Whether it’s from a Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) accredited pizzaiolo (which is basically a nod of authenticity from a strict board in Naples) or an inventive chef looking to do things slightly different, Sydney has no shortage of talented pizza makers. You’ll find some of the best slices in all of Australia across the harbour city, both bursting with authenticity and boldly offering twists and turns of the universally adored, Italian-originated food.
Many of the quality pizza joints in town also do delivery, so unless you need to cheaply order in bulk for a house party or it’s 2am and you’re dying for a tub of grease there should be no excuse to not explore the places doing pizza the right way.
With each restaurant adding their own special touch to pizza, whether it be in the dough or in the toppings, Sydney is much better off when it comes to the classic food than it was a few years ago, and the following echo that time and time again with quality, and most importantly consistency. Here is a list of restaurants, both new and established, that we feel best represent the city’s diverse scene.
La Disfida (Haberfield)
If you see a “best pizzas in Sydney” list and at least one Haberfield restaurant ain’t mentioned, approach with caution. Haberfield is the true Italian area of Sydney (yep, I know where Norton Street is) and that reputation is largely indebted to restaurants like La Disfida. It’s one of the best kept secrets, yet is incredibly busy on any given night. The chefs here know that in order to get wood-fired pizza just right you have to have a minimalist approach to high quality toppings and produce faultless dough, a philosophy evident in every single bite.
109 Ramsay St, Haberfield
(02) 9798 8299
Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta (Bondi)
These guys have imported a pizza oven straight from Italy, so it’s safe to say they are serious about their craft. They’re also quite passionate about porchetta – the house speciality is pig on the spit. Hand-made and wood-fired in the traditional Neapolitan way, it includes slices of pig sourced straight from the in-house rotisserie, marinated grilled eggplant and cos lettuce. Pair this bad boy up with one or two of their highly attractive pizza selections and you’ll quickly understand why this is one of the most consistent entries on just about every ‘best of’ pizza list out there.
Shop LG09 The Hub 75-79 Hall St, Bondi
(02) 8090 6969
Dust (Glebe/Forest Lodge)
In the corner of the Tramsheds Harold Park development sits Dust; you’ll notice it from the big imported stone mill which sits behind clear glass windows. The team want you to know exactly how your bread is being made and what goes into producing dough of the highest, cleanest and healthiest quality. Stone milling is the key here – not many people do it because of the time, effort and expense – and it results in some of the most delicious bread you’re likely to find in all of Sydney. It’s then an added treat that they also have a big pizza oven that regularly pumps out fresh, piping hot circles of puffy dough and quality topping that won’t leave you feeling stuffy and bloated. It’s one of – if not the – best pizza additions Sydney has had in years.
1 Dalgal Way, Forest Lodge
Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice (CBD)
Not only do they have some of the cheapest slices in the CBD, Frankie’s has ridiculously late opening hours and just happens to be one of the best bars in town, with one of the most comprehensive list of beers (local and imported) around. They get top marks for consistency and value, with slices that are actually good given the very low cost. Sure, it may not match up the giants on the list, but when it comes to “cheap eats” it’s hard to beat Frankie’s on the pizza front.
50 Hunter St, Sydney
Lucio’s Pizzeria (Darlinghurst, Zetland)
You’ll want to make sure you’re appetite is under control before visiting Lucio’s in Darlinghurst. The classic Napolitana style is represented well here, with the focus on letting the pizzas all speak for themselves, with consistent, strong flavours. Options are kept to a minimum, with the chefs making sure they do only a few things but do them extremely well. The venue looks modest, and quite bright as opposed to the dark and cavernous pizzeria most are used to, a nice change especially when you’re sitting in the alfresco area with a light pizza and glass of imported wine on your table.
