With pizza, less is usually more. It's tempting for places to get excited and overload the base with heavy, meaty toppings so that you find yourself unceremoniously catching dripping mozzarella before it reaches the front of your shirt. But at Pizza Meine Liebe, they nail it.
You'll find this gem of a pizza joint within the increasingly humming buzz of Northcote High Street. Among the bohemian 60s decor and higgledy-piggledy seating lies a true local family pizzeria with delicious thin and slightly chewy bases, smothered with thoughtful, quirky toppings. Classics are definitely worth ordering here; the margherita (small $13, large $17.50) with fresh basil would satisfy any pizza urge. But if you're feeling slightly more adventurous, there are lots of options. We ordered a perfectly spiced braised lamb concoction called Where's the Wolf? (small $15.50, large $20.50) and other delightful combinations include salami with prawns.
An unusual selection of Italian cheeses also make a welcome appearance, which are helpfully explained at the bottom of the menu. You can go gluten free on Thursdays, but best to call ahead and reserve a base. And while the pizzas are the star of the show, there are also a few delicious salads on offer and, if you can, leave space for the Nutella calzone ($10) — it's a genius of a dessert.
In the era of the seemingly standard 'no bookings' policy, it's refreshing that they will jot your details in the diary. I'd certainly advise utilising this service, as this place is rarely quiet. If you arrive as a walk-in and can't bear the wait — or you'd rather enjoy a stylish bar atmosphere — you can also order a pizza to be delivered to accompany your beverage at Joe's Shoe Store next door. Speaking of booze, a good selection of alcoholic beverages are on offer at Pizza Meine Liebe — but for $4 corkage per person you can bring your own wine. There's a bottle shop across the road.
With a raft of fantastic pizza joints like 400 Gradi and D.O.C receiving much-deserved praise in Melbourne, it's tough to compete. However, Pizza Meine Liebe (German for 'Pizza My Love') definitely packs a punch, and is worth the trip up north to High Street.