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Pizza Speck from DOC
Photograph: Supplied/DOC

The best pizza in Sydney

However you slice it, these are the upper crust

By Time Out editors
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Melbourne may pride itself on its Italian heritage, but Sydney is no slacker when it comes to Italian food. We have amazing delis, classic red sauce joints, high-end purveyors of pasta and a raft of gelato and pastry shops that will keep you riding high on sugar all year long. But it's our pizza game that shines brightest. We know a thing or two about what it takes to make excellent pizza, and these are the places who are topping the class with their pies.

Need to chaser? Sink a few at one of the 50 best pubs in Sydney.

Sydney's best pizza

Pizza at Bella Brutta
Pizza at Bella Brutta
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

1. Bella Brutta

Restaurants Newtown

Order the: Clam

On a pizza. It’s sounds too crazy to work. The little tender clams are steamed and pried from their shells, while the broth is cooked down with white wine and cream until it achieves an intense concentrated chowder flavour. They spread it over the top and then apply a liberal sprinkling of parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice before it slides into the shiny red wood-fired oven that is radiating heat out from the centre of the restaurant. 

Pizza at Lucio Pizzeria
Pizza at Lucio Pizzeria
Photograph: Daniel Boud

2. Lucio Pizzeria

Restaurants Darlinghurst

Order the: Lucio 

Here’s a fun fact: the shape you make when you fold a piece 
of pizza in half to eat it is called a libretto. Yup, just like in the opera. And you know you’re eating a good pizza when you can fold with ease. The list here is strictly classical (your Margheritas, your marinaras, your diavolas), though there are a couple of house specialties, such as the Lucio. Named for chef and owner Lucio de Falco, the Lucio is about the only acceptable half-and-half in town. It’s half a regular Margherita – thin-based yet puffy and charred on the sides – and half a ham-and-ricotta calzone. Can we get a mamma mia?

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Margherita Pizza Madre
Margherita Pizza Madre
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

3. Pizza Madre

Restaurants Pizza Marrickville

Order the: Three cheese pizza

This tiny corner pizzeria is the latest venue for Piero Pignatti Morano and Kim Douglas, the A-team behind the ever-popular Two Chaps café. Madre borrows Two Chaps’ make-it-from-scratch philosophy and its ingredients, with chef Kim Douglas using the café’s four-year-old sourdough starter and a mix of three Australian flours to create the bases for Madre’s pizzas. The three-cheese pie includes fior di latte from the same postcode, as well as melted portions of domestically made blue cheese and aged washed rind. To stop the pizza from hitting dairy overload, the kitchen adds Warrigal greens from Pocket City Farms in nearby Camperdown and tips of cavolo nero from Moon Acres Farm in the Southern Highlands. Some hazelnuts, lightly toasted in the oven, are smashed and sprinkled over the top for a satisfying crunch.

4. Da Mario

Restaurants Rosebery

Order the: Salamino Die-hard 

Pizza Mario fans, breathe a sigh of relief: David Cowdrill’s spinoff restaurant, Da Mario, is serving the Salamino. If you’ve had the cheese-and-sausage pizza before, you know why this is the best news you've heard this month; if you haven’t, allow us to explain. The Salamino is your mouth’s new best friend: a thin, charred base all covered in melted mozzarella and big puddles of ricotta and spiced up with crisp curls of salami. It's soft and rich and runny and crunchy and salty and sweet and if you're anything like us, you'll fight like a fiend over the last piece – and then you'll order a second serve.

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5. Gigi Pizzeria

Restaurants Newtown

Order the: Peperone Rosso

Turns out pizza without cheese is still bloody excellent. Sure, there were a lot of naysayers on the internet when Gigi on South King Street changed to a plant-based menu, but they were wrong, because a chewy, wood-fired pizza base covered in a layer of sweet golden tomato puree and tender ribbons of capsicum gets all the umami depth it needs from a liberal dose of olive tapenade, capers, chilli, oregano and olive oil. The salty, savoury and spice trifecta hits all the right flavour zones on your tongue – we swear you won’t even miss the mozzarella. Don’t believe us? Just try getting a table – it’s a packed house every night.

