Well, I finally made it out to one of the restaurants whose name keeps popping up in allergy support groups I’ve joined and in conversations about allergy-friendly restaurants I’ve been having.
Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, conveniently located in The Annex (Toronto), is not allergen-free, but it is extraordinarily allergen-friendly. If you aren’t sure you’re comfortable bringing your food-allergic kid into an eating spot that isn’t 100% free of your child’s allergen, this mama’s experience might make you think again:
“Their processes and policies make it the only place that could accommodate my son’s 12+ allergies. The first time we ate there, I cried I was so happy.”
That’s local allergy mom and founder of a downtown Toronto allergy support group Allison Venditti. And if she and her family can confidently enjoy a meal at this pizzeria, so can you!
Let me tell you a little bit more about my experience yesterday:
Even though I had only heard good things about Famoso Pizzeria, I still felt the need to call in advance and ask a few questions to ease my mind. I have to admit, after I explained I’d be bringing a child with several food allergies and asked for a confirmation that they were, in fact, an allergy-friendly establishment, I half expected a response that denoted a genuine lack of interest coupled with zero knowledge and a hint of boredom. (You know, service these days and all that!)
But I was very pleasantly surprised.
The young woman on the phone politely informed me of Famoso Pizzeria’s allergy procedures. She explained they have a separate area in the back, free of the top allergens, where they prepare any allergy pizza orders. Not only that, but they sweep out the pizza oven with an abrasive brush before an allergy pizza goes in. They also make sure not to cook more than 1 pizza at a time—since my kid’s allergies aren’t necessarily the same as your kid’s allergies.
And it only got better when we arrived. When I let our server know that my child had several food allergies and started listing them (peanut… tree nut… egg… chickpeas… soy beans… sunflower seeds…), I fully expected that look of pity I get so often these days—you know, the one followed by something like, “Ugh, your poor kid! There are so many delicious foods he won’t be able to eat!” (Yes, I’m fully aware of that, but thanks for briefly bringing me back to the 4th stage of the grieving process. Oh, and if you say that when my toddler is old enough to understand you, don’t be surprised if I walk away while you’re still in mid-sentence.)
Anyway, there were no pity parties to be had or food phobias to be fostered today at Famoso Pizzeria. Our server asked a bunch of no nonsense questions, and made us feel—well—incredibly normal! She then went on to heighten our (already high) comfort levels by explaining that all allergies had been digitally recorded and that the kitchen staff would inform us if any of the pre-made items we had ordered (like a pasta sauce or soup, for example) contained one of my child’s allergens. Wonderful.
The person who brought our meals wasn’t the same person who took our order, so I had mini moment of worry that some type of mixup was bound to have occurred. But the first thing she said was “Allergy?” before setting my child’s meal down in front of him. Man, they’re good. I didn’t even have to double (or triple!) check that he’d gotten the right order.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience. The staff was lovely, informed and accommodating. The food was delicious. (Our group ordered 2 pizzas, plus the tomato bisque soup. Apparently, I was too excited to take photos of most of our food. Oops!) And not only did my little guy get to eat off an actual menu, he tried pizza for the very first time and learned a new word to boot. Oh, and based on the empty plate in the photo below, I’m pretty sure he enjoyed his “pi-cha” too!
Next time you’re having a pizza (or pasta) craving, why not check out the allergy-friendly Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria? You won’t be disappointed.
Important note for people with gluten allergies: When I called this morning to confirm certain details, the helpful man on the line did warn me that, when a pizza goes in the oven, “gluten is in the air,” so if your gluten allergy is airborne, it is “eat at your own risk.”
Have you been to this restaurant?
Tell us about your experience in the comments below. The more perspectives, the better!
Restaurants that appear on AllergyBites may have updated their menu or changed management since a review was posted. Please confirm that they are still allergy-friendly & that menu items don’t contain your allergen(s) before visiting or placing your order.