Artisan pizza in Melbourne has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, with Carlton's D.O.C at the forefront of the revolution. A leader in the ranks (and in good company with the likes of Ladro and Supermaxi), if you're looking for one of the city's finest, closest experiences to the real-deal in Italy, you've come to the right place.
A no-bookings policy (unless you're a group of seven or more) means that you'll have to get in early to avoid the wait for a table at D.O.C, but, in perfect Italian style, no worries if you do. The electric atmosphere will have you dreaming of the European country in no time. Taking its origins from the D.O.P, Italy's regional produce board, the space holds a special focus on authentic imported ingredients, with a map on the menu to help you out with origins. Watch plates of soft fior di latte mozzarella come out in droves and slices of exquisite San Daniele prosciutto fall right off the bone.
When you finally do secure a seat, enjoy the pared back aesthetic of the tight space. It's the spot for people watching as families and glamourous couples equally enjoy the theatrics of the charming Italian staff. If you can, aim for something alfresco outside — on a warm evening, sitting underneath the olive trees is a delight not to be missed. By this stage, your mind has well and truly left for la dolce vita.
D.O.C's pizza offering falls nothing short of brilliant (from $16). Achieving the perfect balance means the thin, yeasty, crispy bases aren't overloaded and are instead artfully presented with delicate toppings. Simple yet ingenious combinations see the menu comprised of genuine classics, and — against Australian tastes — there's absolutely no pineapple in sight. Beautiful. Follow this up with something sweet and, again, entirely classic — perhaps a bowl of gelati or tiramisu (from $8.50).
A space for the discerning foodie, D.O.C will satisfy any feelings of culinary wanderlust. Swoon over the imported selection of high-quality imported ingredients, enjoy the simple life and eat pizza like a true Italian.
Images: Josie Withers/Visit Victoria.