Monday, 23 June 2014

Jake & Humphreys Bistro

196 Peel Street
New Hamburg, ON


In her opinion:
It's always nice when you can have an adults only dinner with friends who appreciate food as much as we do! This last Saturday was adult date night. After some thought, I remembered that I had been wanting to try Jake & Humphreys Bistro in New Hamburg for some time.

The restaurant is housed in a old red house on the main strip in New Hamburg. As we walked into the old foyer, we were greeted by our server who showed us to our table. The restaurant was filled to capacity. But it did not seem crowded or too loud. I liked the ambiance of the room the minute I sat down.

Our water glasses were filled right away. I decided to have a glass of Megalomaniac Homegrown Riesling.

This is a gorgeous Riesling. Not too tart with just the right amount of sweetness. This is the first white I've had in a while and it was really good. Our waitress brought over some house made whole wheat and focaccia bread along with olive oil and balsamic for dipping.

For my appetizer, I decided to go with one of the feature appetizers. Six beautiful raw malpeque oysters with house made seafood sauce.

The best choice I could have made and probably the highlight of my meal. Super fresh. Super sweet. The seafood sauce was also delightful with the right amount of kick provided by the horseradish. Excellent!

I was debating about what to have for my main. I finally decided to have the "Poached Chicken Breast in a Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce". This was served with polenta and sauted vegetables.

The chicken looked bland on the plate...what did I really expect from anything poached? But the chicken breast was definitely moist and flavourful and the creamy mushroom sauce was really delicious adding the right amount of zing to the otherwise boring looking chicken! The polenta was okay...not super creamy. The sauted vegetable were excellent. Fresh and flavourful. Big shout out to the red cabbage which stole the show and I was a really good girl and finished every piece of vegetable on my plate.
I didn't leave any room for dessert.

Overall, a nice dinner...the company probably improved the experience by a lot but I would say that Jack & Humphreys is a good place for dinner with friends or for a romantic dinner for two.

In his opinion:
Every time I dine in New Hamburg I have a pretty good experience so I was expecting more of the same. I usually encounter great unpretentious food prepared with care and featuring a lot of local ingredients which puts the New Hamburg dining scene at par with other Ontario cities for local fare.

Jake and Humphrey's is your typical house adapted restaurant venue with a mix of charm and close quarters that add to the ambience and mystic of the experience. I ordered a Rickard's Red while browsing the menu, this was mostly because I did not recognize any of the featured craft beers explained by the waitress but I recall the list of availability seemed to be short.

For starters, I ordered the "Butter Seared Scallops with Julienne Vegetable Salad served in a sesame soy dressing". When encountering words such as butter sea scallops in the same phrase, it is hard to look at anything else and I was drawn to it automatically.

The scallops were seared to perfection and even the slight burnt marks on them didn't take away for their moistness and taste and it actually added texture. The julienne vegetable salad was arguably the best I have ever had and that's admitting that I'm not a huge fan of this salad usually. This dish was fresh, light and perfect for a hot summer evening in the country.

For my entree, I chose the "Braised Beef Ribs with Hoisin and Dark Beer Sauce". This dish was served with Fettuccine noodles contrary to the description on the menu that stated mashed potato. A vegetable medley rounded out the dish and did it in great fashion. The braised ribs were very flavourful and tender. The dark beer sauce acted as the coating on the meat and added both the flavour and texture.

As we were pretty full, we opted out of dessert but I must add that the options the waitress explained didn't seem to be calling my name either. As a nice touch, we received chocolate caramels with our bill.

The Good: Very good unpretentious food served in a cozy romantic setting.
The Bad: Service was a bit aloof.
The Verdict: Again the food speaks volumes in New Hamburg. Food selection was good and the food was well prepared and flavourful. A great place to visit and try some of the good dishes coming out of this kitchen.

