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.
You'd be hard-pressed to find evidence of the more than three decades of history that have transpired within RoseBowl Pizza and Rouge Resto-Lounge's newly renovated walls. Fixtures emitting blue, white, and red light dimly illuminate the interior along with flat-screen TVs. The dinner menu features modern, sophisticated bites including bacon-wrapped lamb lollipops served with an apricot mustard sauce and fennel coleslaw, and entrees such as grilled steak poutine with a housemade roasted-garlic mushroom gravy and a drizzle of truffle oil. The culinary team has also crafted a list of martinis and cocktails whose chic elegance matches the updated surroundings. They are particularly ideal for sipping on the outdoor deck or during events such as open-mic musings, poetry nights, and shows from comedians.
The one thing that may look familiar—much to the delight of regulars—is the pizza. The seemingly random assortment of pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, pineapple, and bacon on the Chef's Mistake has made it a tradition for 34 years, which is about as long as it took to remove pizza dough from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel after the cardinals’ dinner in 1791. The pizzaiolos also top traditional or thin crusts with ingredients ranging from capicola and soppressata to fried calamari with tzatziki sauce.
Pharos Pizza and Spaghetti House treasures traditional Italian fare by manifesting quality pizza and pasta recipes into reality. Muse over the 11 secret-recipe pies before arm wrestling a thick slice of a large Popeye's spinach pizza, a melting core of spinach, feta cheese, green onions, and garlic ($22.50). The large Donair disk creates a savoury circumference with Donair meat, onions, and green peppers (18.50). Baked lasagna with meat sauce satisfies stomach gremlins ($12.50), and a french baguette loaded with mexican chicken and sweet peppers sweetly careens tales of delicious identity crisis between tanged-out teeth ($6.50). Pharos Pizza and Spaghetti House's nook inside the Haven Social Club includes an atmosphere featuring live music in which onlookers can nibble on butter tartlets while absorbing the sights and sounds ($1.95).
RedBrick Pizza blasts its prided circles in an authentic terra-cotta oven exceeding 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, alchemically transforming their base dough into crispy gold in less than three minutes. Wake snoozing taste buds with a hearty starter, such as mozzarella suprema breadsticks adorned with natural cheese and herbs ($4.95 side, $6.95 large) before moving onto a signature fire-roasted pie. Enjoy stationary drive-in dining with a bacon-cheeseburger pizza topped with ground beef and three kinds of cheese ($10.50 for a small), or graze on the Veggie Gourmet Works, which comes loaded with a Peter Piper's worth of fresh vegetables, including bell peppers, artichokes, and mushrooms, swaddled in your choice of a vegetarian red or white sauce ($10.50 for a small).