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FOOD & DRINK

Ten Picks for Pizza in Melbourne

From giant pepperoni-topped slices to vegan rounds, we've got you covered.
By Concrete Playground
November 13, 2018
  shares

Ten Picks for Pizza in Melbourne

From giant pepperoni-topped slices to vegan rounds, we've got you covered.
By Concrete Playground
November 13, 2018
  shares

TEN PICKS FOR PIZZA IN MELBOURNE

From giant pepperoni-topped slices to vegan rounds, we've got you covered.

From chewy Neapolitan pizzas to giant five-cheese topped slices, decent gluten-free bases and inventive vegan toppings, Melbourne's pizza stores cover all the variations. Here are our ten favourites that keep us coming back for stretchy buffalo mozzarella, pillowy bases and perfect toppings.

  • 10

    Brunswick East has always been blessed with late-night joints and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when institution Café Romantica closed last year after 30 years of serving pizzas basically 24/7. Big shoes to fill, perhaps. But the new owners — Oscar Hermann, Monty Mullooly-Hill, Ravi Thompson, Henry Crawford and Bill Howard — have redone the interior, produced an exceptional menu and drinks list.

    In a nod to the venue’s history, the kitchen’s kept the classic Pizza Romantica ($18) on there, zhuzhed a little with a Napoli crust and — if you want to pay an extra five bucks — a hint of ‘nduja. Otherwise, the menu changes daily, reflecting seasonal nuances and goodness. Apart from Monday and Tuesday, Bar Romantica is open late each night, and until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays.

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  • 9

    The folk from Bar Liberty have proved themselves as masters of transformation with their newest offering. Their refurbishment of the dark Beaufort is a wonder to behold. The now light and bright interior features burgundy and cream walls, olive green banquettes, wooden tables and art deco light shades. You can sit up at the bar or down on the tables.

    Come for the pizza. The base is sourdough, fermented for 48 hours, and has just the right amount of chew. Plus, the kitchen doesn’t go overboard on the toppings. Choose from a classic cheese pizza ($18) — to which you could DIY with new season onions, fennel salami, mortadella or anchovy — or go for one of the more complex options, the Tomato Pie ($18), for example, is incredibly tasty, with plenty of marjoram, garlic and cheese. To top it off, Banjo Harris Plane — the venue’s co-owner and sommelier — has created an enviable 100-strong wine list with excellent pours by the glass from Italian winemakers, and more local, but Italian, varieties.

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  • 8

    Pizza and tequila have been brought together at last at new southside bar and eatery Chacho’s Windsor. The Chapel Street space is keeping things fresh and fun with a Mexican-inspired pizza offering, an edgy urban fit-out and a selection of agave spirits that’s worth crossing town for.

    In the kitchen, ex-Lazerpig chef Dan Pegg is turning his pizza prowess to a line of crafty pies made on 12-inch sourdough bases and topped with all manner of non-traditional flavour combinations. The Del Toro ($21) is loaded with roasted onions, chorizo, corn and jalapeños, then crowned with a central ring of corn chips for dipping into guacamole and sour cream. The Whole Hog ($22) features pork and fennel sausage, caramelised onion and a sprinkle of pork crackling, while the Holy Mole ($21) riffs on the classic meat lover, teaming slow-cooked pork, coriander and pickled red onion with a Mexican mole sauce.

    Plus, a daily 5–7pm happy hour promises $10 pizzas and $10 margaritas to soothe those after-work blues.

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  • 7

    Bigger isn’t always better, but in the case of Collingwood’s all-vegan pizzeria Red Sparrow and its recent expansion, we’re betting there won’t be too many complaints at all. It now boasts an extra 40 seats on top of its original 38.

    The pizza offering is built around that same commitment to top-notch plant-based ingredients that has set Red Sparrow apart since it opened back in 2016. Here, tuck into crafty, vegan riffs on the classics, including the Patatas Bravas, with potato, dairy-free parmesan, chipotle aioli and a mock chorizo, and the Mushroom, topped with king browns, caramelised onion, truffle oil and thyme.

