Interestingly, this has led to the widespread availability of pizzas that can hold their own against the best Neapolitan interpretations, despite being baked in electric ovens or made with ingredients other than the venerated San Marzano tomato. But as much as we adore the classics, there's nothing like the thrill of trying a pizza that's unique to Melbourne.
Pizzas In Melbourne Food Experience
Trying to whittle down a list of Melbourne’s best pizza joints is no small feat—it's a dirty job, but someone has got to do it. Old-school Pizza seems to be having a renaissance in Melbourne, and we are here for it. With a nice crispy base, generous toppings, and cheese for days, it's got a pizza in your heart.
Capitano is the latest venue to join the likes of Heartattack & Vine and the revamped Carlton Wine Room, kicking the Carlton Italian revival into high gear. Suddenly, the neighbourhood that taught us how to eat Italian has gone from tourist-trap to modern marvel of casual drinking and dining.
Capitano, brought to you by the Bar Liberty crew, is bigger, brighter and louder than its Johnston Street sibling, offering far more approachable food and booze but keeping the quality, fun and delightful service.
The repurposed Beaufort is now sporting cream walls and big windows on two sides that feel clean and classic; deep red trim recalling old-school French bistro flatware, and everyone here seems engrossed in lively conversation. Nevertheless, Capitano is a fundamentally social place; the menu’s purpose is to lubricate and satisfy rather than draw focus from your companions.
The stated inspiration here is Italian-American. You can see the influence in the 'gabagool' starter (the New Jersey-Italian pronunciation of the cured pork salumi usually called capicola) vodka sauce on one of two pasta dishes. But apart from these scant nods, Capitano is all Melbourne. There are only a few simple choices food-wise, but all the bases are covered. The bubbly and chewy pizza dough is as good as any in town, served in small, dense rounds, unlike the giant floppy ones you’d find in New York. If you’re hungry, grab a veal parmigiana on the bone for two with some salad on the side.
Unlike Liberty, the drinks list is short, understated and excellent instead of wide-ranging and esoteric. Wines by the glass are approachable, focusing on Italian styles, and there are some great deals by the bottle. Amaros and vermouths dominate the back bar, so take the opportunity to explore these forgotten bottles from the old country; just don’t come expecting a million gins or whiskies.
But most of all, drink cocktails. So developed, the list takes Italian restaurant classics and elevates them to high art without sacrificing their comforting familiarity. For example, a Rosso Spritz combines Italian rose with raspberry and bergamot syrup to give herbal complexity to this frivolous fizzy drink, and saffron in the Negroni brings an earthy, floral note to your favourite aperitif.
Supermaxi is the perfect precursor to a night on the tiles with your best mates. Rita Macali helms this Fitzroy wonder offering excellent Pizza (they do a cracker Margherita), antipasti (dig those cauliflower fitting) and other delights (fried cheese!) in a big, bustling room. So take a crew, order everything and drink a handful of Negronis - there's a reasonably priced wine list too.
DOC Pizza and Mozzarella Bar
Just off Lygon Street, DOC is a pizza bar that means business. At the casual diner portion of this Italian empire (including DOC Delicatessen and DOC Espresso), thin crispy bases make the perfect partner for the simple core Italian ingredients - buffalo mozzarella, fior di latte, and Italian small. Wash it down with a Campari or Italian beer, and finish with a dessert pizza.
Pietro Barbagallo is the Southern Italian pizzaiolo who, years ago – before the artisan frenzy began – had people travelling from Toorak to Holmes Street, Brunswick for a slice. And that was back when Brunswick was properly dodgy. Maybe you only know of him from after that – when he founded iCarusi and then moved, briefly, to the city.
If so, you’ll likely remember his nimble-fingered dough work. Maybe even have noted his disappearance from the scene last year. But it’s only those who knew him from the start – from that place where it was nothing but him, his Pizza, the drum and bass, and the pretty girls – who will see him here, at Caprica, working alone behind a simple marble bench once more, and understand that the pizza king is back.
With his family’s backing, he’s renovated a Carlton South garage from the ground up, filling the long brick room with just enough vintage signs, books and bottles of Campari to reflect his agenda: simple, fresh and cheap Pizza, pasta and salad, picked out with a few key perks like drinkable Campari and blood orange granitas.
Note that sucker is down for the impending swelter. So duke it out for a couple of outdoor porches, or hit the park. Caprica does take-away, which means you can sprint your crisp, thin-based #26 with its buttery tangle of leeks and the triple whammy of sharp gorgonzola, parmesan and mozzarella across the road for some al fresco action. Go straight-up tomato, mozza’ and basil Margherita if you're a purist (or just not as into gorgonzola as Barbagallo is). A full-frontal assault of the stuff fills the sauce for gnocchi – resistance-free pillows floating in a cheesy sea.
Incredibly, he’s running this kitchen solo, punching and tossing bases, his hands flying from dough to bowls of fresh tomato paste and fennel flecked pork sausage, then to the oven and back. He only pauses to toss a pan of fat prawns, sizzled in the shell with a little olive oil, garlic and chilli (served as is, as a starter), or to slice and season the tomato and fat mozzarella for the Caprese salad on the way.
