Carlo Raillo, the nationally renowned pizza maker who has fired up pies at Parlour, Buco and Vivo, now has his own place just off of Stony Plain Road and 149th Street. Why should you pay heed to this rather unassuming spot, which used to be home to Il Forno? Raillo has twice been named Canadian Pizza Chef of the Year, and has competed nationally and internationally by making traditional, gluten-free and even dessert pizza. (He won a national title in 2014 with a cappuccino-inspired pizza.
But Italia Mia offers more than just a menu filled with wood-fired pizzas. We started off with two arancini, and the balls of rice and cheese were perfectly done, with a tangy tomato sauce on the side.
We also ordered the Firenze pizza — with sausage, prosciutto cotto, salami and pancetta, all placed atop smoked mozzarella and Pomodoro tomato sauce. The thin crust held the heft of the ingredients admirably, and was browned nicely by the fire, but not a hint of a burn mark.
And, we shared the Amalfi, a spaghetti dish served with mussels, shrimp and scallops. What brightened this up considerably was the addition of cherry tomatoes, warmed enough to the point where they’re ready to pop. They carried a lot of sweetness and zing, showing off what’s always been true about Italian cooking — that it’s incredibly simple food, done well. And, considering we were there on a gloomy Sunday evening, we were surprised to see the restaurant fill up so quickly. Even though Italia Mia opened during the pandemic, it’s clearly already building a following.
Italia Mia, 14981 Stony Plain Rd., 780-250-0815, italiamia.ca