Neapolitan pizza is so good that it has recently become protected by UNESCO – but luckily for us, many Italians have flown the nest to bring Londoners a taste of their patrimony. We’ve found the best spots for a good pizza in London, from the traditional to green pizza bases and fully-vegan options. Buon appetito!
The Best Pizza in London
Jason Atherton’s ninth London restaurant uses British milled flour to make delicious dough, cooked in pizza ovens handmade by a third-generation Neapolitan craftsman. Talk about the best of both worlds! They hold a guest chef series every month – and for August it’s none other than Tommy Banks of the Black Swan in Oldstead, Yorkshire. His pizza showcases the best of the region, featuring raw Hereford beef, horseradish juice, pickled walnut, chestnut mushrooms and Berkswell, and part of the proceeds from its sale go to Hospitality Action.
TRY: Banks’ creation for the cheapest Michelin-quality food you’ll ever have.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is Naples’ most famous pizzeria, a mecca for pizza lovers since 1906 and recognisable to all from Eat, Pray, Love. Luckily, it opened up its first international outpost in Stoke Newington a few years ago, swiftly followed by a site in Baker Street. Be warned, there’s extensive queuing involved, so go early to ensure you get a slice of the action. The pizza is perfect – thin, crispy, packed with flavour and hanging off the edge of the plate.
TRY: With pizza this good, go for a Margherita.
Somehow this spot in Fulham has managed to create a menu of 100% vegan pizzas – and is the only restaurant to have done so in the whole of London. First, you pick your base from a variety of healthy options including buckwheat, kamut and turmeric, and then, entirely guilt-free, you cover it in exciting toppings which range from homemade cashew mozzarella to Seitan ham and truffled porcini. It’s BYOB, too.
TRY: The simple ‘Pizza Rossa’ to see how it compares.
A telltale sign of great food is somewhere that starts trading from a food truck and gains such notoriety that it soon opens its first bricks-and-mortar site. This is the story behind Pizza Pilgrims, which has gone from one Ape to seven London restaurants. Head to the Shoreditch site if you want to BYOB, or the Carnaby Street restaurant for delectable fried bites from their on-site ‘friggitoria’. Well worth the pilgrimage…
TRY: The Calzone Ripieno, filled with salami, ricotta and mushrooms.
The two Italian owners of Santa Maria were some of the first to bring traditional Neapolitan pizza to South London, and its success meant the opening of two new outposts. Always packed with people and filled with noise, as any good Italian pizzeria should be, you can enjoy reasonably-priced pizzas which all use the very best tomato sauce from San Marzano and fresh mozzarella from Campania.
TRY: The ‘San Rocco’ with tomato sauce, burrata from Puglia, pecorino, roasted aubergines and rocket.
Hilariously Franco Manca has become something of a marker of gentrification in London, popping up on every up-and-coming high street and never without a queue outside. There’s a reason for its success – a simple menu with a few daily specials, and authenticity granted by its Italian staff and open kitchen. The original Sourdough pizza restaurant also runs regular pizza-making masterclasses
TRY: The ‘cornicione’ (crust) shouldn’t be wasted, so ensure a clean plate by drenching it in garlic oil.
Just on the edge of Hampstead Heath is Mimmo La Bufala, previously a ‘Fratelli la Bufala’ restaurant until one of the brothers (Mimmo) broke apart. His restaurant serves delicious southern Italian dishes, but is best-known for its pizzas cooked by Italian pizzaioli in a specially-imported wood oven. Catch their attention and they might even make your pizza heart-shaped. The perfect lunch after a long, weekend stroll in the park.
TRY: Pizza al Tartufo with piles of fresh truffle shavings.
The independent pizzeria has just opened its newest site in Brook Green, thanks to the huge success of the first restaurant in Islington which launched just two years ago. They’re famed for their unusual 48-hour slow-fermented doughs and creative toppings – and have now brought out a limited-edition green dough which is made using Moringa. You’ll never pay more than £11 for even the most loaded of pizzas, so go all out with the Arianna, a delicious mix of mozzarella, fresh sausage, taleggio goat’s cheese, pecorino and truffle honey.
TRY: The ‘Andrea Pirlo’ pizza – even if just for the name.
Yard Sale Pizza started out small when three friends began experimenting with dough recipes in their Hackney garden. Now widely acknowledged as one of London’s most sensational slices, Yard Sale has just opened its fifth site at the newly-launched Market Hall Fulham to bring their famous stone-baked pizzas to South London for the first time – and people are already queuing around the block! Pick from Yard Sale favourites such as TSB (tender stem broccoli, manchego, pine nuts and olive oil) and Evil Maestro (spicy anchovies, caper berries and black olives), or the classic Holy Pepperoni which takes things up a notch with the addition of ‘nduja. Don’t skip the dips – the BBQ sauce has a tangy kick which perfectly complements the TSB.
TRY: ‘The Malty One’ ice cream sandwich for dessert. Delicious.
Winging its way from Winchester to Battersea, this Italian pizza restaurant brings a slice of the best (and largest) pizzas to the south side of the Thames. Pre-Pi, founder Rosie Whaley gained her experience in a Florentine pizzeria and now, her restaurant prides itself on its infallible top-secret dough recipe, perfected by a team of Italian chefs after a 72-hour formation process. Served in 12 or 20 inches, all pizzas are stretched by hand and are the perfect size for sharing with friends (though you can easily scoff a whole one by yourself). Go all out with tasty toppings from wild boar salami to Lebanese spiced ground lamb or even old Winchester cauliflower cheese. Try some of the homemade chilli oil which comes in medium and smoky, or if you’re feeling particularly daring, extra hot. Not only will you leave with a full stomach, but also a full camera roll thanks to the dreamy interiors. Our top tip: head down on a Saturday when they serve bottomless pizza and prosecco. Perfetto!
TRY: The Serrano ham pizza topped with I.O.W plum tomatoes, white truffle oil and mizuna – because what’s pizza without truffle? Review by Annie Collyer
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