Restaurant review: Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria

So continuing our pizza journey (I’ve lost track, I think we’ve tried at least 6-7 different pizzerias in the last year or so, all recently opened, and all claiming to serve Neapolitan style (or at roman style) pizza.  This time it was Famoso Pizzeria on Commercial Drive.

It’s astounding how quickly this has exploded, since 2 years ago, if you wanted thin crust italian style pizza, the number of restaurants, you could count on one hand, with fingers to spare.

Famoso appears to be a Canadian franchise of Neapolitan pizzerias that started in Alberta, but has since expanded (rapidly) in BC and Ontario.

We arrived on a weekend evening, and it was full house, we left our names with the maitre d’ and waited about 20 minutes for a table.

When we were seated, it wasn’t actually a table, it was more like a bench with high bar chairs.  There were one of three parties seated at this bench, and handed a menu.  The server instructed us to take our orders to the counter and place it with her, leaving our table number.  Well this led to considerable confusion since there were three different parties seated at our table/bench.

First we ordered the

blackberry arugula salad with candied pecans and goat cheese.  This was pretty good, although, mea culpa, we didn’t really look at the description that closely before choosing it.  We’d had a similar salad elsewhere and really enjoyed it, so when we read the description, we assumed it was the same thing.  Not quite, the previous salad used mixed greens, while this used arugula.  The peppery-ness of the arugula was a bit too much for us.  The arugula was slightly woody as well.

Next up was our pizza

this was the cappricciosa with prosciutto, olives, artichoke hearts and mushrooms.  This was a good pizza.  A nice light crust with a light char on the bottom and edges, soft in the middle, albeit not a lot of flavor.   The sauce is fresh with a slight tang, the prosciutto and olives add saltiness, and the fior di latte was melted and slightly sweet.

Lastly we ordered the

dolce and banana for dessert.  It’s a clever name for a dessert.  The concept is really good, it’s bananas halved, dusted with brown sugar and roasted in the oven roasted until the sugar caramelizes, and topped with crushed pecans, caramel sauce, and vanilla gelato.   This was a little of a disappointment though.  It took a long time to arrive (I understand the kitchen tried to make it more than once for us), and when it did arrive, the brown sugar on the bananas was burnt.  We ended up picking the burnt sugar off the bananas as we ate. I’m speculating that it’s hard to control the heat in the oven.

Our server apologized, and the restaurant manager came out to comp the dessert and offer a gift certificate for another visit.

The service was quite exemplary.  Our server was pleasant and made every effort to satisfy us, so we have to give kudos for that.

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Addendum:

We returned (almost 18 months later) and used the gift certificate issued from the aforementioned visit.

Ordering a lunch special abruzzo pizza with caeasar salad

IMG_20140211_134739

this is a hand rolled pizza dough, topped with fresh crushed tomatoes, italian sausage, thin sliced red onions, roasted mushrooms, fennel seeds, smoked mozzarella, and pecorino romano cheese.  The crust was much like the previous visit: thin, with a light char, but light on flavor.  The toppings were fresh and tasty.  We liked this one more than the cappricciosa pizza.

IMG_20140211_134728

this is crisp omaine lettuce, prosciutto crisps, shaved grana padano cheese, and a garlicky caesar dressing.  This salad was much better than the blackberry arugula salad from last time.  The romaine greens were crisp and fresh,  the dressing was sharp with lots of flavor.  The prosciutto crisps were wonderfully salty.

We also ordered the polpetta al forno

IMG_20140211_134846

this is spiced pork meatballs in campania tomato sauce, a dollop of ricotta, and shaved grana padano cheese drizzled with olive oil.  The meatballs were tender and well seasoned, with lots of good meat flavor.  The tomato sauce was fresh with a lightly acidic tone.  And the ricotta had a little tang.

 

 

 

and the

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dennison Lee says:

    They do table service now? When I went it was half assed, they had enough servers, but they insisted on counter service. The servers were only there to bring your food. The counter was even worst, instead of reading the simple order sheet that you fill out at the table, they make you read it to them. This was several weeks ago though during lunch.

    The pizza was good, but I thought the dough could have used some more development. I found the crumb structure wasn’t as airy as it could be and needs a bit more flavour in the dough.

    Have you been to Via Tevere yet? I like them more. They still seem very busy, so dinner time is not a good time to go as they use a wood oven and I think they have a hard time keeping the oven at consistent temps.

    1. mingchin says:

      That’s pretty much how it still is. You place your order at the counter, they bring you the food/drinks.

      Haven’t tried Via Tevere yet. I’m losing count of these pizza places, there’s a new one every couple of months now.

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