Restaurant Reviews

The best new pizza places in Australia

We go in search of the hottest new slices to be found across the country.

Pepperoni, fior di latte, Tomberry and parsley pizza (left); and salami, tomato and rocket pizza, both from Ria Pizza and Wine, Sydney.
Nobody hates on pizza. One of Italy's greatest gifts to the culinary world, the combination of a dough base, toppings and cheese is a thing to behold. From the humble Margherita to more freewheeling creations topped with octopus and 'nduja, to pizzas fired in a wood oven or cooked on an electric deck, when it comes to pizza and the Australian public, it's amore. Coast to coast, we celebrate the new and new-ish pizza places that have opened in the past couple of years or so – with some reliable favourites thrown in. Here's where to go for a slice of heaven.

NEW SOUTH WALES

WESTWOOD | Newtown
December 2020
Don't be fooled by the Streets signage above the door, there's no ice-cream to be found at Westwood in Newtown. There are, however, seven types of Naples-stye pizza featuring interesting flavour combos made using local ingredients, such as 'nduja, ricotta and thyme; and potato and smoked eel. Run by Mitchell Westwood (ex Bella Brutta, CicciaBella), this pocket-sized pizza joint is seriously on fire.
Hottest slice: The garlic and honey pizza is a sweet-savoury triumph made with confit garlic oil, fermented-garlic honey, fior di latte and sheep's milk pecorino – like a cheese pizza on steroids.
RIA PIZZA AND WINE | Potts Point
Opened December 2020
When chef Brent Savage and sommelier Nick Hildebrandt announced they were moving their wine bar Monopole to the CBD and its original site was to transform into a pizza restaurant, expectations were high thanks to their fine-dining credentials. But what Savage brings to the humble pizza more than delivers, as he churns out casual, clever and delicious pizza for the people of Potts Point. The base is crisp and with a neat, evenly risen crust, thanks to high-powered electric oven cooking.
Hottest slice: The octopus, 'nduja relish and green-chilli salsa pizza makes a good argument for serving more molluscs on pizza.
FRANCO PIZZA BAR | Thirroul
Opened April 2021
Husband-and-wife chef duo Matt and Johannah Taylor joined forces with fellow chef Sam Jones to bring some serious culinary credentials to the picturesque small town of Thirroul, with stints at Monopole, Wine Library and more behind them. The trio take their time when it comes to their dough, resting it for 72 hours before firing it in an electric oven. The result is a crisp and chewy base, with just the right amount of char. The snack game is strong here too – but when it comes to Franco, the slice is right.
Hottest slice: The Formaggio; salty, bitey Taleggio serves as a stage for earthy, sweet truffle honey.
DIMITRI'S PIZZERIA | Darlinghurst
Opened August 2019
After hosting personal pizza parties and spearheading a year-long pop-up at the now closed Freda's Bar, Drew Huston has turned his pizza obsession into a full-time occupation, stepping into the kitchen at Dimitri's Pizzeria. As an ever-evolving slice stalwart of Surry Hills (originally established near The Clock in 1975, then moving up Crown Street, before settling into its current home on Oxford Street) Huston has taken Dimitri's to the next level, slinging sourdough bases made with single origin flours and toppings that think outside of the box.
Hottest slice: The playful Bogan Rosa is Huston's ode to world renowned pizza chef Chris Bianco and his creation: the Rosa. Think buttery macadamia nuts paired with oozy onions and parmesan.
LA COPPOLA | Redfern
Old faithful
It's not just the warmth of the wood-fire oven that radiates at this locally loved Redfern pizzeria, but also the warmth of owner Stefano Scopelliti – he's been making pizzas for more than 30 years and brings his Sicilian heritage to every pizza. The menu includes plenty of fresh fennel, salty anchovies and strips of fried zucchini; blistered edges, generous toppings that spread out right to the edge and molten cheese make for a winning slice here every time. It's also an inclusive pizza party here, with an exquisitely light and chewy gluten-free option available.
Hottest slice: The Scopello is a lush number, replete with burrata, salami, spicy pancetta, garlic, parsley and chilli.
By Jordan Kretchmer and Karlie Verkerk

