When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.
Fresh from the wood-fired oven, smothered with oil-soaked toppings—even cold from the fridge after a big night—never has Dean Martin been more correct. When it comes to pizza, it truly is love at first bite.
Whether you’re a believer that Nonna’s Neapolitan pizza is best, or you’re partial to a shameless venture to your local grease monkey—we know pizza’s got a solid place in your heart. Get ready to swoon for 15 of the absolute best pizza joints Sydney has to offer.
An absence of stringy cheese may seem like pizza sacrilege. Yet, Gigi’s produce-driven, plant-based menu manages to create 13 inches of Italian paradise, time and time again. Transporting Naples to Newtown, the King Street venue drips in seductive aromas roaring from its stone pizza oven. For over a decade this inner-west eatery has paid homage to the precise traditions of Neapolitan woodfired pizza. Such adherence to time-honoured flavour combinations has seen Gigi’s become one of Sydney’s only members of the elusive True Neapolitan Pizza Association. Prepare to be amazed.
Greasy aftertaste be gone. Finished in a glistening green aesthetic and on-trend exposed-brick walls, in 2018 Bella Brutta resurrected the site of a dated pizza-bar on Newtown’s King Street. A blend of authentic Neapolitan and indulgent New Yorker style pizza, at Bella Brutta there is a noticeable emphasis on simplicity and quality ingredients when it comes to toppings. With a necessary Italian wine in hand, pamper yourself with the venue’s bellissimo Marinara pizza topped with anchovies (for a very worth it $12-$28 per tin).
Pizza by the slice for just $6 is enough to get any penny-pinched Sydneysider salivating. Throw in the promise of a rotating array of live-music, spinning DJs and (occasional cringe) karaoke sets, and Frankie’s has you set for a night out, start to finish. The brainpower behind the city’s most beloved hidden bars (Shady Pines and Baxter Inn) continue their form of luring city-dwellers to intimate hideaways. Hidden below Hunter Street, step through the red and white retro pops of a traditional Italian pizza joint into a spunky arcade-style pub with a hankering for craft beer.
Double Bay and CBD
With the Matteo empire expanding to the CBD, launching Matteo Downtown in 2018, the original Negroni bar in Double Bay continues to dazzle locals with its charming streetside, open-air atmosphere. Inspired by chef Orazio D’Elia’s Amalfi Coast upbringing, diners are encouraged to do as they do in southern Italy: overindulge. While the pizza menu is simple, the execution is always on point, and ready to be shared on your Instagram feed.
With a kitchen larger than the dining space, the purpose of La Coppola is clear: pizza. A well-oiled production line with a wood-fired oven at the centre, the team at La Coppola have been dispensing sumptuous takeaway offerings to Redfern locals since 1988. For over 30 years, local identity Steven Scopelliti, has worked to ensure La Coppola is ahead of the game, curating a menu of unconventional creations, such as the signature Zafferia pizza with burrata, spicy pancetta, mushroom, garlic and olive oil (our hands-down favourite).
There is no maybe about it. Across its two venues in Surry Hills and Randwick, Maybe Frank under head pizzaiolo, Francesco Repole, has proven that pizza and cocktails are indeed match made in foodie heaven. Repole argues that by sourcing ingredients from as far as Italy, Maybe Frank’s extensive pizza menu is able to satisfy more traditional expectations as well as contemporary demands.
“The secret of the pizza is the combination of the dough, the ingredients and the heat,” says Repole. “We believe we have one of the best pizzas in Sydney because of the ingredients that we work with”. Engage with your true Italian paesano and wash down the moreish Tartufo pizza (a glitzy combination of porcini mushrooms, mozzarella and truffle oil) with a cocktail from Maybe Frank’s traditional selection.
As the saying goes, less is more. Or in this case amore. Although Vacanza sticks to the more traditional side of Italian pizza, every seven days the master makers flex their dough-rolling muscles and create a signature pizza special of the week. Be it topped with canned tuna or bathing in burrata and honey, there is always something to entice. Straddling a slice of pizza, perch yourself at an alfresco long table at the laid-back Surry Hills venue.
It may be an intimate 35-seat vegetarian pizza-bar on the outskirts of Marrickville, but Pizza Madre appeals to the masses. Complimenting the selection of artisanal brews and wines on offer, the pizza menu is a seasonal showcase of the best produce the nation has to offer. Roaring from the wood-fired oven, the fragrances of fermented sourdough bases radiate from the large open windows onto the street. Overlooking the at-times manic Victoria Road, the outdoor dining stools are prime real estate for people-watching.
As Surry Hills eateries battle to stay on-trend, Al Taglio reminds diners that some dishes are best served the way they have always been. Lead by head chef Enrico Sgarbossa, Al Taglio’s pizza menu is a succinct assortment of the flavour combinations synonymous with gourmet Italianism.
“At Al Taglio we put 100 per cent of our time, skills, passion and innovation into the pizza,” Sgarbossa says. “We try our best to make people feel at home as soon as they step into the venue”. Catering to vegan, gluten-free, multigrain and wholemeal demands, Esgarbossa's menu includes such understated delights as "Albion 102" with lamb ragu, mozzarella, artichoke creama and provolone cheese, and the nourishing "Winter Potatoes", featuring potatoes with a truffle sauce.
The Italian Bar Pizza
Fermented for 72 hours, yes that's three days, the precision that goes into creating the dough at The Italian Bar Pizza symbolises the care the Willoughby venue has for its craft. Although the timber seating and brick veneer may suggest otherwise, The Italian Bar Pizza is progressive in its approach to creating the best pizza. Rather than following a strict Neapolitan crust, the venue thinks outside the pizza-box when it comes to toppings. Think wood oven roast chicken with BBQ sauce and garlic prawns with jalapeno.
A sleek industrial setting with high ceilings, exposed air-vents and pops of greenery, the vibing Da Mario is a Rosebery eatery bustling with quintessential Italian charm, noise and flavour. The share-style menu, updated seasonally, encourages diners to dabble in the diverse range of pizza topping combinations. Of course, you could be selfish and order a calzone: a rich encasement of ricotta and buffalo mozzarella with a dough shell with a variety of add-ins.
Forget fish and chips, Pompei’s in Bondi has proven that a trip to the beach is made all the more delectable by the taste of cheese and dough. Opening in 1998, Pompei’s operates under the thinking that a shared experience is the best type of pizza experience. Doused with San Marzano tomato paste and fior di latte mozzarella, Pompei’s pizzas are overwhelming ensembles. Throw in the short distance to Sydney's most iconic beach location, and this large open diner is always awash with hungry beach dwellers.
From folding the dough to the wood-fire oven, at Rosso Antico in Newtown, passion seeps into every part of the pizza-making process. In spite of intense competition from pizzerias with lush fitouts and cumbersome toppings, owner Riccardo Tedesco believes that his team's passion and commitment to the art of pizza making is what keeps his diners coming back to the relaxed Enmore Road venue.
“Our main secret is passion, we actually all really love what we do,” says Tedesco. “I’m continuously sourcing the best products from cheese to flour and head to Italy every year to stay in touch with what’s happening over there as far as products and new techniques.”
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Image credit: Supplied.