Trying to whittle down a list of Melbourne’s best pizza joints is no small feat—it's a dirty job but someone's got to do it. Old-school pizza seems to be having a renaissance in Melbourne, and we are absolutely here for it. A nice crispy base, generous toppings, and cheese for days, it's got a pizza our heart.
So, let's go all in, here's a list of where to get Melbourne's best pizza.
If you’re looking for a slice of heaven, you can get it at DOC. This institution has never failed us, even though it can be a tough ask to get a table. Our pick would have to be the Pizza ai Porcini with wild mushrooms, mozzarella in bianco with grated D.O.P. pecorino and truffle oil for that extra hint of decadence. If you’re looking for a slightly meatier option, their Pizza Speck with smoked prosciutto or the Pizza Tiger Prawns are also gold.
Prahran & Fitzroy
Ladro has conveniently set itself up with two postings across the city (Fitzroy and Prahran), so if you haven’t tried their wood-fired pizzas yet, get on that sh*t STAT. As well as consuming your weight in pizza, they also run cooking classes for juniors and adults. For a flavour hit, go for the Badabing with tomato, provolone, pork sausage, oregano, chilli and basil. It’s a real knock out.
Southbank, Essendon & Brunswick East
Johnny Di Francesco, you freaking legend. Neapolitan-style pizza is the order of business here—and we assure you, business is good. The Frutti di Mare is a must for seafood lovers, covered with san marzano tomato, fior de latte, Queensland prawns, mussels, clams, scallops and rocket. Head to the original 400 Gradi restaurant in Brunswick East, or their newer opening at Crown. Delizioso.
Cancel your plans to Italy. This place is the next best thing. The Tempo Pizzeria team have over 30 years’ pizza-making experience and even travelled to Italy to be officially certified at "Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana". We don’t know exactly what that means, but it sounds pretty damn Italian, so just go with it. The pizza range is full of all-stars, but for something a little different, try the Pistachio Pizza: a pistachio and pesto base topped with prosciutto, semi-dried tomatoes and rocket.
When the people behind Chin Chin, Kong, and Hawker Hall opened up a pizza joint, there was nothing else to do but throw our money at them. Baby's Salumi Pizza is the classiest version of a meat lovers you’re likely to come across, featuring fior di latte, pancetta, double smoked leg ham, spiced sausage, borgo hot salami, and san marzano tomatoes.
Little Michael's Pizzeria
Little Michael's Pizzeria is one of only seven pizza joints in Melbourne with an AVPN accreditation from Naples. That's like the Italian stamp of pizza approval, and it's bloody hard to get. The dough is hand-prepped and leavened for over six hours (layman’s terms, it’s going to be fluffy AF). The toppings are sourced from Italy’s Campania region and the pizzas are cooked for just 60-90 seconds in a blistering hot wood-fired oven. Don't leave without trying a serve of the handmade Nutella doughnuts, dusted with icing sugar.
A very welcome addition to the CBD’s pizza scene. SPQR opened in early 2017, a new venture from David Mackintosh, one of the dudes behind MoVida, Pei Modern, Rosa’s Canteen and Lee Ho Fook. The jewel in the restaurant’s crown is Mackintosh’s custom-built pizza oven, which can turn raw dough and hope into a crusty, oozy pizza in under 60 seconds flat. It’s best to keep things simple here. Go the Cotto: smoked leg ham, basil, Fior Di Latte and mixed mushrooms.
Photography: Jenna Fahey-White
Pascoe Vale South
Three words: vegan Nutella pizza. Yep, the guys at Shop 225 in Pascoe Vale South have cracked the vegan code and developed a drool-worthy vegan Nutella pizza. Of course they've got a kickass savoury range as well, if that's more your speed. Our personal pick? Meat lovers will enjoy the Barone (Pomodoro, fior di latte, salami, olives and chilli) or the Il Dottore (fior di latte, home-made Calabrian sausage and Italian porcini mushrooms). Over half the menu has a friendly V next to it though, and owner Lorenzo REALLY knows his way around a pizza oven. Highly recommend.
Just when you thought Heartbreaker couldn’t get any better, they went and opened Connie’s: a proper New York-style pizza bar, serving giant slices to order. Think minimal toppings and lots of cheese—the kind of pizza you can hold with one hand while sipping a Negroni in the other. You can't go wrong with a gooey Margherita, but we recommend the 'Grandma Slice': a square-cut, deep-pan pie where the cheese goes on BEFORE the tomato sauce. Shake on chilli and oregano to taste, and don’t forget to mop up the grease with a napkin.
