Best Pizza Restaurants in Melbourne
Where is the best pizza in Melbourne? Wood fired pizzas, gourmet pizzas and Italian style are fashionable.
Here are our top pizza restaurants in Melbourne (no particular order)...
400 Gradi Brunswick (also Crown Melbourne and Essendon and Eastland)
Son of a Pizzaiolo
DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar
Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander
400 Gradi, Brunswick East
400 Gradi lays claim to being among the best pizza restaurants in Melbourne. The restaurant is modern if not chic, the wood oven pizza amazing in the Naples style, and the service engaging with a sense of festivity. We have visited 400 Gradi several times as a destination of choice when it comes to Naples style pizza. This is authentic Italian of the highest order. Quality ingredients, pizza cooked perfectly at 400 degrees for around 90 seconds, and even a pizza dance by the staff several times during the night.
400 Gradi is the brainchild of chef and V.P.N. Principal Johnny Di Francesco, who’s family hail from Naples in Southern coastal Italy – the home of ‘world’s best’ pizza. Johnny has a series of Pizza and Calzone outlets with the 400 Gradi restaurant being the flagship of the group.
400 Gradi serves up World Championship winning Margherita pizza. So delicate with the strength in the simplicity, quality of the base, perfectly cooked and quality ingredients.
The pizza is seriously good; the Caserta from Caserta province features san marzano tomato, mozzarella di bufala (air freighted fresh from caserta), levoni prosciutto di parma, rocket - and is a sensation. I love prosciutto on a pizza as my favourite ingredient, and this pizza was lavished with quality prosciutto, not cooked, but di parma. Soft alluring prosciutto on perfectly cooked base, slightly risen, in the Naples style.
Quality prosciutto is one of the joys of life. Levoni Parma Prosciutto is known as the most famous Italian cured ham, made from Italian pigs according and subject to the "Consorzio di Parma" regulations. Levoni Parma ham has been traditionally linked to the area of Parma since the 3rd century B.C., the time when the first salting and drying techniques were experimented on pork legs. Levoni Parma ham is is characterised by a particularly mild and delicate taste.
400 Gradi is a romantic setting with cool textured wall with Italian prose, funky warm lighting, timber tables, and large windows onto Lygon. The 400 Gradi interiors are all about classic Italian textures, with walls of espresso ribbons of Stucco Veneziana and sweeping golden calligraphy. Black and antique gold pendant lightsand a charcoal Terrazzo style polished floor all reflect a golden hue. A bar honed from a dark veined slab of 160 year old red gum, salumi cabinets and antique slicers are all part of the theatre… Outside there’s plenty more tables for dining where the usual sophistication of the ‘other’ end of Lygon Street is apparent.
Son of a Pizzaiolo
Son of a Pizzaiolo (SOP) in Thornbury is the masterstroke of brothers Frank and Roque Romano, and resounds with pizza savvy. On a cold winter's day there's nothing better than the warmth of Italian hospitality and rustic cuisine. In a sea of sameness SOP stands out with standout wood oven pizza.
Be impressed by a warm and inviting restaurant with pizza that excites. Choosing a pizza from a tempting array of excellent looking pizzas is not an easy task. First world problems. We usually enjoy a Prosciutto pizza but this time we were drawn to the Gamberi seafood pizza; cooked on a wood fire with Neapolitan base. The Gambero featured Napoli sauce, Fior De Latte, baby spinach, prawns, Blue Swimmer crab meat, Grada padano, and chilli oil. We don't judge pizzas by the amount of ingredients (some Italian styles have relatively scarce ingredients) but this was a sensational cacophony of taste. As we were eating two main dishes we were supposed to "pace ourselves" but I couldn't put this pizza down.
The pizza was simply top notch with standout large prawns, sweet crab meat, kick of chilli oil and pools of Grada Padano. The dough was delicious in itself. We find some of the pizzas in Melbourne are quite similar but this Gambero pizza arrested our attention.
DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar, Carlton, Mornington, Albert Park
DOC is a standout when it comes to all things Italian cuisine, and shines with its traditional pizza. DOC is one of the forerunners of the pizza revolution since 1997. Check out Pizza Speck with smoked prosciutto or the Pizza Tiger Prawns or the Pizza Salsiccia with the DOC pork sausage. Here is one of their pizzas (with truffle) we enjoyed at the Lavazza Italian Film Festival.
DOC respect tradition and produce pizzas with perfect base, quality ingredients and cooked to perfection in the wood oven in Italian style. Images below: DOC Instagram.
Firechief , Camberwell
Firechief is arguably the best pizza restaurant in Melbourne. It's not your typical pizzeria but sings with the high notes of the greatest opera at La Scala. Expect sublime gourmet pizza and amazing technique using world class methods. Firechief boasts 3 types of pizza preparation. While Firechief exudes a casual dining experience (and popular with groups and families) the cuisine touches on fine dining.
Image above: Firechief Instagram.
Firechief is housed in a warehouse like high ceiling building in Hawthorn East. This place pumps. Even on a weeknight we were lucky to get a table. This was my second visit to Firechief in the last few months (both times on a week night and place packed). This time I was with my gorgeous wife who has a great ability to appreciate gourmet dining.
Long timber tables are a feature of the room, as well as high celings, and a huge chandelier. One is also struck by the use of yellow features, as well as retro timbers and a red and white tiled floor.
Another highlight is the open kitchen brimming with activity. Staff with aprons hustle around the huge room servicing eager local customers.
Customers enjoy the ambience and the space and the large windows looking out into Hawthorn East/Camberwell. This is a great communal atmosphere.
Image above: Firechief Instagram.
Personally I'm a big fan of the thin Naples style pizza. This is pizza you might encounter in Italy (which I have). Cooked at 400 degrees for 2 minutes in a wood fire oven. The menu reflects the names of the great pizzas to be found in Naples (home of great pizza).
Firechief is popular with cinema goers, although I would come across town to source Melbourne's best pizza.
Firechief sings with pizza brilliance and great service. Highly recommended.
Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander , Yarra Valley
Melbournites love to drive out to the Yarra Valley and make a pilgrimage to Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander. And for good reason. This place pumps especially on a weekend. I came here with the family – something here for everyone including a gourmet kids menu. In fact I would have been happy with the gourmet standard of the kids menu.
Ladro , Gertrude Street Fitzroy and Grenville St Prahran
Ladro is a gem on Gertrude St delivering a casual yet fabulous dining experience and some of the best pizza and pasta in Melbourne. We were there for the Melbourne Pizza Festival running in June - showcasing top notch Melbourne pizza establishments. Ladro has been one of the top pizza houses in Melbourne for several years. My previous function here was with family where we enjoyed the spaciousness of the large table that could accommodate all 9 of us.
Here at the Pizza Festival the restaurant is packed and cheerful (pizza does that methinks) and Matteos the festival organiser is in his element. A personable guy he has brought together the best pizza houses in Melbourne - but his question always seems to be "how was the pizza?"
What do you look for in a gourmet pizza? Well definitely it’s about a whole lot more than just how many ingredients are on your pizza! Certainly when it comes to the Italian experience! You look for gourmet ingredients and interesting artisan made pizzas. You look for wood oven perfection and that the crust is not burned. You look for thin and crispy quality bases. Ladro gets the big tick on all this.
Check out the wood oven in full flight...
As part of the Pizza Festival Ladro offered a selection of its fabulous pizzas with a glass of wine for only $20... A great deal.
Image: Ladro Instagram. Interesting gourmet pizzas – the menu sometimes changes according to seasons and design! Great pizzas including San Daniele with gorgonzola, leek, parsley and basil. Any pizza with gorgonzola is a hit. Also popular are the Salumi cured meat (you can even choose air cured Wagyu beef or top notch Prosciutto or Salami) and the Porcini pizzas.
I like the pork sausage Badabing and the lemon garlic prawn Gamberi Pisseli. A key is the pizza crust and here it is great. Vive the wood fire pizza.
Let's be clear - it's not just about pizza at Ladro even though it's so good. Ladro have a comprehensive menu and deliver on dishes including great Ravioli, Risotto, Pesce and Tortellini filled with ox tongue! The pasta is hand made - a mission of love by Zia.
