Restaurant Profile: Pacifico Pizzeria Ristorante

Located just steps from Robson Street in the same complex as the Scotiabank Theatre at 970 Smithe, the three-level, 100-seat space that is occupied by Pacifico Pizzeria Ristorante is the perfect place to settle in with a glass of wine—not to mention, says the restaurant’s general manager Marius Cratuin, some of the tastiest thin-crust pies in the city.

Best known for pumping perfectly charred gourmet pizzas from its showcase gas-fired brick oven, Pacifico (which up until three years ago operated under the Lombardo’s name) also serves up a variety of classic Italian dishes, including soups, salads, antipastos and pasta.

“Of course…it’s all about Italian,” says Cratuin, naming butternut squash ravioli, penne pomodoro, fettuccine Alfredo and spaghetti with spicy meatballs among the 20 different pasta options listed on his eatery’s dinner menu. “Besides the freshest local produce we can get our hands on, we work with a company called Conte Food that imports authentic ingredients like crushed tomatoes and meats directly from Italy.”

But let’s get back to the pizza. “It’s all about a thin crust that is hand tossed and flame baked, Napoli style, in our oven,” Cratuin says, adding that each gourmet pie cooks for approximately seven minutes and is large enough to feed (easily) three to four people. “That gets topped with our classic tomato sauce and our own signature or specialty toppings.”

Among Pacifico’s specialty pizzas: the spicy Vesuvio, with four different types of meat, and the Pollo Rustico, with grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, red onion, smoked gouda and fresh cilantro. The signature pizza menu includes such familiar names as the Margherita, the Hawaiian (with grilled pineapple) and a Portobello mushroom and eggplant-topped Vegetariana offering.

Customers are also invited to create their own pizza, layering three of their favourite toppings on a classic foundation that includes Pacifico’s signature sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Other popular menu items include homemade chicken and spinach cannelloni, mouthwatering chicken Parmigiana and a secret-recipe lasagna Emiliana, which features layers of tender ground beef, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Pacifico’s Ocean Wise seafood offerings include smoked wild salmon, prawns and scallops—for an extra $3, these can even be added to your pizza.

Despite serving what many would consider classic Italian comfort food, Cratuin says Pacifico prides itself on providing a “casual atmosphere with a fine-dining experience”—including “some of the best service, we think, in Vancouver.”