At Pizza Farro they use 100% Australian spelt flour for all of their pizza, baked bread, and pasta—and gluten-free is available for those who usually miss out on a pizza indulgence. The traditional Bresaola has us hooked, but we can’t go passed the Anatara with buffalo mozzarella, slow roasted duck leg, braised radicchio, spring onions and finished with a sweet pomegranate vincotto vinegar.
Pizza Meine Liebe
Translated from German as Pizza My Love, we sure do have a lot of affection for this Northcote gem. As delicious as the pizza is at Meine Liebe, we are a sucker for a menu that’s named with a wink. Where's The Wolf? is covered with tomato, braised lamb with spices, onions and chilli, topped with rocket and a garlic yoghurt sauce.
Hungry Bear is a new pizza bar that’s popped up on La Trobe St, a culinary graveyard that’s been crying out for some decent grub. The Paul Hogan is a dead set winner (marinated Aussie King Prawns topped with chickpeas, roast peppers, green chilli and lemon) but personally, we’re heading straight for the Holy Cheeses: a 9-cheese behemoth, paired with roast cauliflower, pickled red onion and parsley. Is it just us, or does that make a surprising amount of sense?
Takeaway Pizza by name, takeaway pizza by nature. Their motto is “no fuss...just pizza, beer and good times”, which sums the place up pretty well. The specialty here is giant, New York-style pizza slices, backed up with tropical cocktails and a whole lot of swagger. Our fave is actually a vego spin-off: Baked Eggplant with Za’atar, pomegranate and lemon yoghurt. Unreal.
Pizza is obviously a sharing food of choice, so it would be rude not to include the home of Melbourne’s largest pizza. Although pizza is traditionally an Italian’s game, we can’t get enough of the Mexicutioner at Shawcross, with chorizo, mozzarella, spicy salsa, sour cream, and fresh chilli. They also have fantastic vego and vegan options available, so everyone’s a winner.
South Yarra, Docklands & CBD
We couldn’t agree more with the pink neon sign in A25 that exclaims ‘Pizza is Sexy’—because heck, it's true. Their salmon number sends us gaga, with broccolini cream, provolone picante, and crispy sage. On top of that, they do some damn fine sweet pizzas, because the pizza party doesn’t have to stop at dessert.
CBD & Toorak
In case you were wondering, +39 is the international dialing code for Italy, and now you have a direct line to what the Italians do best. For a healthy dose of melanzane (that’s Italian for eggplant) go the Parmigiana, topped with Italian tomato salsa, fior di latte, grilled eggplant, parmesan, fresh basil, and hand torn burrata. We also love that their set menus are labeled ‘feed me like at Auntie’s place’ for two courses, and ‘feed me like at Nonna’s house’ for four courses. They get it.
Sourdough wood-fired pizza and great music is the go at Lazerpig, so settle in for some good times. The Warwick Capricciosa is a nifty twist on a traditional type, swapping out ham for pork belly and adding the usual suspects of artichokes, olives fior de latte on a tomato base. Their tagline here is ‘eat pizza, dance for ages’. We can get down with that.
The latest pizza project from the team behind South Yarra staple, Fratellino, Bontempo has settled in nicely at the top end of Brunswick St. The menu is pretty similar to Frats: thin crust Neapolitan-style pizza, with dough that’s been rested for 48-hours in a temperature-controlled room. Our pick? Go The Bont: Bontempo’s signature tomato sugo, mozzarella, smokey pulled pork and a herby mix of basil, garlic and sage.
Speaking of unorthodox...it’s not often a sushi pizza would make this list, but we’re happy to say Sash Japanese kicked the crap out of our cynicism. This is food fusion at it’s very best. And for all the doubters out there, just head on down and order one of their sashimi tuna pizzas, served with mango, strawberry, wasabi mayonnaise and ginger on blackened squid-ink dough. The spicy tuna taco is also a must-try...just save room for the macaron ice-cream sandwiches.
If you're in the mood to branch out from pizza, here's a list of the best dishes you can find in Melbourne. Get stuck in.
Image credit: Taliana | Jenna Fahey-White