Check out the Badabing below... I sat at the bar and demolished this baby...
Image: Ladro Instagram. Love the Italian sausage of the Badabing as well as the delicious base and kick of chilli... And I'm in love with sweet tomato sugo...
Ladro has a great kitchen staff and the chef has an excellent pizza philosophy - they don't overdo it but keep to the Italian style. They use the best local and sustainable ingredients as well as source produce from Italy.
I spent some time at the invitation of the owner imbibing the kitchen action on a busy night...
Ladro has a certain sophistication but also a rustic charm... It gets burning hot around the oven and the strong heat enables the crispness of the pizza.
Ladro has 2 locations - Gertrude St Fitzroy as well as Greville St Prahran...
Check out their website at ladro.com.au – it’s a classic with an old Italian black and white movie!
+39 Pizzeria , Little Bourke Street
Having walked past a packed +39 Pizzeria several times I had to see what it was all about. It’s been years now since I gave up eating run of the mill pizza. I refuse to go down the road of cheap pizza without gourmet style, taste and presentation.
Call me a pizza snob if you like but I rather eat the cardboard of some of the pizzas I’ve been exposed to. Here at +39 Pizzeria it’s all pizza class and style. It’s also about the experience – dining in is wonderful. The places buzzes mostly with office types. Who knows how many deals have been done in +39 Pizzeria.
How cool that the name bears a reference to the international dialing code of Italy.
Image: +39 Pizzeria Instagram. Now, every time I need to dial Italy, I need only think of this pizza joint in Little Bourke St for the code. Can someone start a restaurant referencing the code for South Africa, as I seem to be ringing there quite a bit…
The point is that to understand +39 Pizzeria you need to understand something about Italian pizza. It’s not about how many ingredients you can cram on the pizza. It’s about elegance and subtleties of the dough and sauces and cheese. These guys measure up to the authenticity of Italian pizza (having visited Italy myself).
Pizza here is creative, interesting and tasty. I counted about 10 great pizzas. Sure you can have Margherita – but it’s a good one! Or you can go the Aragosta with lobster for something extra special.
My favourite is the Cappriciosa Italiana with tomato, mozzarella, artichokes, olives, leg ham and mushroom. So delish. The artichokes being a highlight.
They get the base right. They get the flavour combinations right. They get the cheese right.
Image: +39 Pizzeria. You can choose some great pasta dishes, salads, ciabatta and piadinas. As for desserts, the Tiramisu is labelled “Best in Melbourne.” Or try the sweet pizza.
Love the brick walls and the large door. Love the fans. Love the concrete floor. Love the large windows. Love the use of metal. Love the marble counter. Love the boards, one with the caption “Pizza is the new black.”
The pizzas are reasonably priced. The service is friendly and attentive.
The ambience is great. Like Italy it exudes character, expression and loud conversation. So good.
Zonzo Estate, Yarra Valley
Zonzo Estate is a worthy destination to visit from Melbourne, or from anywhere else. If you're looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy picturesque surrounds, while imbibing a decent menu and wine, then this is for you. It's bright and cheery, with a buzz of dining groups, and even weddings and hot air ballooning abound.
The World Loves Melbourne was invited to Zonzo Estate to experience a lazy lunch and enjoy rustic cuisine, notably the amazing wood-fired pizza. To be honest we enjoy this relaxed style of dining at a winery. We'd heard great things about Zonzo Estate with our friends telling us it's a great option in the Yarra Valley and that the pizza is some of the best around. There's charm in spades as you enter the grounds and cross the old train track, from which the Train Trak wines derives it's name.
The restaurant is open and airy, with large windows taking advantage of the stunning view, and with rustic theme throughout. Enjoy a lazy meal inside or relax on the outdoor terrace. Looking for family friendly wineries? Zonzo Estate is a place you can take your children; with the lawned area a place to watch your children run around as you imbibe your meal. Or indeed run around with them. (Zonzo Estate acquired the word "zonzo" which means in Italian "to wander about or stroll around".
