I could pen a page-long introduction to our endless love affair with Italy’s greatest gift to the world. But if I had to sum it all up in a few words? Sometimes, nothing – and I repeat, nothing – beats the cathartic feel-good comfort of the perfect pizza.
Boasting a bespoke hand-built wood-fired oven, Homeslice has developed quite the cult following for its thin-dough pizzas, served up by the slice (albeit pretty large ones) or in a mammoth 20″ form, with a “half and half” option if you can’t decide between the terrific toppings on offer. Think anything and everything from lobster bisque, charred baby gem & tabasco-spiked lemon cream, to ribbons of courgette and artichoke draped across the mammoth pies. http://www.homeslicepizza.co.uk/home (Various Locations)
We have the two Italian owners of Santa Maria to thank for being among the first to bring over true Neapolitan pizzas to South London! Their pizzas are set apart by a moreishly-chewy base, braced by simple but fabulously-fresh ingredients from San Marzano tomato sauce to fresh mozzarella sourced from Campania! Combined with their all-too-reasonable prices, expect to always find their outposts noisily packed to the rafters. Of course, would a quintessential Italian pizzeria have it any other way? santamariapizzeria.com (Various Locations)
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Neapolitan enthusiasts will of course find their way to L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele – the holy grail of pizzerias, which stole the show in the Julia Roberts starrer Eat, Pray, Love. Circumventing our need to fly out to Naples for what is oft-described as “the best pizza in the world,” L’Antica has opened its inimitable brand of outposts in Stoke Newington and Baker Street; and will soon take its place amidst the thrum of Soho too. Visit for their impeccable rendition of Neapolitan pizzas – the thick base braced by an intensely-rich tomato sauce. The best part? More is definitely more, with their generously-apportioned pies literally hanging off the edge of the plates! anticapizzeriadamichele.co.uk
While Franco Manca may have uncountable branches across London, it’s safe to say that it’s definitely far removed from your average high street pizza chain! Another frontrunner for Neapolitan pizzas, the cornicone (edges) are especially fluffy here, not a soggy bottom in sight – a feature of the sourdough being left to slow-rise (for a minimum 20 hours) combined with the blast-cooking process.
And while Neapolitan traditionalists* would only recognise two pizzas as truly authentic – Marinara and Margherita – the tomato-less number three on Franco Manca’s menu is a force to be reckoned with, loaded with a triple cheese whammy, with the creaminess of the buffalo ricotta and mozzarella offset by the sharp and salty flavours of pecorino shavings! http://www.francomanca.co.uk/ (Various Locations)
I’m lucky to count this charming family-run Italian restaurant on Mount Street as my local. It’s incredibly inviting too, with a cheerful and disarmingly laid-back tone, warmed by the enthused welcome of the ever-friendly staff.
The wood-fired pizzas here are just divine – perfectly crisp edges, a thin base and the softest cheese, alongside an extensive selection of craveable toppings to choose from. Fresh in from Italy, the burratina is also a must – far lighter than your average mozzarella and more buttery too, sitting pertly on a bed of grilled aubergine, marinated red onions dressed with a sharp balsamic reduction.
As for dessert, the densely-layered tiramisu is one of the best I’ve had in London. Wash it down with a digestivo, limoncello – if you have a taste for an intense lemony flavour – or the delightfully sweet fragolino, an Italian strawberry liqueur. http://www.finos.co.uk/
Jean-Georges at The Connaught
Across the street from Del Fino’s, you’ll find globe-trotting chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’ eponymous restaurant at The Connaught – an all-day, relaxed affair majoring in the likes of black truffle pizzas and melting candy floss.
Made with a two-day fermented dough, the pizza’s base is generously layered with a black truffle paste and fontina cheese, before baking in a state-of-the-art Pavesi wood-fired oven. The result is wildly hedonistic, with the rich earthiness of the truffles decadently complimented by the melted butteriness of the cheese. Full review, here
Although it doesn’t quite make the cut for this edit, interested readers can flick here for a review of the much-hyped Crazy Pizza in Marylebone.