Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria is a small chain of restaurants in Canada, with locations in BC, Alberta, and Ontario; however you wouldn’t think that it was a chain restaurant if you just happened to walk by. A twist on ordering plus great food will make most patrons go back for another visit.
Boisterous with a hint of elegance, warm in a stately manner, loud but somewhat contained… Inside a baby’s womb? Not quite. The vibe at Famoso is quite perplexing to me; the colour scheme used are full of warm tones (well matched with the lighting), but the atmosphere resembles that of a fast food restaurant – very fast paced on the floor and everything is go go go!
I like it though, and they have a unique way of serving their patrons. Instead of a server coming over and taking your order, there is a piece of paper on each table along with the menus. You write down what you’d like, and bring it to the front to either pay right away or start a tab. The servers then bring the food to your table when it’s ready, and you can leave whenever you’re finished your meal since you’ve already paid in advance (unless you started a tab, then you gotta pay up at the end). It’s an interesting take on the traditional duties of a server, and it certainly speeds up the process as they are now only responsible for bringing out the food and taking any requests (reasonable) from the customers.
The kitchen is laid out on the floor alongside the seating area, which is a nice touch since you can watch your food (or most of the time, other people’s food) being prepared. Keep an eye out on the kitchen if you happen to get a seat with a nice view; dough does get tossed up every now and then.
The centerpiece is a giant clay oven on the right side of the kitchen. It’s a modern one, as parts of it are electronic, but honestly… A giant oven is a giant oven.
There’s more seating in the back, but the place fills up fairly quickly on weekends; you’ll want to get there early to nab a nice spot.
Well… There was pizza. I went with a bunch of friends so we were able to try a wide variety of flavours; definitely a plus to go with more people.
My buddy Ila and his girlfriend Aniram ordered a Caprese salad, and if I recall… Although it was good, it just wasn’t $10+ good.
The same could be said about the prosciutto wrapped mozzarella balls; it was great and had plenty of flavour, but at $10.50 CAD, I could have added an extra $2 and ordered an additional pizza.
…Then came the pizzas.
There’s a reason this place is called a pizzeria; they make good pizzas. It’s supposed to be a Neapolitan style pizza, so I was surprised when the edge of the crust came out thicker than I expected. However, the actual base was very thin compared to the edge, which balanced it out.
My buddy Sitruc ordered a rather interesting pizza; part of their “New World” series, they take the base of a Neapolitan pizza and jazz it up with ingredients and flavours from around the world. The one he ordered in particular was the spicy Thai pizza which was topped with chicken, peanut sauce, cheese, bean sprouts, carrots, and a lime wedge. It didn’t taste as bad as it sounds! In fact, it was my favourite pizza that night, mostly because it stood out and was something I’ve never really had on a pizza before (it was still delicious though).
The crowd favourite though was the Abruzzo; a blend of Italian sausage, roasted mushrooms, red onions, mozzarella and some other ingredients seemed to be able to captivate everyone’s taste buds. It was very good, but my heart lies with the spicy Thai.
Actually… I take that back. Dessert was the best part. The Gelato.
Crowd favourite of the night: the Dolce & Banana. There’s no point in describing it, you just have to go get it.
You’d be hard pressed to believe that this place is a franchise; although there aren’t many locations, it would seem like a nightmare to uphold the standards set with each and every new franchise. I’m glad that they’re spreading out across Canada though, it’s definitely a place worth visiting if there’s one around your neighbourhood. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is great, the food is excellent (and by food I mean, do yourself a favour and order the Dolce & Banana right away), and on a cold day (which is quite a few in Vancouver), this place will warm you right up.
If there’s one caveat I have to point out though, are the pizzas themselves. The flavour is great, but I do find the pizza itself a little bit on the soggy side. It feels like there’s almost a bit too much sauce on the dough, and ends up softening it up a little bit too much in my opinion. Of course, who am I to say anything if that’s what they were aiming for? Personally though I could do with a little less sogginess in my pizzas.
If you’re on Commercial and fancy a slice, just mosey on over to Famoso. With a combination of great food, a warm vibe, and very friendly staff, it’d be hard not to leave this place with a smile.