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.
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.
Determined to unearth the perfect recipe for pita bread, Sara Larsen made the arduous journey from Edmonton to her home village in Israel, where she spent days exploring the shops and sites of her childhood, tasting traditional cuisine and studying cooking methods. Sara returned to her bakery in Edmonton armed with two specialty electric pots, which she used to bake warm, fluffy pita breads, piece by piece. As the demand for Sara's authentic breads and dips grew, she moved out of her home kitchen and into her own shop, complete with a specialty pita oven and a 1,600-square-foot kitchen.
There, Sara bakes up the dozens of multigrain, whole-wheat, and fresh spinach pitas lauded by the Edmonton Journal. To craft her specialty dips, she peels garlic by hand, chops fresh dill, and grills eggplant on a smoky barbecue. Her corn and potato breads are completely free of gluten and foreboding fortune-cookie slips. She peddles her products throughout town, from specialty grocery stores to local farmers markets.
Each day staff members at Pazzo Pazzo Italian Cuisine fill the chalkboard with specials from chef and owner James Burns's stovetop. Burns sharpened his culinary skills working under restaurateur and stepfather Nello Saporito at Il Pasticcio before striking out to open his own restaurant, according to a glowing 2011 review in the Edmonton Sun. Inside his kitchen, Burns pan-sears jumbo tiger prawns in butter and garlic and marinates quail in cognac, creating scents that waft toward the dining room to influence orders. Pasta specials tossed in his specialty housemade sauces include gnocchi, spaghetti, and jumbo shells stuffed with ricotta and spinach. His maître d’, entertains diners with banter while checking on Alaskan king crab and gluten-free entrees and offering wine suggestions from the extensive list. Indoors, black linen tablecloths contrast with white cloth napkins and bright red sauces, and outdoors, the renovated patio offers additional seating for al fresco dining.
Early in the morning, the chefs at Broccolini's Trattoria can be found bustling around the restaurant’s kitchen whipping up the day’s dishes. Dedicated to creating fresh, authentic Italian cuisine, culinary craftspeople keep fare ready-to-eat within the balmy confines of steam tables powered by furious teapots. From the moment the staffers fling the doors open at 8:30 a.m. to the sound of the closing bell at 2:30 p.m., the warm, toffee-hued walls of the dining room resound with the chatter of eaters and the garlic-laden aromas of homemade eats. Throughout the day, hungry patrons can sidle up to the bar to pick up pastas and paninis, surprising taste buds with a rotating lineup of lunch features. As baristas crown cappuccinos with foam, diners settle into leather chairs to start postprandial discussions or stare at the tiny sportsmen bounding between the corners of a flat-screen TV.