I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have an Italian food problem. I could eat pizza or pasta practically every day of the week. I just love it so much! Sometimes I am surprised I don’t weigh about 500 pounds. This problem will be made very apparent by my next few restaurant reviews, over the course of the last couple of weeks I have eaten at 4 different Italian restaurants…. I know… ridiculous!
Last week I realized that the $10 coupon I got from Famoso during the Red Shoe Crawl was going to expire at the end of July. I had just 2 days to use it up. So I texted around and Nick and Lauren were free to meet me for dinner that evening to also use up their certificates. We decided to meet at the Famoso on Whyte Ave as it was a central location for all of us.
Famoso isn’t my favourite pizza in Edmonton, but I do find it a very reliable. I have never disliked anything I have ordered there. I’ve always been very satisfied and the price is really, very reasonable.
I’ve actually been lucky enough to have Neapolitan pizza in Naples, at Pizzeria da Michele, which calls itself the birthplace of the Margherita pizza. This was over 5 years ago when I did a semester abroad in Italy and, no surprise, I was even taking food pictures back then! I can’t recall if Famoso was open in Edmonton at the time or not… I am going to guess that yes they were, but that it was still pretty new then.
Either way, I had little to no experience with Neapolitan style pizza at the time and was very intrigued to see such simple pizza. Dough, sauce, a little fresh mozzarella, basil and that’s it. Simple. The pizza in Naples was delicious, but sometimes I wonder if food just tastes better when you are in another country. Also, if I recall correctly, it was absolutely freezing in Naples that day and we were waiting outside of the restaurant for a while to get a table… waiting also almost always makes food taste better! Either way, it’s fun to say that I tried Margherita pizza in its birthplace!
Now, back to Famoso. Quite often I like to order the pizzetta and salad combination off of the menu, which means that I get a small salad and small pizza, which is perfect and maybe slightly healthier. However, this time, I was hoping to save half of my pizza for lunch the next day, so I opted for a regular size pizza instead.
After looking through the menu, I decided on the Prosciutto Arugula pizza which is a pizza with a white sauce of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and oregano, topped with prosciutto, arugula, grana padano, pecorino romano, topped with fior-di-latte, fresh basil leaves and a lemon wedge. So, something a little different from your run of the mill tomato sauce, cheese and meat pizza.
The pizza tasted great. I loved the bite and bitterness of the arugula paired with the garlic, strongly flavoured aged cheeses and deliciously chewy, meaty prosciutto. And the squeeze of lemon just pulled everything all together.
Nick decided to get the pizzetta and salad combination. For his pizza he chose the spring/summer special, Piselli Pizza, which was a pizza topped with pistachio pesto, speck (smoked prosciutto), green peas, chopped mint, kefalograviera (sheep’s milk cheese), and a lemon wedge. And for his salad he got the Gorgonzola Walnut Salad which is romaine lettuce, gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, semi-dried cranberries, and gorgonzola walnut vinaigrette. Nick said both were great and that they really enjoyed the interesting ingredients on the pizza.
Lauren also chose the pizzetta combination, but instead of salad, decided on soup. She selected the Prosciutto Arugula pizza also, but asked for it with tomato sauce and then picked the Fire Roasted Tomato Bisque, which is topped with feta cheese and fresh basil. I’ve had both the pizza and soup before and they are both delicious. Although I prefer the prosciutto arugula pizza with the “white sauce”, the red sauce gives the pizza a more traditional flavour. And the bisque…. oh, that bisque is awesome. It has a wonderful, rich tomato flavour and the tiniest little kick to it. I also love the feta cheese on top… I think I might need to steal that idea for my home-made tomato soup recipe.
As usual, we were all really pleased with our meal at Famoso. I think Famoso really has found a great niche in the market. There is a pizza for every taste on the menu, from the traditional to more adventurous; I think almost anything would be a good choice. The quantities are generous, but not ridiculous and the prices are very reasonable. I’ve never been disappointed and I hope they continue to have great success with this winning formula!