What has Europe ever done for us? Well, for one, the Italians are still giving us proper pizza, saving us from the naffness of novelty stuffed crusts and pineapple toppings.
In London, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better, more traditional Neapolitan pizza than at Santa Maria, who have spearheaded a renaissance for the doughy staple from their base in Ealing for a few years now, picking up many accolades along the way. This light and airy new site in a residential part of Fulham continues to fly the flag, with the added bonus that, unlike the original, you can actually book in advance.
Their success is based on doing the simple things to very high standards: quality ingredients are sourced straight from the homeland, dough is given an entire day to rise and a furnace-like wood-fired oven (also imported) dispatches consistently great pizzas with pillowy crusts and blistered bases.
The Santa Rosa, chosen from a long list of pizzas with an array of premium toppings, was piled with slivers of salami and squishy chunks of aubergine, plus a woody backdrop thanks to the smoked mozzarella. A rocket salad on the side arrived packed with cherry toms, crystally parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil: perfection. Ice cream is from Oddono’s – and a scoop of the pistachio was easily up there with the best gelato in town. Great-value Aperol spritzes and negronis are on hand to bookend your meal and the house wine is a steal (500ml carafe, £10.95).
Should you cross town for it? Depends how into pizza you are. But it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. And there’s not a pineapple in sight.