I give it 3 1/2 Out of 5 Olives as rating

Jake & Humphreys Bistro on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Marcelo's Italian Restaurant

1-2435 Eagle Street North
Cambridge, ON


Photograph property of Restaurant Food Pages

In her opinion:
Our awesome neighbours Rob and Rosanne have been talking about Marcelo's forever. Basically about how they are regulars and how fabulous the food was...that's all I needed to hear...fabulous food. I can honestly say that Italian food is not my favourite cuisine but when it is done right it can be marvellous and that is what I was hoping with Marcelo's.

Marcelo's is located in a strip mall on Eagle Street North. It's very unassuming. When you walk into Marcelo's you enter a nicely furnished room and you are greeted by the Marcelo's wife, Rodi who will show you to your seat. 

On his particular night, Marcelo's was happening. Our waitress came over and took our drink orders right away. We ordered sparkling water for the table and everyone got a Negroni (a fabulous combination of gin, sweet varmouth and Campari with orange peel) to start. This is becoming one of my favourite cocktails and this one did not disappoint.

Rodi brought over some delicious bread and dipping oil. It was so delectable. I loved the dripping oil with the wonderful olive tapenade, spicy pepper flakes and tanginess of the vinegar. They actually bake the bread in-house everyday and this wonderful bread is available for sale to take home.

We also ordered a bottle of Don Bosco red wine to share. A very nice Italian red. 

For my starter, I ordered "Rodi's Mussels" - mussels, cream, tomatoes, bacon ragu, scallions and gremolata bread crumbs.

The mussels were very good. They were fresh tasting and the flavours of the tomato, cream and bacon worked very well together.

For my main, I choose "the Veal Marsala" - milk fed veal in a Marsala sauce served with a vegetable risotto on this night and topped with Parmesan shavings.

In a word "orgasmic"! I think my eyes rolled to the back of my head when I bit into this veal. OMG! This was the best veal Marsala I have ever eaten. Marcelo is a magician in the kitchen and what is most impressive is that he's not even Italian. Not bad for a Romanian!

Marcelo visited our table at the end of our meal since we were the last patrons left. We basically closed down the place. He decided to make us a special dessert.

He presented us with a dessert gnocchi with stewed fruit and fresh ricotta. This was a savoury sweet dessert. The gnocchi was so fresh and perfectly executed. But for me the stewed fruit stole the sweet and tasty.

I now know what Rob and Rosanne are talking about when they talk about the deliciousness of Marcelo's. This place is wonderful and the food incredible. Definitely worth a visit.

In his opinion:

Marcelo's has been on our radar for quite a while but we somehow never got around to try it. Granted that Italian food is not the top of our list but we do occasionally find good Italian experiences.

Marcelo's has an unassuming front facade but feels very Mediterranean inside. The open kitchen as you walk in to your right is a very nice touch and feels very inviting. Inside the dining area, you'll find the expected Italian style decorations like wall sconces, niches and faux old style plaster walls.

We were promptly seated with our friends and given our menus to peruse. The menu is extensive with the typical Italian dishes, both traditionally Italian and a couple of the expected "North American/Italian" dishes to satisfy some customers.

The bread served was top notch, baked in house and very well complimented by a dipping oil with a tapenade like base. We all got Negroni cocktails and a bottle of red Montepulciano D'Abruzzo Don Bosco (not to be confused with Donnie Brasco). It was a medium bodied red with great colour and gentle tannins, a wine traditionally known to be consumed with food.

For my starter, I chose the Calamari Peperonata - grilled calamari, peppers, greens, home dressing and balsamic. The generous portion of calamari rings were cooked very well as were the al dente vegetables that accompanied it. The balsamic kicks in a nice twist to the taste without overpowering the flavour.

For a main, I chose the Grilled Scallop Fettuccine served in a cream sauce, with tomatoes, bacon and spinach. The scallops were a good size, lightly seared and work well with the sauce. The fettuccine was well seasoned in pepper and aired very well with the spinach. The tomato rounded up the dish nicely to accentuate the Italian in it.

