Santa Maria

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

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
Contact:
Address: 15 St Mary's Road
London
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:55
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:7
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:18
LiveReviews|87
4 people listening
Sergio Valentini
7 of 7 found helpful

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 symptoms...it s that good

Rosy H
7 of 7 found helpful

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

Alexander R
7 of 7 found helpful

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.

Jed W
7 of 7 found helpful

Best pizza I've ever had! A taste of Italy in Ealing

Marilyn R
7 of 7 found helpful

Quite simply the best pizza in London. Better than some in Rome too.

Andrew F
7 of 7 found helpful

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.

Ella C
6 of 6 found helpful

Genuinely the best pizza outside of Naples that I've ever had.

Alida P
5 of 5 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.

Jai L
5 of 5 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.

Kassie C
4 of 4 found helpful

Great pizza, good wine, simple excellence in a tiny restaurant.

Valeria R
4 of 4 found helpful

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

Alice W
4 of 4 found helpful

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

Duccio M
4 of 4 found helpful

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

Jenny G
4 of 4 found helpful

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

Eloise F
4 of 4 found helpful

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

Amy S
4 of 4 found helpful

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!

Wally
4 of 4 found helpful

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
4 of 4 found helpful

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

Natalie M
3 of 3 found helpful

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.

Michael L P
3 of 3 found helpful

I have just got back from italy where i had a fair few pizza's and they where amazing but i have to say Santa Maria surpasses them by a mile. The sauce was lush. The place was also friendly and has a certain charm.  I will 100% be going here again. 

Dario
3 of 3 found helpful

What can I say? I'm from Naples and when I moved to London all my Neapolitan friends told me about Santa Maria, describing it as the best one in London. After one year living here I can say that, without doubt, it really is he best one!!! Not only, in my opinion it is even better of some pizzeria in Naples. Products are always fresh, all shipped from Naples. You can try the best "Mozzarella di bufala", the pizza "salsiccia e friarielli" (one of the most typical Neapolitan pizza), the "parmigiana di melanzane" All the staff is strictly from Naples, especially the pizza maker. Well, if you want to try the PIZZA, Santa Maria is your only choice. Dario

mark newland
3 of 3 found helpful

lovely pizza, my friends and I had a nice time, a busy atmosphere, people in and out with take away meals. Then desert, with vanilla ice cream, coffee, and coffee beans, all in one bowl, a most unusual and fascinating taste. Thank you for a lovely evening, and all the best for the future of this place. Mark Newland

joanna
3 of 3 found helpful

Amazing Pizza, very small and intimate setting and bargain price. The service is speedy and faultless. I can't recommend this more! Best Pizza in London by far!

Ernesto
3 of 3 found helpful

This little place makes the best pizza in London and easily better than many places in Napoli. It's a pizzeria so just have a pizza and leave the seat to other pizza lovers, otherwise stay home!! I understand because they rush on people, when they have 50 people waiting and stupid people drinking a glass of wine for 45 minutes. There is a difference between a restaurant and a pizzeria, go to Napoli and learn you ignorants! Guys keep on the good work, you are making us neapolitans proud!!

Paul J
4 of 5 found helpful

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

Kate
2 of 2 found helpful

Don't need to be italian or neapolitan to consider this one, the best pizza outside Naples. I've been there since their opening, and loved it from the beginning, and consider myself lucky to live down the road from this little authentic italian gem. Dinner at SM, means going to Naples without flying there! Then if you feel offended by their rude service (which i don't rate it rude at all!), there is plenty of us, that are very happy to have shorter queues to make. Never seen this place empty, and i really doubt i will!!

Gennaro
2 of 2 found helpful

The best pizza in London, can compete among the best pizza in Naples too, with no problems. And in Naples when you sit down, you have your pizza and you go, it's the way it is, it's not being rude. It doesn't shock me at all, especially when you have to serve this product to so many people in such a little place. In Naples is exactly the same: You wait, you eat, you pay, you go. I wish i'd have a Santa Maria around the corner where i live, instead of travelin 45 minutes every time; Worth every minute and every penny. Grazie ragazzi, continuate cosi e Forza Napoli

Miguel
1 of 1 found helpful

Certainly one of the best in London, deserves to be on top of this list. Small cozy place, very friendly italian people serving there. But pizzas such as Santa Caterina or the Calzonni are exquisite in this little place

Peter Boothby
1 of 1 found helpful

This is my list of who do the best pizza's: No.1 Strada, No.2 Prezzo, No.3 Zizzi & Pizza Express... but on a quick meal at Santa Maria in Ealing, all these competitors were blown out of the water. I know my pizzas and have eaten them all of Italy from Rome to Ravenna. This is the real Italian pizza in London. So much so that I find it hard to eat pizza anywhere else now and I live 40 minutes away from Ealing.

