The task of deciphering through the list of Melbourne’s gourmet pizzerias and finding the elite group is far from easy. In fact, it takes more than just our own judgment to come to a confident conclusion.
So rather than simply base our critique on personal experiences, we decided that the best approach was to study up. And by this I mean reading copious amounts of restaurant reviews, expert tips, bloggers opinions and whatever other material that would help give our recommendations solid backing.
Where do you find Melbourne’s best pizza? A simple question on the surface, yet after the work taken to find the answers it is far more complex than it sounds.
Firstly, as not only food lovers but also style worshippers, we had to put aside our harsh judgments on restaurant appearance and purely focus on the quality of the plate of food thrust in front of us.
Having said this, the best of the best typically incorporated an environment that added to the overall experience of the restaurant. A setting which enlightened the experience further added weight to the restaurants argument.
One of the main things we took out of our review process was just how well the Italians cope with chaos. Each establishment that we visited was literally full to the brim, and yet the staff continued to provide excellent service and entertainment whilst appearing to be stress free. Obviously trained to deal with the heat and frenetic pace, but nevertheless impressive.
It appears that Melbourne is going through another ‘trendy’ pizza phase. It’s become increasingly common for Melbourne trendsetters to spend their midweek dates and meetings amongst the hustle and bustle of an inner city pizzeria. Further fuelling fire to the growing debate that Pizza places are more than family options, they are in fact an avenue for the new generation to branch out and use to impress a new girl or client.
Now we know that not everyone is going to agree with our decisions, and people are going to be outraged that we have left out some ‘obvious’ ones, but this is what we recommend.
In no particular order, the Gentleman recommends the following Melbourne pizzerias:
295 Drummond St, Carlton
Located on a street corner, a stone throw away from the hustle and bustle of Carlton’s Italian hub Lygon Street, DOC has captured the imagination of Italy and bottled it into a small but inviting restaurant.
Owner Tony Nicolini of Carlton Espresso and Pizza Espresso fame is the master of artisan pizza in this city. His focus on the importance of quality ingredients sees him import heavily from Italy to ensure that his customers are provided with the best-of-the-best.
This slick pizzeria and mozzarella bar is the definition of a happening place. There is always an upbeat vibe inside the restaurant, coupled with a hive of activity as staff buzz around the room like busy bees attending to the customer’s needs.
DOC has a basic philosophy, keep things simple. Their pizzas are never overloaded and their bases are thin and crispy, just the way we like it.
+39 Pizzeria & Degustation
362 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
+39 is neat and classy on appearance, very aesthetically pleasing, and that’s before you even have a bite to eat.
Owner Remo Nicolini, formerly part of the Pizza Espresso machine with brother Tony, has setup a sophisticated little daytime cafe specialising in piadinas and paninos, pizza and pasta. As the day turns into night, the place transforms into a more traditional pizzeria where the stuff made out of fluffy dough becomes the main attraction.
+39 prides itself on its pizza dough which is nice and fine before it enters the oven where it comes out puffed and covered in delicious gooey mozzarella cheese.
A typical inner city setup sees the tables squished in nice and close, creating a rowdy vibe that only adds to the vibrant atmosphere.
46a Holmes St, Brunswick East
Far more relaxed than other inner city pizzerias, I Carusi prides itself on producing the very best of simple pizzas. By focusing on quality of toppings rather than quantity, this pizzeria has established itself for some time now as one of Melbourne’s prominent pizza institutions.
Hidden amongst the house fronts and warehouses in Brunswick East, I Carusi has developed a large range of toppings combinations that all centre around the same philosophy – LESS IS MORE.
Owner Pietro Barbagallo is the master of all things to do with pizza dough. He has created a setting at I Carusi which is far more soothing than most pizzerias in the city.
With a low key ambiance, it’s the flavour that you come here for.
275 Exhibition St, Melbourne
If there is ever a place where the moment you walk in after a long hard day at work and instantly feel relaxed, it’s right here. For presentation, quality of food, and general atmosphere, Trunk has all bases covered and then some more.
Trunk takes its name from the 150 year old tree located in its courtyard. Its spacious outdoor setting provides people with some solitude from the hustle and bustle in the city centre.
Now this exquisite setting isn’t purely about appearance, their pizza’s are right out of the top drawer.
With a meticulous focus on high quality, local and seasonal ingredients, Trunk delivers the goods.
They meet the fine line between quality and quantity, with a well proportioned serve of toppings on top of their thin, crusty pizza bases.
Trunk’s diverse range is sure to be a winner all year round, don’t be afraid to try something you normally would steer clear of, I’m sure you will be in for a pleasant surprise.
17 Macedon Rd, Lower Templestowe
Unlike the majority of Melbourne’s elite pizzerias, Pizza Espresso is located in the suburbs a little way out of the CBD. But don’t be scared about the drive, it’s only twenty minutes away from the city anyway and I can guarantee it will be well and truly worth the journey.
Pizza Espresso was formerly under the ownership of the Nicolini’s who have gone on to open DOC and +39. It is now run by Sandra and Daniele Rigoni who have created a family friendly atmosphere inside their rather small shop which is always chock a block full of hungry food lovers.
On your typical night, you will find a team of white t-shirt wearing men turning dough into fresh crisp circles of delight.
