As Justin Lussier traveled through Naples in 2005, he decided to stop for the city's famous pizza at a small street-side eatery bearing the sign Pizzeria Sorbillo. He loved his traditional thin-crust pie so much that he rushed to a pay phone and called his friends Christian Bullock and Jason Allard to tell them that he wanted to make that same pizza. When Justin returned to Canada, the trio travelled to confer with the culinary experts at Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) in order to uncover what truly makes a pizza Neapolitan. Two years later, the friends set out to open Famoso.
Famoso's chefs all follow strict guidelines set by the AVPN—they only use OO Caputo flour imported from Naples, and they hand mill tomatoes imported from the foot of Mount Vesuvius, where each crop is grown in soil enriched by volcanic ash and sung to daily by volcanologists. Chefs top the crust with local fior di latte mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, and pecorino romano cheese. They then spread dough into wafer-thin disks, which they blast-fire at 900 degrees for 90 seconds inside imported Italian bell-shaped ovens. Pizzas are also topped with ingredients such as soppressata, oven-roasted Italian sausage, kalamata olives, and truffle oil.
Famoso Baristas can pair many of these pies, some of which are reinvented twice each year, with a mix of local and international wines—including vintages from Italy and Canada—and hand-crafted gelato. At each restaurant, they ferry dishes and drinks through rustic and inviting interiors, each of which reflects the unique style of its neighbourhood, though all are united by accents of exposed brick and wood, wine-bottle art, and sculptural pizza-box displays.
Transcend Coffee's ambassadors make several international trips each year in their search for green coffee farms. They meet with small-scale, eco-friendly growers to tour their crops and microbrewing mills, focusing on building long-term relationships with those who are passionate about coffee. They then buy directly from the farmers, shipping beans back across oceans to Transcend Coffee's central roastery and three cafés scattered across Edmonton. Here, they roast and brew specialty artisan coffees, educate their visitors on the background of each batch, and illustrate the brewing process through interpretive dance.
Using ever-evolving methods, the brewers adopt a trial-and-error approach to defining each coffee's definitive flavour profile. Two licensed Q coffee graders often smell and taste each batch of coffee, and they sort coffees based on rigid quality standards, looking for underdeveloped roasted beans known as “quakers” or “the stupid lighter ones.”
The cafes boast shelves of roasted coffees such as bwayi from Burundi, michioy from Guatemala, and certified organic beans from Santa Lucia. In the store, staffers also point out the highlights of automatic drip brewers, manual brewers, and bean grinders from manufacturers such as Baratza, Bonavita, and Technivorm.
Though it offers more than 100 types of wheaty, malty, and hoppy beers from around the globe, The Pourhouse Bier Bistro prides itself on more than just libations. Its chefs shun deep-fat fryers in favour of fresh, seasonal ingredients purchased from local growers and producers, elevating their traditional pub-grub recipes. In addition to flatbreads, sandwiches, and burgers served with sides such as honey-cumin slaw or sweet-potato mash, the eatery is known for its beer-boiled Coney Island dogs. Graham Hicks of the Edmonton Sun enjoyed the reuben dog's "homemade mustard-based sauce, beautiful onions," and "real bacon chunks slathered on top of a first-class jumbo hot dog," as well as the pub's community atmosphere.
Exposed-brick accents and a fireplace create a warm, welcoming vibe where family and friends gather, embodying what Hicks says "pubs are meant to be." Illuminated triangular and rectangular cutouts on the wall give the cozy space a retro '60s feel, and candle-like chandeliers add a touch of elegance. On warmer evenings, guests can sit on the south-facing patio to people-watch or high-five the pedestrians as they stroll down Whyte Avenue.
When Joe and Theresa Klassen first founded Joey’s Seafood Restaurant in 1985, they were simply looking to create a friendly neighbourhood eatery that served made-to-order seafood. Though the company has since expanded to more than 69 franchises across Canada, it still falls under the leadership of its founder, who frequently develops new strategies for growth and expansion while continuing to supply each location with fresh, Pacific-based seafood. Joey’s offers two distinct dining experiences: full-service restaurants (designed for families and their hungry sock puppets) and quick-serve places (designed for younger generations). At the quick-serve eateries, foodsmiths dole out a smaller menu of fried fish and shrimp. The full menu includes seafood entrees such as sautéed PEI mussels, blackened Pacific snapper, and Joey’s famous fish 'n' chips—fillets of halibut, cod, or haddock dunked into a secret-recipe batter and then deep-fried in canola oil. Nationally, the company supports the Alzheimer's Society of Canada through local and national fundraising efforts. Since 2000, its franchises have collectively raised more than $950,000 for the organization.
Surrounded by the bustle of the Oliver Square district, Bistro India sends tantalizing aromas of Southern Indian spices wafting out from inside its 100-year-old renovated edifice. Inside, Indian chefs whip up a variety of dishes unique to southern India's coastal region, infusing meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes with splashes of coconut milk, dashes of spicy byadgi chilies, and sprigs of curry leaves. Clay ovens bake tandoori dishes and a wide variety of flavourful naan breads, and chefs turn their attention to masalas, biryani rice, and dosa dishes. They demonstrate culinary creativity with a menu of fusion dishes, such as a tandoor-baked burger and a marinated rack of lamb.
Southern dishes pair with fine wines and specialty cocktails out in the chic dining room decorated with flowing orange tapestries, textured walls, and handsome wooden trim. An attentive serving staff bustles about the dining room, jotting down orders while taking care to note requests from diners who prefer milder spices or desire their food to be arranged in the shape of a happy face.
Continental Treat Fine Bistro's executive chef Elizabeth Palmowski changes her menu of European cuisine on a daily basis, incorporating seasonal ingredients from local markets whenever possible. She helms a diverse kitchen staff, which includes sous chefs from Hungary, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic who help bring her creations to life as well as craft hearty stews and seared meats that hail from their Central and Eastern European hometowns. Palmowski and her team can also accommodate dietary restrictions, offering entire menus of vegetarian and gluten-free meals.
Candlelight and live jazz bands help keep the mood elegant at dinnertime as guests sip Old and New World wines or one of many Trappist beers. To familiarize guests with its massive list of beverages, the restaurant hosts informational wine and beer nights, allowing partcipants to sample libations from around the world, expand their palates, and learn how to sophisticatedly perform the perfect spit-take.