For dessert, we were treated by Marcelo himself to a gnocchi dessert that could easily feed 10 people. It was a gnocchi dessert with fresh ricotta and fruits, full of flavour and light. I had a few pieces myself. Marcelo visited our table and provided a bit of his food/restaurant knowledge as well as treating us to a bit of his dry Romanian humour.

The Good: Good food and service and friendly atmosphere.
The Bad: The fake exposed brick decor is unnecessary for an Italian feel.
The Verdict: Well executed food and gracious hosting make this place a welcoming and family friendly place. It's good to have a good Italian Restaurant in this town as so many don't live up to the exceptions.
I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 Olives as rating

Marcelo's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Stillwater Plate and Pour

61 Grand River Street North
Paris, Ontario


It's been a while! Let me apologize for the delay in writing a new blog post but the inevitable has finally occurred. Our SD card on our camera pooped out on we have spent the last three or so weeks trying to recoup our pictures to no avail. Sorry but this is a bare minimum post as far as photos are concerned. We hope our words do justice to the dishes, without having the visuals to go with them!

In her opinion:
As most of you know, our goal is to find new and exciting places to blog about in Ontario and well, the world! As of late, we have been looking for places close to home...we often go to Camp 31 for dinner in Paris, Ontario and as we drive through this lovely town a few restaurants have caught our eye. 

So last Sunday, Edgar and I decided to drive to Paris and visit the Cedar House Restaurant. Unfortunately, we did not have a reservation so they could not accommodate us until much later in the evening. We opted to try Stillwater Plate and Pour instead. This is in the same space that Kenu was once housed. This is Matt Cummings' restaurant (he also owns Cobblestone Public House Restaurant down the street) and the chef is Chef William Thompson of Food Network's Top Chef Canada. 

The restaurant is on the top floor of 61 Grand River Street North and has an amazing patio with sweeping views of the Grand River. Our son Ethan loved the fact that we were seated next to a window that he could stare down at this large fast moving river. Our waitress came to introduce herself and take our drink orders. I had studied their cocktail menu in detail but opted to keep it simple and have water instead. I know boring!

After studying the menu some more...and some more...and some more...there was a lot to pick from but I can honestly say that nothing was really calling my name. Edgar actually pointed out "the Buffalo Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Noodle" in their Bowl Dishes section of the menu. This consisted of "seasoned and stuffed ground chuck meatballs simmered in a fire roasted tomato sauce over Italian pappardelle noodles topped with fresh basil and shaved grana padano cheese". This was served with a slice of warm artisan garlic bread.

This is a vibrant dish. The colours are amazing. The flavours are fresh and lively. The noodles were cooked perfectly. The meatballs were the star of this dish, just as I had expected. These are delectable bites of meaty goodness.

Edgar was still a little hungry after his dinner and to be honest I still had a little bit of room myself, so we decided to order dessert. After checking out their dessert menu, we decided to share "Chef Will's Award Winning Triple Chocolate Semi-Fredo". This consisted of "a semi-frozen mousse with white and dark chocolate accents". Apparently, this dessert won the People's Choice Award at the Decadent Delights Chocolate Competition in support of Aberdeen Health and Community Services Foundation.

When this desert showed up quite a while after we ordered it, I must say that it didn't look at all like what I was expecting. It simply consisted of three oval shaped white chocolate covered pieces of semi-fredo. The first bite quickly made me forget any reservations that I may have had. This was incredibly good. I easily understood why it's called an award winning dessert.

I have to say that the food at Stillwater Plate and Pour was excellent. It's fresh and flavourful! That aspect of the meal definitely did not disappoint. What did disappoint was the slow and at times inattentive service. It might have just been an off night...I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I think this place would be amazing on a warm summer night out by the river. I think you need to try it for yourself!

In his opinion:

Stillwaters has been on our "to try list" for a couple of months not only for its excellent setting and views but also due to some buzz that has been going around these parts about this renovated restaurant.

