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F'Amelia - new pizza joint in Cabbagetown

A new "family-friendly" pizza and pasta place opened in the former site of Provence on Amelia Street. Saw the menu. Seems a bit pricey for what it is. Has anyone given it a try yet? Are the prices worth it? Value for money?

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  1. Anyone been yet? The Toronto Life review looks interesting.

    http://www.torontolife.com/daily/dail...

    I'll try it out soon. Looks like more than just a "pizza joint" http://www.famelia.com/main.php

    1. A friend of mine went shortly after it opened and loved it. Housemade charcuterie, excellent pasta, etc. His pictures looked great. Excited to try it myself.

      1. lovely location, nice food, really bad service.

        1. Went on the weekend. Very busy. Good to see a Cabbagetown joint, especially down a quiet side street doing so well. The pizza was good, straight out of the woodburning oven. I had the grilled calamari app to start, and although it was okay, there was barely any calamari. It sat on top of some small pieces of braised fennel and some baby arugula, and some roasted red pepper slices. For the price charged it really wasn't worth it. In fact my pizza cost less than the tiny calamari app. My partner had one of the pastas. I tried it and it could have used more seasoning. It needed a fair bit of parm-reg added or perhaps saltier pasta water for cooking. The tiramisu was excellent. Good flavour and suitably rich. Service was friendly especially considering they were so busy. In general I think this is a good new restaurant, and if the food is polished a bit more it could be even better.

          -----
          F'amelia Ristorante
          12 Amelia St, Toronto, ON M4X 1P7, CA

          1. We went this past Friday at 9:00 PM. Friendly yet extraordinarily bad service! Our mains arrived before we had even started our apps and we waited 20 minutes for someone to come after we were seated ... no water, no drinks, no bread, nada. Our mains came at virtually the same time as the apps. Charcuterie was above average and the pizza was quite good (the more expensive version of the Margherita with the buffalo mozzarella). Gnocchi was chewy and completely over powered by the truffle which looked like it had been shaved the day before. The chestnut tagliatelle was tough (not al dente) and venison ragout was tasteless. The wine list was good ... a couple of sparkling options by the glass and a well priced list of reds (mostly from Italy and Canada). We went to another restaurant to have desert and coffee so I can't comment on their short list although the options sounded good. Overall I found F'Amelia a disappointment and I'll likely not go back :-(

            4 Replies
            1. re: ComerDemonio

              Interestingly enough, I was also there this past weekend and had a similarly poor experience. Service was quite awkward from the owner to the server and other staff running food. The room was cold, way too bright and seemed like it was built out of plywood. Tables and chairs were disproportionate to each other and uncomfortable. The plates we were given to share with were about 14" in diameter. They did not fit anywhere on the table. Our rather expensive wine was served in cheap thick glass wine goblets (not polished and covered in film). Drinks from the bar were way over priced ($9 house vodka, $11 Amaro Montenegro). The vodka costs more than the Amaro....so this makes no sense. The food...terrible attempt at focaccia (gummy taste of flour and stale) sous-vide calamari (why????) great roasted root veg salad but too small a portion for the price. The 'seafood risotto' looked like a buffet rice pilaf with one seared scallop in the centre and tiny morsels of indistinguishable bits of other seafood. Bland, tiny and not my idea of a main course. The chestnut pasta with venison was a disaster. Barely blanched and tasteless pasta (still hard) with ground venison. Not braised and pulled beautiful venison, but ground meat!
              Desserts were fairly better with an amazing panettone bread pudding but back to not so good with an overly poached and overly spiced with cloves, red wine poached pear. The room was full of fun, interesting people who I'm sure were able to feel the many weak steps in food and service in this fairly new restaurant. Our section of the room shared our experiences towards the end of the night. I hear the pizza is amazing. The rest of the menu should be forgotten...for now.

              1. re: The Macallan 18

                I forgot about the cheap wine glasses ... thankfully ours were not filmy. I have to say the pizza was fairly good (amazing might be a tad strong). I'm not sure they can fix the rest of the menu unless they make some major changes in the back room.