Pizza is the big drawcard with a variety of first class Italian style wood-fired pizzas with outstanding base, perfectly cooked, with quality gourmet ingredients. The Napoletana was a delight, featuring Pomodoro, buffalo mozzarella, Sicilian green olives, basil and anchovies. As the song says "It's all about that bass (base)." The World Loves Melbourne is an anchovy fan so we appreciated this nuance.
Radicchio salad was the perfect complement to our pizza. All food was professionally presented by the kitchen team.
A big thing for us is the attitude of the staff in a busy winery restaurant and here at Zonzo Estate we experienced professional, warm and welcoming service. As the restaurant was pumping (and it seemed that 100 people arrived at once) the staff were taking the high activity in their stride, gracious and keen to please, explaining the menu and attentive to our table. Head chef and owner Rod Micallef spoke with us (pictured in front of the wood fired oven) while in the throes of service to a packed restaurant, calm and cheerful, proud of his food and service. The World Loves Melbourne always thinks there's something about an owner operator running a business, and the passion and care is seen at every level with hands on application.
Zonzo Estate is a keeper; a popular Yarra Valley destination that gives the punters what they want in smart affordable cuisine (Italian style pizza a hit), excellent service and stunning Yarra Valley views.
A25, South Yarra, Docklands, CBD
South Yarra and Dockland’s popular crazy pizza place, A25 is extending its unique Italian fare to the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, continuing to deliver the brand’s contemporary twist on traditional favourites.
Taking prime placement on the bustling corner of Lonsdale Street and Hardware Lane, the city A25 will have a focus toward Italian coffee and ‘on-the-go’ breakfast offerings, created for early-morning CBD workers and residents. The glass encased front window cabinet will showcase a mouth-watering abundance of Italian pastries like custard bombolonis, as well as more savoury bites like paninis filled with pancetta and egg and porchetta and Italian apple slaw.
Restaurateur, Remo Nicolini has devised a ‘traderne’ menu alongside industry stalwart, Raymond Capaldi, delivering a mix of traditional and modern cuisine. For the new venue, it’s all about quality dough. The duo has experimented with innovative fermentation methods to produce pizzas that are yeast free, light and easy to digest.
Pino Russo is one of Melbourne's Italian cuisine and pizza champions, after a number of great years at La Svolta. There's a passion here to showcase the Italian regions in the foodie experience here. We noticed this during our visit; with certain dishes representing say, Naples style cooking, and others say from Piedmont region. Think authentic. Think fresh. Think regional. Think flexible.
Eat-aliano impressed with its stylish decor featuring modern artwork, fabulous tiles, hanging planter boxes, timber tables, elongated bar, naked light bulbs, and plants that adorn. This is a bright and cheerful restaurant with a wonderful vibe; enhanced by Italian music playlist. It's relaxed but lively.
Manager Stefano is energetic and welcoming; popular with customers. He greets us on arrival and engages with us all through the evening. We are served a first class cocktail; one of the best we've had for a long time. The bartender was awarded in top 10 bartenders in Italy; his skills in mixing our Bloody Mary (with a twist) were spectacular. We loved this version of a classic with influence of Rosemary.
This is a menu that is flexible; you can come here for a few drinks and antipasta for example. Or you can visit for a full blown meal. This is on trend with a number of casual Melbourne eateries that are multi-purpose.
The Octopus and potatoes salad with garlic, parsley and olive oil is a rustic winner. It's a combination we love - potatoes and octopus.
Pizza is a feature here with an expensive bespoke built oven from Europe that cooks pizza in an astounding 50 secondi! This pizza is the 3 carni - 3 meats for a rustic flavoursome pizza. This is indeed fine pizza with a quality base. Pizaa excellence lives here at eat-aliano.
An absolute highlight was the Fish Soup; every Friday night there is a version of Fish Soup made and this dish hits the high notes. The soup was a showcasing of quality fresh seafood; the kind of expensive seafood that others may not include in such a dish. Tonight the Fish soup featured Monk fish, large prawns, baby octopus, mussels, clams, and an amazing broth. If anything I would have liked a little more broth, made with prawn bisque and cheery tomatoes, simply because it was excellent, and I enjoyed mopping it up with the bread supplied.