Rich and Raakhee
1 of 1 found helpful

Amazing amazing amazing, reading these reviews some people just love moaning about something. The BEST pizza in London Keep it up pasquale and angelo

marco
1 of 1 found helpful

truly the best Neapolitan pizza in town, try the simple Margherita, delicious (we had 2 each!)! As a Neapolitan and pizza lover, i was invited to check all the basic ingredients: tomatoes and fiordilatte cheese are the ones you can only find in Naples and of a very very good quality. Pasquale and team are very friendly and accomodating. the service was super quick and efficient (comments below on service are non-sense, this is a small family run pizzeria, if you want super service with cotton napkins laid on your laps go to Chez Bruce). the place is small but very cozy and very clean.

Max
1 of 1 found helpful

Don't really understand how people can moan about the service, the place is small and seating is limited, so I for one am thankful that people who try and order one pizza between three or linger after finishing are asked to leave, frees up space for people who want to enjoy the most delicious pizza available. Sadly for me and my ability to get a table quickly, there seems to be enough people who love it and are quite happy with the service and the staff, who to my mind, have been nothing but friendly and accommodating, in all the visits I've made in the last year or so. Oh and the pizzas, excellent one and all.

Francesca
1 of 1 found helpful

Absolutely delicious pizza. Having lived for many years in Italy I can safely say that this is the best pizza I've ever eaten. Thanks Santa Maria!

Stefano R
2 of 3 found helpful

Best pizza in London. No way. I'm Italian I know what I'm saying. I have been living in London since a long time, I did try all the most famous "pizzerie" around London. People who complain about service or the pizza itself, doesn't know a shit about italian pizza or italian ways. I would really know on what basis you are talking about how the pizza should be made. I'm not going in a pub pretending to say how it could be managed or how the beer should be. And mainly, I don't go on TimeOut website to complain about it. Nice & Easy. If you want to have a real italian experience, with a real italian pizza, even better of most pizzerie in Italy, go to Santa Maria. If you'd like something else probably you shouldn't never go to Italy. It's not rudeness, it's eating. If you want to stay you have to eat! Otherwise what are you doing there? It's a restaurant not a club! As a plus is a small restaurant with few seats for a lot of people queueing outside (or in the pub next door). So who's the one really being rude? Come on, let's think about it. In the end, you are Britons not Italians, could be normal for you do not understand our behaviours, as I don't understand your complaints, isn't it? There are only 14 seats, if you complain about queues or waiters that doesn't allow you to bring a buggy in, maybe who's wrong (and rude) is you. Pizza Express is way bigger. You can find hairs under the ham (as I did), but who does really care if you have all the space that you need for your buggy, you can stay all the time that you want, even if the "pizzaiolo" is egyptian and the doughs are being frozen? It costs you like a Sainsbury's one, that maybe is better... ;) Go there if you like this kind of shit! There are severals around, you don't have neither to complain about the area or the long travel! That's what is suitable for you and your needs! As Italian I will always go to Santa Maria, instead of Franco Manca, Princi or others well renowned "pizzerie". Being there for hours, eating for hours, as usual. With no buggies to bring inside and no complaints to write here, simply enjoying the best pizza in London. That's it and "buon appetito!"

David Houston
2 of 3 found helpful

My favourite food is definitely a great pizza. I'm very selective and treat it like a gourmet meal, so I was keen to try out Santa Maria. I went on a Tuesday night with a friend and we were sat straight away. The staff were really friendly and the waiter who took our order knew the menu and the food really well. He gave suggestions for food and drink and was just generally charming. I had the garlic focaccia with mozzarella to start with. It was with us in no time at all and was just sublime. The right amount of garlic, doughy but not undercooked, chewy but not overcooked. I would happily have eaten that all night. Then came the true test: The Pizza. I ordered the San Francesco and when it arrived it didn't disappoint. This was one of the best pizzas that I've ever eaten. No contest. The right amount of toppings and they complimented each other perfectly. I was unable to finish my pizza and not through want of trying. So dessert time came round and I opted to take home some of the home made tiramisu. I also took some of the remaining slices home with me. The next day the pizza was still absolutely incredible and the tiramisu was just perfect. I could have eaten my own bodyweight in both! Starter, two pizzas, desert and drinks came to a total of £35. It's right next door to a pub for a quick pint to finish off an amazing meal. The restaurant is well out of my way being in zone 4 and the opposite direction from central London to where I live but I will be going back there many times to come for their awesome food, friendly staff and great prices. Top work Santa Maria and long shall you serve pizza... hopefully, mostly to me!

Leksi
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.

Pierre Ducout

"title"

2 of 4 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!

Lamichdepain
1 of 2 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.

Mary White
2 of 4 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.

jeff

I'm going to play devils advocate as I've never been and trekking all the way from London Bridge just seems a trip too far just to eat pizza. I'd much rather wait until I go to Italy [Puglia] where I can not only eat great pizza but everything else as well. It seems to me this joint DOES do good pizza, but the service is crap. You wouldn't last five minutes in Italy with this attitude so why they should treat their English hosts like this seems alarming. It looks like they cannot handle their 'success'. In London we go gaga for anything new or different especially when it comes to the next big thing. Calm down [as the late Michael Winner would say] and grab a take away. Seems like the best option. I wonder if they deliver!

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