My first glance was positive as you walked in the restaurant. Nicely decorated walls, open spaces and an open kitchen as you walk in. There is a terrace just off the main dining room that surely would be popular in the warmer months. In addition to those spaces, Stillwaters also has a phenomenal large rooftop multi-purpose patio that can serve as additional dining space but perfect for private functions.

To start, I ordered a Rickard's Red and found myself browsing the menu for longer than expected. I chose the Steak Sandwich - a tender hand cut AAA strip loin served "open faced" on garlic artisan bread topped with sautéed forest mushrooms and Yukon gold matchsticks. The steak was slightly more done that I'm used to for medium but still within the range of what a medium cooked steak should be. The food tasted fresh and the plating was minimalist and simple. The garlic on the bread and matchsticks on top were a nice addition of flavours and textures.

For dessert, I had a hard time choosing so in the end we ended up sharing "Chef Will's Award Winning Triple Chocolate Semi-Fredo" - a semi-frozen mousse with white and dark chocolate accents. This dessert was very flavourful even for a non-chocolate lover like myself.

The Good: The space is bright and inviting and the food was good. Breathtaking views enhance the experience. Staff was very inviting and pleasant.
The Bad: Service at times was inattentive and menu selection although large lacked some flair.
The Verdict: Great addition/renovation to the Paris food scene. The overall experience was good and the patrons are treated well. Lots of options for seating and views highlight this perfectly placed restaurant.

I give it 3 olives out of 5.

Stillwaters Plate and Pour on Urbanspoon

Monday, 21 April 2014

Fat Duck Gastro Pub

210 Kortright Road West
Guelph, Ontario


In her opinion:
We are always on the quest for new and interesting places to eat near home. This is often easier said then actually done. But this last Saturday we found one such place. The restaurant's name is actually funny if you are a foodie and are familiar with the chef Heston Blumenthal! It's funny because unlike its Michelin starred British namesake "The Fat Duck"...this Fat Duck is a gastro pub serving quintessential British pub fare in Guelph, Ontario.

We walked into a Premiership soccer game blaring on the big screen television and the sounds of yelling observers. This really could have been anywhere in jolly old England! We were seated right away at a booth away from the happening bar area and ensuing soccer game.

After studying their drink menu, I decided that I wanted to start with their namesake beer..."the Duck Lager". Our waitress had informed me that his was a hoppy brew with citrus notes and I gave decided to give it a go.

This was a good beer. I wouldn't say it was my favourite beer ever...I prefer a more refreshing brew like Mill Street Organic but it was good never the less.

Edgar and I decided to share an appetizer, the Black Bean Dip. It was served with grilled naan, chopped veggies, crumbled feta and jalapeños.

This was really tasty. The black bean dip itself was very flavourful. It was topped with a tomato relish, jalapeños and crumpled feta which added an extra boost of flavour and heat. I really enjoyed this appetizer.

For my main, I decided on the "Curried Chicken Pie" served with sweet potato wedges.

This was so delightful. I know that the Brits have a love for anything Indian and this dish just proved it! The chicken pie itself was packed with chicken and veggies in a nicely flavoured curry. It was topped with a lovely yellow curry reminiscent of a true British pub curry. 

I was way too stuffed for dessert so I didn't even check it out. Overall, this was a great lunch. The Fat Duck is a nice new addition to our restaurant roster.

In his opinion:
Let me start by saying that I'm not a huge fan of British pubs. This is not because I'm not a huge fan of Football(Soccer), or beer or hanging out with my mates but mostly because in many of them the food just seems sub-par or very bland. Thankfully there are good exceptions to the rule and those are usually found when the chefs get creative, stir away from an all British food menu and also when they incorporate England's best food import, Indian cuisine.

The Fat Duck is a relatively large gastro pub with a few different sections, the bar, the dining room (which part of it serves also as a private party room), the fireplace room, the darts room and when in season, their nicely appointed patio. The menu choices are plenty and showcase a certain flare with lots of choices inspired by international dishes.

