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Restaurants

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Reviewed on June 22, 2012 / review policy

famoso neapolitan pizzaFamoso Neapolitan Pizzeria opened this past week at the corner of Bloor and Dalton, with aspirations of making authentic Naples pizza easily (and quickly) accessible in an elegant setting. Replacing the James Joyce Pub, this place is polished – as it should be. Though new to the Annex, the growing chain has many locations throughout Canada, and its first Ontario location opened earlier this month in Yorkdale Mall.

There are no rigid seating policies here. You can browse the menu at the table then step up to the counter to order. You can pay upfront, or start a tab and enjoy your meal at your leisure.

famoso neapolitan pizzaThe service concept here is unique in that it offers flexibility in the pace of your meal, but, rest assured that once you've ordered, you are hardly forgotten. Our server, Molly, is friendly and attentive; she is there with recommendations and to take incidental orders for drinks, dessert, and whatever else is needed.

famoso neapolitan pizzaInside, the restaurant is bright and airy – dark wood floors, crisp white ceilings and exposed brick create a chic and neutral base. Pops of red, golden yellow and chalkboard black add touches of drama – even the restrooms are impressive (especially for the Annex).

famoso neapolitan pizzaWe begin with cocktails – the Italian Spritz ($6.50 a glass or $24.50 a pitcher) is refreshing and not too sweet. Prosecco, Aperol and soda make for a welcome summer beverage as I sit back and take in the bustling atmosphere.

famoso neapolitan pizzaOur appetizers arrive quickly. The small Caprese salad ($8) layers thick slices of fresh mozzarella and local, vine-ripened tomatoes over a bed of greens.

famoso neapolitan pizzaThe Caesar ($6) is dressed in a garlicky and tart vinaigrette – thankfully, not too creamy – and the prosciutto crisps and pecorino romano add dashes of salt and fat in the right proportions. The prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella balls (3 for $10) are served in tomato sauce and topped with basil and pecorino romano.

famoso neapolitan pizzaNext come our pizzas. For the true Naples experience I know we should have ordered the traditional Margherita ($11), but the Funghi Tartufo ($14.5) with roasted white mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and truffle oil sounded too enticing. This 'red' pizza arrives topped with Campania tomato sauce, fior-di-latte fresh cheese, and fresh basil that still shows off the merits of Neopolitan cuisine.

famoso neapolitan pizzaThe Prosciutto Arugula Pizza ($14.50) is made with Bianca sauce – a simple mix of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and oregano – then topped with fior-di-latte fresh mozzarella, and piled high with arugula and prosciutto. Made with 00 Caputo flour, these pizzas are baked in an enormous, 900-degree, dome-shaped oven for just 90 seconds to ensure a light and airy crust that's thin but not crunchy.

famoso neapolitan pizzaFor me, the night's highlight is the gelato ($3.50 for one scoop, $4.50 for two) from Calgary-based Fiasco Premium Artisan Gelato. On offer are playful flavours such as salted caramel, burnt sugar banana chocolate and blueberry basil, and I sample them all. All of the desserts sound amazing, and the Dolce & Banana ($7) – caramelized bananas paired with crushed pecans, caramel sauce, and vanilla bean gelato – may even deserve its own visit.

famoso neapolitan pizzaNow the real question: is the pizza as good as their rival in the realm of Neopolitan pizzas, Pizzeria Libretto? Almost. Will you get a seat and be in and out in less time than it takes to get a table on Ossington? Yes. Unless of course, you'd rather take your time, then you're welcome to it.

Photos by Natta Summerky

Discussion

35 Comments

Neapolitana / June 22, 2012 at 01:19 pm
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Using libretto as a benchmark for true neapolitan pizza is a sad thing. It's a bastardized version of what you get in Naples. It doesn't even taste good. Then to say this new place doesn't measure up to libretto...it must really suck. And it looks like they cut the pizza into the north american triangles...wrong.

For the only pizza that comes close to the real thing in this city, go to via mercanti in Kensington.

Hatts / June 22, 2012 at 02:13 pm
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Truffle oil makes me sad, it's likely to have never had any contact with truffles. Avoid it on menus.
Not Daniel replying to a comment from Neapolitana / June 22, 2012 at 03:14 pm
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Using Naples as a benchmark for Toronto is a sad thing.

