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By Concrete Playground
April 14, 2021
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By Concrete Playground
April 14, 2021
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TEN PICKS FOR THE BEST PIZZA IN SYDNEY

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

From chewy Neapolitan pizza to New Haven-inspired clam-topped slices and inventive vegan toppings, Sydney's pizza stores cover all the variations. Here are our ten favourites that keep us coming back for their stretchy buffalo mozzarella, pillowy bases and perfect toppings.

  • 11

    We’re accustomed to the idea that every slice of pizza worth its weight in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles requires decent lashings of mozzarella. Which is why the news that famed Newtown pizzeria Gigi is a cheese-free haven of vegan goodness might be a bit of a shock to the unknowing pizza fan. According to owner Marco Matino, the tradition of the Neapolitan woodfired pizza “is an art form which will always be relevant no matter how times change”. That said, the King Street digs decided to kick their double smoked ham and stringy mozzarella to the curb years ago in favour of a plant-based menu and have never looked back. The pizza here is both sustainable and ethical, with fresh, locally grown produce and key ingredients imported from Italy.

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  • 10

    Dimitri’s Pizzeria and its eye-catching red-and-white sign had been a permanent fixture on Crown Street since the 70s; while it moved once (around 20 years ago), it had never left the strip — until 2019. That’s when the Surry Hills pizza stalwart uprooted its tables (literally) and relocated to Oxford Street, setting up shop in the building previously home to Hunky Dory Social Club. Here, the woodfired oven can get up to 150 degrees hotter than the restaurant’s previous oven (meaning the pizzas only have to spend a third of the time inside) and the pizza is made with a 100-percent sourdough base that is fermented for a minimum of 48 hours. Expect to find unorthodox toppings including brussels sprouts, honey (from Williams’ mum’s beehive), radicchio, rainbow chard and corn atop the pies — as well as the necessary mozzarella, which is stretched daily in-house.

    Images: Kimberley Low.

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  • 9

    Happy As Larry is the CBD home to the storied slices of the Sydney food truck of the same name. Before opening the store, Anthony Severino (head pizzaiolo) spent over a year in Italy researching the art of traditional pizza making — and as with the truck, his pizzas pay homage to the Neapolitan classic while being noticeably lighter and crispier. Menu highlights include the bianca ($23) topped with wild broccoli, red onion and mushroom; the sausage and mushroom boscaiola ($24) which starts with a creamy base and is topped with Calabrese sausage, mushroom and peas; and the mixed mushroom ($25), which comes with four types of mushroom, smoked scamorza and truffle oil.

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  • 8

    As it turns out, Luke Powell of LP’s Quality Meats had a long-held dream of opening his own pizzeria. Mates Joseph Valore and Elvis Abrahanowicz over at Porteño had similar fancies, and it just took a trip to the USA to seal the deal. Out of the trip blossomed one of Sydney’s most beloved pizza joints, Bella Brutta. The style of pizza served up here isn’t traditional. The bases are a mix between Neapolitan and Roman style — blistered and chewy like the former, but crisp enough that it can be eaten with your hands (like the latter) — and toppings vary widely, taking their inspiration from America and across Italy (and even around the corner in Chippendale). If you’ve been to LP’s in Chippendale you’ve probably tried its house-made mortadella. And, here, you’ll find it atop a pizza ($28) with garlic and green olives. The clam ($30) pizza is the show stealer, however, and takes its inspiration from a bit further away — New Haven, Connecticut. This white-based pizza is heavy on the chilli and garlic, and unlike anything else we’ve tried in Australia.

    Images: Kitti Smallbone.

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  • 7

    This snug Marrickville eatery is immediately inviting, radiating a pastel pink glow that spills out onto the corner of the busy Victoria Road. Pizza Madre is brought to you by the culinary legends behind cafe and pasta mecca, Two Chaps, and is similarly characterised by effortless simplicity — a handful of dishes done to perfection. The vegetarian ingredients are seasonal and exceptionally fresh, taking centre stage on a simple seasonal menu. Each month, there are six or seven pizzas on offer, which are shuffled, altered and revised based on the availability of local produce.

    Image: Kitti Smallbone.