                1. re: ComerDemonio

                  That's one of my biggest pet peeves. Cheap, thick wine glasses. I can barely bring myself to drink from them!

                  1. re: justxpete

                    We were also there on the night that the a bove posters were. Service was fine but FAST. Not terribly relaxing for a night out. Our wine had barely been set down when we received our mains and bread came somewhere in the middle. I had gnocchi which I found somewhat gummy and my partner had the pizza. Agree good, but not what I consider amazing. The lemon tart for dessert was meh at best, crust so tough couldn't cut through it. I live within walking distance but can't see hurrying back.

            2. Latest Toronto Life gave it 3* - same as Splendido!!!! Go figure??!!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Charles Yu

                Yep, some things just don't make sense. Based on my dinner there I would rate it 2 stars maximum on the Toronto Life scale.

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  Absurd. It's like most of the food critics/reviewers in this city don't "get it". So why are they the "experts"? Do the publishing companies just not know better?

                2. Thanks for all the feedback. Customer reviews of the restaurant point to a consistent issue with service, which is why I was a little surprised that Joanne Kates named it one of her Top Ten for 2011 after railing about the poor service and inexperienced owners. Does this mean people should suffer through substandard service, pay a $100 plus for two JUST to have a decent pizza? I always thought the overall experience in a restaurant mattered -- not just the flavours on the plate.

                  Fortunately, sites such as this exist to give honest opinions. I suspect many critics are into a chef's pedigree rather than looking at the overall picture of a restaurant.

                  I have not been to F'Amelia, based on my read of customer experiences with service on other sites. That, and paying the prices they're asking for pizza and pasta seems excessive. There are many more restaurants doing innovative things that deserve my patronage -- and don't need to brag about where their chefs LAST worked.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Lotus Seedling

                    Don't beleive anything Kates says. I've gone to a few of the places she has mentioned soon after her reviews and it's obvious she is completely clued out.

                    And I don't go because of her great reviews, I go becasue I don't beleive her reviews and just want to check on them every so often to make sure they are not accurate.

                    1. re: foodyDudey

                      Believe me, I am not a fan of Joanne Kates! My general point is, there are certain critics in this city that seem to care more about a chef's rep rather than value to a customer.

                      I do wonder however, how many people follow her recommendations and just like stuff because she does...

                      As for F'Amelia, I'm a little surprised that even after being named to any Top Ten, they haven't yet dealt with their service issues. Or even buy some new wine glasses. Perhaps they feel they don't need to because of the accolades they're receiving from some.

                      1. re: Lotus Seedling

                        I bet they don't have any plans to change the wine glasses. I haven't been to 7 Numbers in years but don't they use some odd glasses also? I know that some Italians do that at home, so some of these restaurants must think it's authentic.

                        1. re: foodyDudey

                          Went twice, as a pair and as a sextet. None of us is ever going back. "Uneven" would be kind. Quality ingredients, but silly prices and slapdash cooking. I agree with most of the other comments so far, and have to add the NOISE LEVEL. The rooms are painfully loud, PLUS the owners have piped in music on top! Our second visit we had a waitress who is now our benchmark for bad service. Her gauche and unrelenting upselling, her SNEER when we didn't spring for fizzy water and ordered two simple glasses of red ....hey, it's salad and pizza on a weeknight! , convinced my husband to skip the dessert and coffee altogether. Dishes were dumped on the table, and we waited forever for the secondi. When we inquired after them, I think she remembered to put them in. Unpleasant. For $120! (tax and 10% tip included..and we told her that her service was careless and her attitude worse)

                          1. re: KAYLO

                            Just went there saturday night, and quite enjoyed it.
                            Interesting that a previous poster put down the calamari for being sous-vide, but my wife had it (and she normally loves a good Italian grilled calamari), and she thought it was fantastic. The sous-vide cooking it made it incredibly tender, and I tasted it too and thought the tomato sauce and sausage in it were also great.

