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.
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.
Visitors to Forza! Pasta Bar can choose their own culinary adventures, building Italian dishes from pastas such as handmade gnocchi or pappardelle and sauces that range from pesto to lamb ragu. Of course, they can also discover flavors throughout menu such as stuffed ravioli with ricotta or veal, layer panini sandwiches with prosciutto and mortadella, and bake lasagnas that one Strathcona Connect writer called "mild, extremely tender and melt-in-your-mouth." For a post-prandial pick-me-up, a sky-blue Elektra espresso machine stands at the ready, decorated with a miniature Italian flag that flutters with pride each time baristas pull a shot of rich, caffeinated brew.
There's a little bit of Nepal and East India behind one of Beaumont's unassuming storefronts. At Yeti Gourmet, chefs cook traditional dishes from these regions, such as mutter paneer or vegetable korma—both of which happen to be gluten free. As for meat options, fresh naan bread accompanies the likes of fish, pork, lamb, and chicken curry.