Santa Maria

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
Critics' choice
158 Love It
Rob Greig
Santa Maria

Next door to Ealing Studios’ watering hole, the Red Lion, this pocket-sized pizzeria puts real heart into its offerings. Owners Angelo and Pasquale, finding nowhere in London to match the pizza of their upbringing, set about recreating an authentic slice of Naples in W5. Authentic, it doubtless is. Everything from the wood-fired oven to the Caputo flour and parmigiano reggiano is imported; the lightly salted dough is given a 24-hour rise; the tomatoes crushed by hand; the mozzarella cut in precise pieces that melt just-so.

It’s all done with bucket-loads of cultural pride and results in magnificent pizza, charred to loveliness with a beautifully chewy base. Within weeks of its opening back in 2010, Time Out voted Santa Maria London’s Best Pizzeria – more rewarding, says Pasquale, than Italy winning the World Cup. But controversy kicked in almost immediately, with busy, sometimes rushed, service raising eyebrows. Santa Maria calls the ‘order, eat and leave’ attitude ‘tipico napoletano’; plenty find it off-putting. The verdict? It’s tiny, rightfully popular and doesn’t take bookings. If you come for cracking pizza and a pint next door, you’re in for a treat – but don’t cross London expecting to linger all night.


Venue name: Santa Maria
Address: 15 St Mary's Road
W5 5RA
Opening hours: Meals served noon-10.30pm daily
Transport: Tube: South Ealing
Price: Main courses £5.45-£10.55
Do you own this business?

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:53
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:7
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:18
3 people listening
Nicole M
2 of 2 found helpful

Santa Maria do make good pizza and I have eaten my fair share of pizza in Naples. But if you want a pleasant and relaxing dining experience where you are treated like a human being, don't go here!

I made the hilarious mistake of asking for a salad which apparently, despite being on the menu, is not a meal option. The waiter told me that I had to order a pizza so I pointed out to the waiter that actually the salad is more expensive than the pizza so he would be making more profit from salad eaters. He reluctantly agreed as long as I promsied to leave in half an hour! 

If you really want to try their pizza, get a take away and eat it in the comfort of your own home. Alternatively, save yourself the hike out of Ealing and go order a pizza at the new Franco Manca restuarant. Is it as good? Well, almost. But the restuarant is nicer, the location is better, the staff are more helpful (even if they can't speak much English), the prices are better and guess what? You can order whatever you like on the menu. If you want to share a pizza, you can, if you want a salad, no problem, if you just want a dessert then you can god dam well just have dessert without being ordered to shovel a whole pizza down your throat first.

Pierre Ducout


2 of 2 found helpful

Awful customer service. Clearly the review below is from one of the staff. From being TOLD where i would sit, even though there were other spaces available, and eventually getting the seats that me and my wife wanted, I was met with a waiter who decided that he would make the decision as to what we would eat. Although I ordered the mandatory pizza each, he would write a different pizza to that I ordered. My wife noticed what he had done, and we had to correct him three times, eventually with him laughing at us and stating "i didn't write that one because it doesn't have a tomato sauce". Well excuse me for my ignorance but when Ive been to restaurants before, I've always been afforded the opportunity to chose what I eat, not have it chosen for me, whats the point in a menu?.... Ok so by this point although I wanted to leave I thought lets stay and see what the hype is all about..... Nothing! I don't know whose pockets have been lined in order to get a good review by time out, but I suggest they revisit. Pizza had a metallic taste, i had no idea why until i saw the base, where I realised I was eating charcoal! Burnt pizza's, bruschetta awful, aubergine starter was good though. My wife asked for a straw for her drink... Can she have one? No! It feels more like they are doing you a favour by letting you give them money. The experience was further enriched when the waiters friends showed up and whilst waiting for their take out thought why not use this customers table as a bin to leave our half empty drinks, i appreciate their consideration, in that it was a hot day, but I can afford to buy my own. Did the waiter move them? No! Don't believe the hype! Last time I take a time out recommendation. If you want a good experience ask work mates, friends... Even people on the street for where is good. Keep searching, because you will not be pleased!

2 of 2 found helpful

Santa Maria is my local pizzeria and it used to be my favorite place for pizza for a while already. Crust is a bit floppy and can be burned but ingredients are always best. Unfortunately last Saturday I was treated not a way loyal customer likes or any customer would like to be honest! Arrived with a friend and a baby, was informed we cant get a table for 3 people as my husband is 5minutes away and we cannot sit down order our pizza and wait for him as in that time THEY CAN GIVE THE TABLE TO SOMEONE ELSE! So we were asked to wait outside (it was hot! and we had baby with us!!!!) and wait for him till he arrives and then waiter told us they cannot accommodate a buggy anywhere so we had to order take away! I know it is small space they have but I there was no effort or politeness there so if we haven't been hungry and wanted this pizza specifically i would just leave. I will not be back to this place ever again.