QUEENSLAND

ELEMENTI | Paddington
Opened February 2021
Sicily native Stefano Spataro rules his pizza bar at Elementi with a confident but quiet flair, chatting easily with diners until he senses the precise moment to extract yet another of his freckled, puffy-edged sourdough bases. He's been perfecting the art since the age of 17, so it's all done with a flourish – from scissoring open hot inflated dough for the popular panotto, a twice-cooked panino crammed with roasted eggplant and mozzarella, to rehanging that hardworking pizza peel with a deft twirl.
Hottest slice: The Salsiccia – a pizza rosso featuring scamorza, pork sausage and olives.
BECCOFINO | Teneriffe
Old faithful
Brisbane's old-school wood-fired pioneers, Beccofino has pulled crowds for nearly 17 years – yet it's still a major win to find a seat on any night of the week. Both red and white pizzas are built on long-ferment bases, rested for a minimum of 48 hours. These emerge light, yet pleasantly chewy, rimmed with properly blistered borders. Co-owner Cordell Khoury describes the judiciously topped results as "pizze classica" – not quite as puffily crusted as a Napoli, or as thin and crisp as a tonda Roman offering but somewhere in between the two.
Hottest slice: The Ombra – a Margherita featuring creamy buffalo mozzarella from Gold Coast hinterland maker Tamborine Cheese.
By Fiona Donnelly

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

ITL | Adelaide
Opened November, 2020
ITL Italian Kitchen is just one of the new restaurants in the SkyCity expansion on the bank of the Torrens. ITL proudly announce they "live and breathe pizza" – and they let the pizza, well, breathe. The dough is rested for 36 hours then topped with a bianca or al pomodoro sauce and whatever toppings the season produces. Head chef Luca Guiotto has two enormous wood-fired pizza ovens at his disposal on a site that welcomes people dropping through on the way to the football or the theatre, as well as those settling in for the long haul.
Hottest slice: Salsiccia e tartufo – a bianca sauce topped with mixed wild mushrooms, truffle paste, pork sausage and mozzarella.
MADRE LIEVITO| Adelaide
Opened August, 2019
When this slick and chic place opened on Gilbert Street, it's fair to say some eyes rolled at the lengths Ettore Bertonati went to in order to recreate the perfect Neapolitan pizza. Madre is Italian for mother, and Bertonati uses a "mother dough" starter. Then there's the sea water, imported from the motherland – because the minerals of Italy's sea water apparently can't be matched. Eyes now roll in delight at the perfectly chewy, charry pizze churned out at one of the best pizza joints in Australia.
Hottest slice: Margherita – San Marzano, fior di latte and basil – why mess with perfection?
REMY'S | Adelaide
Opened February, 2021
It takes some chutzpah to snub the trend for thin Italian pizza bases and offer up Chicago-inspired deep-dish pizza. But founder Joshua Rivers says he likes to do things differently. Remy's Deep Dish Pizza & Bar bucks the trend to offer a cool and contemporary space with irreverently named dishes such as "no fuss fries", the "vegan veg out", and the mainstays of chunky pizza with more toppings than dough.
Hottest slice (literally): Fire breather – Remy's red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, jalapenos, green capsicum, diced chilli (choose between birdseye chillies or Californian reapers).
SUNNY'S | Adelaide
Old faithful
Sunny's is a pizza bar. And a nightclub. These are not two things that normally go together – but while you might expect that they'd do one of these things badly, they don't. Sunny's is a pumping, fun, foodie, party spot – a place both cool, and hot – where serious diners sit under a mirror ball that casts its magic over more youthful partakers at the next table. A recent special had Coorong mullet and crisp capers, and they serve until 2am. You can keep your greasy yiros.
Hottest slice: Pork and fennel sausage, provolone, San Marzano, ricotta salata, oregano and chilli.
By Tory Shepherd

TASMANIA

BUSH INN BREWHOUSE | Deloraine
Opened March 2020
With sourdough bases made from a 125-year-old starter that's travelled from Germany by way of Queensland, these pizzas are worth leaving the main road for. In addition to the classics (foraged mushrooms with smoked mozzarella), there are crowd-pleasing favourites (seared steak, pepperoni and bacon) and Tasmanian specialities (scallops with smoked bacon and saffron béchamel). The Bush Inn kitchen crew make much of their own charcuterie, cheese (including buffalo mozzarella made with milk from a buffalo farmer on the West Coast) and pickles from locally grown produce. Don't miss their house-made gnocchi – prepared fresh daily with potatoes delivered directly by local farmers.
Hottest slice: Roasted pork belly, smoked mozzarella, ricotta and chilli.
TI AMA | Salamanca Place
Opened January 2018
Locals have long been loving the pizza served at Ti Ama's mothership – Local Pizza in suburban Berriedale – and have now embraced the CBD outpost that comes complete with mirror-studded wood-fired oven and a hip-hop soundtrack and pizza nomenclature. Generously sized, thin-based sourdough pizzas (made with a minimum 72-hour cold ferment) are topped with combinations that give a nod to tradition but also have a life of their own.
Hottest slice: Wild Child – featuring free-range pork and fennel sausage with gorgonzola, jalapeños and capers.
By Alix Davis

