Restaurants Reviews and Such

Marcello’s – MB Hydro Building

Marcello’s- November 2019 Update

This update features the Marcello’s location underground at the Portage and Main by the Richardson building. The food is pretty much the same at both locations.

Marcello's buffet tray
A tray full of food from the hot buffet counter at Marcello’s.

The price per 100 grams has gone up about 10% since I wrote the original post five years ago. Given the general increase in food prices this is quite reasonable.

I arrive at Marcello’s at about 1:45, so the place is pretty much empty. This also applies to the buffet trays, as they are heading towards empty. For my buffet plate I head to the hot trays. I load up on a mixture of various meat dishes, and some mixed beans and carrots. There aren’t a lot of vegetable options on the hot table.

Marcellos soup
A hot and satisfying Thai Curry soup.

I decide I don’t want salad. I want something extra though, and decide on a bowl of Thai Curry soup. When I take my meal up to the till, my bill comes to about $15.00 before tax. The soup is $3.99, so that means my buffet weighs about 500-550g. There are a few tables along the hallway wall, and I eat at one of those.

While the hot buffet items all taste quite good, they are only lukewarm at best. The soup, on the other hand is hot, tasty, and quite substantial. Probably the best buy in Marcello’s

I love buffets.  I  really love all you can eat buffets.  This can make things a little tricky when I eat at a pay by weight buffet, such as Marcello’s.  Marcello’s is located on Portage Avenue in the main floor of the MB Hydro Building.  They place the emphasis on the freshness of their buffet and on the whole they deliver.  They also describe themselves as a market, but it’s more convenience store than market from what I’ve observed.  That said, I’m focusing on the buffet and deli aspect in this review.

Marcello's buffet.
Some of the buffet choices at Marcello’s

Marcello’s Buffet Selection:

One thing that makes it tough not to over pile one’s plate at Marcello’s is the variety in the buffet.  I didn’t actually count, but I would guess there are over 30 different dishes available.  This doesn’t include the soup which you can buy by the bowlful.  There is a good selection of meat and vegetarian dishes.  The latter including several salad choices, as well as a selection of fresh fruit.

In keeping with the commitment to freshness, most of the dishes are not overcooked. The vegetables, while not particularly crisp, are at least not soggy and messy.  One gets a bit of a snap when biting into it.  The meats are moist although sometimes the pieces of chicken breast can be tending towards dry.

Another plus to the buffet, is that the dishes are on the whole not over-seasoned. This also means that they are not over-spiced.  So, if you like your food spicy you may need to find ways to spice it up.  .

One thing that I would like to see at Marcello’s is better marking on the food and of the prices.  I couldn’t see the prices on the menu, but judging from the fact that my 400 gram dinner came to just over $8.00, it appears to be around $1.89/100g.  I think they may be hanging over the aisles, but I found it difficult to read them.  This is worth keeping in my mind when adding meat to your meal.

I would also like to see better signage on the food itself.  You can find the items on the website, but not as you wander through.  I ended up with a seafood coleslaw on my plate.  I didn’t mind it, but I would have preferred to have known as I thought I was just getting a regular coleslaw.

Marcello’s Sandwiches and More

You can also get sandwiches and pizza from Marcello’s.  I haven’t tried the pizza, but I tried the Turkey Clubhouse.  These sandwiches come on 6″ bread, and with all the toppings that you would find at a Subway.  One thing that I enjoyed was that they used Romaine lettuce as opposed to Iceberg, and that spinach was available as a topping, adding a little extra healthy greenery.  While you may get a better price at Subway, the freshness here comes across a little better.

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Marcello’s is definitely a good place to stop on your lunch downtown.  The space is bright and airy.  The food is fresh.  There’s enough variety that you can satisfy a wide range of tastes.  Marcello’s should also be commended for the fact that all of their dishes and cutlery are bio-degradable. Just one word of warning, if your in a really hungry mood, be prepared to pay a little bit more for your buffet.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.