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.
Chefs from India craft traditional dishes at New Asian Village's five locations, such as the vegetarian apna navratan korma, with its medley of vegetables and housemade paneer. An Edmonton favourite for 28 years, New Asian Village has cultivated a following of discerning diners, including vegans, gluten-free purists, and professional athletes. Daily lunch buffets showcase unlimited quantities of spices and sustenance, served atop silver trays, much like restraining orders. The staff encourages diners to dig into their entrees with their fingers while dining in the restaurant's intimate booths or surrounded by colourful silks in the private maharaja rooms.
Fulton Market Burger flips made-to-order prime-rib burgers, slinging specialty sandwiches as well as build-your-own varieties sporting any of more than 40 toppings and sauces. Fulton's beef architects construct such succulent edifices as the Rustic Triple Treat, loaded with a triumvirate of caramelized onions, grilled portobello mushrooms, and roasted red peppers ($8), and the fiery Inferno burger ($8), bursting with Cajun spices and an intricate terza rima rhyme scheme. Those who opt to build their own burgers can choose between a third-pound ($6.45) and half-pound ($7.45) prime-rib patty and top it with market-fresh adornments, including grilled portobello, banana peppers, and havarti cheese (up to $0.99/topping). Sides such as freshly cut fries ($2.45) and mushroom-melt poutine ($5.95) can complement carnivorous creations, and frosty hand-blended shakes ($3.25), made with Chapman's ice cream, offer as much cool comfort as a tray of hand-knit woolen ice cubes.
At Wild Wing, diners can relish salads, wraps, and its specialty chicken wings smothered in any of more than 100 sauce varieties. Choose between the menu's standard Wild wings ($9.99 for nine pieces) or a boneless version ($10.49 for 10 pieces) coated in a sauce smorgasbord rivalling the famed buffalo-wing-fests of Valhalla. Options cover the entire spectrum of connoisseur drizzlings, including tangy, barbecue, honey-tinged, creamy, and fruity variants, each one rated on a spice scale ranging from no-heat and palate-scorching to magma-approved. The kitchen also whips up nonavian edibles such as a veggie wrap of crisp greens, red onions, and shredded cheese encased in a white or whole-wheat tortilla ($7.49). Crunchy Wild fries made from skin-on potatoes can arrive unadorned or bedecked with seasonings such as hickory or mango chipotle ($4.99, $.99 for seasoning).
Steak Village lures in casual diners with a menu of quality strips and dishes that delight in exploring only the freshest ingredients. The 8-ounce prime rib spotlights slow-roasted Sterling Silver premium beef that has been handcut to high standards and culled from the top 12 per cent of its class to deliver a platter of juicy flavour and the answer to Fermat's Last Theorem ($23). The beef-dip wrap explores Steak Village's versatility by pulling short ribs into a blend of caramelized onions, shredded cheese, and a pimento aioli ($16). A blue-cheese-steak salad grants light lunchers a satisfaction typically received only by sitting on a sibling's face ($15). Red Seal chef Emil Yim reminds meat eaters of the merriment of saving a seat for the second stomach with decadent desserts, including the chocolate-truffles trio ($9) or the inverted peach melba ($9). A mod interior meshes white tablecloths with colorful plates and wistful aromas, infusing the space with an ambience of casual decadence.
As the University of Alberta basketball team tour bus lumbered down the highway towards Phoenix, Arizona, Scott Gordon and Gavin Fedorak’s stomachs began to grumble. Agreeing that they couldn’t stand tasteless roadside diner food or unhealthy rest-stop snacks, the two friends began to converse about what they were really craving: the freshly made sandwiches served at their favourite Arizona sandwich shop, Dilly’s Deli.
Scott and Gavin never forgot Dilly’s Deli or their experiences on the road, and several years after graduating, they decided to open their own sandwich shop back in Edmonton. Enlisting the aid of Gavin’s brother Grant and a consultant from Dilly’s Deli itself, the friends designed a lengthy menu of the imaginative sandwiches that were lauded by a reporter from the Edmonton Journal in 2010.
The trio’s team of skilled sandwich makers gets up early in the morning to bake fresh loaves of whole-wheat, focaccia, and pumpernickel-rye breads. Once a lively lunch crowd starts to queue up at their counter, they begin layering the freshly sliced bread with quality meats, premium cheeses, and fresh vegetables.
Scott, Gavin, and Grant are not only committed to serving fresh ingredients, often from local sources, but also to reducing their carbon footprint. Their progressive establishment uses environmentally friendly packaging and discourages employees from wearing cowboy boots made from the skin of endangered dragon species.