Tags: Italian · Restaurant · Vanier

Foods from Pizarro's


2015 Dec 18
We stopped in here while our car was getting repaired nearby. Something about this weather has me craving tomato based Italian foods. I ended up going for the house salad and rigatoni. It was really old school and a tasty salad. Nothing fancy about the salad with iceberg, radish, red onion and green pepper tossed with a simple vinaigrette. The rigatoni with house made meat sauce was the standard back in the day and just as satisfying as I remember it. If you want simple Italian food as you remember it, this might be just the place.

2011 Apr 9
Had dinner at Pizaro's last night. We have been here a few times and like it better each time. We were 3 people and started with an order of fried zuchinni. While this seemed like a time warp it was absolutelu perfectly prepared. Not grasy at all and served with a zippy little diping sauce.

We then shared a caesar. I would call this good, but not great. I guessing they arent making their own dressing.

For our mains = My husband had the Spaghetti carbonarra, our fried had a combo plate (lasagna, chicken parmasan, canelonni and something else, and I had the veal piccata. All were excellent.

My veal was nice and lemmony and fork tender and came with a side of bow tie pasta in an alfredo sauce. Husband's carbonarra was perfect, creamy and smoky from the bacon - just delish. Our friend enjoyed his combo very much too.

The service was exceptional. We had a very young waitress but she seemed really experienced, so much so that we all commented on that and made a point of jacking up the tip and telling the owner.

The bill for 3 people with a very big quantity of wine (1.5l) was $120 before tip.

We love this place - a real hidden gem. Not trendy or elegantly appointed but delish! Reservations are essential on weekends!

2010 Jan 7
They closed over the holidays and have revonated the place. I haven't gone to check it out yet, but early reviews are that it's quite nice :)

2008 Oct 19
Foodlover - Now that I think about it, and reflect back on my previous 2 Reviews (August & February) I think you got it absolutely right. This place could benefit from one of those Restaurant Makeovers. (Not necessarily a professional one, although that would be nice, they could just become aware and do an in-house makeover and that would be an improvement).

I can live with the decor (ala mamma's kitchen) but they could improve the temperature control (you were too chilly in October, I was freezing in the front room in February each time the front door opened, and August was downright muggy). The food obviously is working for them... not much to do on that front, just a couple of tweeks here and there. BUT where they really need a makeover is in the Service department. For some reason they just don't communicate well to their guests why the delay(s)... for us it became a big turn-off.

As I said in my last Review they have to step up their game to stay competitive, afterall there are so many new Italian places sprouting and people are just gonna otherwise pass them by. And unfortunately they won't know what hit them until they find themselves on the downside.

2008 Oct 19
Decided last night to give this place a try. I have heard good things about it and it always seems busy. We walked in, just 2 of us, and the place was packed. I said we didn't have a reservation but we wouldn't mind waiting. A couple who had a deuce heard us and told the server they were leaving soon and that we could have their table. Sweet! So while we waited at the bar, we ordered 2 Peroni's (Italian beer) and waited. When we got our table, it took the server about 10-15 to get to us. Wasn't bothered yet at this point since I felt this could be a good sign, given so many people were here, the food must be good. People still came streaming in, some with reservations, some without. It was a bit chilly sitting near the door though!

We first wanted to order the bruschetta minus the anchovies but she said they were already mixed in so we opted for some cheesy garlic bread to start. We were sooo hungry. The wait for the appetizers and the meal did not help our hunger. Service was sllloooowww at best. By the time we ordered our mains and got them, we were actually annoyed at the snail's pace of our server. I mean, it was busy yes, but I thought a good server could have definitely handled it and at least came over and apologized. Maybe it was the kitchen's fault as well?? I don't know. Anyway, for our mains, I ordered the Alla Ariabiata (sp?) which was mushrooms in a spicy tomato sauce. The bf ordered the manicotti special which was stuffed with spinach and cheese. His was good, although a little bland. It came with a little salad to start as well...nothing special. Mine was really spicy but I'm almost positive the few mushrooms in it were from a CAN!!! Unacceptable IMO.

So with 4 beers, 1 app, and 2 mains, the bill came to just under $62 before tip. I think this place could benefit from one of those restaurant makeover shows...it DOES have potential...people obviously go there for a reason but I just thought it could use a boost. I'm willing to give it another try, maybe....

2008 Aug 28
We went here with a group of friends back in July. We were the first to arrive, and although we were early by about 10 minutes, we received a friendly greeting by the hostess, who said they were expecting our group and she led us to the reserved table. Our server dropped by to welcome us, and offer us a drink while we waited. “The Man” ordered a cocktail, and I had a Caesar. When the waiter returned in addition to our drinks, he brought glasses of ice water with a lemon slice (always a nice touch).

Within a couple of minutes, the rest of our party arrived. Our table was assigned two servers, the aforementioned gentleman who I believe is one of the owners, and a very nice girl in her twenties. It was a very hot night, and the “back room” where we were seated had very poor air circulation (unless your table was under a ceiling fan – ours wasn’t). After everyone arrived and their drinks were served, it was down to the business of ordering food.

