A growing slice of London’s pizza elite believes 50 Kaló to be the very best in town. The Grand hotel just off Trafalgar Square might be an unusual setting for a pizzeria, but no one’s here to admire the high ceiling and cornicing. The queues are for the thin, elastic Neapolitan-style pizzas, simply done and cooked perfectly in a wood-burning oven. The original 50 Kaló is in Naples and its London outpost is as close as the UK gets to serving something that would draw a crowd even in the birthplace of pizza.
8 Northumberland Avenue, West End, WC2N 5BY
Not yet tried the pizza at Sodo? You’re missing out. The Italian joint now has four sites across east London. Its settings are simple because it’s the pizza that Sodo takes seriously. Dough is fermented for 48 hours, then baked at super-hot temperatures, so it’s light and airy with plenty of sourdough tang. Look out for ‘The Wicker Man’: tomato, mozzarella, ’nduja, pepperoni, mascarpone and scotch bonnet chilli honey.
Clapton, Walthamstow, Hoxton & Bethnal Green
This neighbourhood Neapolitan is making waves way beyond Streatham. Expertly done wood-fired sourdough pizzas run from a let-the-quality-of-the-ingredients-do-the-talking Margherita to the signature Bravi Ragazzi: split into three, this is one-third Italian sausage and broccoli, one-third smoked cheese, porchetta and roast potatoes, and one-third buffalo mozzarella.
2A Sunnyhill Road, Streatham, SW16 2UH
A hot favourite in Winchester, Pi chose Battersea Rise for its first London outpost. On vast sharing pizzas, you can choose up to three combinations of bases and toppings – perfect for large groups, or the indecisive. One for south London pizza lovers to add to their list.
4-6 Battersea Rise, Battersea, SW11 1ED
This small pizzeria near Canonbury station was set up by a pair of Italian friends, one of whom – crucially – is a pizza chef from Naples. His 24-hour fermented dough is designed to be light and digestible. Alongside a long list of traditional, high-quality Italian toppings, its menu offers three plant-based pizzas. If you really can’t get enough, there’s bocconcini di pizza (fried dough with Nutella) for dessert.
67 Newington Green Road, Canonbury, N1 4QU
Leading the charge in London’s pizza renaissance, Zia Lucia stands out for its array of 48-hour slow-fermented doughs: traditional, wholemeal, gluten free and black vegetable charcoal. Its Wembley site features a ‘Burrata Bar’, showcasing creamy burrata sourced from Puglia. Diners can top their burrata with ingredients such as smoked salmon and avocado, spicy Spianata salami, or roasted peppers, and every last morsel of cheese can be mopped up with fresh focaccia. New for 2020 is a fourth location in Aldgate.
Islington, Hammersmith, Wembley & Aldgate
Bologna-originated Radio Alice is known for its no-frills (in a good way) sourdough pizzas and is an especially popular joint for veggies and vegans. Brothers Matteo and Salvatore Aloe have included a monthly changing vegan pizza on their menus since opening their first pizzeria in Hoxton. The kitchen’s dough is made every day using organic stoneground flour and wild yeast, before being fermented for 24 hours. Once risen, it goes best with toppings such as speck, ’nduja, cavolo nero, garlic butter and butternut squash.
16 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch, N1 6NT; 67 Venn Street, Clapham, SW4 0BD
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
London now boasts two spin-offs from one of Naples’s most famous pizzerias. On Baker Street and Old Compton Street, you can try the pizzas from which the Condurro family has made a living since the turn of the 20th century. The menus are familiar, letting traditional combinations of high-quality ingredients speak for themselves. The only updates are a monthly changing special and the Marita, which is half Margherita and half Marinara.
199 Baker Street, Marylebone, NW1 6UY; 44 Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 4TY
Homeslice is popular thanks to its 20-inch wood-fired pizzas and banging playlists. With six sites, the kitchen’s dough is always made in-house, aged for 24 hours and cooked in a custom-built wood-fired oven. Catering for carnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike, the pizza list is designed to share – all 20-inchers can be split 50/50. Offering ten different pizzas a day, the menu balances classics with seasonally changing toppings including pumpkin, broccoli, pecorino and crispy onions; and its riff on a quattro formaggi: four cheeses, jalapeño salsa and rye crumb.
Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Marylebone, White City, City & Shoreditch
When Voodoo Ray’s first opened in Dalston back in 2014, it became a go-to spot for a pre or post-gig bite to eat. It may have expanded north and south, but its locations still pump out some of the best pizza in the capital – all served by the slice. With topping combinations such as salt-beef, sauerkraut, emmental and Russian dressing (‘The Rubenesque’) and minced steak, pepperoni, ham, and smoked streaky bacon (‘The Meat Is On’), this isn’t one for the Neapolitan purist. But they might at least be calmed by one of the house frozen margaritas.
