Friday, January 4, 2013

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria- AB, BC, & ON

I was first introduced to Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria when I went out West to Alberta and have now seen it spread all the way out East, even to Toronto (I saw one at Yorkdale Shopping Centre). Famoso's is a casual restaurant serving Neapolitan pizza originating in Naples, Italy. The Neapolitan pizza served here consists of a thinner type crust, topped with San Marzano tomatoes (apparently considered the best for sauces and pastes), mozzarella made from buffalo or cow's milk and any other traditional or non-traditional toppings you want on your pizza.
Patate Pancetta Pizza: creme fraiche, slivered red onions, roasted potatoes
rosemary, pancetta, and parmesan reggiano.

It is always interesting to see the large brick pizza oven being showed off near the back of the open restaurant, where all the pizzas are formed. The atmosphere when walking in gives off a warm, comfortable feeling, most notably from their painted red walls and clean wood/granite counter tops.

Recently, the menu has expanded to include more antipastis, salads and sandwiches. But when I come to Famoso's, I really come for the pizza. Each pizza is usually designed for 1-2 people to share, as they are about 11 inches in diameter. The choice of pizza toppings are already preset but customers are able to add on for an additional fee. The average price of each pizza ranges from $11.00-$15.00. There are also only two available sauce bases: the rossa (aka. red sauce) primarily composed of tomoates or the bianca (aka. white sauce) mainly made up of garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil . Some of the toppings they have available include: Italian sausage, fennel seeds, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, sopressata, etc. If you are not interested in the more traditional flavors, Famoso's offers what they call "New World Pizzas", which have a more modernized feel. Some of these pizzas include the Spicy Thai and the Sweet Chicken BBQ. If you are looking to class up your pizza, Famoso offers a variety of sparkling, whites and reds to go along with meal.

Funghi Tartufo ($14.75): roasted white and oyster mushrooms
topped with white truffle oil and parmesan reggiano
I am usually a very traditional type of pizza person and my go to pizza at Famoso's has to be the Margherita Pizza (priced at $11.50). The Margherita consists of a tomato based sauce topped with basil, Pecorino Romano cheese and extra virgin olive oil. Simple, yet delicious and for the price, not a bad deal. There is always this clean and fresh tasting flavor to this pizza that shines through. With so few ingredients, the star of the Margherita is the tomato sauce, which has more of a sweet and less acidic taste to it.

Cavoletti Pizza: white sauce, mozzarella, brussel sprouts,
prosciutto crisps, gorgonzola cheese, date, walnuts and
On this occasion, my friends decided to order the the Patate Pancetta and the Cavoletti Pizzas. The Patate Pancetta Pizza is composed of a creme fraiche base topped with slivered red onions, oven roasted slices of potatoes, rosemary, pancetta, and parmesan reggiano. This was probably my least favorite pizza ordered; the rosmary sprinkled on top was too overpowering and the potatoes did not add much to the pizza. The Cavoletti is a white sauce pizza with mozzarella, oven roasted Brussel sprouts, prociutto crisps, gorgonzola cheese, dates, walnuts, and honey. This was a very interesting pizza; in a good way! The prociutto crisps added a nice salty, crunchy texture, while the dates added a nice sweetness along with the honey. I also enjoyed the Brussel sprouts, which added a nice crisp texture and fresh taste. I am usually not a huge fan of Brussel sprouts but these were very tasty.

Having been here so many times, I have tried almost everything on the menu and can say that one of my favorite dishes is not even the pizza. After seeing another table order the fire-roasted tomato bisque soup (priced at only $5.50 and it comes with a piece of bread), I felt I needed to try it. What a great decision! The soup was creamy and luxurious, but clearly still had the strong flavors of tomatoes, basil and feta cheese. The bread on the other hand seemed to be way too salty for my liking.

The desserts are an interesting way to end the meal. After stuffing your face with slices and slices of pizza, Famoso's offers a variety of different types of gelato (from chai latte to mint stracciatella), salted caramel panna cotta, and even tiramisu. Famoso's has even more unique desserts, such as the Nutella Pizza; this is essentially a pizza crust dough filled with Nutella and served whipped cream. For me, it was interesting to try, but definitely had too many carbohydrates for an already carb filled meal. In my opinion, all these desserts are nothing special and I would not come back solely for them. On my last visit, I tried the Dolce&Banana (roasted bananas coated in brown sugar and pecans, served with vanilla bean gelato) and found it way too sweet and a bit soggy.

Capricciosa ($14.75): italian ham and roasted mushrooms with
artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and olive oil

Service at Famoso's is pretty average. They are usually quite busy during the dinner hours and are not always able to quickly refill your glass or take your orders. You do have the option to go up to their cash register and pre-pay for your meal, which sort of defeats the purpose of having servers.

Here are some useful hints/tips when going to Famoso's:

I like to go on Monday- Thursday because of a deal that Famoso's offers: the opportunity to purchase a Cineplex movie ticket for an additional $6.00 with any purchase of a pizza. If you enjoy the Margherita, like myself, there's even a better deal for you. For a total of $16.00 on these days, you get both the pizza and the movie ticket. Also if you are an deal enthusiast, like me, Groupon sometimes has a deal once in a while where Famoso's gives you $40.00 worth of food for ONLY $20.00! (this deal comes once in a while, so you must keep checking!) Combine that with the first tip and you have yourself TWO free movie tickets! (Or 2 free pizza's; however you want to think of it). If you enjoy spicy food, ask the waiter for some hot pepper flakes, they make the meal that much more enjoyable.

For now, whether you are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver or Toronto, and in the mood for some Neapolitan type pizza, you can choose to try this interesting and tasty pizzeria. However, the prices of the pizza is something left to be desired, as they do not come cheap; especially when comparing it to fast-food chain pizza (I know its not the same, but still!).


3.5/5 Erics'

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria (University) on Urbanspoon Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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