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.
Pizzeria Prego’s pie connoisseurs toss five different types of crusts, the pillows of scratch-made dough spreading gently with each throw. The crusts, in varieties such as pumpkin seed, gluten-free, and sesame flax, are each well suited to fistfuls of any of 40 toppings and sauces including parsnips, scrambled eggs, kebab meat, and pasta. Pesto, salsa, and alfredo sauce add inventive bases to pies, but do not show up when xeroxing the pizza for friends.
The clinking of cocktail glasses tinkles through Jeffrey's Cafe & Wine Bar as whiffs of baking pastries and grilling sandwiches drift out from the kitchen. Specialty sandwiches and wraps clasp gourmet fixings of wild smoked salmon, fresh vegetables, and melted cheeses; cinnamon-raisin buns, pies, and cakes await pairings with specialty coffee drinks. Red and white wines, beer, and more than 30 specialty martinis make evenings more relaxing than nap on an alpaca.
Beneath vibrant, framed paintings and hanging lights, upholstered chairs and plush leather couches scatter across the café's hardwood floors, and outside, red and green umbrellas shade an expansive patio. In lieu of animatronic banjo players, the cafe regularly hosts live bands and vocalists on weekends.
The culinary crew at Pete’s A Pie Pizzeria prepares each morsel from scratch using fresh vegetables and herb-infused olive oils. Specialty pan or Brooklyn-style pizzas marry swirls of homemade sauce—including marinara, creamy garlic, and spicy barbecue—with corresponding toppings and ringtones to create one-of-a-kind concoctions such as the barbecue-chicken pie or the salty pig—a blend of prosciutto, fresh basil, and red onions. Since it's comprised solely of a bustling kitchen and pickup counter, the eatery offers delivery or carryout only.
Seventeen HDTVs flicker from their positions against North Shore Club's bright green walls, which are speckled with sports memorabilia and surfboards to contribute to a laid-back and youthful vibe. Fresh from the oven, thin-crust pizzas travel out to tall tables, offering fuel in forms such as italian sausage, kalamata olives, baby shrimp, and fresh spinach, all scattered over a base of fire-roasted tomato sauce or olive oil and parmesan.
The bar hosts weekly events that often highlight big sports games or DJs, and daily drink specials keep libations flowing from the large wooden bar Monday–Friday.