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  • 6

    Housed in a former cannery, Da Mario inhabits a large and open space — possibly selected to house the big red oven. Toppings are minimal yet deliciously paramount. Take, for example, the gorgonzola con radicchio ($22) or the full-flavoured Calabrese with hot salame, mozzarella and olives ($25). Traditionalists will love the margherita ($20), while calzone fans can take their pick of the salame, the funghi ($22) and the cotto e funghi ($24), all of which are oozing with soft ricotta, melted mozzarella and black pepper. It’s all stupidly delicious.

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  • 5

    A fan-favourite down south, DOC Surry Hills is Sydney’s first taste of this beloved Melbourne hospitality group, which has a wide-spanning collection of delicatessens, espresso bars and pizza and mozzarella bars spread across Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. DOC is known for its crisp pizzas and commitment to timeless Italian simplicity. On the menu, you’ll spy plenty of top-notch imported Italian ingredients, which are all displayed on a map — so you know exactly where each tasty morsel has come from. Each ingredient sits atop crisp and springy bases in the 14-strong pizza offering. Chianti truffle oil is splashed on the pizza ai porcini ($26,  with wild mushrooms, mozzarella and pecorino), while the napoletana ($23) stars San Marzano tomatoes from Campania, Ligurian olives and anchovies.

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  • 4

    Occupying the old Limoncello digs in Double Bay, Matteo is the labour of chef Orazio D’Elia (Da Orazio Pizza and Porchetta). The hero of the restaurant is the matte white cladded woodfired pizza oven with pale mint panelling encasing it. Fans of D’Elia will recognise the pizza formula here: a charred, soft base and sparse, quality ingredients. The funghi option ($25) with fior di latte, smoked mozzarella, stracchino and forest mushrooms manages to be big on flavour without being too rich. For meat lovers, the friarielli ($28) is home to slow-braised pork and minced ragu, as well as broccoli rabe puree, provola cheese and a healthy seasoning of chilli. And if Double Bay is out of your way, you can also try D’Elia’s pizzas at Matteo Downtown, too.

    Images: Steven Woodburn.

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  • 3

    The quality of a good pizza lies predominantly in its base — and the bases at Rosso Antico are super legit. They have that prefect crispy, chewy balance, and the toppings that amply adorn those base are on point. Highlights include the norma ($21), with generous caramelised slivers of roasted eggplant, islands of salted ricotta and a generous amount of fior di latte’ and the equally cheesy zucchini ($23) — with crispy pancetta, roasted zucchini strips and melted fior di latte and scamorza.

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  • 2

    While the Frankie’s experience stretches far beyond its menu, it all starts with the pizza at this restaurant, dive bar and concert venue. The CBD institution underwent a menu revamp in 2020, enlisting the help of Dan Pepperell (Restaurant HubertAlberto Lounge, Bistrot 916) to give new life to its food offering. Pepperell and Frankie’s owner Anton Forte took at trip to New York in order to experience the best pizza by the slice the city had to offer, returning to Sydney swathe of new ideas for Frankie’s. Pizza here is $6.50 a slice, meaning you can sample plenty of varieties. As you watch a band take the stage, try the combo of fior di latte, mushroom, egg yolk and truffle salami, or the a classic prosciutto and rocket pairing. Dipping sauces are also on offer to enhance the pizza experience, including Restaurant Hubert’s secret burger sauce.

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  • 1
    Shady Pines Saloon

    There is only one way to enter the Darlinghurst dive-bar, Shady Pines. As you descend the stairs adjust your eyes to the dark underground haze, stamping one boot on the peanut shells left dishevelled on the ground, and moving the other to the timeless twang of Johnny Cash, you then eye the bartender who is dressed in a wife-beater and a grand ‘ol ‘tashe and order some of the best whiskey in Sydney.

    Of course there are other ways to enjoy this American-themed saloon and by that I mean there are other drinks worth tasting. Try from a range of boutique beers including Coopers Malt and Newcastle Brown then move up to a whiskey sour, or an old-fashioned. In between sips (or chugs) feast on the beer snacks and get comfortable in your bar stool as you let the learned bartenders regale you with stories of the perfect whiskey. If you are willing to try, prices go up to $25 a shot, but it’s worth it.

    If you’re more drawn towards a bargain, you’re in luck — Shady Pines has a killer daily happy hour. Between 4–6pm, the bar is mixes $10 margaritas and negronis, and slings $5 wines and beers.

    The bar’s don’t-give-a-damn attitude coupled with its staff’s expert liquor knowledge makes this one themed bar you will want to keep coming back to. Plus, there’s country and western music on Sundays.

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Top image: Dimitri’s, Kimberley Low.

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