Top 5 Pizza
This may be the most contentious Top 5 I’ll ever write … so please consider it a mere introduction to the many places serving excellent authentic pizza in Sydney today! For me it starts with a thin, slightly charred crust. I generally prefer pizza bianca (without tomato), but rosso (with a smear of Italian San Marzano tomato) can be good too. Cheese is either cow’s milk fior di latte or the juicier mozzarella di bufala and toppings are minimal, top quality and full of flavour. Do I even need to say that this is a ham-and-pineapple-free zone? And while we’re being authentic – the plural of pizza is pizze and the pizzamaker is a pizzaiolo.
While most of my favourite pizze are wood-fired, George Pompei prefers the more delicate, even result of a stone-based electric oven. His focus is on the artisanal, authentic and organic and his potato, rosemary and fior di latte pizza bianca is one of my benchmark pizze.
La Disfida, Haberfield
The wood-fired oven dominates one of Sydney’s first authentic pizzerias, now owned by industry veteran Peter Zuzza whose family ran Glebe’s The Mixing Pot for many years. Pizza bases are thin and crisp and it’s hard to go past the simple Margherita of tomato, mozzarella and basil.
I love the fact that Stefano Manfredi offers both traditional Neapolitan Marinara (tomato, garlic, oregano) and “Marinara Australiana” (with seafood as many Aussies expect) at his sidewalk pizzeria underneath Balla at The Star. Dough is made from stoneground Italian flour and proves for at least 24 hours.
One of only four accredited members of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana in Sydney, Aperitivo’s pizzaiolo, Francesco Spataro, is justifiably proud of the thick, slightly-chewy crust his traditional methods produce. I also love his mini pizzette fritte topped with the Italian tricolore of tomato, mozzarella and basil.
Cavallino, Terrey Hills
I’ve spent many evenings watching Cavallino’s pizzaioli spin dough in the air. My favourite pizza here is my own creation – mozzarella di bufala, smoked pancetta and a little chilli oil – which is now on the menu as Pizza Roberta! They run hands-on pizza making classes too.