“The Man” and I decided to share an order of Calamari. It was presented with a lemon wedge, but alas no cocktail sauce. It was tasty, but I did miss the usual accompaniment.

We ordered a carafe of the Red House Wine – nothing special. (And as an aside, I found it odd that this restaurant has such tiny wine glasses, we are talking 1950s style wine glasses that hold about 3 ounces). Pizzarro’s has a rather extensive menu that features a variety of Italian dishes in the Veal – Chicken – Pasta and Mains categories. Shortly after 8:00 PM we ordered our mains. “The Man” chose the Grilled Combo, a plate that featured Chicken, Veal, Italian Sausage and Grilled Veggies. I ordered the daily special, Lasagna. My meal came with a starter House Salad which was comprised of Iceberg Lettuce, Cucumber, Radish Slices, Grated Carrot and some Onion, it was topped off with an Oil & Vinegar Dressing.

Our Server (the girl) brought us warm buns, and was attentive to our water glasses. The gentleman who mostly worked the other end of the table, seemed to be not so attentive to the other guests, and there was an air of attitude. By 9:00 PM, I was getting restless… there was still no sign of our mains. I was distinctly under the impression that the gentleman server (owner?) was “working” our table so that we’d order more alcohol.

Our meals finally arrived at 9:20 PM, almost one-and-a-half hours after we had ordered them. Both “The Man” and I were starving! The Lasagna Special was nothing special, and “The Man” said although the Mixed Grill was tasty, by the time he got it he was so hungry that he really didn’t get to appreciate it. Now I realize we were a group (of about 10) but I felt that the wait was a tad unreasonable, and as I said I certainly felt it was manipulated.

Our Server cleared our plates in a timely manner, and made suggestions from the Dessert Menu. In the end, I settled on a Pizarro’s Parfait (ice cream with a choice of liqueur on top) and a Cappuccino. Total time for dinner from start to finish was almost 3 hours... and although normally I wouldn't mind a leisurely meal with friends, 2 hours from arrival to having my dinner served seemed excessive. We used a coupon for $ 9.00 from the Entertainment Book.

On the way home in the car, we chatted about our night out… we both agreed it wasn’t as pleasant as our first visit (see Review of February 17, 2008), and although the food is good, it is not outstanding. Fortunately as of late, there are many Italian places opening up in the west end with great food & service. We both agreed that for us Pizzaro’s isn’t worth the drive, and we probably won’t be back.

2008 Feb 17
"The Man" & I finally had dinner here back in January. Many of our friends love this spot in Vanier. From the outside it doesn't look like much more than an older house (somewhat shabby in appearance) just off Vanier Parkway near the Loblaws.

I'm sure though with its location, it is very popular at lunch with the Public Service types who work along Montreal Road.

It was a snowy blowy night, and finding on-street parking in unfamiliar territory took a couple of minutes.

But once inside the door, we were greeted with warmth, colour and a lively atmosphere. First off we were immediately acknowledged by the man behind the bar, and greeted with a nod and a big smile. The entire mainfloor of the house is dedicated to the restaurant, divided into two rooms. The front room is smaller, and tables line the wall opposite the bar. This area of the restaurant is the hub. Where patrons are greeted, drinks are made, and servers making their way to the kitchen (the doorway is beside the bar) and people coming and going, and laughing and smiling, interlaced with lots of hugs, kisses and back patting.

If that isn't enough, its basic decor of simple tables and chairs, red checkered platic tablecloths and cheery colours, the place clearly announces itself to be "neighbourhood" italian.

We were quickly seated at our table (reservations are a must) in the front room, opposite the bar. Now normally this might have been a distraction, but it actually was fun to be in the midst of all this "family". It truly seemed like everyone knew everyone (and according to our friends, people go back over and over). No sooner were we seated than a basket of hot rolls and butter arrived and a pleasant and professional waiter came to take our drink order as he presented us with our menus and the list of the nights specials. (Based on his age etc, I had the feeling that he might have been one of the owners).

The menu is fairly basic italian. Salads, Apps, Pasta, Chicken and Veal dishes. This afterall is an unpretentious place. The wine list was equally balanced.

"The Man" chose the Veal Marsala. This is the dish that he uses to "test" out every Italian eatery. IF IT PASSES his taste test, then he knows he will visit the establishment again. I ordered the evening special Stuffed Manicotti. The food was great, the servings were not the gigantic ones you normally get at other establishments, and the prices reflected that as well. They were perfectly sized so you could have selected both a dish beforehand and a dessert after. It was great to leave feeling well fed, but not stuffed.

The service was friendly and thorough. Water and wine glasses were filled without asking. More warm bread appeared magically. And coffee and cappucinnos rounded out the meal.

As we put on our coats to leave, "The Man" announced that YES the Veal had PASSED, and we would be back in the future (it's easy to see why so many there are regulars).