    If you’re looking for a pizza that’ll make you feel as healthy as your morning superfood smoothie, look to the Supergreen, loaded with kale pesto, zucchini, broccolini and microherbs. Prefer yours loaded with chilli? Choose the fiery Volcano, featuring house-pickled jalapeños, habanero, Sriracha and chilli flakes. To cool your no-doubt burning mouth, finish with the dessert pizza, decked out with Nutella, banana and vegan vanilla ice-cream.

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  • 6

    Soft lighting and dark features make 400 Gradi (Italian for ‘400 degrees’, the ideal temperature at which pizza should be cooked) the kind of spot that calls you for dinner on a rainy night. You know the kind we mean, too: the type you hanker for in the middle of a dreary Melbourne winter, whilst the rest of your friends are off holidaying in the sunny Mediterranean. After owner Johnny Di Francesco’s recent win at the World Pizza Championships though, where 400 Gradi’s margherita ($20.50) was awarded first prize, you can forget about your friends — you’ve got the gold standard right on your doorstep.

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  • 5

    Melbourne’s north doesn’t have enough late-night wine bars serving oversized slices of pizza. At least, that’s what Sam Peasnell and business partners Adam Goldblatt and Tom Peasnell think. They’re the talented trio behind Preston hotspot Dexter Meat & Buns and they’ve just opened a casual pizza joint directly across the road. The way it works is pretty simple: out front is a takeaway pizza joint where you can order 12-inch American-style spicy pizzas through a small window, while inside is a fully stocked cocktail and wine bar. It’s the kind of place you can duck in for a quick beer while you wait for your pizza, or roll into for a few kick-ons after a dinner over the road.

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  • 4
    Lazerpig

    The team at Lazerpig know its way around a pizza — each crust is carefully prepared and rolled, sprinkled with an epic selection of toppings and fired in the brick oven. In addition to pizza, the Collingwood bar is also renowned for an incredible wine list cultivated by sommelier Jake Winther of Trutta Wines. Even so, there’s a healthy list of beers and a handful of Italian-inspired cocktails, too.

    Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, Lazerpig serves up pizzas with traditional and untraditional toppings. While the Queen Margherita ($21.50) is stellar, we suggest looking to the bacon- and crème fraîche-topped Carbonara ($26) or the garlicky and lemony Mary Hadi A Little Lamb ($26.50) if you want to try something different. Head there for lunch and you can get a ten-inch pizza or a burger and a drink for $15.

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  • 3

    Pizza. It’s delicious. It also has a huge spectrum of quality and authenticity. But Ladro, in both Fitzroy and Prahran, do it well. Really well. With a sleek interior, a wood fired oven or two and an Italian Nonna, Zia, making pasta by hand in the kitchen, pizza isn’t all they do well. Owned and run by business and life partners Sean Kierce and Ingrid Langtry, passion is in abundance — just like the food they create.

    The pizza menu is your next port of call. The Badabing with tomato, provolone, pork sausage, oregano, chilli and basil ($20.50) has been a favourite for as long as Ladro have been serving it. Another well-loved option is Scout’s Pizza (affectionately named after one of Sean and Ingrid’s children), which consists of tomato, taleggio, caramelised onion, basil, dressed rocket and parmigiano ($21.50). If seafood is your thing try the Gamberi Piselli of tomato, lemon garlic prawns, peas, chilli and basil ($21).

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  • 2
    Pizza Pizza Pizza

    A word so nice they named it thrice. This Melbourne’s CBD pizza joint does it NYC-style with 18-inch pies and pizza by the slice, selling slices at $5 a pop, with pies at 32 buckaroos. While these certainly don’t compare to the $1 kind of New York City, they’re pretty fair prices for the Aussie market and much bigger slices than we’re generally used to.

    Pizza toppings range from classics like margherita and pepperoni to a decadent mushroom and truffle oil that you certainly wouldn’t find at your corner NY pizza shop. You’ll also find a triple cheese (that’s parmesan, mozzarella and bocconcini for ya) and Aussie favourite Hawaiian-style ham and pineapple numbers on the menu.

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  • 1

    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).

     

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Top image: Capitano by Kate Shanasy. 

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