ricotta lemon and a roasted pistachio sweetened in honey. The latter was better suited as a decadent dessertt. This we preferred, especially the wafer shell.

In short, I glad to have a second location of this long serving popular pizza restaurant. So that now when you have a craving for their quality ingredients over a crispy thin crust, that won’t leave you feeling heavy, you can now choose the location most convenient for you.

Via Tevere Main Street
3240 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3M5
(604) 876-5408

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