Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria is B-list at best

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria is a restaurant chain with locations in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia specializing in the thin-crust style of pizza that originates from the region of Naples. They currently have 3 locations in Ontario (The Annex, Yorkdale + Waterloo).

I’m sure you’ve all heard me say many times that none of my childhood friends are foodies; my best friend E is probably the worst offender as he is pretty meat and potatoes.  So I brought him in tow with me to check it out.

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The Annex location is located at the corner of Dalton + Bloor in the space that formerly housed the James Joyce Irish Pub.  The restaurant itself is quite open, with a waiting area which opens up into the restaurant.  To the left is the “kitchen counter” where you place your order; the servers here only deliver the food to your table.  You can opt to pay at the counter or at the end.  It’s also the gelato counter where all the kids are peering through to see which flavor du jour they want.

Service here is what I’d call a team-effort?  It’s sort of a half-assed Marché-style set-up but at least it will nullify any Yelp-style complaints about lack of service, since essentially there isn’t really any.  I’m not sure what to make of the tug-of-war between upscale food chain versus self-serve fast food image that Famoso seems to be tackling.

It’s definitely a great spot to go with a group with long booths lining the walls.  For those who want to catch some action, there are seats by the open kitchen where line chefs toss pizza dough in the air à la cheesy stereotype.  It’s also where the huge pizza oven is.

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On the table are menus and an ordering pad.  Stick with the beer/wine and skip the sugar-laden cocktails.  I opt for the Italian Greyhound ($9.50); you almost have to take fingerprints to ID this as a “cocktail.”

Keeping in mind the dime-a-dozen pizza joints that are coincidentally chains, I must say that I’d be perfectly happy dialing 967-11-11. Sorry, guys.

Polpette al forno, $9.75

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Prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella balls, 3/$10.50

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Prosciutto Arugula Pizza $15.25

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Siciliana Pizza $14.75

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The highlight of the night was definitely the Sicliana pizza as it was meaty, flavorful, and saucy. The prosciutto-arugula pizza was disappointing as the raw arugula sort of just floated on top of the pizza and fell off every time I bit into it.  It may have been easier to handle if the arugula were semi-baked into the pizza.  It wasn’t saucy either.  Kind of like eating a salad on top of flatbread.  The polpette al forno also weren’t as moist a meatball as I would have liked though the tomato flavor was all there.  The prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella balls sounded grand and fancy but were not.  Tiny (golf-ball sized) and not anything to write home about.

At the end of the day, Famoso was definitely so-so and I don’t think I’d return again for dinner given the better choices around the city.  Piola, on Queen West is a much better choice for casual Italian eats; it is also a chain but directly out of Italy and the food is much better value for your money.

*TIP OF THE DAY*  Engage with them on social media (e.g. tag them on Instagram in your photos) and receive a $20 voucher to spend on your next visit.

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria (The Annex) on Urbanspoon

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