Famoso's Neapolitan PizzaWednesday, July 04, 2012
What's round, made with authentic Caputo flour, covered in imported Italian tomatoes, topped with fresh fior-di-latte mozzarella, and tastes downright delizioso? If you haven't heard the latest buzz, it's the infamous Neapolitan pizza brought to you by the newest pizzeria to hit the province - Famoso. Their award-winning authentic Neapolitan pizza is made using hand-tossed dough that is naturally low in gluten. They also use vine ripened Campania tomatoes that are low in acidity and naturally sweet. Add some creamy mozzarella and fresh basil, fire it up in a bell-shaped oven at 900 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 seconds later, you have a mouthwatering margherita pizza that is beyond magnifico.
Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria recently opened on Bloor Street just west of Spadina and, much to my stomach's content, I was invited to be their guest during their grand opening. Upon our arrival, we were greeted with a refreshing orange Italian spritzer and sat down to a tasty appetizer consisting of roasted kalamata olives and feta cheese in a spicy olive oil with Mediterranean flatbread.
Once we had a chance to peruse their simple menu, I proceeded to the counter to place our order. This was unusual for me. Here you have the option of paying for your order up front or keep a running tab and continue ordering from one of the many baristas that bring you your food and drinks. I returned to my seat and within two minutes, I kid you not, our pizza was served. My friend ordered a margherita and I tried the quattro formaggi.
Having lived in Siena one summer on a student's budget, I would often dine at a local pizzeria. The thin-crust pizza was so heavenly, I could eat it every day. Two weeks ago, when I took my first bite of the Famoso pizza, it was the first time in a long time that I recalled the joy of savouring an authentic Italian pizza. It almost felt like I was back in Italy. Mmm!
To accompany my pizza, I ordered a half-serving ofield greens layered between slices of fresh mozzarella and vine-ripened tomatoes topped with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. My friend ordered the gorgonzola walnut salad: Romaine lettuce, walnuts, gorgonzola cheese and semi-dried cranberries in a gorgonzola walnut vinaigrette. She thoroughly enjoyed it.
For dessert, we ordered a piece of tiramisu, imported from Milan, that was very moist and tasty. We both agreed, however, that it did not need a drizzle of chocolate syrup, which is optional.
We asked for a recommendation on a second dessert and thus we ordered the Dolce & Banana. You get a large plate of oven-roasted bananas coated in caramalized brown sugar, crushed pecans, caramel sauce, and made-from-scratch vanilla bean gelato. Be still, my heart. And just so you know, this dessert is best shared amongst two people. I could never eat the whole thing on my own. Or maybe I could. The gigantic cup of Americano coffee that I ordered, however, remained unfinished.
Following dessert, I had a chance to speak with some of the people behind the Famoso name, including Justin Lussier who co-founded the restaurant. His passion for bringing authentic Neapolitan pizza to Canada was evident in our discussion and later during his presentation. I was honoured to stand next to him and learn how to properly stretch the dough and toss it in the air, like a true pizzaolo.
Last but not least, we were treated to some handcrafted gelato, which is prepared in small batches with the finest ingredients. Their gelato contains low levels of butterfat (4%-6%) and no preservatives. I tried some of their blackberry basil and it was a surprisingly tasty combination. I hope to see some plain ol' gelato fragole, though, which was my personal favourite during my stay in Siena. As a parting gift, we each received a lovely scented basil plant, which I later used in a simple bagel with tomato recipe. For another review of Famoso, check out Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria on BlogTo.com written by Liora Ipsum with fabulous photos highlighting the delectable fare available for your dining pleasure.
A week following the grand opening, my husband wanted to celebrate Italy's victory over Germany so we decided to take the kids to Famoso on Bloor before joining the festivities on St. Clare. We ordered a half-size pizzetta for the kids and split an apple juice between the two of them. I was happy to see the juice served in reusable cups with a straw and a lid to prevent accidental spills. Based on my experience from the week prior, I was anticipating the same quick service but for some odd reason, my son's pizzetta was delayed by a few minutes. In any case, my kids enjoyed their margherita pizzas and my husband liked his pizza primavera topped with smoked mozzarella, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, roasted mushrooms, kalamata olives, red onion. I'm not a big fan of artichoke but I stilled liked the pizza. Due to the casual setting, and the fact that kids 12 and under receive a complementary scoop of gelato with any food purchase, I highly recommend this restaurant for families with small children. The prices are reasonable and range from $7 for a pizzetta to $14.50 for a large pizza pollo. They also have a change table in the ladies room, too, for those with infants.
Will I go back again? You bet. There's a Nutella pizza calling my name...