The key to such extreme heat is that the oven has a smaller mouth. 50 secondi pizzas...
Dessert was also rewarding with a modern take on Tiramisu but using the traditional Savoiardi biscuits, espresso coffee and mascarpone cheese. The Pannacotta was also first class with creamy vanilla and strawberry and chocolate on top.
Eat-aliano by Pino is a compelling visit for casual dining with high quality offerings. Get on it!
90 Secondi, Docklands
Johnny DFrancsco at the helm reaches a pizza zenith with a Naples style pizza cooked for 90 seconds at 400 degrees.
Johnny tells us the secret to great pizza is in the quality of the dough as well as the use of fine and fresh ingredients. Having been to pizza estblishments all over Melbourne 400 Gradi and 90 Secondi are firm favourites.
I'm not alone. After only 14 days of operating I visited a packed 90 Secondi on a Thursday lunchtime. With a large group leaving next to me after their meal, it was only a couple of minutes until another took their place. This was Docklands coming alive.
I enjoyed lunch as a guest of 90 Secondi and here is my interview with Johnny DiFrancesco -
90 Secondi has several dining spaces including the stools facing the window to Gate 3 of Etihad Stadium.
And the coffee here is excellent...
The fit out is modern with produce on display, large red light fittings, funky red chairs, great use of timber, a black fleck floor and high ceilings. I remember sitting at 400 Gradi with Mathias (ex SBS media personality) who organises the Melbourne Pizza Festival discussing pizza in Melbourne and Italy. His comment was that the pizza from 400 Gradi (and I'm sure 90 Secondi) would excel and be super popular in Italy. Ciao!
Melt is one of Melbourne's newer pizza venues taking the city by storm. The owners spent time being trained in Naples before embrking on their dream to make high quality Naples style pizza at affordable prices. the World Loves Melbourne journeyed to Melt with two hungry families eager to sample the pizza and to guage authenticity. Melt greatly impressed with its crispy pizza with quality ingredients and we discovered a consistently high quality across the 5 pizzas we ordered.
When you dine at Melt you are likely to be greeted by owners Dan and Elise or one of their friendly staff. Melt has an appealing menu where customers can order some Italian classics or even design their own custom made pizza. Personally I know it's great to customise, but their regular pizzas are simply sensational. We were invited to dine here but I didn't worry about that, happy to pay, as we rocked up with 2 families (in case anyone is wondering if this is a blogger post)...
Melt also surprised with this Superfood salad featuring quinoa, red rice, sweet potato, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seedds and almond flakes...
Melt's pizza making process is about cooking the pizza in a wood oven at 400 gradi (degrees). This means the pizza is ready in literally minutes - great for customers "on the go".
The San Daniele Prosciutto Pizza above hit the mark with crispy and delectable base and quality prosciutto, crushed tomato, and with pleasing amount of rocket on top. I always think a base is great if you wouldn't mind eating it on its own. The dough bases here are made fresh daily...
The kids scrambled for Margherita and were raving...
My favourite was the Italian sausage - this pizza contained generous amounts of spicy Italian sausage and generous mozzarella. Often with sausage pizzas you are left with a small number of minute pices of sausage - but here it was about chunky sausage...
Melt also served up a kick butt Hot Salami pizza with caramelised onion and olives.
Melt is an elongated fit out with tables along the wall or behind the large front window. The wood oven is inviting and for all to see, and the terracotta decor enhances the rustic feel. We managed to grab outside tables on Chapel St, and were thankful for heating. Inside Melt is a playful courtyard area and a private dining room that can be reserved.
Check out the artwork in the dining room...
Melt also surprised with its quality gelato by 7 Apples, including this Ferro Rocher beauty as well as Salted Caramel...
Melt proved to be a rewarding find for some of the best pizza in Melbourne at affordable prices. The staff are upbeat and helpful, and the owners chatty and passionate about pizza. The drinks menu was also excellent catering for wine and beer tastes (good to see other Italian beers along with Peroni). Highly recommended.
What do you think? Where is Melbourne's best pizza?