2 of 2 found helpful

Worst pizza ever. it was sour and soggy in the middle.I don't understand the reviews and the hype; may be it used to be better but in my experience it wasn't.

2 of 2 found helpful

Been twice and both times have received poor service!! Pizza was alright but the middle was soggy, not many toppings so in all i did not get full up at all. Also when I ordered a bruchetta starter and they had forgotten about it until my actual meal came!! its called a starter for a reason, to start your food with!! When i left i felt like i wasted my money and basically been robbed. will not be going there again.

2 of 2 found helpful

Very disappointing, i ordered guissipe pizza, it had two main flavoring, burnt pizza base and bland cheese, coupled with long wait, poor wine and cramped seating, all in all very poor Friday night experience.

2 of 2 found helpful

I´m a regular to this place since my children love this pizzeria. The pizza is really good but after visiting this pizzeria for at least a dozen of times(i lived just 2 minutes away... there is not many other places in ealing.. ) I´ve decided to write this critic. The Service is extremely Rude. Even if they know us quite good they treat us as they were making us a favour. Food is about good feeling and even if the pizza is good pizza I used to leave the place pist off with their attitude. So it´s not a place to recommend. These people need to understand that good food and good service goes together. We should not tolerate this arrogant atitude especially when we are customers. Hope this is a helpful critic and will make many people to think twice before visiting this place.

Tina L
2 of 2 found helpful

I honestly do not know why this has such a high rating! I took my dad to this restaurant after a nice day out on his birthday as pizza as his favourite food in the world is good old authentic pizza. From the outside it looks like the pizza here is going to be really delicious and authentic. As soon as we entered a lady came to take our order and our conversation went like this: Can we have 2 diet cokes please -We dont do diet coke Oh okay just coke then please -We dont do coke Pepsi? -We dont do pepsi What drinks do you have? -Apple juice and Lemonade Okay can we have 2 lemonades one with ice one without -We dont do ice!!! Okay just 2 lemonades then and for pizza we'll have 2 magheritas can we have them quite thin and crispy -We dont do them thin and crispy And when the pizza came we asked for a tabasco or chilli sauce and they didnt have this either. On top of this the woman that was serving us was rude, we felt like walking out but having read such good reviews thought we would stay! I don't know why Time Out has given this place an award they seem to have more things that they don't do then they do do!! The pizza itself was soggy in the middle although the crust was cooked right and the sauce was nice too but honestly not as great as the other reviews seemed to find it! I wouldn't go back here and wouldn't recommend it either, authentic pizza better than that at Santa Maria, with better service, more choice.. and even the apparently luxurious option of having ice in your drink is available at almost any other italian restaurant!

2 of 2 found helpful

For the second time in the row we were really disappointed. Instead of ten minutes as promised for two takeaway pizzas we had to wait for 30 min as they simply forgot about it. And both of the pizzas were in appalling condition, so salty and burnt on the sides- San Franceska and San Caterina. (hardly any toppings!) .I think it is the last time for San Maria from our side! definitely no authentic feeling!

2 of 2 found helpful

The pizzas are decent but not quite as spectacular as some of these reviews would have you believe - I certainly wouldn't give them 5 stars. We weren't impressed the first time we went, but decided that perhaps it was an off day, given the rave reviews, and decided to give it another try. It wasn't any better than it had been the first time. The service, like the food, was OK - not special, not awful - on both occasions that we went, but the place is so cramped that people are squeezing past all the time and it's not a pleasant eating experience. Probably won't bother again, and we only live 5 minutes away.

2 of 2 found helpful

No way this is the best pizza in London!!!!!! and to make it worst the service is awful!!!!

2 of 2 found helpful

Shocking, shocking service and pizza quality that has deteriorated badly since the first rave TO review. I took friends here and was embarrassed that I had recommended it. Never, ever again.

Alida P
1 of 1 found helpful

Simply the best.
Semplicemente la migliore pizza.
It isn't only the best in London. I consider it one of the best I've ever tried, Italy included.

Valeria R
1 of 1 found helpful

Best pizza in town. I was so pleased to see that the original Neapoletan puzza finally landed in London.

Jai L
1 of 1 found helpful

Amazing Pizza. Incredible Tiramisu. Every time we come here it's like tasting the most amazing food for the first time. The strawberry ice cream alone brought a tear of nostalgic childhood summer holiday gelato recognition to my eye. It's as if they have figured out how to powder emotional memories and recreate them in food form. Exquisite. Every time. But be prepared to wait. No booking, so put your name down on the list, then go next door to the Red Lion and wait for the phone call to come to your table. It's so worth the wait. Bliss.

Alice W
1 of 1 found helpful

Best pizza resteraunt I have ever been to! It's amazing :)

Duccio M
1 of 1 found helpful

best pizza in London? maybe one of the best pizza in the world...