"... they cut the pizza into the north american triangles...wrong."

WE ARE IN NORTH AMERICA.

Instead of Kensington, maybe hop a plane to Italy and stuff your face so full of authentic pizza you shut the f&^$ up.
Jim (Alberta) / June 22, 2012 at 03:42 pm
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I was sorry to see the James Joyce close down.
Neapolitana / June 22, 2012 at 04:01 pm
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Hey Not Daniel,


Angry much? Theres north American pizza and then there's the original. Anyways, no point in debating with someone like you. Chances are, you're the owner of this calgarian pizza joint. What makes me think this? Overly Angry, macho cowboy attitude. Yee-haw.
Ming replying to a comment from Neapolitana / June 22, 2012 at 06:46 pm
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Can you learn to write? My 6 year old ESL kid pointed out your mistakes. Yee Haw
albertan replying to a comment from Neapolitana / June 22, 2012 at 08:41 pm
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you don't have to be such a pretentious prick you know... not everyone from calgary are 'cowboys'.

anyway, the food looks great and i hope that i'll be able to try it when i'm back in the fall (:
moles / June 22, 2012 at 10:53 pm
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"The tired old James Joyce". Yeah, the place with that annoying live music, without any of the plastic shine of a corporate chain. Yeah, we'll all be glad when all those tired old places are gone from the Annex.
LA replying to a comment from Neapolitana / June 22, 2012 at 11:51 pm
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Neapolitana/Owner of Via Mercanti: why don't you move back to Naples then, if you hate Canada so much?



Elise / June 23, 2012 at 08:16 am
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Was this a review? I don't know a single thing about the food that reading the menu wouldn't tell me.
Sophia / June 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm
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Service was really good although I'm not a fan of ordering at the counter (especially when they're still taking drink orders etc at the table).

Margherita was oversauced and underbasiled IMO but still good. Caesar was nice enough but nothing to write home about. Cocktail (lemon and gin) was refreshing. Espresso was nice and strong and the gelato was delish, though I didn't get much salt coming through in the salted dulce de leche.
Jen / June 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm
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Just dropped by tonight for dessert and had the Dolce & Banana. Pretty yummy but probably just needs a little "oomph" to make it awesome. Perhaps toasting the pecans? Tried the blueberry basil sorbetto as well. Very good blueberry taste but not much on the basil side. Had same flavour at Soma and Soma is much better with the basil essence.
The service was friendly, warm and very eager to please. Manager type walked around the tables checking in and thanking people for coming in to give their new place a try. Wait staff still young and a bit nervous and eager to clear plates but is perfectly fine. A few more weeks will give them the ease they need to jive with the summer crowd. Will try the pizza next time as it looked promising.
Gabe / June 24, 2012 at 01:54 am
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NEVER BEEN BUT. LOOKS GREAT. GREAT ENVIRONMENT/ATMOSPHERE. guess they still just need to nail the pizza to make it awesome. They get it. New Ovens And Such. You Have To Learn When To Take The Pizza Out, How Long To Cook The Different Crust Options. THEY,ll GET IT!
jameson / June 24, 2012 at 01:39 pm
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It'll be interesting to see if these work out in the big pond Toronto, as oppose to the little pond out West.
Neapolitan thief replying to a comment from Neapolitana / June 25, 2012 at 10:15 am
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Are you kidding me via mercanti...wow.
Libretto is a good reference to use for good pizza. I dont love it but i def like it. In this case however, maybe one cant compare the two simply because i was told that even though the oven at famoso's is state of the art and super hot, its not wood burning, which IMO gives a significant difference in flavour. The menu still looks pretty good and I'll have to try it out for sure.


Joe / June 27, 2012 at 08:14 pm
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Hey Via Mercanti,
Do you think people are that stupid?
Work on improving yourself instead of trying to diss others.
John Manzo / July 3, 2012 at 08:37 pm
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Famoso is based in Edmonton, not Calgary, though we're happy to have two Famoso locations here in Calgary. We're also bless to have Fiasco Gelato, which operates a food truck here. I prefer the Napolitano pizza at Una or Without Papers in Calgary but Famoso is very nice.