I started with an ever so predictable Mill St. Organic beer, I know, I know, I seem obsessed with this beer and usually have it anywhere they serve it. But I find it irresistible especially on a hot day and it goes very well with food. While browsing their menu I couldn't help looking around and noticing the decor, it is well appointed with a a great mix of period furniture with some more modern and industrial accents such as their cool hanging lights.

For an appetizer, we shared the "Black Bean Dip" at the suggestion of our waitress. This consisted of grilled naan, cut veggies, jalapenos and crumbled feta surrounding a generous portion of the black bean dip, which is way to big to be consumed with the small naan that is given and the veggies supplied. At an additional $1.99 we ordered another naan to be able to finish the dip. The dip itself was very well made, with perfect spreadable consistency and plenty favourful even without the jalapenos.

For my main, I ordered their special of the day which was the "Pork Belly Sandwich with lettuce and tomato". I am a huge lover of anything pork and pork belly is no exception but I can't recall the last time I had it in a sandwich. The presentation was very inviting with the sandwich cut in half, displaying the layers of goodness awaiting a bite. The brontosaurus like fries (sweet potato in my case), are both very visually appealing and extremely tasty. The sandwich was great with a plethora of flavours with every bite. The components of the sandwich just collaborate very well as does the BBQ sauce that bonds it all together.

The experience at the Fat Duck felt very similar to a lot of pubs I have visited.  The flow of return visitors, most of them locals and I'm sure regulars, bring this place a sense of community and family. This is definitely illustrated in the amount of people that came to their rescue during a sprinkler incident earlier this year, when many of the patrons donated their skill, time and money to get the place back together in time to re-open for the superbowl. 

The Good: Great food, inviting spaces and good service.
The Bad: Limited draft selection, having to pay $1.99 for an extra piece of naan and no one addressing the continuous loud cursing going on in the bar area while the dining room had elderly and children in it.
The Verdict: With food a cut above the usual British Pub fare, good service and an inviting decor. it's no wonder that this place has been a hit with patrons for seven years. It sits above your regular British Pub experience and the food elevates it to a great place to eat. A must try.

I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 Olives as rating.

Fat Duck Gastro Pub on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Fireside Deli & Family Restaurant

800 Ottawa Street South
Kitchener, Ontario


In her opinion:
I love brunch on Sunday mornings, especially warm spring mornings like this past Sunday. But the constant question is "where should we go"? After some debate we decided on Fireside Family Restaurant. We had been there a few times and never had bad service or meal, so we decided to give it a go.

We waited about 10 minutes to be seated. That wasn't bad at all considering when we left the line-up was out the door and into the parking lot! Once we got seated, our server came over right away to take our drink orders.

I started with coffee for myself and an orange juice and water for little man.  After looking over the menu just for reassurance (I knew what I wanted before I even left home), I ordered the Fireside Melt.  This is a melt consisting of home fries, cheese with hot peppers, onions, mushrooms, bacon, ham and sausage. Served with two eggs and toast. I ordered my eggs poached and with rye toast. I also ordered a side of Hollandaise sauce.

The melt itself was excellent. Full of flavour and absolutely delicious. The hot peppers add the right amount of punch and heat. The eggs were perfectly poached. The Hollandaise sauce was smooth and creamy and tasted really good. Overall, an excellent brunch dish.

Our little man had the kids waffles. This was a nice serving. This was more than Ethan could handle but he devoured half easily. They tasted really delicious.

The Fireside Family Restaurant is a great place for breakfast/brunch, on a Sunday and it also serves lunch and dinner. It is popular and you may have to wait a little bit but it was worth it in my opinion.

In his opinion:
You are driving along when you casually notice the lineups outside a certain restaurant and you can't stop from wondering...this place must be great since there are huge lineups out the door, right? Well...given my experience, that is not always the case!

