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FOOD & DRINK

Where to Find the Best Pizza in Auckland

From chewy Neapolitan pizzas to giant New York slices and metre-long party pleasers.
By Stephen Heard
April 05, 2021
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By Stephen Heard
April 05, 2021
  shares

There's nothing wrong with your occasion hotdog-stuffed crust, but sometimes you just really need to take your pizza order back to the reliable combo of cheese and crust. Auckland's pizza stores cover all the variations, from chewy Neapolitan pizzas to giant New York slices and metre-long party pleasers. Here are our 12 favourites that keep us coming back for stretchy buffalo mozzarella, pillowy dough and perfect toppings.

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EPOLITO'S PIZZERIA, GREY LYNN

New York-style pizza is the order of the day at Grey Lynn's Epolito's Pizzeria. The cheesy pies from owner-chef Chickalena Rose are oversized and kept simple with minimal toppings. Top picks include the meatball, which uses a secret family recipe, and the classic margherita. We also recommend the 'On Madison', which is a combination of black olive, roasted garlic and feta. All are best enjoyed with beer and good friends on the Richmond Road sidewalk.

TOTO PIZZA, AUCKLAND CBD

As well as being packed full of flavour and fresh ingredients, Toto's pizzas are the largest in the Auckland region — available by the metre. The giant slabs clock in at 20 pieces from $38–54 and are substantial enough to feed the hungriest of pizza munchers. Toto has 12 different varieties, including classics like margherita and marinara, plus Italian favourites like 'Pugliese' (capers, olives, anchovies, feta), and 'Salsiccia' (pork fennel sausage, spiced broccoli, mozzarella). Be sure to get your takeaway order in quick on the weekends and don't forget the car to carry your giant cheesy pie home.

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DANTE'S PIZZERIA, VARIOUS LOCATIONS

Located in Ponsonby Central, Eastridge and Takapuna, Dante's is certified by Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, a movement which aims to promote and protect the traditions of pizza Napoletana. With a national prize-winning pizza chef and four consecutive titles as Metro magazine's 'Best Pizza', Dante's must be doing something right. Its dough rests for four days before being placed for 90 seconds into the wood-fired oven that hums at a breezy 400 degrees Celsius. The straightforward menu offers six simple options with ingredients all sourced direct from the motherland.

STUMPY'S WOODFIRED PIZZA, BALMORAL

You've probably wolfed down a slice of Stumpy's while attending a music festival or market around the city. As well as the roving food truck, the pizzeria has its own physical store on Dominion Road between the lineup of dumpling huts. The bases are crispy in all the right places and feature a big puffy crust that acts as the perfect handle to manoeuvre your slice. Stumpy's is big on value, too. A large margherita will set you back $13 while a pepperoni maxes out at $16 — including the flashy additions of Italian salami, Kalamata olives and jalapeños.

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UMU, KINGSLAND

The concept of this small Kingsland pizzeria is simple — great sourdough pizza with a big focus on local, natural and organic produce. The dough is leavened with a sourdough starter that was captured from a bakery on a small island off the coast of Naples, which has been making bread with the same culture for over 200 years. The 36–48-hour fermentation cycle produces a tender and flavourful crust, while the 500-degree oven turns out pizzas in about 60 seconds — charred and blistered with just melted cheese and wet (but not soupy) sauce. There are eight hand-stretched pizza varieties on the menu.

SETTEBELLO, NEW LYNN

Founded by Naples native Francesco Acri, Settebello brings a slice of the motherland to New Lynn. Traditional wood-fired pizza Napoletana is the main focus here, following the strict rules of slow-proved dough, imported Italian ingredients and a fiery 60 to 90-second cooking time. You'll find classic pizza Napoletana toppings as well as a range of folded calzone pizzas. And if you'd prefer to put your own pizza-making skills to the test at home, Settebello sells its much-loved dough separately.

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FARINA, PONSONBY

Ponsonby's Farina is the brainchild of Sergio Maglione. As well as pared-back Italian cuisine influenced by local street food, the restaurant cranks out its own pizza thanks to a Valoriani oven. It's part of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana movement, meaning they only use traditional ingredients and processes. The above is the 'Boscaiola', a mix of mushroom, mozzarella, cream, spinach, pine nuts and truffle oil.

NON SOLO PIZZA, PARNELL

NSP is another affiliate of Toto's, launched by Antonio Crisci (the uncle of Toto's Sergio Maglione). The Parnell institution has been a regular contender for the best Italian in the city with its extensive menu. There are ten sections to work through, from fresh seafood to antipasti, pizza and dessert. The pizzas use basic ingredients and are again wood-fired so they come out both crispy and soft, with a touch of smokiness.

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FRANCESCA'S PIZZERIA, POINT CHEVALIER

This humble pizzeria along the main strip of Point Chev is run by Italian-born owners Mia and Ciro Sanino. There are no smoke and mirrors with menu offerings here. Each pizza base is hand-stretched to order in a mutant of a circle and comes out of the oven with smoking edges. Francesca's margherita is a saucy creation — and we recommend splashing out the extra $3 for some extra cheese.

PAPA'S PIZZA, KINGSLAND

Papa's has been serving its handmade wholemeal pizzas for over 30 years. The pizza bases are a mildly healthier option than your conventional dough, yet still come with the joyous combinations of cheese, sauce and multiple toppings. They come out of the oven both crispy and soft and can be ordered in 22 flavours (spanning all meats) and two sizes: regular and large. The glorious outdoor courtyard is also now home to a wood-fired pizza oven, giving you even more options.

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AL VOLO PIZZA, MOUNT EDEN

Makers of classic Napoletana-style pizzas, Al Volo are so good they've even been listed as one of the top ten authentic wood-fired pizzerias in the world (outside of Naples). They're not greasy, the bases are crispy in all the right places and they use the best ingredients possible. There are 38 varieties to choose from, including a straightforward garlic focaccia to the more elaborate 'Contadina' with asparagus and egg. It's also the perfect spot to grab a slice before heading over to the neighbouring Powerstation for a gig.

PANE & VINO, PONSONBY

Pane & Vino means 'bread and wine' in Italian — which already gives them two thumbs up in our book. The Williamson Road establishment is run by a friendly gentleman by the name of Tito Cucciniello, who serves up regional Puglia dishes that he learnt from his mother. You won't be stuck for choice, with 39 options available, including the closed calzone and ripena varieties and 'white' pizza with no base sauce. Even if the pizza wasn't great, we'd still visit this place for the atmosphere.

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SAL'S AUTHENTIC NY PIZZA, VARIOUS LOCATIONS

Sal's has taken off since its launch in 2009. The by-the-slice or by-the-whole pizzeria is the ultimate spot to go full Kevin McCallister on a plain cheese. While Sal's has the tendency to result in grease dripping down your wrist, the taste factor is big here. More so when you take advantage of the complimentary chilli, oregano and parmesan shakers. The toppings are simple and the classic cheese is always a winner.

CLAY, NEWTON

Dan Gillett is the brains behind Karangahape wine bar, Clay. While natural wine is the hero of the venture, the food menu is just as impressive. There are small and large plates designed to be shared and a selection of light and crisp sourdough pizzas that won't weigh you down. The rotating menu often features vegan creations — the latest came topped with aubergine, pickled chilli, mint and coriander — as well as mouthwatering options like béchamel, sausage and mozzarella. In the centre of the dining room is a long table to encourage relaxed family-style eating and drinking.

Published on April 05, 2021 by Stephen Heard

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