I've been to Famoso here (the one in Mission in Calgary if you know the city) many times and they've never cut my pies in triangles or any other shape. Must be for the Toronto market.
Edgar replying to a comment from Neapolitana / July 5, 2012 at 08:17 pm
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Why is Neapolitana so angry at famoso....last time i checked famoso's first Ontario location just opened a month ago in one of Canadas top grossing malls and already taking business away from moxies and pickle barrel. The fact that you log on to different computers or sign on to different accounts hyping up your restaurant probably means your doing it because you need the recognition. If you really dislike them so much buy a ticket to Naples with all the money via mercanti is making and live there.....and last time i checked famosos urban spoon site has more pictures that you so.....
V / July 13, 2012 at 07:11 pm
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First off, the pizza at Via Mercanti is bad. The crust is all wrong, although the crushed tomatoes are tasty (I'm a marinara guy).

The pizza at Libretto is excellent and the crust is just right.

...

I just went to Famoso. I will certainly go again. The location is convenient. I actually like that you order at the counter. Makes it more casual.

The pizza was good. The crust was pliable even after cooling down, which is a hallmark of good pizza. It was only slightly less airy than what I like, which means that it might have been kneaded just a tad too hard. Also, I would have liked it just a bit more charred than it was (charring imparts flavour).

The spritz was wrong, though! Way too much ice and no sparkling water!

But the pizza was good.
greendaze / August 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm
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I had the tomato bisque soup with the margherita pizzeta.

The soup was absolute delicious, but the sauce on the margherita was a tad bland. Still, it was a satisfactory dining experience.

Not as good as Pizzeria Libretto, but the service was faster, and the restaurant more accessible to me (being on Bloor). I look forward to trying out some of the other pizzas on the menu.
Mal / October 30, 2012 at 09:51 am
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For me the bottom line was that the pizza was horrible, my girlfriend and I walked out disappointed from the Yorkdale location. It was lukewarm and tasted no better than the old Chef Boyardee DIY kits, actually I think I preferred the latter. There are so many great pizzeria's in Toronto, this place just isn't one of them.
Write something good / November 9, 2012 at 08:45 pm
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My take on all these comments/reviews is that the pizza is terrible, or that people are somehow offended that it doesn't taste exactly like it does in Naples because they are from Naples and need to bash the place. This thread is ridiculous. I've been to just about every pizza place in Toronto including the place in Kensington ( I enjoyed the pizza balls ) I have never been to Naples so i cant really say much for authenticity but I'm going to try them out right now - got a deal on groupon so in three hours i'll give y'all the low down.
Write something good / November 10, 2012 at 01:40 am
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I write this as i eat a leftover slice of four cheese pizza. I know there is probably a very good reason for having to place your order at the counter and then be served in a traditional restaurant manner, but it still felt odd having to order from the counter first, but then be able to order drinks and desserts from our server. I'm cool with it, but it still perplexes me exactly why my server cant just take my order. This will confuse old people, maybe it's a filter to keep the vibe trendy and fresh.

I had four cheese and my lady had the margarita. It was not the best pizza I have ever had. It was alright, above average but not by much. Crust was hearty and pita-bread like. Flavours were simple and understate. Maybe i cant taste much because i'm a smoker but i couldn't taste much. Then again maybe this is the traditional way?

The staff were very very nice and helpful, whatever they put in the kook-aid for those kids seems to work super-dandy! Props for service, they really tried hard and smiled a lot.

The place was clean and the staff nice, but not the best slice in the area. The odd ordering procedure will make for good conversation while your on a date with someone you met on plenty of fish. Smiles are free!

I give it a 6.9 fingers out of 2 hands.
Jodi / November 15, 2012 at 07:58 pm
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We just got home from an awful meal there. We spent 50.00 and only one person in our group of 4 ate. The trio of dips is repulsive. The pizza was left behind. The service was a snails pace.
Toni / February 14, 2013 at 06:46 pm
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The moment I went in, I was greeted and warned that this is authentic Napoli pizza. What a joke,...the menu offered a Thai and Greek pizza lol.

Long story short, save your money because it was far from real Italian pizza. It was thin but not crisp, the dough stretched as much as the cheese and the ingredients were straight from the can.

