On August 8, Victoria Explorer was invited to the Media Tasting event at Famoso Pizzeria. The newest restaurant to open in downtown Victoria offers authentic Neapolitan Pizza, taking over the old Dig This location in Market Square.
Famoso pizzas are made with the same ingredients and techniques as in Naples, certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), an organization dedicated to preserving the standards of true Neapolitan pizza. Famoso imports tomatoes for its sauce from the Campania region of Southern Italy. Their low acidity and natural sweetness help them caramelize in the intense heat of the fire-oven. The fresh fior-di-latte whole-milk mozzarella used as a topping also was invented in Naples and is known for its rich, creamy texture.
The whole dining experience at Famoso is unlike most other restaurants. Fast and casual, it provides the quick convenience of ordering at the counter, with the relaxed comfort of added service at your table. Once seated, you will find menus at your table, but you place your order at the front counter (note pads are provided so you don’t forget what you want). You then sit back and relax until one of the baristas brings your food and beverages to your table. You can either pay immediately when you place your order at the counter, or you can start a tab and pay at your table once you have finished your meal.
The pizzas are baked for 90 seconds at 900 degrees F in a 5,000lb domed pizza oven, imported straight from Italy and decorated in broken tiles illustrating a map of Italy. Combining the extremely high temperature with ‘00’ Caputo flour that is hand stretched and tossed, helps to create the soft and crispy thin crust that makes Neapolitan pizza so delicious.
To begin our meal, we were treated to the Roasted Kalamata Olives ($3.00). Usually I am not a big fan of olives, but these marinated oven-roasted kalamata olives with oregano, feta, spicy olive oil were truly outstanding. The combination of the spicy, warm olives with the feta was perfect. The only thing I wished this dish had was a few more pieces of bread to go along with olives, as the olives and feta both have a very strong taste.
For our second appetizer, we ordered the Mediterranean Flatbread ($10.00) baked with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, oregano, feta, and served with house-made tzatziki and tuscan hummus. The first thing we noticed was the very generous serving size – this could be shared between 3-4 people. The bread was perfectly baked and still warm, with just the right amount of crunchy and softness. The tzatziki and hummus were delicious, both obviously made with plenty of garlic.
For our main course we ordered two pizzas. Our first was the Conforto Pizza ($14.50), topped with italian sausage, roasted mushrooms, and roasted red peppers. The Conforto Pizza is a “Red Pizza”, since it is made with Campania tomato sauce. Again, the first thing we noticed was the generous serving size – it was equivalent to a large pizza anywhere else.
Our second pizza was the Prosciutto Arugula ($14.50), which is baked first, then topped with arugula, prosciutto, and pecorino romano. The Prosciutto Arugula pizza is a white pizza, since it is made with no tomato sauce, but with Bianca sauce (extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and oregano). You really can taste the difference with the flavourful dough and fresh, quality ingredients, of which there were plenty. The 900 degree over bakes the pizzas perfectly, leaving the thin crust just a little crunchy, but still soft at the same time.
Even though the large portion sizes left us with plenty of leftovers to take home with us, we could not leave without sampling something from the dessert menu. There were so many tasty sounding desserts, we ordered three. First we ordered the Pineapple Panna Cotta ($4.50), which is Sweet Italian custard made with pineapple, and served with pineapple and coconut shavings. The combination of the custard and pineapple was surprisingly tasty, and complimented each other perfectly.
Our second dessert was the Dolce & Banana ($7.00). The dish comes with lots of oven-roasted bananas coated in caramalized brown sugar and crushed pecans, caramel sauce, vanilla bean gelato. Again, I was unsure how bananas and caramel would mix, but the combination was superb. Adding the cold vanilla bean gelato was a nice counter to the warm, caramelized bananas.
Our last and final dessert was the Authentic Tiramisu ($6.00), imported directly from Milan, Italy – Mascarpone cream on a sponge cake base, drenched with espresso, topped with waves of mascarpone and dusted with cocoa. Tiramisu is one of Dayna’s favourite desserts, and this one lived up to the standard set by the previous dishes during our dinner, and was one of the best she had tasted. It was a little on the dry side when compared to other Tiramisu’s we have had, but that is likely due to the cream being served on the side of the dish, as opposed to being made with it.
There have been many restaurants that have tried and failed over the years in this space in Market Square before. The unique dining experience, casual and modern atmosphere, large portion sizes, reasonable prices, and delicious food made with quality ingredients all combine to make a great restaurant that I believe Famoso Pizzeria will buck the trend of failed restaurants and be around for many years to come. We highly recommend you give Famoso Pizzeria a try (they also do take-out).
128-560 Johnson Street
Hours of Operation
Sunday to Wednesday: 11.00am – 11.00pm
Thursday to Saturday: 11.00am – 12.00am (Midnight)