These are the best places for an authentic Italian pizza in London

From Peckham Rye to Bethnal Green, we’ve rounded up the best restaurants and takeaways bringing a slice of Italy’s cuisine and culture to London’s streets

The crisp crust. The creamy mozzarella. The rich, tart tomato sauce. Is there anything better than a good pizza?

Actually, yes, there is. A good Italian pizza. But, unless you’re lucky enough to be jetting off to Europe any time soon, there are few ways to enjoy an authentic Italian pizza in London. Thankfully, we’ve found them and served them up with a drizzle of truffle oil and sprig of basil.

Santa Maria Pizzeria, Ealing

Santa Maria di Merino is the patron saint of Vieste, a quaint little town in Puglia. And, fittingly, the Ealing pizzeria that uses the saint as its namesake can be found on St. Mary’s Road. Here, you’ll find Angelo and Pasquale, Neapolitans obsessed about pizza — and who use the same ingredients and cooking methods as they did back home.

Make sure you order: The Sant’anna. It’s a crisp base red with tomato sauce, chunks of mozzarella and Cotto ham, artichokes, black olives and a shower of parmesan.

Four Hundred Rabbits, Elephant & Castle

Though it may not be the first restaurant from Four Hundred Rabbits (it’s actually the fifth), the sleepy Elephant & Castle outpost is the best. Set just off the small Elephant Park, it doesn’t just bring Italian food to London (Negronis are just £4!), but also that inimitable Italian feel. It’s laid-back, molto friendly — and the air sings with the smell of fresh sourdough. Bello!

Make sure you order: Several of those exceedingly affordable Negronis. But use them to wash down the ‘Sourdough Garlic Bread with Mozzarella’. It’s £1 more expensive than those bright orange cocktails — but perhaps the best garlic bread we’ve ever tasted. Big words, we know — but this is big flavour food.

Sodo Pizza, Bethnal Green

With a focus on sourdough pizza, natural wine and craft beer, Soda Pizza is as East London as Italian cuisine comes. The eatery uses seasonal, sustainable produce to create authentic pizzas — blessed with great taste and even greater names; the fish-based ‘John Bon Chovy’ is a particular favourite of ours…

Make sure you order: The Wicker Man. Almost as fiery as the film, this pizza features spicy pepperoni and Nduja sausage from Cobble Lane, along with scotch bonnet chilli honey — and a welcome dollop of cooling marscapone.

L’Antica Pizzeria, Hampstead

In bright and homely Hampstead, L’Antica Pizzeria bring a slice of ‘belle vita’ to London. Following traditional recipes and using classic methods, the menu is a who’s who of Italian history — literally; every pizza on the menu is named after a native, from Dante Alighieri to Sofia Loren.

Make sure you order: The Galileo Galilei. A vegetarian option, this boasts every cheese you could ever want; from mozzarella and gorgonzola to fontina, pecorino and parmesan — and a token sprig of basil.

Zia Lucia, Wandsworth, Aldgate East and more

Earlier this year, Zia Lucia celebrated its 5th birthday. And there’s a lot to celebrate. Run by founders and friends Claudio and Gianluca, the brand will soon have six outlets across London — and works with a unique, lip-smacking four different doughs. From the earthy ‘Wholemeal’ to the evocative ‘Vegetable Charcoal’, this approach epitomises the idea of ‘building something good from the ground up’.

Make sure you order: As well as one of the fabulous pizzas (we’d recommend the spicy ‘Paperon de Pep(p)eroni’), get in a round of the ‘Birra Cabriolè’. Created in collaboration with Brighton’s Laine Brew Co and designed to perfectly complement Zia’s pizzas, it’s an unfiltered-yet-flavoursome treat.

Santoré, Clerkenwell

Farringdon is a real culinary hotspot for Londoners, so it’s no surprise that you can find a first class slice in Exmouth Market. Comfortable rustic, Santoré has walls lined with olive oil and wines. But the real treat is the pizza — traditional fare done incredibly well.

Make sure you order: It’s got to be the Vesuvio. We’re great fans of egg on pizza across here at Gentleman’s Journal, and this winning combination of mozzarella, salami and egg only reinforces our love of the left-field flavour combination.

Firezza, Hoxton

After visiting Naples in 1999, Firezza’s founders decided to bring authentic Italian pizza to the London masses. And the best way to achieve this? En masse. That’s why, at Firezza, they serve pizza by the metre — using incredibly fresh ingredients and a hand-stretched speciality dough, before fire-baking each individual, deletable stretch of pizza at a cheese-melting, mouth-watering 400°C.

Make sure you order: The Polpette Di Agnello, a Limited Euro 2020 Edition with a white base pizza with garlic butter and cream, mozzarella, fresh red onions, friarielli, apple and cheese flavoured lamb meatballs, topped with oregano and wild rocket. Available for delivery, it’s coming home in more than just the football.

Pizzeria Apollo, Stoke Newington

The founders of Pizzeria Apollo built their restaurant after experiencing a year-long Italian food pilgrimage. Making the most of the local, sustainable ‘Hackney Growing Communities’, this is the freshest Italian fare this side of the Dolomites — and they also serve some of the finest gelato in London.

Make sure you order: The Nicola. With mushrooms, mozzarella, rocket and speck, this would be a great pizza anyway. But it’s the inspired addition of lemon zest, grated with abandon across the plate, that really elevates this up to the pizza pantheon.

Made of Dough, Peckham Rye

Voted the best pizza in London last year, Made of Dough began life as a travelling pizzeria. The team use the best produce they can find — from meats including Girona serrano ham and Brindisa chorizo to Piquillo peppers and Datterini tomatoes — and then serve pizzas the proper Italian way by cooking them fast by flame.

Make sure you order: It’s got to be the Truffle. We can’t get enough of this wonder ingredient, and this pizza uses white Alba truffle oil to really infuse it with flavour. Coupled with Portobello mushrooms, mozzarella and thyme, and you’ve got a winning combination.

Franco Manca, Across London

Now don’t snicker. We know that Franco Manca is a big-name, big-chain pizzeria — but it’s popular for a reason. With sourdough made daily, all seasonal ingredients are sourced from small suppliers across Italy and the UK. The best part? Their tomato, garlic and oregano pizza is just £5. Molto bene!

Make sure you order: Make it Alfonso’s No. 7. With spicy lamb sausage, tomatoes from Gragnano, roasted aubergine, mozzarella and wild garlic pesto, this is the only pizza on this list without a tomato base — but boy does it make up for that in toppings.

More into meat? We asked Marcus Wareing how to cook the perfect roast lamb…

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