Put down that kale smoothie and get your stretchy pants ready. Despite what most of our news feeds may suggest, pizza has just been crowned most 'grammed food in the world. The original 'share plate', pizza is coveted across the world and has survived the health food crazes of late, continuing to dominate even in the rampantly food intolerant today. Whether you're a Margherita purist, a meat lover or into a serious deep-dish, we’ve found the best pizza in Auckland for you to devour. Many of these joints offer fresh, quality ingredients that can make the experience a bit less guilty (almost).
Stumpy’s draws huge queues when its food truck hits festivals and events around the city especially the Silo Park movie nights. But for those keen to avoid an hour wait in the sun can visit Stumpy’s flagship store on Dominion Road. The very affordable menu is divided into ‘originals’ using premium NZ mozzarella, and ‘buffalos’ made with imported Italian buffalo mozzarella. Definitely try the Tom & Cheery, generously topped with cherry tomatoes, rocket and fresh basil leaves. Stumpy's also offers delivery if you live nearby, so no need to get out of those PJ's, friends.
Al Volo Pizzeria
For the serious Italiano experience, head to Al Volo Pizzeria in Eden Terrace run by an Italian family showcasing their family recipes. These Neapolitan wood-fired beauties come with simple and authentic toppings and are perfect for takeaway or to be enjoyed on their sunny terrace with a Peroni on tap. Due to the speed of the wood-fired oven, your takeaways will be ready to be scoffed at the top of Mt Eden at sunset in a matter of minutes.
Non Solo Pizza
Whether you’re going on a romantic date or your parents are shouting dinner, Non Solo Pizza is one of the best restaurants in Auckland. In the heart of Parnell, it brings a touch of finesse to your pizza dining experience. Cloth napkins, impeccable service and a sophisticated atmosphere will elevate your pizza to a new height. If you’re not yet cheesed out, round off your perfect meal with some of Non Solo Pizza’s incredible imported Italian cheeses. Or, opt for the chocolate fondant if you're up for something special.
Opening in August 2018, Proper Pizza has already become one of Auckland's best pizza joints. Found on O'Connell Street, the pizza dough is house-made using the freshest ingredients. What makes their pizzas the real deal is the unique crust. Light, crunchy and sprinkled with sesame seeds, they’re a harmonious balance between doughy and crispy. With breakfast options and pizzas up to sixty centimetres wide, there’s enough for everyone to get a slice of the action. Our top pick is the indulgent black truffle. Crammed fresh mushroom, scamorza cheese, pecorino, Parmigiano Reggiano, pine nuts, and their special white wine sauce—before you know it half a pizza will have disappeared (guilty).
Often cited as everyone favourite pizzeria in Auckland, you’re always in for an enjoyable time at Archie’s in Newmarket—just make sure you book prior. The wood-fired pizzas are just as good as the pizza heaven that can be experienced in Italy itself—the Margherita is sublime. This is a great option if you’re going out with people who aren’t as die-hard pizza fans like yourself, as Archie’s also offers an extensive menu of salads, pastas and mains which are (nearly) as good as the pizzas.
Ponsonby & Takapuna
This is the real deal. For the real Italian experience look no further than Dante’s Pizza in Ponsonby Central or Fortieth & Hurstmere. If you've ever eaten pizza in Italy, Dante’s is the closest thing to the pizzas you’ve been dreaming of ever since you left—which is why it makes our list of the best pizza in Auckland. The simple topping options are made with the absolute best available mozzarella, prosciutto, oils and other authentic ingredients. Don’t just take my word for it though; Dante’s was the first pizzeria in New Zealand to receive the prestigious accolades of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), making Dante’s one of the best traditional pizzerias in the world. If this isn't the best pizza in Auckland, we're unsure of your judging skills.
Since they opened their doors in March 2018, Umu Pizza has become an Auckland fave. A step inside will have you face to face with an epic wood-fire oven and surrounded by a trendy pastel colour scheme featuring a neon slice. Each pizza is packed with local and free-farmed ingredients with a sourdough base that is simply delicious. With a menu starring eight legendary pizzas, you’ll find the choice tough between a range of scrumptious toppings. You can't go wrong with the seven—featuring an irresistible tomato base, mozzarella, chilli flakes, pickled vegetables and smokey goat chorizo.
Sometimes the oldies are the best. Prego has deservedly sat on Ponsonby Road since forever, churning out delicious Italian food and remaining one of the best date night spots in the city. Sit outside in the courtyard and enjoy one of Prego’s perfect pizzas in the sunshine. Or for something extra, the risotto is the dish of our dreams. You’ll be forgiven when one wine turns into three and lunch turns into dinner.
Sitting on Richmond Road, Epolito’s brings a taste of NYC to AKL. These enormous pizzas are best eaten with the huge floppy slices folded in half. The amount of cheese on these bad boys would make even Action Bronson a happy man. Epolito’s differs from most of the others on this list in that her ingredients are locally sourced, making the most of our homegrown bounty. The 'Brooklyn' may just be our favourites; boasting homemade sausage, olives and parmesan—Mmmm.
Found in Point Chevalier, Nomad presents perhaps the most interesting pizza menu on this list. As the name suggests, Nomad takes its menu inspiration from across the globe and that is also reflected in the pizza selection. There are enough Italian-inspired options to keep the traditionalists happy. Try the La Bella Italia—tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto, parmesan and topped with rocket. Vegetarians will love the pizza made just for them—tomato, mozzarella, courgette, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, feta and olives. For a truly delicious meal, treat yourself to a bottle of champagne to wash the dough down. Gluten-free options are available.
Naomi, Gisele, Elle and Kate Moss might not exactly be names that come to mind when we're talking pizza. Enter Gorgeous—making us feel far better about our cheesy gluttony—with all pizzas named after supermodels or other equally enviable ladies. Ok maybe you're not quite going to believe that the Peking duck pizza will turn you into Lucy Liu but perhaps it will make you smile (as if pizza doesn't always make us smile?) P.S. We're not too sure why Kate got the pepperoni but it's too damn good to care.
It’s no coincidence that Papa’s has been around for over 20 years. The pizza is amazing and Papa’s always shows you a good night. It has boutique Kiwi and Italian wines, so of course, that's a great start, and there’s a solid menu of traditional and not-so-traditional flavours. Try the pollo al burro which boasts tandoori chicken, yoghurt, cashew nuts and fresh cilantro. While pizza purists may scoff at these inventive flavour combos, given their long reign on the menu they must have a solid following. And keeping up with the status-quo, Pappa's offers Gluten Free pizza too.
Settebello Although when the pizza is this authentic and tasty, you’ll want to return to Settebello all the time. The secret to Settebello’s light bases is the 20 hours of rising time, which results in beautiful pizzas that don’t leave you feeling like you need to roll out the door. Their wood-fired oven is full of manuka wood, giving a kiwi twist to the otherwise traditional taste. Pro tip: Try a handmade calzone for a true Italian experience.
Too much of a good thing? Not possible when it comes to Toto’s legendary pizzas. The company went into liquidation and recently announced that they will reopen this month by the original owners. Watch this space.
Image Credit: Dante's Pizzeria, Alvovo Pizzeria, Non Solo Pizza, Toto Pizza, Dragonfired