Jenny G
1 of 1 found helpful

The bestest, freshest pizza there is, fresh and delicious every time

Eloise F
1 of 1 found helpful

The best pizza i've ever had. Absolutely classic, great service, very quick, amazing prices, and a very simple but flawless menu.

1 of 1 found helpful

Pizza lovely but the attitude of the staff when myself and a companion requested to share a pizza with a salad and a carafe of wine was negative. Although, we persuaded them to accept the idea, it left a bad impression. After all, half a pizza is quicker to eat than a whole one each and therefore would have meant the table would have been free quicker. Need to look at the bigger picture. After all positive impressions are all important and encourage customers to recommend a restaurants to friends.

1 of 1 found helpful


5 stars for the pizza, 0 stars for customer service!!! I'm sure the only reason why they're so busy it's because of the quality of the pizza. They treat customer with the attitude of "if you're not happy here, screw you, we've got a queue outside to eat". They need to understand that one day, customers will get fed up and someone else will open a place with pizzas just as good (it'd not hard to find a good italian pizza chef in London). Actually, they probably know this, they're just trying to make as much money as possible now, so when all the customers disappear they can still survive for several years. When they first open, I used to go there every week. Now, I only go when I really feel like eating pizza. If they want my money, they'll need to treat me better.

1 of 1 found helpful

The pizza is Italian, the service is not. The waiter did not let us finish the pizza and beer and he already came to ask if we wanted to order anything else and otherwise we had to leave. This is unthinkable in Italy. It was on a Wednesday evening, we stayed less than an hour in total, sitting in a tiny table in the back. When the waiter brought the bill, he even politely insisted on getting a tip, which we did, as we imagined the poor bastard is just following orders from the owner. As we were surprised to be kicked out, we asked why. They claimed there was a waiting list and they needed the table. However, there was a free table next to us and as we walked out we saw there was another free table in the front as well, there was nobody waiting outside either. All in all, the pizza is very good, but only come here if you are in a rush.

1 of 1 found helpful

the best pizza in London. the worst customer service in London. since eating out is not only about the food, in spite of the fact that we live 5 minutes from the place, after a couple of incidents where we were asked to finish our drinks at the bar (not really a bar) and some spectacularly rude service, we haven't been back. a shame really, because the pizza is truly delicious.

1 of 1 found helpful

Pizza's here are great but the service is awful. We are a party of four... We ordered 3 pizzas and were told their policy is one pizza per person! Really?! We left and they lost 3 pizza and 4 people's drinks orders to their stupid greedy 'policy.'

Mary White
2 of 3 found helpful

Myself and a few freinds came to this restaurant as we'd heard great things about the pizza here, but we were greatly disappointed. The pizza is no better than ok and the service well lets just say they think they're doing you a favor by letting you eat at their restaurant. Most of the staff are rude and it is very cramped inside. I have no idea why it is busy. Either the people who come to this place only come once or they have no idea of good food. 1 out of 10. Poor Show I have even read an newspaper article about their bad service. Looks like nothings changed then.

Aleks d
1 of 2 found helpful

I've been twice because I thought maybe the first time was an off day. However both times the pizza was salty, soggy and the service poor too.  Maybe I was unlucky twice. Won't risk it a third time though.

There is a better authentic pizzeria just a few minutes down the road.

Paul J
1 of 2 found helpful

Simply the best, you will never want American pizza again.

Sergio Valentini

the best pizza in london . period . even some places in naples or in campania are not even close to the high standards santa maria has achieved, and has maintained, since it first opened , i am from naples... if i don t go at least once a week i get withdrawal s that good

Rosy H

Consistently delicious pizzas ready in less than 5 minutes for takeaway with high quality toppings and excellent tomato sauce. Hard to beat.

Alexander R

Not only does Santa Maria serve the best pizza I have tasted in London, but if you order takeaway when they're quiet the pizzas will be ready in two minutes flat.

Andrew F

My Wife has spent 15 years away from the South of Italy and when we discovered this completely authentic pizzaria 6 years ago, we haven't had pizza anywhere else since. If you're from Naples, it'e the best pizza in London. If you don't agree, you don't know real pizza.

Natalie M

The best pizza ever, not somewhere you go for a leisurely meal but the nicest staff, friendly, warm and welcoming. If you think you don't like pizza, you haven't tried Santa Maria pizza.

Amy S

More authentic than being in Italy! We took our Italian friend here who conversed with the staff at great length in Italian. He then encouraged us to order traditional parmigiana and the food that came was better than the stuff we'd had in Italy!! Perfect!


The pizzas are the star here - totally authentic and with that fantastic base you only get with Neapolitan dough and the wood fired oven - they never fail to be utterly delicious if you are looking for the real thing.  The restaurant is tiny and cramped and your eating experience in terms of service and comfort is hugely variable, but always friendly.  You come here for the pizzas first and last and there's always the take away option.  And there's a terrific pub next door too!

Rudy M

Without a doubt the Pizza I've ever had. The best pizzeria in London! Authentic and delicious.

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