On Tuesday evening I was invited to the opening party for Famoso Neopolitan Pizzeria. Famoso originated in Alberta, and their new restaurant on Commercial Drive is their first location in BC. The owner, Justin Lussier, came up with the idea of opening a pizza place after traveling through Italy and eating their famous fire roasted pizzas. Famoso strives to remain completely authentic to their pizza’s Italian roots and they import their Caputo flour from Italy and their tomatoes are from the Campania region of Southern Italy. All of their crusts are hand stretched and thrown into special pizza oven imported from Italy. The owners also learned how to properly make Neopolitan pizza from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), which is an organization in Italy that is dedicated to preserving the standards of Neopolitan pizza.
As far as the restaurant goes, it is nice inside but still casual. There are menus at every table, but customers go up to the counter to place their orders and the food is brought out to them when its ready. The restaurant makes it easy to come in and have a quick lunch, or alternatively, to have a relaxed dinner. The menu pricing is quite affordable with pizza’s ranging from $8-$15.
All guests were greeted with an Italian Spritz drink. This drink was made with prosecco, aperol, soda water, and garnished with a blood orange. This drink was refreshing and had a semi-bitter orange flavour.
Knowlton ordered an orange Italian soda with vodka. They use a San Pellegrino orange soda to make this drink. It was refreshing and had a more sweet orange flavour compared to the Italian Spritz. Knowlton said he enjoyed the drink.
I ordered a raspberry Italian soda, which was delicious. The raspberry syrup was fruity and sweet and didn’t have a fake aftertaste like some raspberry flavoured items have. This drink is made in the restaurant with soda water and syrup. If I come back to Famoso, I will order this again.
Every table was brought a small plate of roasted kalamata olives, topped with oregano, feta, and drizzled in olive oil. This plate was served warm with a side of bread. Every time I’m presented with olives I try them hoping that I will like them, but I just don’t. Since I have an olive bias, I’m not sure how these olives compare to others, but the feta cheese and bread were tasty.
We sampled a couple of prosciutto wrapped mozzarella balls. There was a large piece of fresh mozza inside and it was wrapped with a thin slice of prosciutto. These were served swimming in a bowl of tomato sauce. I thought these tasted good but they were a bit cold. I’m not sure if the cheese was supposed to be served cool, or if it was sitting on our table for too long before I got to it.
As a side dish, I ordered a small blackberry arugula salad. I’m not normally a salad girl, but the fresh blackberries caught my attention and this salad was great. It was light and fresh and the blackberries added a tart sweetness. There were also candied pecans, goat cheese and it was drizzled in a blackberry vinaigrette. It was served with a slice of bread that was well seasoned and toasted warm. This salad is a spring and summer menu feature.
For my main, I ordered the prosciutto arugula pizza. This pizza is under the bianca white pizza section of the menu and it is made with bianca sauce (extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and oregano), fior-di-latte fresh mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, and pecorino romano cheese. In addition to all of that, the pizza is also topped with fresh arugula and prosciutto after it has been baked in the oven. The pizza itself is super thin and the crust is delightfully chewy. I liked how light and fresh everything tasted and that it wasn’t overloaded with heavy toppings and cheese. This is what I imagine a true Italian pizza to be like and I loved every bite of it.
Knowlton opted to make his own pizza and he also chose the bianca white pizza as his base. He added pepperoni, Italian sausage and goat cheese to it. He also enjoyed his pizza and he found it light but filling and he commented that it didn’t leave you feeling greasy and sick like many other pizza places do.
For dessert Knowlton ordered two scoops of cappuccino and salted caramel gelato. He said the salted caramel was quite mild and the cappuccino one had more flavour.
I ordered one scoop of mango pineapple gelato. This gelato was dairy free and very smooth and enjoyable. The mango flavour was more prominent than the pineapple but both were noticeable. The gelato here is impressively good and worth trying.
The last thing we ordered was a small nutella and banana pizza. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to eat it right away because the chef was doing a presentation, so the whipped cream had melted by the time I got to it. This dish is similar to a calzone that is stuffed with nutella and bananas and it was rich and satisfying. This dessert is quite heavy because of the pizza dough and I was stuffed by the end of it.
Overall, we both thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Famoso pizza. You can tell that they are truly passionate about what they are doing and it really comes through in their food. The pizzas and gelato are great and I would definitely come back. These guys put Pizza Hut to shame.
Disclosure: I did not pay for my meal.
Yes, for authentic Italian pizza.