Broccoli pizza at Matteo, Double Bay
Broccoli pizza at Matteo, Double Bay
Photograph: Anna Kucera

6. Matteo

Restaurants Italian Double Bay

Order the: Burrata

While you always want to try a Margherita as a control pizza (you need to compare the classics) the one that’s getting a second date at Matteo is the Burrata. It's strongly recommended by our waitperson on the merits of the just-cooked broccoli florets, cavalier anchovy application and a whole, fresh burrata orb in the middle like a pearl, destined to be smashed open and spread across the blistered pizza surface. Talk about the cream of the crop.

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A pizza at DOC Pizzeria and Mozzarella Bar
A pizza at DOC Pizzeria and Mozzarella Bar
Photograph: Supplied

7. DOC Pizza and Mozzarella Bar

Restaurants Italian Surry Hills

Order the: Porcini

The first Sydney wing of this long-standing Melbourne has lost none of it's Latin luxe in heading north of the border. The salumi boards are laden with a Pantone palette of pinks – mortadella, prosciutto, wagyu bresaola and salami – and the pizzas come out of the ovens hot enough that you lose fingerprints in your haste to tear off a slice of the wild mushroom pizza on a white base laden with stretchy mozzarella and the sharp bite of pecorino.

Pizza oven at Maybe Frank
Pizza oven at Maybe Frank
Photograph: Katje Ford

8. Maybe Frank

Restaurants Surry Hills

Order the: Ortolana

This little Italian pizzeria and bar tucked out of sight in Surry Hills is as Italian as a Fellini film. Low light, bitter-sweet aperitivos, cured meats and traditional pies are the name of the game here. There's no denying meat-free dining doesn't get much better than a classic Marg, but here they add woodfired veggies into the mix to boost both the vitamin and flavour factor.

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Pizza at Mary's Pizzeria
Pizza at Mary's Pizzeria
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

9. Mary's Pizzeria

Restaurants Italian Chippendale

Order the: Mandingo

For some, when you say sausage on a pizza the only answer is pepperoni. But There's a very strong argument for the rich fennel-spiked sausage meat on the mandingo at Mary's Pizzeria. They've added rounder, flatter New York-style pies to the line-up of thick, cheesy Detroit-style deep dish pizzas, and once you add roast onion and the combined cheese assault of mozzarella and parmesan for bite it's a study in comforting carbs.

Note: The Lansdowne has not yet reopened. Refer to their social pages for latest updates.

Food spread at Marta
Food spread at Marta
Photograph: Anna Kucera

10. Marta

Restaurants Darlinghurst

Order the: Pinza de’ fiori

Here the pizze are smaller, and oval, not round. They’re made from a very soft dough – up to 80 per cent water – that is proved for 72 hours to keep it light and fluffy, and then crowned in 11 flavour combos, including a Margherita. But we’d go back for the de’ fiori, a white base capped with melted and fresh mozzarella, parmesan, zucchini flowers and whole anchovies that come crashing through all that light, springtime freshness like a flavour wrecking ball.

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Pizza 1 at Rosso Pomodoro
Pizza 1 at Rosso Pomodoro
Photographer: Anna Kucera

11. Rosso Pomodoro

Restaurants Balmain

Order the: Pizza bianco

This tiny little shop is a loud and local slice of White Bay, offering traditional pizza from (gasp!) an electric oven. They’ve got some pretty strict rules here. Try ordering a ham-and-pineapple or a half-and-half and you’ll be laughed out of Balmain. But there’s no need for a Tropicana when you’ve got a Margherita. As much as we always enjoy that classic of tomato, Italian buffalo mozzarella and basil, it’s Rosso Pomodoro’s pizza bianco – potato, Italian sausage and rosemary – that gets our vote. 
The pizza base is charred and bubbly, yet soft and yielding. The sausage is broken into little chunks, flavouring the thin, starchy slices of potato, all perfumed by the rosemary.

