Pizza places, pizza places everywhere. Melbourne has a fair share of places to grab a slice of this tried and true meal, but what are the creme of the crop? Which places stay true to age-old traditions and yet innovate and widen the parameters of what pizza can be? These are the 10 best pizza places in Melbourne.
DOC Pizza and Mozzarella Bar
One of the pizza places that truly gives you pizza the way the Italians eat it – with simple yet effective combinations. The focus here is on imported ingredients and they very much pride themselves on that. There’s a map on the menu showing the parts of Italy that different ingredients came from.
Keeping it simple means focusing on the core Italian ingredients such as buffalo mozzarella, fior di latte (milk flour), and Italian smallgoods. The pizza is perfectly balanced, as all things should be. It’s thin and crispy, with neither the crust nor the palate being overloaded.
Some of the recommended pizzas are the Pizza Pomodoro (pomodoro meaning tomato), the Salsicca (sausage and mozzarella), the Pizza ai Porcini (wild mushrooms and truffle oil), and the Pizza Speck (smoked prosciutto).
There’s a no booking policy, so the lines are considerable, and the seating is tightly packed. This, however, is part of the charm. This is the intended experience: To enjoy authentic pizza in a boisterous environment.
A25 pizza is named after the motorways that connect Rome to the coastal town of Pescera. It is actually owned by the brother of the owner of DOC, so they’re rivalling pizza places. In contrast to DOC, A25 is more experimental with its pizzas. Alternate flours for the base are used like Kamut and spelt. There are also unique toppings like date cream and licorice dust, the latter being found on the L.S.D. pizza. It comes under the crazy pizza section on the menu.
There is a more traditional section, Red Pizzas, under which you can find a Margarita with three ingredients, and the award-winning Bunga Bunga that has Berkshire sausage and porcini mushrooms.
The place offers a cafe experience during the day where you can pop in for coffee and on-the-go breakfast options. During lunch an dinner, the service really takes off. Other dishes include cheese boards and cured meats. There are three traditional desserts: Tiramisu, cannoli, and affogato. Alternatively, there’s a sweet pizza with Nutella, strawberry, vanilla bean ice cream, coconut snow, and mint.
How many pizza places also have disco? With a disco ball in its dining room, this place is more bar than a pizzeria, and the atmosphere is a lot of fun. They specialise in wood-fired sourdough pizza here, with the sourdough culture being 5 years old. They have big and puffy bases that are light and crunchy. Pizzas include the Fun Guy, which has a lot of mushrooms, and Tropical Melbourne, which is basically a Hawaiian with a little more class.
The disco ball is switched and on a DJ starts playing from 6 pm on Thursdays to Sundays, and the vibe gets looser and the music louder as the night wears on. In addition to the pizza, there’s cheeseburgers, oysters, arancini, and fried oysters. There’s also a selection of tap beers, apperitivos, digestivos, and classic cocktails.
Many pizza places aim to reproduce authentic Italian pizza. 400 Gradi specifically makes them in the Neapolitan style. The pizza is cooked in a wood oven, and the name of the place refers to the 400 degrees that they’re cooked at. They are considered one of the best pizza places in Melbourne, and they even won the World Pizza Championship in 2014, courtesy of their highly renounced margarita.
Given the cooking method, the bases are blistered, scorched even, and the crust is puffy and airy. This makes for a nice crispy texture. For seafood lovers, the Frutti di Mare is recommended. It comes with San Marzano tomato, fior di latte, Queensland prawns, mussels, clams, scallops, and rocket. There’s also, of course, their award-winning margarita, which is the most basic and traditional pizza that you can have in Naples.
There’s also a more overt ode to Naples in the form of the Napoletana, with parma ham, tomato sauce, and anchovies. It’s a big menu, even aside from the pizza, with a selection of seafood, pasta, risottos, salumi, and desserts like Sicilian Cannoli. The wine list is very much Italian. If all this wasn’t enough, the staff perform a pizza dance several times during the night.
They make approachable American-Italian food here. It is inspired by the red sauce restaurants of New York, but it’s still undeniably Melbourne with sourdough pizza bases. Capitano is a lively, social place, where everyone seems to constantly be engrossed in conversation. The atmosphere is casual, and the service is very friendly.
The pizza dough is chewy and bubbly, and the pizza itself is served in small, dense rounds. Pizzas include Classic Cheese, with fresh and aged mozzarella, tomato, and pecorino, and Tomato Pie with tomato sauce, garlic, marjoram, and n add-on of Sicilian anchovies. Food-wise, there are only a few choices, all made simply but effectively. There’s pasta, parmigiana, meatballs, antipasti, and desserts like tiramisu. There’s a fairly extensive list of wines, cocktails, and beers and ciders.
Ladro has a good reputation and a fairly long history, having been open since 2003. The oven-fired pizza is served whole with a cutting wheel, so you can decide the size of your slices. All the ingredients are gourmet and the crust is thin and crispy as per tradition. The menu can change depending on the season. Pizzas with Salumi cured meats are popular, like ones with cured wagyu beef, prosciutto, or salami.
Other particularly well0-made pizzas include the San Daniele with gorgonzola, leek, parsley, and basil, and the Gamberi Pisseli with lemon garlic prawn. There are also gluten-free pizza options. Additionally, there’s pasta, deserts, and a roast of the day. The specials menu is written on the wood-fired oven. It’s an open kitchen and space is minimal, making for a rowdy, inviting set-up.
+39 Pizzeria and Antipasteria
The name refers to the international dialling code for Italy. It’s one of the smaller pizza places that operates as a cafe during the day. The menu is fairly simple, consisting of piadinas, paninis, pasta, and pizza, obviously. There’s also an array of antipasti, salads, risottos, and deserts. As with most traditional Italian pizza, it’s not about how many ingredients are crammed onto a base, but the quality and combinations of those ingredients. The subtleties of the cheese and dough are important.
The place is full of CBD workers during the day and some nights. If you call to book (which you should), you’ll be greeted by a friendly staff member, and the welcome you receive in person will be just as warm. There’s a class cabinet of cured meats and Italian cheeses to feast your eyes on before you begin the actual feasting.
Shop 225 Pizzeria
Here, they specialise in wood-fire vegan and gluten-free pizza and pasta. Just about every pizza can be made to vegan specifications, as well as the pasta and desserts. The regular pizza dough is rested for 72 hours, making it light, fluffy, and easy to digest. All the ingredients are locally sourced. The vegan Nutella pizza is a favourite.
Small Print Pizza
The menu is mostly vegetarian and vegan with some gluten-free options. The name refers to a small ecological footprint that they pride themselves on. They are a self-sufficient, zero waste venue. The ingredients are organic and sourced daily. They are known for their sourdough pizzas. They range from a margarita to more unusual pizzas like one with beef brisket, apple, radicchio mozzarella, chives, and house-smoked yogurt.
Pizza Mein Liebe
The thin, crispy bases are topped with unorthodox ingredients like broccoli, silverbeet, and braised lamb. They’re all high quality, and wood-fired to perfection. They provide fresh takes on classics along with the aforementioned experimental stuff. The place is buzzing on most nights, and bookings are recommended if eating in. This is a good option for well-priced, produce-driven pizza.