248 Palmer St, Darlinghurst | (02) 9332 3766
2-4 Defries Ave, Zetland | (02) 9697 3028
Pizza Birra (Surry Hills)
Every Monday evening Pizza Birra in Surry Hills has all you can eat pizzas for 20 bucks. The staff walk around with different pizzas, stopping to ask at each table if you’d like a slice. And just about everything they bring to the table is of the highest quality. It’s such a great experience to be able to try so many different (and delicious) pizzas in one night, so that’d be the best day to head along.
1/500 Crown St, Surry Hills
(02) 9332 2510
Venture out west for some of Sydney’s best pizza. The owners are pretty adamant about putting themselves forth for AVPN accreditation so they have the motivation and reason to create pizza which is miles ahead of the competition. Throw in one of the best looking restaurants in the area – thanks to the same designers who did the fit out for the gorgeous Alpha Restaurant – and a ridiculously large range of Italian food – both traditional and innovative – all done very well and you’re guaranteed to exit through those massive double doors with a nice and satisfied stomach.
685 The Horsley Dr, Smithfield NSW 2164
(02) 9729 1155
Via Napoli (Lane Cove, Hunters Hill, Surry Hills)
Fancy a puffy pocket of some seriously addictive dough filled with a mishmash of rich, authentic ingredients? How about 2 metres of consistent, delicious wood-fired pizza? Whether you’re after pizza for the social aspect or for the more delicate dining experience, there’s enough range here to cater to everything pizza-related you could possibly want. This place has been constant on ‘best Sydney pizzeria’ lists, and usually proudly sits at the very top; there’s a reason for that.
64-68 Gladesville Rd, Hunters Hill | (02) 9816 3600
141 Longueville Rd, Lane Cove | (02) 9428 3297
628 Crown St, Surry Hills | (02) 9310 1300
Apertivo is one of only four restaurants in Sydney with the stamp of approval from AVPN, this basically means not only are you going to get the most authentic Pizza possible, but it’s topped with Bufallo Mozzarella imported direct from Campania, and that frequently is what makes all the difference. The bases are soft and creamy, almost with a pancake-like texture, and the toppings – while traditionally sparse – are flavoursome. Special mention to the Salsiccia ($23), which has homemade sausages, mozzarella, taleggio, and fresh Porcini mushrooms (again imported) on truffle oil and radicchio; then there’s the the Tartufo ($21), with panchetta and rocket on a black truffle paste with cream of ricotta and parmesan.
163 Norton St, Leichhardt
(02) 9564 0003
Da Mario (Rosebery)
If, like just about every discerning pizza lover in Sydney, are still missing Surry Hills’ long-gone go-to Pizza Mario then all you need to do to quell those blues is head on over to Rosebery. The great David Cowdrill, who was the very first member of AVPN in Australia, has been working wonders over at Da Mario, and it’s just as good if not better than his awarded former digs. Just about everything on the menu is faultless so give this one a few visits, but even after the first it’s safe to consider this one of the best that the city will ever see.
36 Morley Ave, Rosebery
(02) 9669 2242
Queen Margherita of Savoy (Cronulla)
Hands down the best in the area. Lovers of traditional Neapolitan-style pizza have been heading to the spot for years thanks to owner Lee Carroll who went through and completed AVPN’s comprehensive and strict course in order to become open this accredited pizzeria. This is but a handful of similar joints around Sydney to boast the accolade so you’re in good hands.
9/2-8 Surf Rd, Cronulla
(02) 9527 4992
Da Vinci’s (Summer Hills)
Just great, honest pizza is what you’ll find at Da Vinci’s, a stone’s throw from Summer Hill station and one of our favourites outside of the obvious spots like Surry Hills and Leichhardt. They use petra flour from renowned Italian flour mill Molino Quaglia near Padova, resulting in some beautifully fluffy bases on which they balance simple toppings like a vegetarian option with eggplant, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red onion, red capsicum, and stracciatella di bufala, or – our favourite – the norma, with Fior di latte, deep fried eggplants, shaved salted ricotta, and fresh basil. What’s more is that the award-winning Gelatony is located out back so you can finish your pizza sessions with some smooth gelato.