Enter Fireside Family Restaurant, a decent sized restaurant that fits that exact bill of having lineups at peak hours and has consistently done so for a few good years. So what is it that keeps people coming back over and over? What do they have that warrants baring the bitter cold for 20 min to get some breakfast on a Sunday morning?

The answer in short is, I don't really know! Surely there aren't a lot of good spots for breakfast in Waterloo Region and yes, you will be full at the end of a meal here but is it worth lining up for a meal here? 

After waiting a minimal time to be seated, I found myself in a booth next to the parking lot window, staring at an extensive menu and trying not to notice the rip on the seat of the booth that has been patched over with large clear scotch tape. 

I order coffee which is poured swiftly but a bit sloppy and zone in on a certain item on the menu. I love eggs Benedict and I also love cordon blue and they have a dish that combines the two? Well, sign me up for that already...

Having made my selection and while I'm sweetening my coffee, I notice the fast pace at which this restaurant operates. The service is very friendly however, you do feel rushed and the waitresses might as well have roller skates on given the speed at which they "glide" from table to table. Speed surely keeps the waiting times shorter for the patrons outside but makes the patrons inside feel like they are only allowed to chew twice because you are on the clock. The 1 hour limit WiFi helps cement that idea.

My dish arrived and it consisted of small squared hash browned potatoes, a small cup with beans, a slice of orange and the piece de resistance itself, the cordon blue eggs Benedict. The Hollandaise sauce tastes unlike any other Hollandaise that I have ever had, great consistency but the creaminess is replaced with an aftertaste that is hard to describe, in short it's good but very different. 

The beans were just run of the mill and the eggs themselves were done very well. I found myself having to drown my potatoes in the sauce just to get any flavour off them. The portion was big which is consistent with their usual service. Overall, the meal was fast, filling but a mile away from being a great one.

The Good: Friendly service, big portions and extensive menu are big attractions for many people looking for a breakfast restaurant.
The Bad: 1 hour complimentary WiFi limit. Also patrons feel rushed through their meal.
The Verdict: Regardless of some of the low points about this place I strongly believe that they will always be busy and have lineups out the door. People want those huge portions, large restaurant, friendly service and extensive menu as the staples for their "go-to" spot. Is that enough to line up out the door for? You decide...

I give it 3 out of 5 Olives as rating

Fireside Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, 14 April 2014

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria Waterloo

15 King Street South
Waterloo, ON


In her opinion:
We had been invited to the VIP opening night at Famoso Waterloo back in February, but unfortunately, a sick child had prevented us from attending. Their PR rep had been kind enough to invite us to our own VIP night when Ethan was feeling better. That was followed up by an email from Patrick O'Shaughnessy, the general manager at Famoso Pizzeria Waterloo personally inviting Edgar and I to visit the Uptown Waterloo restaurant.

We finally got the chance to visit this past Sunday. So on a gorgeous spring day in April we took the drive to Uptown Waterloo. Famoso is happening. When were arrived we were greeted by crowds of waiting guests and also by a lovely hostess that knew we were coming and told us our table would be ready in 15 minutes.

Exactly 15 minutes later we were shown to Table 2 where a note from Patrick awaited us welcoming us to Famoso Pizzeria. Our waitress then came over and explained the ordering process to us...basically the concept is that you peruse the menu, pick what you want, write it down and then bring it up the counter where a lovely barista will take your's up to you if you want to pay then or after your meal is done. The waitress will then deliver your meal.

We picked our drinks...Famoso serves Pepsi so Edgar was happy and I settled for a San Pellegrino Limonata. 

We then decided that we would start with the Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella Balls. These are described on the menu as "Fior-di-latte wrapped with prosciutto (Italian dry-cured ham), baked in Campania tomato sauce, fresh basil and pecorino romano". All served with flatbread.

