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FOOD & DRINK

Where to Eat Pizza When All Your Friends Are Doing Italian Summer and FOMO Levels Are High

From chewy Neapolitan rounds to rectangular Roman slices.
By Imogen Baker
June 28, 2018
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Where to Eat Pizza When All Your Friends Are Doing Italian Summer and FOMO Levels Are High

From chewy Neapolitan rounds to rectangular Roman slices.
By Imogen Baker
June 28, 2018
  shares

WHERE TO EAT PIZZA WHEN ALL YOUR FRIENDS ARE DOING ITALIAN SUMMER AND FOMO LEVELS ARE HIGH

in partnership with

From chewy Neapolitan rounds to rectangular Roman slices.

Here in Brisbane, we're just about to enter winter. Well, our version of winter (socks and thongs weather). What makes it worse is it that the Northern Hemisphere is enjoying summer, taunting us with pictures of beaches, lilos, and rooftop cocktails while we pile on more blankets and feel our seasonal affective disorder turn up a notch.

The smartest of us, the ones not shackled to our desks and chairs, will defect to the north and torture us even more with Instagram stories from the Amalfi Coast, photos that could be compiled into an overpriced coffee-table book and sold in a snooty art shop.

But you know what they say: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And if you don't have enough annual leave to join 'em, eat so much pizza that your cheese dreams transport you to warmer places. And then start referring to your tummy as Little Italy. And then despondently look for flights for Euro-summer next year.

To help you achieve this goal, we've teamed up with American Express to find the best Italian-style pizza to counteract Euro-summer FOMO. So, grab your American Express® Card and let's head out for some of the city's best cheesy rounds, slices and rectangles.

Got yourself in another dining situation and need some guidance? Whatever it is, we know a place. Visit The Shortlist and we'll sort you out.

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    Prego Pizzeria, on Racecourse Road in Hamilton, serves up Roman-style pizza al taglio, that is, served by the rectangular slice, with a crisp base. As well as antipasti and salads, you can choose between a rosse (tomato) and bianche (cheese) base for your slice fest. In the red corner, you have the usual suspects: a margherita, topped with creamy fior di latte and fresh basil ($4/$14/$28 for one slice, four or eight); and a sopressa with mozzarella and fresh chilli ($4.5/17/29).

    In the white corner, the hard-hitter is the tartufo, with fragrant truffle and mushrooms a-plenty ($6/$20/$36). We also dig the decadent puttanesca ($4.5/17/30) with olives, anchovies and chilli. But don’t think about it for too long — Prego Pizzeria’s ‘by the slice’ ethos means that you can pick your perfect combo and try everything on the menu.

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    West End’s casual and cosy venue The Burrow might feel like home, but there’s one vital difference: you won’t be able to make a homemade pizza as good its. The pizza menu (available for lunch and dinner) isn’t classic Italian at all, so while it might not cure your FOMO it will make you feel grateful you’re still in Brisbane.

    The Burrow has managed to create a smart mix of pizzas, some in the more familiar style, and others in the mindset of ‘let’s just make it tasty’. And they are tasty. We recommend the Tropical Meat Storm ($24), a hilarious name and a delicious pizza, with double-smoked bacon, pepperoni, pineapple, red onion, and chilli flakes — for the meat lovers among you. And the Bad Muther-Fungi ($24) with mushrooms, pancetta, blue cheese, mozzarella and parmesan,  ain’t bad either. 

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    If you’re down for some classy-ass Italiano, head to Tartufo in Fortitude Valley. From the food to the service to the decor and the fresh, crusty, homemade bread, the Tartufo experience will transport you across the seas and into Italy.

    The menu is simple, traditional and Neapolitan-style. That is, simple, with fresh ingredients and cooked very quickly in a woodfired oven. Bellissimo. The whole menu is incredible, but if you’re hungry, go for the Pizza Tartufo ($28) — it’s loaded up with ingredients and pork sausage and truffle paste are folded into the crust. Dayumm.

    Tartufo is also known for not pulling any punches when it comes to the correct Italian pronunciation of things, so you might want to practise your Italian before you head in.

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    Opened in early 2017, Neighbourhood Pizza is a cute little pizza joint in Kenmore that is the perfect venue to host your next dinner debate: is it OK to put pineapple on a pizza? Neighbourhood Pizza doesn’t make such judgement calls, it serves a tightly edited menu with something to please both sides of the fence.

    Choose between classic options like the hawaiian ($22) and margherita ($18) and some weirder ones, like the American Hot Honey ($22) with tomato, mozzarella, dried chilli, honey and salami. Leave space for the sides, too, as nothing says imaginary Italian summer like sipping an Aperol Spritz through a mouthful of mozzarella sticks ($9). 

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  • 3

    Sydney’s Italian Street Kitchen opened its first Queensland branch in Newstead last year in the Gasworks Precinct— and it’s impressive. When you step inside, the restaurant’s vibrant atmosphere is established at once with the open cheer of the kitchen.

    While we do recommend the pizza, you’d be a fool to walk past the fried gnocchi with truffle ($6.50) or baked cheese with honey and oregano ($10) for starters. For mainx, go for the buffalo margherita pizza ($15.50) or the funghi — with three cheeses and meaty Swiss brown mushrooms ($16).

    The pizzas here are thin and crunchy because they make the dough on-site and let it rise for 48 hours before loading it up, toasting it for two minutes and fifteen seconds in the pizza oven, and bringing it straight to your mouth. And yet, nothing on the menu comes in over $20 — which is pretty special, given the quality of the eats.

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    Located on James Street in the thick of it, Tinderbox Kitchen is making a name for itself as one of Brisbane’s pizza frontrunners. With free-range pork, Moree stoneground-wheat, and seasonal produce, Tinderbox ticks many boxes when it comes to tasty ethical pizza.

    While the al fresco dining might make you feel a little Euro even in the chilly Brisbane winter, fresh pizza will warm you right up. They come out sizzling from their custom-made woodfired oven, with simple but indulgenttinder combinations such as the Savoyarde ($23) with potato, rosemary, caramelized onion, pancetta and three cheeses. We also like the Tinderbox house special, which is loaded with Mooloolaba prawns, chilli and zucchini ($24).

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    Popolo, located in the new Sidon Street-River Quay precinct, has a spectacular view, which pairs nicely with its equally spectacular pizza menu. If you squint into the sunset, you might just be able to pretend you’re in Venice or looking out over the Tiber river in Rome. While Popolo has a lot of great share plates, you wouldn’t be judged for picking your own pizza and refusing to share.

    The Tartufo ($27) is an indulgent treat for vegetarians — or anyone with a taste for truffle oil — it’s made with stracchino (a type of cow’s milk cheese), fior di latte, truffle oil, and mushrooms. We also dig the simplicity of the Pancetta ($25) with sugo, fior di latte, rosemary and — yes, you guessed it — pancetta. So salty. So cheesy. Who needs an Italian vacay when you have gooey riverside pizza instead?

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As you drink and dine with your American Express, reap all the sweet rewards of being a Card Member. Explore the many ways American Express has your back here.

Top image: Popolo

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