Famoso began in 2005 back in Calgary after a trip to Italy left Justin, 1 of 3 partners, spellbound by the simple eloquence of the Margherita pizza. Inspired to learn more about Italian pizzas and its flavorful culture, Famoso was born. Now also residing in Commercial Drive’s ‘Little Italy‘, Famoso “brings Naples a little closer” to us Vancouverties with their fresh ingredients and passion for authenticity and artisan roots.
Since Kevin was out of town, I got to take his place and took @nuwen with me to explore all that Famoso had to offer during their grand opening.
We were immediately greeted at the door with an Italian spritz in hand (prosecco, aperol, and soda) and big smiles all around. My initial reaction? Whoa, you can almost see the entire restaurant: the gelato bar, ordering counter, kitchen, gorgeous oven, and the dining space.
Shortly after being seated, our server brought us the infamous Kalamata olives. They’re oven-roasted and served with some flatbread and a garnish of oregano, feta, and spicy olive oil.
So, the way you order here is very casual. The order is placed at the counter and you may choose to dine out or take it with ya elsewhere. You also have the option of paying for the food then or later when the whole meal has been enjoyed.
First up: 3 proscuitto wrapped mozzarella balls. The fresh fior di latte (flower of milk) mozzarella is enveloped by proscuitto and baked in the Campania tomato sauce. This would have been even better had there been more basil and if the sauce was hotter and not just warm, but I have a feeling that it helps hold the mozzarella’s shape at this temperature.
Alright, let’s talk pizza. As much as I am an avid follower of the Margherita pizza, my eyes were drawn to the San Andreas: Bianca sauce, mozzarella, chili-lime marinated roast chicken topped with avocado, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and light cream. Finish off with a lime wedge and you have a pizza that screams, “California!”
Beautiful presentation and colours. However, my impression of a Cali pizza would be loud and bursting at the crust with flavors and this was a very mild and modestly seasoned pizza. It is definitely a good summer pick to be paired with their list of drinks though.
Basil Mojito (front) – limoncello, soda, basil.
Limoncello Lemonade (back) - limoncello, tanqueray gin, lime, limonata soda. (oops, we didn’t realize we ordered practically the same drink until it was too late haha) Either way, give me a pitcher of this and we’ll call it a wonderful day!
Back to pizza. The Siciliana: a meat lover’s paradise of Italian sausage, ham, and proscuitto. I really liked this one, especially since it wasn’t just giant chunks of meat that weren’t evenly dispersed on the pizza. This helped to ensure that every bite of the pizza captured the essence of the Siciliana design.
Before desserts, we were given a quick intro to The Art of Neapolitan Pizzas and what sets Famoso apart. They use the highly refined Caputo flour which not only helps with digestion, but aides in the reasoning to why it’s so easy to finish a whole pizza by yourself. There was quite a bit of audience participation and the lesson to take away was “Watch your fingies!”
Oh man, I’ve been waiting for desserts all day and I was not disappointed. You’re looking at Key Lime Graham Cracker, Burnt Sugar Banana Cioccolato, Salted Caramel, and Blueberry Basil gelato. If there’s one thing that you need to know about me, it’s that I am so in love with gelato. I’m going to have to come back to eat all the other flavors. (Good thing gelato is healthier to consume than ice cream..or so I tell myself!)
Dolce and Banana (can’t stop and you wouldn’t wanna): roasted bananas in a caramelized brown sugar jacket with crushed pecans, caramel sauce, and vanilla bean gelato. OH MY.. this might be the best $7 dessert I’ve had in ages. Would have loved even more crushed nuts on the bananas.
Imported Tiramisu from Milan: classic recipe of mascarpone cream amid layers of espresso soaked sponge cakes. This wasn’t bad, but not my favourite of the night. It was still frozen at the bottom so it wasn’t as silky in texture as it normally is.
After a night of constantly wiping my pizza lovin’ hands to greet others, I definitely feel so blessed to be in a city that offers such incredible food from all around the world. mmmmm. With pizzas ranging from $8-$15 (and half-sized ones available for lunch!), varieties of antipasti, salads, desserts and so much more, Famoso deserves your attention.
Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria
1380 Commercial Drive
Vancouver British Columbia
(604) 251 – 2292