Sunday 10 March 2013

Via Tevere Pizzeria

Tastiness factor: 9/10

Atmosphere: 4/5

Service: 3/5

Locavore approved? Not really the focus here- mostly imported Italian ingredients, only one local wine.

On Friday nights, my husband and I are often pretty tired after a long week at work and look forward to a quiet night in.  This past week has been exceptionally rough, as my husband has been away on business and we really have not seen much of each other.  Another compelling reason to stay home this Friday was to watch the season finale of our favorite show, Top Chef, that had come on last week after he had left.   What better excuse to stay home, relax and order pizza!

Over the past two years, ordering pizza has become a lot tougher of a decision than it once was.  But this is a good thing!  There are just too many good places to choose from and, as it turns out, more places than I even knew existed!  Our favorites have always included Farina, Novo and Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company (and of course, Nicli for dine-in).  I had originally planned to order from Farina (love their Funghi!) but, after doing a quick google search for "pizza Vancouver", I recalled some pizza joints that I had heard of but not yet tried (Famosa, Campagnola Roma) and even learned there were several that I had never even heard of (Via Tevere, Pizza Barberella).  After reading a few reviews calling it not only "best pizza in Vancouver" but also "best Italian in Vancouver", I knew I had to try Via Tevere.

The restaurant is located in the middle of a little neighborhood on Victoria Dr. which adds to its overall charm.  Just look for the Italian flag and you will know you are there.  The big line out front will also be a tip-off!  Inside is a quaint room, abuzz with customers happily enjoying their meals.  There is a bar at the side (where we sat and had our appie which waiting for our take-out pizzas) and then the big pizza oven at the back inside the open kitchen.  The atmosphere is fun and relaxed, and, true to Vancouver, a little "hipster".  The perfect setting for a Friday night.

Since we only ate in for our appetizer and drinks, I cannot really make a fair assessment of service.  I must say though that I did find the server behind the bar a little snarky with us.  He seemed quite annoyed that we requested drinks and an appetizer before ordering our pizzas to go, and then plopped the appie in front of us without explaining what was actually on the plate.  I get it, the place is busy, but this did leave me with a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

Fortunately, the food at Via Tevere was able to remedy any bad taste that was had.  We started off with drinks.  Their wine list is small with mostly European wines.  I ordered their only BC offering (a lovely Hatfield's Fuse by Blasted Church, one of my favorite Okanagan wineries), while my hubby, the driver, got a Coke (he gives them kudos for Coke in glass bottles!).   The appetizer was my hubby's pick as he was very hungry and needed a little nibble with our drinks.  I had read some good reviews about their Frittura Napoletana, a plate of fried Italian street food and this was right up his alley.  The components of the dish change up regularly.  On this particular night, it was composed of aracini (a ball of fried risotto), a croquette of potato and spinach risotto, a cube of fried pasta and a hearty piece of fried pizza dough.  On the side was a vibrant, fresh tomato sauce.  You have the option of an order "for one" or "for two"  but the "for one" order was plenty for us, especially as a prelude to two big pizzas.  The arancini was my favorite for sure (the risotto was delicious) and my husband liked, well, everything (it was deep fried after all).  This was a fun snack to have around the bar with a few drinks.

Frittura Napoletana

 It was then that we said "goodbye" to Via Tevere and headed home with our freshly baked pizzas, just out of their 90 second stint in the oven.  We drove home with haste in order to catch them at their freshest.  Fortunately, we were able to quickly find the finale of Top Chef on YouTube and sit down to our beautiful pies.  I ordered the Filetto, a white pizza (sauceless) topped with with San Marzano tomato fillets (long cuts of roma tomatoes), fior de latte, basil and garlic.  I also chose to add rapini and artichokes ($3 each).  If you love garlic, you MUST order this pizza.  The pieces of thinly-sliced garlic bulbs really shine in the absence of sauce and are nicely complemented by the basil.  The "fillets" of tomato give it a very fresh flavour, and I really enjoyed the addition of artichokes for a bit of saltiness.  My husband chose the Prosciutto E Rucola.  There was a very generous portion of salty prosciutto cut with a lovely tomato sauce and fior de latte, topped with a good mound of spicy arugula.  The pizza crust, which is really the "make or break" element for these Neapolitan pizzas, was perfect- slightly charred and with just the right amount of "chew" on the outside, and soft on the inside.  No soggy crust to be found!  There is no doubt that these guys earned their VPN certification!  Don't these make you salivate?

Prosciutto E Rucola

Via Tevere is yet another fabulous addition to the pizza scene explosion in Vancouver, making the pizza take-out night decision increasingly more difficult!  Via Tevere has certainly made the cut as one of our favorites and we will definitely go back soon.  If we are not feeling so lazy, we may eat in next time to really get the whole experience of the quaint neighborhood hotspot.  If you are a follower of the Vancouver pizza crave, I highly recommend branching out and adding Via Tevere to your repertoire.  The perfect combinations of toppings atop a perfect crust are sure to satisfy!

Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana on Urbanspoon

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