                            We just ordered the calamari (for my wife), a meat/cheese platter to share, and one pizza to share. All of it was excellent, and the service was good. The place was packed, and I think the only negative I could say about our evening was that I found the prices a bit steep. That being said, I would go back, because I'd rather pay a few dollars more for each item to get the quality they have.

                            Everything was home made. They serve each person 2 pieces of home made bread to start, with a small dish of olive oil. The breads were great; my only complaint would be that the pieces were very small, and there was no offer of seconds. But again, I'd rather have a smaller amount of bread like that, then a basket full of mediocre stuff.

                            The meat and cheese platter comes in 2 sizes: one with 3 meats and 2 cheeses for $20, which we shared, and there is a larger one (can't recall price). I asked if there was any blue cheeses on it (which I can't stand) and the waiter immediately understood what I was asking, and indicated it would be no problem to make sure the cheese choices didn't have that blue stuff that I detest ;) I enjoyed the platter; there was a spicy housemade capicollo (4 thin slices), and 4 very small slices of a housemade pork and red-wine sausage (which was delicious). There was also a liver mousse which was nice, but I found didn't have enough liver taste. The 2 cheeses on the plate were very good. One was a highly creamy Brie-like cheese, and the other was a Toscano cheese which I adored - I asked, and was told it is made by a cheesemaker in Stratford, so I plan to find more. There were also 2 very long grissolo (breadsticks) on the platter, and a type of flatbread; both seemed clearly homemade.

                            The pizza was the last on the list (can't recall the name) - the waiter said it was a new addition, and already popular. It had fior de latte cheese, housemade pancetta, potatoes, carmelized onions and spinach. I thought it was a superb pizza, with the crust thin, crispy and nicely charred. At $21, it was kind of pricey, but I'd rather pay that and get their quality.

                            The place seemed to be humming along smoothly, so maybe they have fixed some of the service inconsistencies others have written about. Clearly they are doing something right, to be packed solid. I had one of the best pizzas I've ever had in Toronto, so that alone merits a return. I think their prices are the only thing that would deter me, but I guess you know what you are in for price-wise before you go, as their full menu is on their website.

                            1. re: FresserGuy

                              tried it based on recommendations and i would not extend those to anyone else. the house red wine was the highlight of the meal. pizza was passable. bread w/ olive oil was so oversalted with sea salt it was almost inedible, until the zucchini soup came, which lacked both salt and pepper--which was at no point in the meal offered on any of the 4 mains or 2 appetizers. The saltbread went straight into the soup in place of the quickly ingested microscopic fontina croutons, about the size of a TTC ticket split in half.

                              pasta dishes were all terrible and terribly small portions for $20 and up.

                              1. re: nasdaddy

                                Joanne Kates calls their food, and I quote, "Impeccable".

                                Of course, I've not been there myself - but find it odd that the views here so starkly contrast that of the critics.

                                1. re: justxpete

                                  I usually agree (more or less...MUCH less in the case of, say, Pastis)with Ms. Kates, but I am sure that the experienced restaurateurs of F'Amelia recognized her and cooked carefully and exquisitely for her. Similarly, the ad-drivel drivel of Toronto Life. No one here has questioned the integrity of the ingredients, which is high. The overall experience, however, and the cooking, are not consistent. Please, DO go yourself and let us know what you think, and please, do not take critics' opinions as Holy Writ. Their experience, and yours, well may vary.

                                  1. re: KAYLO

                                    I disagree with most of the food critics in TO, including Kates (have you seen her top 100 of 2012??? Acadia #2??? Laughable) - In any case, I was just pointing it out to discuss, not because I thought it held any credence.

                                    Also - i don't think any of the restauranteurs actually know her identity. Its a mystery. And no, that is not her in the baseball cap. She's significantly older than that.

                  2. Has anyone been lately? Thoughts?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: TeacherFoodie

                      iirc The chef quit a couple of months ago.