Pizza 1 at Vacanza
Pizza 1 at Vacanza
Photographer: Anna Kucera

12. Vacanza - Surry Hills

Restaurants Surry Hills

Order the: Brandi

The lights are low, the chatter is jovial and the pizza is excellent at the Surry Hills arm of Bronte’s favourite pizza parlour. They have eight pizze on the menu that can be ordered bianchi (white) or rosso (red). The Brandi is as rigid as a military guard when it comes to following the rules for an AVPN-approved Margherita: six orbs of DOP cheese, a vermillion tomato base and four fresh basil leaves on top. The careful layout looks like an edible quilt piece, and straight out of the oven the bases here have just enough structural integrity to get the food to your mouth without it dropping in your lap.

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La Panchina Generic Pizza
La Panchina Generic Pizza
Photograph: Time Out

13. La Panchina

Restaurants Pizza Surry Hills

Order the: Isabel, a hot mess of 'nduja, pecorino and friarelli

Where La Panchina really shines is the dough. The crisp base is the sort that causes crust fanatics to fall over themselves. It’s been proofed for up to two days, so you don’t leave the place with a bloated pizza belly. The classic Margherita (fresh tomato, mozz and a baby basil leaf per slice) is a downright steal  at $18, and another $3 will get you a zhuzhed-up version topped with bufala mozzarella instead.

People eating pizza at Frankies
People eating pizza at Frankies
Photograph: Anna Kucera

14. Frankie's Pizza by the Slice

Bars Sydney

Order the: Nonna vs Nonno, starring coppa, mozzarella, provolone and truffle paste

Oh, Frankie's. What's not to love? Lots of space to roam free, pints, pinball and a rotating roll call of excellent slices dished up and ready to go for six bucks in a matter of minutes. It pays to order a full pie though – you get to choose from a much broader selection, and cooking to order ensures the pie arrives just that little bit crisper and fresher. 

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Food at Tipica Pizza Bondi
Food at Tipica Pizza Bondi
Photograph: Anna Kucera

15. Tipica

Restaurants Italian Bondi Beach

Order the: Bologna

The pizza here is Tuscan style and the dough is rested for 48 hours, resulting in a crusty, fragrant bready base. The Bologna involves folds of buttery, soft mortadella, contrasted with a crunch of a scattered pistachios. The Pumpkin uses roasted creamy gourds as a base and tops it with sweet, just-caramelised chunks of onion, smoky scamorza cheese and paper-thin slices of pancetta. It’s hard to reinvent the pizza wheel, but these two combos make strong arguments for steering away from the typical pie. 

Pizza 2 at Pompei's
Pizza 2 at Pompei's
Photographer: Anna Kucera

16. Pompei's

Restaurants Bondi Beach

Order the: Speck e funghi trifolati 

These aren’t the can’t-get-it-through-the-doorway pizze of your American dreams – 
here they fit neatly on the plate, and there’s no need for a wire stand to get everything on the table. The piccantosa is maximum flavour for minimum fuss. It’s a pantry-friendly riff on a Margherita – when the basil plant is hibernating just swirl some pesto over the top, add some chilli and you’re good to go. The speck e funghi trifolati takes care of the toppings the piccantosa forgot. Mixed mushrooms are enmeshed in a cheesy web 
of mozzarella and then dressed in thin, gauzy strips of prosciutto.

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17. Via Napoli Pizzeria - Lane Cove

Restaurants Lane Cove

Order the: Luigi's fantasy pizza

Here comes fun. And we mean it. Never has Lane Cove seemed like a more attractive place to take a long Friday lunch. Inside, the huge wood-fired pizza ovens are getting a thorough workout as the burly-armed pizzaioli push huge wooden paddles laden with pizza 
in and out. It’s here that you can eat a two-metre-long pizza. That’s the equivalent of just under two Kylie Minogues, toe-to-toe. It’s also about eight Minogues worth of lunch. Go for a metre-long pizza with your choice of toppings if you’re not feeling quite as ambitious.

Like a pizza that thinks outside the box?

Hungry for more?

Pasta at Peppe's Bondi
Pasta at Peppe's Bondi
Photograph: Katje Ford

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