25 Lackey Street, Summer Hill
(02) 9716 9000
Gigi Pizzeria (Newtown)
Fresh, inventive and authentic. These guys have been running the Newtown scene for years, even more so know that they’ve taken the bold leap towards vegan only pizza. Pizza without cheese? It’s a bit sacrilegious if you think about it, but they sure do know what they’re doing. It’s also one of the only in Sydney that is AVPN accredited.
379 King St, Newtown
(02) 9557 2224
The Dolphin Hotel (Surry Hills)
With a fresh face and one of the most stylish fit-outs of 2016, Surry Hills’ The Dolphin is back better than ever with help from the same team behind Bondi’s famous Icebergs. This grand multi-room venue offers a great deal of diversity but one thing the critics keep coming back to is the hand-stretched pizza; it’s simply stunning, pumping out of the wood-fired oven with high quality toppings like tomato, anchovy, capers, olives and oregano, and a crisp, thin Roman style base.
412 Crown St, Surry Hills
(02) 9331 4800
Rosso Pomodoro (Balmain)
Rosso Pomodoro is either Sydney’s best kept secret, or just the place that’s so good, and so well established, people don’t feel the need to shout from the rooftops about it. Far from the hustle and bussle of most of the other places on this list, Rosso Pomodoro is a truly authentic Italian Pizzeria with perfect crusts, only the finest ingredients and a dash of the unexpected. Give the Figs and Prosciutto pizza (pictured) a try and it’d be nigh impossible to disagree that this is one of the finest pizza restaurants in Sydney.
91/24 Buchanan St, Balmain
(02) 9555 5924
Vacanza (Waverley, Surry Hills)
Another pizza restaurant where the chefs take a minimalist approach. What started out as a cult favourite in Waverley, before expanding to Surry Hills, is a heavenly hub of authentic Italian food that’s priced reasonably enough and delivered to an obvious high standard. Get the signature with fior di latte, Swiss roasted mushrooms, truffle oil and shaved pecorino, it’s a marvelous looking pizza that will surprisingly leave you with enough room for dessert, even if it’s shared with just one or two others.
414 Bourke St, Surry Hills | (02) 8964 6414
261 Bronte Rd, Waverley | (02) 9090 2089
Sitting proudly opposite the sparkling waters of Pyrmont bay, Pizzaperta has truly become one of the best things about the enormous property that is The Star. The open-air piazza serves up fresh Italian cocktails and generous, rich pizza that is amongst the most consistent around the Darling Harbour area. What else would you expect with awarded chef Stefano Manfredi at the helm? The renowned chef and his team are dedicated to using quality stoneground flour from Italy (one of the only in Sydney with the type) and ensuring that each and every pizza has a fluffy, light dough that’s easy to digest and lifts the richness of the various toppings. Speaking of which, you’ll find everything from traditional to new wave here, and the specials rotate quite regularly.
The Star Sydney, Harbourside Entry, Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont
+61 1800 700 700
Happy as Larry (Various Locations)
There was a time when food trucks were but a gimmicky attempt for Sydney to compete with Melbourne. Now it’s often the case where some of the best casual eats you can find can be had at a food truck. Happy as Larry is a good example of that (Mister Gee is another – for burger lovers) quality, with their custom built vehicle lugging around a massive pizza oven ready to rock up to hip and happening spots with piping hot traditional pizza. You’ve no doubt seen them at festivals like Listen Out, events like Parramatta Lanes or just about anywhere that requires the most popular food trucks in Sydney.
EDIT: Happy as Larry now have a permanent cafe in Sydney CBD located at MetCentre, Shop MG14, 23 Jamison St, Sydney.
Words by Chris Singh, Larry Heath, Brea Carter, Sarah Han and Julian Ramundi
Feature image: Dust; taken by Chris Singh.