Before the numerous “authentic” Neapolitan pizza joints arrived in Vancouver, the best pizza places in town were (arguably) Lombardo’s and Marcello’s on Commercial Drive. Lombardo’s is inside the Il Mercato shopping center on the corner of Commerical and East 1st Avenue.
Lombardo’s isn’t certified neapolitan, but it’s pretty close, and darn good.
We started with Tuscan Salad
This is a salad of leaf lettuce and arugula, with candied pecans, fresh slices of goat cheese, grape tomatoes, dried cranberries. It’s drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil drizzled and a balsamic reduction. This is a really good salad. The greens are fresh and crisp. The tomatoes are ripe, and sweet, and the goat cheese is soft and creamy. The pecans provided some sweetness, the cranberries some tartness, and the balsamic dressing some extra tartness and sweetness.
We also order a healthy plate of Frittura di Calamari
Okay, yeah…. not healthy, but oh so yummy. This is tender squid dredged in seasoned flour and deep-fried to a light crisp, served with a large cup of tzaziki sauce. It came with a couple of wedges of foccaccia. It’s really good calamari. The squid is tender and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, while the batter is lightly crisp. The tzaziki sauce is thick and creamy and garlicky.
And we had a medium Salsiccia Pizza
This is a hand stretched pizza shell topped with crushed roma tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, onions, green peppers, Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese. This is really good pizza. It’s thin and light, with a nice crisp texture around the edges and a slightly soft center (as neopolitan pizza’s usually are). The crust sported some decent leoparding on the underside, and the toppings were fresh and cooked to just the right doneness. The sausage is mild, and the pizza probably could use a shot of spiciness.
This happened on Italian Day on Commercial drive. At such a busy festival, just about every Italian eatery had long line ups, and Lombardo’s was no exception. Moreover, they remove a number of tables, and replaced them with long benches and folding chairs to increase the seating capacity. As such the seating was very cramped. It was hard to move around or get in or out of the chairs. The dining room is (aside from the crowding issue) warm and pleasant, with a lot of natural earth tones.
And being so very busy, the service was friendly, but quite slow.