Cape Town’s best authentic Italian pizza picks
Pizza is one of the oldest kinds of food, and yet never gets old. It has been dazzling us with its evolution from its rustic beginnings as flattened bread in Sardinia in the 1st millennium BC. However, pizza really rose to the occasion when mozzarella cheese met tomatoes in 1889 in Naples, and the Margherita pizza was named after some Italian Queen called, you guessed it – Margherita.
Since then the pizza has evolved into every shape, taste and size, suiting every palate imaginable. Living in the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, affords you the opportunity to find the pizza of your dreams, no matter how you like it.
Burrata (named after fresh Italian buffalo milk cheese made from Mozzarella and cream) is situated in The Old Biscuit Mill, and serves the most authentic Italian-style pizzas in Cape Town.
Burrata has an imported oven from Naples reaching over 400 degrees, and can cook the pizzas in less than 90 seconds. The result is a puffy flame-blackened crust with a light crispness. I used to be one of those people who could not get enough pizza toppings on my pizza – I would mix anchovies with pineapple, avo, olives, garlic etc - until I tasted a Burrata margherita pizza (R84). I was converted. If a pizza is made from quality ingredients – in Burrata’s case imported Italian flour and tomatoes, and a high grade Mozzarella cheese – then the simple combination is absolutely sublime.
What is also appealing about this restaurant is that if you are not into tomatoes, then you must try their Pizza Bianca (white pizza without the tomato sauce). And what is pizza without wine? The wine list is exciting and inspired, favouring boutique wine farms, and even their house red, a Bordeaux blend from Gabriëlskloof is delicious (R47 per glass).
If you are a fan of the Neopolitan-style pizza, then you will also love Bocca.
Bocca is Burrata’s sister restaurant based in the CBD on the corner of Bree & Wale Street. Their pizzas are soft, elastic, tender, charred and fragrant; sporting some exciting choices such as Lady Zaza (kimchi, ginger pork sausage, spring onions and sesame seeds R102) and Delre (Mozzarella, truffle spread, caramelised onions, mushrooms and prosciutto R140).
You will be inspired and hungry.
A few years ago Ferdinando’s was a secret gem hidden in a rented apartment in Bo Kaap, its birth: a product of a love story that started in Ibiza between Diego, an Italian stallion, and Kiki, a Capetonian artist. The “fox” Ferdinando, is the boss in charge of quality control and always keen for a cuddle. If you want more details of this heartwarming tale, you have to go eat there and read the menu, from start to finish.
The pizza options are dazzling, from simple toppings like Margherita with buffalo Mozzarella (R95) to the Vegana (no cheese, thick tomato base, sesame seeds, peppers, baby marrow, cherry tomatoes, avocado, aubergine and red onion jam R100) and the French prince (tomato and Mozzarella base, Camembert, cranberries and bacon R120). Although this pizzeria is no longer run out of an apartment, the converted Observatory house retains that home-away-from-home feeling and oozes that Italian warmth, passion and hospitality.
The pizza menu is ideal if you and your friends have different conceptions of the perfect pizza.
Pizza Warehouse is the new kid on the block. You can find it at the Yard in town, where the infamous “Dogs Bollocks” is located. If you are into the hipster garage vibe, then this is your joint. You have to sign your name on a chalkboard when you arrive and the burger waitress is quite scary and likes to yell at her customers, but it’s all part of the experience!
You can choose from the New York (a giant 45cm medium-thin chewy crust); the California Super Thin Crust (surprisingly cheesy); the Romano Thick Crust (thick dough, deep pan pizza) and the Classic Neapolitan (puffed-up outer crust that is baked for 90 seconds in an extremely hot oven). The pizzas are served on these gigantic silver trays – so sit at the biggest table you can find.
I loved that the pizzas come with complimentary extra toppings like chilli oil, chilli flakes, olives, garlic, jalapeños, rocket and basil to add some pizzazz to your pizza (because they need it). Although generous with the cheese, my only critique is it’s not the best quality, making the pizzas good, but certainly not gourmet.
If you love a crispy, thin crust pizza, then Massimo’s, a family restaurant in Hout Bay, is your place.
My favourite pizza is the 4 Formaggi (Mozzarella, Gorgonozola, feta, goat's cheese and olives - R105) and if you are a tourist, you may want to try the South African Afrikaans (tomato, Mozzarella, boerewors, smoked Mozzarella and caramelized onions – R105).
If you struggle to make up your mind, this may not be ideal for you as there are almost 30 different kind of pizzas, even the gluten-free pizza bases have different options! Massimo’s is usually packed and buzzing (there is a children’s play area) and given the extensive menu, the service can be erratic. Book in advance and go with patience in mind.
What I love about Massimo’s is their pay-it-forward approach, supporting both the Sunflower Fund Charity and Underdog Project. Customers can also buy one or more R10 ‘virtual’ slices of pizza. For every 6 slices sold, Massimo’s will deliver one pizza to one of the local charities/institutions that they support.