It was Sunday, and the family and I could feel a ‘calling’ as the we packed into the station-wagon. The car seemed to be guided by a divine-power, as we came upon the glistening cathedral……and continued past. What was ‘calling’, was our stomach’s. It was 1:30pm and we hadn’t had lunch. We were being guided by the divine-culinary power of Commercial drive. Italian, was my mission, and the plan was Nicks Spaghetti House. My step-children in he back seat are horrified by any structure built before 2009, so when we pulled up to Nick’s, I heard a faint “please god can we not go here.” I guess it was time for plan B, but what? We continued up commercial drive, past 193 pizza joints (OK maybe only 190) with a plan of hanging a right and heading to Granville Island. Commercial Drive was home to oodles of eateries which would appeal to me, but I had others interests to consider.
I pulled up to a familiar little mall, with a parking spot right out front. I eased into the “rockstar” parking. I said to the crew, “I think there’s a good pizza place in there, called Lombardo’s”. I headed in by myself to check it out. It had been over 17 years since I had been there. Sure enough, looking modern (whew, it wouldn’t scare the children) and inviting, Lombardo’s was still there. I briefly chatted with two staff members and although there was no children’s menu, I treated the perfect parking spot as a good omen, and hauled the family inside.
It appeared that Lombardo’s had been recently re-modelled, and it was absolutely spotless. There were a few other groups enjoying a leisurely Sunday lunch, and I even saw a baby carriage at the other side of the room. Indeed, this was a family-friendly establishment. A few minutes after arriving, out server brought a few colouring books and crayons. My main concern with no children’s menu, is expense. Having to order from the main-menu for everyone, can make for a costly meal. Children’s menu’s as we all know, are smaller portions, and smaller prices. A few months ago we all went to Earl’s (which is rumoured to hate children) and our lunch bill was $120 (tip included) Earls, also has no children’s menu (or high-chairs, apparently).
Our waitress: Letizia (awesome name) was very accommodating and open to making suggestions. Six year old Jenna, ordered her usual, noodles tossed in butter and parmesan. She did want meatballs on top, but Lombardo’s doesn’t have them, which is strange for an Italian restaurant. We were told that the noodles are made in-house, which is always important. Nine year old Drayton ordered a medium pepperoni pizza (the smallest size available).
Samantha and I decided to split a full portion of pasta and a medium pizza. Letizia was quick to tell us that our pizza could be half/half to accommodate our own tastes. Samantha chose the Margherita for her half, and I chose #11, the Ai Due Formaggio (2 kinds of cheese, salami, ham, and mushrooms) for my half. We agreed upon the pasta dish, once Letizia explained what the Sacchetti noodle was. One option for Pasta’s at Lombardo’s is choosing a noodle out of 8 options, and a sauce out of 8 options. We chose the Sachetti, with Pasticciati Sauce. Drayton mentioned that his Shirley Temple, was a ten out of ten.
After our order I got up from the table and walked to the glass of the open kitchen, to check out the wood-fired pizza oven. The kitchen was spotless, and the pizza toppings looked fresh and of high quality. I snapped a few pictures (with permission) and even checked out the expo station, which was also gleaming and clean. Our food arrived a short while later, and looked fantastic. Our pasta noodles: The Sacchetti were perfectly cooked bulbs, filled with cheese. The sauce: Pasticciati, was a tomato cream sauce, with beef. I am a huge fan of generous amounts of sauce with my pasta and this didn’t disappoint. It will be hard for me not to order this pasta dish, the next time I am at Lombardo’s, which will be soon. My half of the pizza had a properly cooked crust, nice flavour and would hold-its own against any thin crust pizza in the city. Samantha loved her Margherita-half and was
impressed by the pasta. Drayton’s pepperoni pizza was a winner and I enjoyed the slice I stole from him, more than I did my own. Stolen food is always tastier. Jenna enjoyed her Spaghetti, and I was impressed with the unusually thick homemade spaghetti noodles.
The problem I now faced was that this was a near perfect dinning experience. A perfect dining experience can make for a yawner of a review. I mean our server did forget a round of waters I ordered, but she freely admitted she forgot when I asked again, and then offered a second apology when she brought them. That makes me like her more than I did before she forgot anything. I was mildly irritated that they charged $13 for Jenna’s plain noodles, but as for plain noodles, they were pretty good. Did they charge me for the Parmesan? Because there was a shaker full of it on the table. Our bill with tip came to $85. This was a fantastic Sunday lunch with my family and Lombardo’s exemplifies: flavour, quality, cleanliness, and service. My only suggestion would be to offer a few child-size pizza and pasta options.