Camden, Dalston, Peckham & Shoreditch
Another one that aspires to the glories of a true Neapolitan pizza. L’Antica’s low-salt dough is slow fermented for a day and a half, then quickly hits 400ºC in a wood oven. The intense heat delivers a decent char and the toppings do the rest. Keep it simple with a Dante Alighieri (tomato, mozzarella, parmesan, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil) or live la dolce vita with a Giuseppe Garibaldi (tomato, smoked mozzarella, Neapolitan pork sausages, mushrooms, truffle oil and shaved parmesan).
66 Heath Street, Hampstead, NW3 1DN
If you’re looking for something speedy and satisfying, you’ll be hard pushed to find anywhere better than Pizza Pilgrims. Serving up a heavy hit of deliciously addictive Italian-inspired street food alongside zingy cocktails, its pizzas are soft and chewy, Neapolitan style, with thick bases and scattered with on-trend toppings – think ’nduja, salsiccia and smoked chilli jam mascarpone. The calzone with Napoli salami, ricotta and mushroom, topped with tomato, fior di latte and parmesan is a firm recommendation. Just make sure to leave room for the Nutella pizza ring.
Soho, Farringdon, West India Quay, Covent Garden, Aldgate & Shoreditch
Yard Sale Pizza
Another cult London pizza joint, Yard Sale started off in Clapton before demand saw it open a trio of sister sites. Pizzas are wood-fired, with inventive toppings: look out for the ‘TSB’ (tenderstem broccoli, manchego cheese, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil) if you’re on a meat-free Monday. Insider tip: try the cheese and Marmite garlic bread. You won’t regret it.
Clapton, Leytonstone, Walthamstow & Finsbury Park
Roma Pizza is a newly opened pizza joint from the team behind Made of Dough. All pizzas are a wallet-friendly £5 and made with organic dough. Expect a thin and crispy Roman-style base: homemade dough is rolled to 1mm and cooked by fire in a stone oven. The tomato topping is organic, there are two types of mozzarella (one from Italy, one from Somerset) and the pepperoni comes from Bedfordshire. There’s also a great vegan menu.
224 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6SA
Any pizza place giving itself the epithet ‘Neapolitan’ should be judged on its Margherita. This sister restaurant to Ealing’s Santa Maria (also worth the trip) does a very fine Margherita. That really is all you need to know. If you want more, well, Sacro Cuore’s insistence on quality ingredients and a traditional cooking method also make for a mean folded Calzone Ripieno (tomato sauce, mozzarella, ricotta cheese, cotto ham, salami, parmesan, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil).
45 Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Green, NW10 3NB
Using a sourdough starter and organic British white and rye flour, the team at 400 Rabbits ferment the dough for at least 48 hours. The result is a base with great flavour, a sourdough tang and a texture that is light but with a chew. The kitchen uses fior di latte mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes on its bases, before topping with the likes of chipotle rolled goats’ cheese with rhubarb compote; or feta and courgette.
Crystal Palace, Nunhead, West Norwood & Herne Hill
Back in 2010, when Santa Maria opened, it took something special to bring outsiders to Ealing. This small Italian-run pizzeria delivered exactly that: authentic ingredients, cooked in a traditional oven for a chewy, slightly charred finish. Its reputation spread and you can now try its famous wares at bigger, more accessible sites in Chelsea and Fitzrovia.
Chelsea, Ealing & Fitzrovia
This is the place to come for a proper New York pizza pie. Since 2007, Mulberry Street has been turning out huge 20-inch pizzas in small, neon-lit surrounds. Toppings are generous and familiar: American Hot, Meat Lover and Hawaiian are all there. If you’re looking for a faster turnaround, sit up at the bar and order by the slice.
47 Moscow Road, Bayswater, W2 4AH
Made of Dough
As well as Roma Pizza (above), the Made of Dough group encompasses a permanent pizzeria in Peckham and handily placed kiosks within Swingers West End and Market Halls Fulham. Whichever one you end up at, the sourdough pizzas – which include a ‘Bloody Vegan’ option – will be flamed fast. As well as its titular ingredient, the ‘Spicy Lamb Sausage’ comes with house tomato sauce, cavolo nero, red onion, rosemary and mozzarella.
Fulham, Peckham & West End
After making its name in a Shoreditch warehouse, Pizza East sprang up in the distinctly western environs of Portobello market, where it occupies a restored Georgian pub. The interiors speak to airy, post-industrial Shoreditch, while the wood oven is pure old Italy. That said, the pizza bases are a little thick to be classically Neapolitan and the toppings have been intriguingly tweaked: look out for veal meatball, prosciutto, cream and sage; or four cheese and black truffle.
310 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W10 5TA; 56 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, E1 6JJ
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