Guaranteed to make'a you happy
Light crusts, rich tomato bases, fresh toppings: that's amore, pizza-lovers. We've eaten our way around Melbourne to find the best slices; in no particular order, here are ten restaurants worth crossing town for. Still hungry? We can also give you the low-down on Melbourne's best pasta, burgers, dumplings and breakfasts. Prego!
Expect a queue and charismatic Italian staff at DOC – the flagship to outposts in Albert Park and Mornington. Thin crust pizzas are pumped out promptly: the verdant ‘Salsicca’ is an interesting combination of broccoli mash, mozzarella and sausage. Fresh and perky salads are no afterthought. Carlton.
Our pick: The San Daniela (prosciutto, mozzarella)
2. 400 Gradi
As winner of the World Pizza Championships, you’d expect 400 Gradi to know what they’re doing. And they do. With the pizza oven cranked up to 400 degrees, the bases are chewy and puffed up around the edges. It’s a beautiful canvas for the ‘Frutti de mare’, where scallops, prawns and mussels unite harmoniously on a tomato base. Brunswick East and Southbank.
Our pick: The Margherita
Lucky south-east suburbanites who get to worship at Pizza Religion. While there are the classics – say, a pumpkin and pesto or a mushrooms and taleggio – there are also more curious and unconventional toppings. The chorizo, prawn and chipotle is one such mash-up. And yes, there’s a ham and pineapple for those who bat for Team Pineapple. Malvern and Hawthorn.
Our pick: The Lamb Roast (lamb, olive, fetta)
4. Lazer Pig
A caped pig for a logo, a boisterous atmosphere and a disco ball — Lazer Pig is a lot of fun. The pizze come out big with puffy bases (perhaps a little too burnt on some edges) and some quirky combinations. The ‘Prawn Fraser’ has lemony-chilli spiked prawns while the ‘Broc Steady’ keeps the vampires (and possibly your Tinder date) at bay with a heady dose of garlic. Collingwood.
Our pick: The Ronny J (sausage, fior di latte, jalapenos)
5. Mr Wolf
A vivid green fairy tale mural with giant bunnies sets the scene for you to be enchanted by Karen Martini’s creations. The ‘Signore Lupo’ is well worth wolfing down – nubs of sausage meat, roasted cauliflower and cherry tomatoes; break up the carb-loading with their famous cabbage and parmesan salad. St Kilda.
Our pick: The No 9 (mozzarella, prosciutto, rocket)
Oval pizza! How refreshing. Options include a light and summery zucchini and cherry tomato number, or a heavier (and no less delicious) salami, olives and rocket. This is pizza with poise. Fitzroy North.
Our pick: Giulietta (salami, olives, capers)
Baby, baby, baby oooh! We’re going to assume that Justin Bieber was singing about this Richmond-based eatery that pumps out enormous pizze in sleek surrounds. They’re topped sparingly with classic ingredients; diners love the simple ‘Gamberi’ pizza with sweet prawns and sharp basil. Save space for a crème caramel. And a lasagne. Richmond.
Our pick: The San Daniela (prosciutto, mozzarella, rocket)
Pizza legend Pietro Barbagallo turned a Carlton garage into a little Italian restaurant. People come for the buzzing atmosphere and pizze (that’s plural for pizza) that come in two sizes: big and small. Choose big. The heavenly ‘Mushroom Deluxe’ is generously strewn with swiss brown, enoki and oyster mushrooms. The house-made pasta is also well worth a twirl. Carlton.
Our pick: Mr John (mozzarella, pesto, hot salami)
Don’t dial +39, dial 03 to book a place. Yes it’s loud, but you won’t be doing much talking when these doughy delights hit the table, which boast a particularly beguiling and buttery-tasting base. The ‘sole et luna’ is pure genius: half ham and cheese calzone and half margherita. Melbourne.
Our pick: The Plus 39 (sausage, mascarpone, prosciutto, fior di latte)
10. Pizza Farro
For those who cannot stomach gluten, relief comes in the form of Pizza Farro. They cover all bases here with a low gluten organic spelt base, as well as a completely gluten-free dough. The ‘Osso Bucco’ is – you guessed it – osso bucco, rocket and parmesan, artfully plonked on a pizza. Thornbury.
Our pick: The Margherita