Consisting of only three primary ingredients, the art of making a pizza might seem basic to some. However, the science of the perfect pizza slice is indeed immensely challenging. In terms of Providence pizza, the high-end pizzas at Al Forno and Bacaro might top many people’s lists, while some might prefer the more affordable and convenient pizza that Antonio’s on Thayer serves (with Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports giving them a rating of 5.9 out of 10). Unsatisfied with the limits of these options, a friend and I set out to find a place that would satisfy our taste buds while not breaking the bank. This led us to the steps of Pizza Marvin on Wickenden Street, a new restaurant that opened its doors in December. Below, we will review the restaurant based on four different standards: ambiance, price, menu, and quality of food and drinks.
As we walked into the restaurant, the sounds of alternative rock quickly caught our attention. Though Pizza Marvin is not currently offering indoor dining, we will definitely come back once it does due to the restaurant’s unique decor. Pizza Marvin mastered the retro vibe that pizza parlors often feature, with its black and white checkered floors and a gumball machine, and raised the bar further with a graphic design wall and colored lights to give the place a modern feel. The restaurant’s convenient location on the corner and its large windows facilitate both traditional seating and countertop seating that looks out onto the street. The staff, though busy at work, was very welcoming.
Furthermore, the restaurant has a pickup window that allows for a contactless transfer of food, for pizza lovers who are worried about COVID-19 transmission. The reason the ambiance did not win a perfect score was due to the music, which, despite its energizing effect, was louder than a frat party and reminiscent of a heavy metal dive bar concert.
While Pizza Marvin’s pies were around twelve dollars cheaper than a higher-end option like Al Forno, it was still a little bit pricey and would not suffice for a casual, everyday meal. The pizzas only come in one size and are fairly large, priced at eighteen dollars while the appetizers range from seven to nine dollars. Most notably, their to-go cocktails, although serving two people, are pretty pricey and range from $19 to $22. Although their price might be steep for a normal meal during the week, you are certainly paying for quality, which we will examine in the following sections.
The third category, the menu, wins our highest score. Pizza Marvin, apart from serving a wide and unique assortment of pizza selections, also boasts a lengthy wine list, a seafood section, and a multitude of appetizers and salads.
First, there are plenty of pizzas to choose from. While serving classics like Marinara and House Cheese pizzas, they also offer some fun variations to try. The Salad Pizza is a healthier option, combining the traditional Marinara pizza with the house salad. The Quasino Pizza is an option for seafood lovers, with toppings such as clams, pancetta, and oregano. Lastly, if you are in the mood for something rich, the Carbonara Pizza has everything you need with brussel sprouts, pancetta, and egg.
Their appetizer section has a wide variety of dishes that are perfect to share with friends, from taco wings to their Weenie Fries. They also have seafood options from clams to oysters that are perfect for one or to share with a group. For people with a sweet tooth, they have delicious frozen custards and granita, similar to Italian ice cream. Lastly, their fun cocktail list (which is available to-go) and their extensive wine list are perfect for those who like to pair their food with a new alcoholic beverage. There is plenty to try at Pizza Marvin as their menu caters to a wide variety of tastes.
Quality of Food and Drinks: 8.3
We ordered five things: the Crazy Bread, the Marg AF pizza, the Salad Pizza, the Roni Island pizza, and the Ocean Spritz cocktail.
To start, the crazy bread was delicious. Heavily seasoned on top with a variety of spices and filled with mozzarella, it tasted like gourmet, five-star garlic bread. Pair it with a side of marinara to dip it in and you will be in heaven.
For our main attraction, we tried two pies and one slice. The Roni Island, which we got a slice of, was delicious and left us wanting more. The pepperoni was high quality and the honey gave it a sweet taste. Next, we tried the Marg AF pizza, the “AF” standing for the inspiration for their pizza: Al Forno. Both of us had a different reaction to this pie. I was impressed with their take on Al Forno’s pizza. I found the toppings tasted just like that of the acclaimed spot and liked that their crust – which was thicker and crunchier – provided a different (and more filling) option than the typical razor-thin pizza crust. Lynden, on the other hand, found the pizza tasty, but not at the caliber of Al Forno’s, noting that her rating of Pizza Marvin’s Margherita pie may have increased if her expectations had not been set so high through its connection to Al Forno. Lastly, our least favorite was the Salad Pizza, which consisted of a cheese-less pizza, greens, and ranch dressing. Lynden commented that she would have enjoyed it more if the greens were chopped more finely and the dressing was a light vinaigrette as the combination of the ranch on top of the seasoning in the sauce was a little much. In addition to these suggestions, I would also love it if there were more toppings like cucumbers, tomatoes, and cheese.
Lastly, Lynden and I shared the Ocean Spritz cocktail, which is a mix of hibiscus Aperol, cranberry, and rose. We loved the drink and suggest mixing it with sparkling water to lessen its sweetness. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal and look forward to trying more things on Pizza Marvin’s menu in the future.
Learn more about Pizza Marvin on their website, by calling them at (401)-262-3336, or by visiting them at 468 Wickenden Street in Providence, RI 02903.