These were really really good. The cheese was gooey and soft and the prosciutto provided the right amount of saltiness to the dish. But the star of the dish was the Campania tomato sauce...fresh tasting and oh so unbelievably delectable. The flatbread was garlicky and delish!

We decided to order two pizzas to share. The first was a white pizza...the Quattro Formaggi - it consisted of fior-di latte, smoked mozzarella, Gorgonzola and pecorino romano served with a lemon wedge.  Our second pizza was the Capricciosa - it was a traditional red pizza with Italian ham, roasted mushrooms, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, extra virgin olive oil and pecorino romano. 

I enjoyed both pizza's very much. The crust on both was thin and nicely baked with the right amount of crisp. The Quattro Formaggi was flavourful and gorgeous. The four cheeses worked wonderfully together. I really liked the Capricciosa...the saltiness of the olives and pecorino romano cheese worked beautiful with the sweetness of the ham and artichoke hearts. It was my favourite of the two.

Even though we packed a few slices to take home...we found room for dessert and decided to share Dolce and Banana (this is a cute take on the designers Dolce and Gabbana). This dessert consisted of "oven-roasted bananas coated in caramelized brown sugar, crushed pecans, caramel sauce and vanilla bean gelato".

As I had tweeted, "the smell was intoxicating and the taste was heaven". I love a good banana caramel dessert and this did not disappoint!

Overall, our dinner at Famoso Waterloo was great. Patrick had stop by a couple of times to make sure everything was good and from the appetizer to the pizza to the dessert it was all perfect. The staff is attentive and food was delicious. It's a great spot for delicious Italian style cuisine. Make the trip to Uptown Waterloo!

What we ate:

In his opinion:
How do you open an Italian Eatery that serves variations of Italian food, serves family style pizza and feels modern and inviting without making it cheesy like East Side Mario's? It's a tall order and most of the time a recipe for disaster but there is a right way to do this what Famoso has accomplished?

Famoso is a new Italian eatery in uptown Waterloo where a gigantic brick oven sets the stage for a quasi Italian experience. The feel and decorations are bright, modern and inviting and at the time we visited it, it was bustling with patrons eager to try their food.

The menu as expected is quite extensive, with all of the usual suspected dishes you would find in an Italian eatery. You write the order on a paper pad, take it to the order counter and then they deliver it to your table.

We started with the "Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella Balls in tomato sauce". This place is all about the region of Campania so you know that the tomato sauce was going to be great. Take mozzarella balls, wrap them in prosciutto, throw in some fresh basil and top it off with picorino romano cheese and...forget-abou-it, it's a slam dunk. It was so flavourful that for me, the flat bread that came with it did little to enhance it.

For "mains" we shared 2 pizzas, a "Quattro Formaggi" (four cheese) and a Capricciosa which consists of Italian ham, roasted mushrooms, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and pecorino romano cheese. At the restaurant, I enjoyed the Quattro Formaggi better as this is one of my favourite pizzas and the one served was excellent, but as we brought home the leftovers of the 2 pizzas (watch out they are big enough to share) I must admit that the next day, the Capricciosa tasted better, which to me is the true sign of a great pizza.

To finish off, we split a dessert that brought me back to my childhood in Europe, well minus the caramel sauce that is. It's amusingly called Dolce and Banana and like the name suggests it's bananas roasted in the oven in caramelized brown sugar topped with crushed pecans, caramel sauce and a huge scoop of vanilla bean gelato. Like a good foodie I had not room to finish the pizza but always make room for was delectable and also a great way to finish the meal.

The Good: Inviting atmosphere, friendly service and great pizza. The options are plentiful and they deliver on the promise.
The Bad: Waiting times can get long.
The Verdict: Overall, they accomplish the task of not being "cheesy" with flying colours. The experience goes way beyond the "little Italy" attempts of others and even though you at no point feel like you are in Italy, you can close your eyes and let the food transport you to the region of Campania.
Buon Appetito a tutti...

I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 Olives as rating

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria (Waterloo) on Urbanspoon