Regarded as one of not only Melbourne’s finest pizzerias, Pizza Espresso has found praise on a national scale with some critics calling it one of the countries finest.
With their innovative menu comprising of tangy artichoke hearts, gorgonzola, pear, melted fior di latte, rare prosciutto amongst an extensive range of high end ingredients, it’s not difficult to understand why this place is so highly thought of.
I’d have to argue that if this pizza haunt was located in a more trendy area, it would be hailed as the best in Melbourne, hands down.
Now, I’m not saying that this place is there just yet, because it takes years to establish yourself in the bracket of pizzerias that I have just mentioned. However, I’d like to leave you with a little tip. There is a place in Hawthorn that continues to impress.
Pizza Religion is fast becoming one of my favourite quick and easy meals. Their extensive menu is modern and exciting. I continue to question their toppings combinations, until the slice is in my mouth and I realise that they no what they’re on about.
So whilst it may not be in the ‘elite’ bracket just yet, it’s defiantly one to have a go at. And one of the benefits of an up and coming place, similar to an up and coming athlete or thoroughbred, is that not everyone knows about it. Standby on this one.
The five foot two women’s brow knitted together when she heard the annoyed lady behind the desk. She tilted her head some and shook it a bit. She understood fully on how many people most likely probably walked through those doors asking for someone or how to get somewhere but she didn’t need to take it out on anyone else. Biting back the crude comment she wanted to make she rose her arms and crossed them over her chest while she waited. Teeter tattering on the events that took place early today analyzing the choice of words her brother dearest spoke to her. Letting out a small sigh she bit down on her bottom lip.
Hearing the brunette’s familiar voice she popped her head up and offered her a small smile in return. Glancing back to Marcy for a moment as she titled her head. “Thank you very much Marcy. I hope you have a very, very splendid day.” She stated giving her a forced smiled before following after her best friend with her hands in her back pocket a wave of panic surging through her when Emily spoke again. Now she wasn’t so sure if she should even be here or if she should even bring it up anymore. “No no no. It uhm..it’s.” Pausing she entered the office and took a quick glance around. “No Derek’s fine, he’s with Lexii right now.” She stated and took a seat when it was offered to her. Biting the bullet she moved her gaze back to the slender Doctor. “I’m sorry about Jaysin, Em. You shouldn’t even of had to deal with that and I’m sorry that you did.” She stated taking a deep breath.
Once it came out Demetria automatically regretted even saying it. She didn’t even want to get involved with her brothers life or even his life with Emily. Shed cared deeply about the both of them and didn’t want to have to choose sides, knowing for a fact that; that might even be a thing. “But I think he won’t be around anymore. Like I think he might be leaving North Brook or something… And I think I might have lost a brother again.” She spoke as if she was thinking to herself before she pinched the bridge of her nose. “I’m sorry to unload this on you Emily. I literally came here after I got off the phone with him. Uhmm I’ll let you get back to work you must be busy. I just wanted to apologize for Jaysin’s actions.” With that she pushed herself off the chair and headed towards the door. Stopping mid way she turned around and looked at her. “Hey you want to stop by Derek’s tonight? It’s just going to be me. He’s taking Lexi out Somewhere tonight. Soo we can have some girl time and watch movies and drink some wine.” She said giving her a small smile. “We’ll have to watch a movie on my computer since Derek doesn’t really believe in tvs. But it up to you.”
DSTM & Modest Shows are teaming up once more to bring you one hell of a noisey night. We are beyond happy to welcome Full of Hell to Portsmouth for the first time in a 100 person capacity venue as well. There will be carnage.
Full Of Hell (A389 Records): http://fullofhell.bandcamp.com/album/rudiments-of-mutilation Blackened, sludgey hadcore noisepunx. Catagorising a band like Full Of Hell is no easy task, so let’s keep it simple: they’re heavy, they’re fast and they’re fucking incredible. FFO: Insect Warfare, Thou and tinnitus.
Monolithian: http://monolithiandoom.bandcamp.com/ Two piece Doom / Black metal band from Cornwall, Bringing riffs that are guaranteed to melt your face FFO Sleep, The Melvins and Head-banging
Joythief: http://joythiefuk.bandcamp.com/ Portsmouth’s favourite grindcore sons. Silly sods playing short songs. Damogrind. FFO: Spazz, Weekend Nachos and wagging your fingers.
Teef: http://teefpunx.bandcamp.com/ Shouty hardcore punx outta Brighton, featuring the dudes who brought you War Wolf and Dopefight AND Lloyd Denman. Imagine if aggy punk bands from the late 80’s stopped worrying about where to buy some Ketamine and instead got really fucking tight. FFO: Coke Bust, Vaccine and jumping off things.
Knifedoutofexistence: http://knifedoutofexistence.bandcamp.com/ One-man noise/power electronics from the South Coast. If you’re coming to this you probably know who Dean is, and who Witch Cult were, and you know you can expect confrontational, empassioned perfomance and a heaviness that transcends traditional musical forms. FFO: Iron Lung, Content Nullity and Hello Kitty memorabilia.
Advance tickets will be £6 / On the Door £8
Entry will be 7pm with Knifedoutofexistence starting at 7.20 Sharpe.