I WILL NEVER GO THERE AGAIN
Laura / February 25, 2013 at 08:29 pm
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Hey, that Thai pizza is awesome.

Speaking as an actual Italian Person here (as in, Really Italian, not somebody who hopped on over from the Jersey Shore), I don't want to eat the same food my parents and grandparents eat all the time. I appreciate interesting twists on old classics, especially if they're delicious. I don't give a shit about "authentic Napoli pizza" to be honest.

That being said, the food at the Yorkdale location, like so many other things about Yorkdale, is flat and devoid of any real joy or originality. Go the Annex one.
Gary / December 23, 2013 at 11:52 pm
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On the 23 Dec 2013 I had ordered a soup and a pizza when first the soup arrived cold and the pizza arrived burnt. The server replaced both stating the manager will adjust the bill. When I received the bill for $25.00 both soups were on it plus the pizza. I was a regular and had brought many people to the place. The manager came over and told me that he could not do anything with the bill because I ate the soup. I did not expect anything from the bill until the server stated that the manager would adjust it. The manager then stated to me " You come here all the time and eat the soup and you are nothing but a complainer" I stated that I only complain when the soup is cold which with me is quite common. I told him I would not be coming back and I would be telling all the people of my experience that I brought there and he laughed stating "So".... When I stated that I would be calling the general manager he laughed again stating " your going to call me" ..I will never step foot in this restaurant ever again due to the humiliation -------
Victor replying to a comment from Gary / December 24, 2013 at 11:37 am
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I had the same problem with cold food at that place. The manager didn't seem to care too much
Victor replying to a comment from greendaze / December 24, 2013 at 11:39 am
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Mine was burnt twice...manager didn't care
Fiona / January 7, 2014 at 01:14 pm
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Hate to go off topic, but if this Via Mercanti is better than Libretto, I'll have to try both to believe it. Been craving some authentic pizza from Naples but not willing to shell out 4x more than what I was able to get over there (granted I'm still a student). I've visited to Salerno and it's a much prettier (and liveable lol) town than Naples, but nothing beats Neapolitan style pizza ... a bit of a disappointment to hear that Via Mercanti is pizza inspired by Salerno which is a bit South from the city.
Fred / January 27, 2014 at 05:47 am
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I thought I would try a new place with 2 of my friends for my birthday. Well, come time to ask if we could have our own cake The waitress said she would have to ask the manager in charge.

Well over comes gay boy, we are obviously 3 straight looking people, well what do you know...THEY DO NOT LET YOU bring in food AT ALL from outside. NOT EVEN A BIRTHDAY CAKE.

Actually it wasn't even a cake that would have brought attention to our table. We had like 3 or 4 little pastries with a candle in one of the pastries. It was a slow snowy Sunday night, they could have easily not ruined my little humble night out, but they chose to enforce this ludicrous rule, and leave a bad taste in my mouth as a new customer instead.

Ever get the feeling being a white middle aged man means you don't count in life any more?
Fred / January 27, 2014 at 05:48 am
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Oh yeah, the food...under cooked but tasty. I'm sure there are better places.
Fred / January 27, 2014 at 01:49 pm
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I just want to elaborate the gay boy comment. Our lady friend that was with us felt that as the manager came over he was assessing the situation, the closer he got, Hmmm...3 straight people, being gay might have helped in our favour perhaps?
Hard to say, but I sort of got that feeling as well.
Really good way of getting first and LAST time customers.
WOOOW replying to a comment from Fred / March 9, 2014 at 11:47 am
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What restaurant have you ever been to where they let you bring outside food in? I love how you think that because you're white and middle aged you don't appeal to the "gay" waiter and hes specifically not letting you bring it in because he cant sway you into his bedroom.

I love this place, I think the service is great and the food is even better. Their tomato bisque is like crack and I would never bring in my own dessert because theirs are all amazing! I went there a couple of days ago and they gave us a $10 gift card for posting our food pics on social media.
Pizza / May 29, 2014 at 10:53 am
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Franchising franchising and more franchising..what about the real genuine Napolitan pizza?
the only place we found it in Toronto is here!! http://www.napolicentralepizzeria.com

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