If you’ve ever been on a ‘gahp yah’ to ‘Europa’, you know what it’s like to return home from Napoli, where you paid four euros for an authentic wood-fired pizza the size of a tractor wheel, and now have to pay $25 for a ‘deep dish’ meat lovers Dominos pizza. Admit it, you know the pain I’m talking about. Fortunately, Melbourne has a crazy good Italian food scene (as well as whispers of a crazy Italian mafia…), which means you don’t have to travel far for an authentic Napoli pizza. You will, however, typically have to fork out an alarming amount of money to do so. But you can’t win them all.
Here are Melbourne’s best wood-fired pizzerias.
Joining the ranks of some of Melbourne’s best pizzerias is Supermaxi in Fitzroy North. Owned by the OG chef and co-owner of Ladro, Rita Macali, this place serves wood-fired pizza that looks fresh off a pizza peel in Naples. While their cheesy slices are downright delicious, their menu also features some equally enticing homemade pasta which makes a visit to this simplistic and modern Italian restaurant an absolute must.
One of three venue locations these days, Brunswick East’s local pizza institution is none other than Woodstock, which was one of the first to bust out the wood fire pizza oven in Australia. The family behind the name have not only been tossing bases in Melbourne since the nineties, but they’ve been mastering authentic wood-fired pizzas for three generations. Their bases use four different kinds of flours and very precise positions in the oven, which means there’s no way you can recreate bad boys of this calibre at home.
Looking for a little slice of Italian and not a deep pan Aussie pizza with bacon stuffed crusts? Then it’s time to hit up Carlton-based pizza institution, D.O.C. Here, pizza is the crown jewel of the menu. They have the thinnest and crispiest bases (but with the right amount of bend) and the freshest authentic Italian ingredients, plus a freaking mozzarella bar in-house that has an incredible selection of cheese that’ll put you into a dairy coma within minutes. The venue is usually packed and buzzing, because the secret’s well and truly out, so try popping down for a weekday lunch if possible.
Just around the corner is another faultless Italian haven, 400 Gradi, which churns out some of the best wood-fired pizza in the entire city (you HAVE to try their margherita). Named after the former reigning monarch of Italy, this pizzeria has been cleaning up Melbourne pizza awards for years, in fact, it was once voted the world’s best pizza! With a focus on authentic Napoli-style pie, as well as its extensive menu of pasta and nibbles, 400 Gradi is literally the only excuse you’ll need to leave the house these days.
Pascoe Vale South
Lorenzo Tron and Roberto Davoli’s Pascoe Vale South pizzeria has a straight-up down-to-business vibe about it. They know pizzas, and they know how to make them damn well. When they first opened, Shop 225 didn’t even offer salads or pasta via the logic that it wasted precious stomach room (YES YES YES). While they do now have a selection of non-pizzas, don’t do it to yourself, not when it means digesting a smaller portion of their incredible pizzas. The fare is very much Neapolitan style with its thin and crunchy crust, plus they have gourmet toppings like truffle oil, stracciatella di bufala and artichokes. They even have a killer vegan and vegetarian selection so no one has to miss out.
With a convenient CBD location, SPQR is the obvious choice for an authentic Italian lunch in the city. Leading the charge towards more authentic-styled pizzas in Melbourne is their enormous custom-built wood fire oven, converting ~basic~ Hawaiian pizza lovers to authentic margherita admirers each and every day. In fact, this bad boy can cook a pizza in under sixty seconds flat. They offer all the traditional toppings, like salumi, calabrese and margherita, but they also have a jazzed-up selection that includes the more gourmet variants. If you’re looking to spice up your life even further, there’s live music every Wednesday to Saturday evening.
Over on the East Side, Peel Street pizza parlour, Lazerpig, is stacking up to be one of our favourite all-rounder pizzerias of the age. It’s a casual diner with a killer atmosphere, plus incredible wood-fired pizzas (get your taste buds on the Queen Margherita ASAP) and deliiiish chargrilled meats that are sliced to order. You can also choose to enjoy a slice of pizza (or eleven) with one of Victoria’s best local craft beers. Helping yourself to a slice at Lazerpig is helping small local business, or at least that’s what you’ll tell yourself when you eat their four nights in a row.
Do yourself a favour and head out west-ish next time you have a hankering for wood-fired pizza. This Ascot Vale pizzeria offers truly authentic and traditional style pie (think: thin and crispy hand-stretched bases oozing with fresh napoli sauce), alongside yummy pasta and a crazy good wine list. Tick this one of the bucket list toot sweet, you won’t regret it.
The name of this pizzeria may ring a bell, mainly because it’s the OG creator of the Nutella donut (shiiiiiiit), but also because it dishes up some of the tastiest wood-fired pizza in the CBD. Boasting a long list of authentic pasta, desserts, cheese boards and Italian style cocktails (spritz, anyone?) there’s little wonder why the place is always so damn packed. The pizza bases are divinely thin, the toppings are fresh and flavoursome and even the service is authentic and friendly. Plus, they deliver. It’s a yes from me.
If you're not picky and love a pizza out of a gas-fired oven just the same, check out our full list of Melbourne's best pizza.
Image credit: Shop 225 | Jenna Fahey-White