I’m not gonna lie, I love Italian food and Italian culture. Having an Italian uncle perpetuates my love for it. I’m thinking it’s because we grew up with the same kind of demeanour of sending your guest home ridiculously stuffed and happy. I was both – here at Famoso.
I’d like to state that I was invited to the opening party and I was not expected or paid to write this review.
Opening tomorrow, April 18th to the general public – Famoso invited many of the foodies to come try out their pizzas the evening before. Located on the corner across Marcello, it looks like competition in the area will be heating up!
When we arrived, we were seated in the very back in a two seater table – but while we made our way through, I admired the clean open space and the length of the open kitchen where they were tossing pizzas.
At the very back corner is their fire oven, burning over 900F. They prepare their pizzas for just 90 seconds and take em out of the oven. We were offered an Italian Spritz ($6.50) as we walked through. It was very punchy and tart but a good mix of alcohol and a little bit of sweetness. I had only a couple sips because I wanted to save room for dinner.
We were given the menu and at Famoso, you have order sheets at your table, so you can take your time in ordering and order whatever you want. You write it down and bring it over to the front and you are able to customize your order while you’re up there (ie, appies can come first, drinks first, they ask you if you want whip cream with your desserts etc).
One of the sampler dishes that came by was the marinated roasted kalamata olives ($3), served alongside some flatbread. I’m a fan of places that serve olives pitless and I really enjoyed the olives here. The chef spoke a little later in the evening and said none of their olives are from the can. Amazing taste.
At the front there is also a formidable selection of gelato which are handcrafted in small batches with only the best ingredients. I really wanted to try their gelato out but we were much too full to do so!
Our order came pretty quick – and while I was chatting to Ange from FoodPunk, the appys had already arrived.
We ordered the Caprese Salad ($8 – field greens, fresh mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar). This was fantastico! I’ve never had such big portioned mozza and tomatoes in a caprese salad! Amazingly filling and could serve as it’s own meal!
Brian ordered the Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella Balls (3 for $10), which is served with flatbread on the side. The Campania tomato sauce is simple and not over done with a variety of spices. The proscuitto mozza balls are enormous and are a great balance of sweet from tomatoes, salty from the proscuitto and heavy with the mozzarella.
I also ordered an Italian Soda ($2.50- Peach flavoured). They make a great Italian Soda here, it’s very refreshing and had just enough peach syrup without being too sweet.
And now the pizzas. The pizzas! I should’ve went with the Napoli staple, the Margherita! But two pizzas caught my eye. The Smoked Salmon ($13.50) and the Funghi Tartufo ($14.50).
The first pizza to come out was the smoked salmon. Atlantic salmon, the biggest capers I’ve ever seen in my life on a thin crust drizzled in extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, oregano and diced red onion. On the top of this, dill cream sauce and a lemon wedge in the middle. Of the two, this was my favourite. I’m a sucker for salmon and capers though, so it’s a little bit biased. I loved the thin, crispy crust because it made it easier to eat (as opposed to heavier, greasier crusts).
The next pizza is the Funghi Tartufo: roasted white mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, truffle oil and reggiano parmesan. My aunt gave me a bag of reggiano parmesan the last time I visited them and I always throw some into my pasta sauce – makes it taste so much better! Try it out next time! Anyway, back to the pizza. The mushrooms were delectable with the truffle oil absorbed into it. The pizza is covered in the Campania tomato sauce, fior-di-latte fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. There’s just something about using fresh ingredients that you cannot replace – I guess that would be taste!
Finally, dessert! We ordered the Nutella Pizzetta ($6.50 which is their smaller size, they also have a whole nutella pizza as well) – they have a Banana Nutella Pizza offering too. And we ordered the Authentic Tiramisu ($6).
The Nutella Pizzaetta came in about 4-5 strips baked in a thin shell calazone. When it was brought to us it was still literally steaming hot. It’s drizzled in chocolate sauce and served with whipped cream. It had a little bit of crushed hazelnuts and a whole lot of Nutella. I enjoyed this version as the dough is lighter, crispier and had a great balance of sweet and salty.
The Authentic Tiramisu was next. It’s imported from Milan, so they mean serious business here. I’m always doubtful of places that serve “Tiramisu” because it’s done so many ways and the only way I really enjoy it is if it’s from my aunt’s kitchen. Having said that, this tiramisu comes pretty close to that delectable, authentic homemade Italian taste. While I’d probably not have chocolate sauce and whip cream drizzled on it next time (it’s optional and I couldn’t help but say yes!) – the marscapone cream was decadent, the sponge cake is drenched in delicious and sweet and not bitter espresso is fantastic. The only addition to make this perfecto? A little bit of Sambuca.
After our dinner, we were rounded up by the owners to familiarize us with Famoso. Justin was telling us how Famoso came about – he and his wife were travelling in Italy and stopped to have a Margherita pizza. They had it so many times while they were there that they fell in love with it and wanted to bring it back here.
The head chef who was fantastic and lively also gave us a little background on how Neapolitan pizzas are made and how there is a rigorous standard they must meet in order to be called “Neapolitan” – including the delicate flour they use. Every pizza is hand-stretched with no dough stretchers, all the ingredients are fresh, they have Campania tomatoes from Italy and fresh basil and mozzarella that goes into every pizza. He was very passionate and couldn’t stress enough how important it was for Famoso to have fresh ingredients put into every pizza.
I always love knowing the story behind every restaurant and the passion that goes into making their food, so their story really resonated with me. Famoso is an amazing experience and I would definitely recommend it. I am definitely coming back, a lot of the servers were giving us suggestions as to what to try next time and I made my list.
The staff was genuinely friendly and so helpful. Brian and I managed to speak with Trevor – one of the owners of Famoso. He was so friendly and made sure we enjoyed our meal. Thanks and we’ll be back soon!
Check out their website here.