VICTORIA

DOM'S SOCIAL CLUB | Melbourne CBD
Opened January 2021
Climb a narrow flight of stairs off Swanston Street to this wood-fired pizzeria, with cosy booths and top-notch pies from the team behind popular Preston outpost Takeaway Pizza. The all-important sourdough crust is slow-fermented for 72 hours, then topped with lashings of tomato sugo, and house-made charcuterie such as mortadella, pork cheek or hot (and we mean hot) salami.
Hottest slice: The Pea and Pecorino, a lighter slice boosted with confit garlic, mint and lemon.
CAPPO SOCIALE | Fitzroy
Opened March 2021
There are two avenues for pizza-heads to explore at this revamped old pub built in 1854: bianca (white sauce base) or rossa (rich tomato passata). The kitchen is led by chef Maurizio Esposito (ex Cecconi's, Il Bacaro, and Sydney's Otto), who supervises the 72-hour proven dough resulting in a chewy, blistered base, the perfect vehicle for shaves of San Daniele prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella.
Hottest slice: The Parmigiana, with tomato, fior di latte, grilled eggplant and parmesan.
VA PENNE | Northcote
Opened November 2020
This low-lit hangout is the latest venture from cool-for-school neighbourhood bar Joe's Shoe Store. Expect a pared-back menu of antipasti and hearty pastas alongside a rotating list of five 11-inch pizzas. Margherita is a staple, and might be joined by mortadella, salami, artichoke or prawn options. It goes down well with the Italian-leaning wine list, well-priced cocktails and lively soundtrack.
Hottest slice: The Truffle Pig, featuring discs of potato, guanciale, Taleggio and truffle oil.
IL PORTO | Avondale Heights
Opened March 2020
This bustling pizza post in the north-western suburbs has gained a cult following for its artful bases made with locally milled 00 flour and blasted in a stone-base electric oven. The classic Margherita is a favourite, attracting devotees from outside the postcode, with acid-forward San Marzano tomato sugo and creamy fior di latte mozzarella.
Hottest slice: The Mare e Monte features the triple threat of porcini mushrooms, king prawns and pork and fennel sausage.
SLICE SHOP | Footscray
Opened May 2019
Hankering for a taste of New York? These oversized red-sauce pizzas are a one- way ticket to a Brooklyn. The neon-lit store front adds to the authenticity, with toppings including emoji-esque pepperoni or decadent New York Cheese. Pies can be ordered by-the-slice, in half-and-half combos, and with pots of ranch, blue cheese dressing or chilli mayo for decadent crust dunking.
Hottest slice: The daily special. Perhaps 'Where The Honeys At?': a wild ride of salami, ricotta, salt flakes and hot honey.
CAPITANO | Carlton
Old faithful
In an area known for its Italian restaurants (some better than others), this Ital-American favourite stands apart for its spot-
on pizzas. Co-owned by US-born chef Casey Wall of Bar Liberty and Falco Bakery fame, these pies are just-fancy-enough with combos including the Double 'Roni with heaps of pepperoni and scamorza cheese, or the sprout pie with garlic cream and pancetta, served in warmly inviting, terrazzo-floored surrounds.
Hottest slice: The Grandma Pie, a Detroit-style square pizza with crunchy cheese edges.
By Michael Harry

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

ACQUA E SALE | North Perth
Opened August 2020
Semolina, the coarser cousin of wheat flour, has a special place in Sardinian cooking where it's used in everything from bread to pasta. At this cosy, family-run restaurant in Perth's inner-north, semolina in the yeast-risen dough helps chef Fabio Concas create crisp, lightweight pizzas that are as compelling as any other dish on his predominantly Sardinian menu.
Hottest slice: The Sardinian-inspired Alla Sarda, an island mixtape
of olives, fresh sausage and pecorino cheese.
YOUNG LEVAIN | various locations
Opened January 2021
In a past life, Rupert McDonald was the baker at Wines of While and helped give Perth to one of its best daily (sourdough) breads. This love of fermentation and alternative flours has carried over to this pop-up specialising in pliable, Naples-style pizzas made on puffy, gently nutty bases spiked with wholemeal and rye.
Hottest slice: McDonald only offers five pizzas at each outing, but if you're lucky, his mortadella, green olive and ricotta number will be on offer.
By Max Veehuyzen