First published on 25 May 2012. Updated on 5 Mar 2014.
These guys are serious. We’re talking three types of margherita serious. All share the same 24-hour fermented-dough thin crust, a hefty schmack of fleshy tomato sauce, and fresh basil, but we reckon the subtle cream of buffalo mozzarella on the QM II beats the parmesan on QM III hands down. In honour of Queen Madge, they stock a right royal wine list and (huzzah!) Stone and Wood lagers. $18. Clifton Hill.
TII. This is Italy. They carry knee tremblingly good imported deli stuffs and booze at DOC, and the waiters possess more collective swagger than a Travolta convention. Keep it simple – blushing sheets of San Daniele prosciutto with air-freighted buffalo mozzarella all collapsing over a pillowy crust with just the right amount of flex and char. Square off your session with goats cheese tiramisu, and a nip of limoncello. $21. Carlton South.
So you like the thick base? At Al Albero, they understand that a thickset bottom is a thing of beauty. Go easy on the ordering – one of these weighty slabs, topped with the better part of a of lamb’s shanks, rough nodules of goats cheese and a forest of herbs could stall a pony. At lunchtime a small (which is large) will cost you a sweet fiver, so bunker down among the pumpkins for the cheapest lunch going. $18. Fitzroy North.
Loud and bustling, this inner-city space is Italian in the fast lane. If you plan on coming past 6pm, nominate a designated queuer. They have primo Italian deli imports here which are best respected by simple combinations. Try the Diavola: tomato, spicy spheres of salami, chilli, and stretchy-mellow fior di latte cheese. Or, skip the base entirely and get all the toppings as an antipasti degustazione, drizzled with olive oil so fruity you could drink it. $20. Melbourne.
Ladro is the kind of ‘nice joint’ where it’s legit to take a date for pizza. It’s sleek and chic and the wood fired pizze are outdone only by the Negronis. Plus they have bees! Try the Nord pizza where the tangle of oiled and peppered rocket leaves, shavings of parmesan and hard goats cheese get a drizzzle of liquid gold. $21. Prahran.
Trendy amongst the youthful Northcote set, this joint sports a gluten free base that in no way resembles chewing weatherboard, and they'll happily deliver your order to Joe’s Shoe Store – the bar next door. They make kooky-good combinations too – like gruyere cheese, anchovies, chestnuts and caramelised onion. Get it mit bier, while thrashing your pals on Joe’s bocce pitch out the back. What's not to liebe? $15/$20. Northcote.
No, it’s not the best pizza pie in town, but it will cost you four damn dollars! You can’t buy a big issue for $4, much less get a whole thin crust meal with none-too-shabby toppings like minced lamb or grilled haloumi. Schlep your steal to the rooftop garden with a jug of beer for fun in the sun, or get greasy in a shadowy couch filled nook. $4 (Happy hour). Fitzroy.
Bad attempts at speaking Italian are sometimes rewarded at I Carusi II with a free nip of vino. The tables are linen lined and spill onto the streets, the wine comes in tumblers and the waiters wink. And that'sa how we like it! They take their time to make both-hands-required bases drooping with fleshy tomato sauce and tiger-sized tiger prawns, but when there's a bar upstairs and good vibes all round, who cares? $18. St Kilda.
The name translates to pizza and beer. Need we say more? Kids and the big-kids alike gape as paddles fly in and out of the wood fired oven-monster, turning out embellished classics like the four cheese pizza – an orgy of mozzarella, taleggio, gorgonzola and parmesan wearing dressed radicchio and pear like a gaudy fascinator. Head in on Wednesdays for BYO wine night. $19. St Kilda.
Lupino is the macramé strewn modern Italian restaurant putting old-school classics back on the agenda. They do a bianco pizza here (no tomata’ sauce) that may just turn a few anchovy haters. The brown bad boys are cooked into the crisp base which gets a lick of oil and post-oven is topped with the far tangier pickled white fish. It’s a salty proposition, but there’s an extensive Italian wine list on hand for mouth-dousing. $14. Melbourne.
Bring it to me baby! Best delivery pizza:
1. Mojo's Weird Pizza Kings of the freaky-good topping combinations.
2. Mr Natural Veggie-laden pizze with gluten free and vegan options.
3. Pizza Capers All day delivery of the non-greasy gear.
4. Crust Consistently good combinations and easy online ordering.
5. Little Tony's The legit wood-fired deal delivered to your door.
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