He's a man whose only concern has ever been about making a good pizza – “Pietro’s pizza,” his friend dubbed it – and showing you a nice time. That's what makes him the king, and long may he rule.
Summer Bottomless Brunch at Jackalope Hotel
Mornington Peninsula’s famed winery, Jackelope Hotel, is hosting a boozy brunch, and it’s the perfect excuse to swap your morning coffee for a mimosa. Not that it should take much convincing to get the gang down to the coast for bottomless spritzes, beer and wine.
But the hotel is serving up more than just the usual stocked bar of drinks as they are enticing patrons in with their vineyard views and menu of fresh oysters, mushroom tartlets and slow-cooked wagyu brisket.
This coming weekend, Melbourne will host the opening of the most Instagrammable exhibition ever. At Happy Place, you can wander through a labyrinth of sensory rooms filled with enormous installations like the world's largest confetti dome or the oasis filled with 40,000 handmade yellow flowers covering the floor to the ceiling. Gather your pals and make the trip to Melbourne's Crown to find your bliss (or at least a good Instagram photo).
Melbourne Music Week
Melbourne Music Week is here to pave the way for the return of live music because it’s been far too long. With over 300 acts, MMW is sure to make some noise with artists taking to the stage for headline gigs, day parties, DJ sets and live film scores. Including a headlining performance by the duo SHOUSE who are almost guaranteed to play their pandemic banger ‘Love Tonight’.
There’s no cutlery and outstanding service at Takeaway Pizza, the casual joint serving American-style slices to eat-in or take away. But it’s also a bar and late-night hangout serving wine by local producers and tropical cocktails.
The all-night slice menu has only four options – cheese, pepperoni, a meat pizza and a vegetarian pizza –. Still, the whole-pizza list is more extensive and has several vegetarian options. In addition, you can order a gluten-free base or vegan mozzarella for an extra $2.
The regular pizza dough is fermented for three days and cooked into a thin base with crunchy edges. Owners Sam and Tom Peasnell (brothers) and their mate Adam Goldblatt aren’t Italian, and they’re not pretending to be. Instead, they have a no-rules approach – the same that’s won them so many fans at Dexter, their American barbeque spot across the road.
Tomatoes are cold-smoked to maintain sweetness while adding smokiness; pastrami is cured in-house for ten days and then smoked. Another pizza is topped with that pastrami and shaved frozen bone marrow, a drizzle of meat sauce and spring onion.
The tiki-style cocktail list is centred on rum, mezcal and tequila. A 12-bottle wine list features enveloping-pushing, small-scale producers such as Jamsheed, Alpha Box, and Dice.
The names rotate every month and focus on minimal intervention and uncommon varieties. When the sun goes down, candles are lit, and the disco ball begins to turn, throwing dappled light on the floral wallpaper up back. The black and white harlequin-patterned floor and bar is made with second-hand tiles repurposed from another pizza shop.
Brett Graham, a local of Abbotsford, was lamenting the lack of restaurants in the formerly "dodgy" end of Johnston Street when he saw a "for lease" sign. That's why he launched Rita's eight months later.
Rita's is a charming pizza and pasta diner with a strong community vibe, run by three friends: owners and managers Brett Graham and Rob Lowther (of The Bottle of Milk and Pizza Pizza in Lorne) and chef Daniel Spizzica (formerly of the Stokehouse in St. Kilda). Every seat is always taken, even on a Sunday evening.
In this pizzeria, the open kitchen lets the delicious smell of cooking pizza permeate the entire space. Pizzas come in two sizes (10 inches and 13 inches) and are topped with standard ingredients and baked on reliably crisp crusts.
Rita's Pizza has a salty, semolina-crusted base, which makes it worth the drive from the suburbs if you're ordering takeout. Toppings on the Bingo Bango pizza include mozzarella, salami, pancetta, olives, and caramelised onion, and it's our go-to.
Additionally, gluten-free options such as salads, risotto, and pasta dishes made in-house can be ordered. Beer from the tap and common wines by the bottle and glass are also offered.
400 Gradi: Crown
There were queues out the door of his East Brunswick flagship, eager to try his ‘best in the world’ Margherita. Still are. But now you can get your Best Pizza fix at Crown, where he’s boldly taken over the space vacated by the late Giuseppe, Arnaldo & Sons. It’s a big move for the Brunswick-based boy.
A massive space, redesigned from GAS’s moody magnificence into a bright and functional trattoria with flash outbreaks of copper and white marble, crammed to the rafters with pizza-loving punters. It can be hard to get a booking, but they save a third of the tables for walk-ins. So, yes, yes, we’re getting to the Pizza. It’s the same deal as in Brunswick, where Di Francesco sticks to the rules decreed from on high by Naples’ Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.
You know the mob – they’re the pizza pedants who demand a wood-fired oven capable of reaching 400 degrees, hand-blended sugo made only from San Marzano tomatoes and salt, "00" flour, minimal yeast and a fermentation process to the order of 24 to 36 hours.
Gosh. And we thought it was just Pizza.
The Napoletana pizza sticks to our rule that the uglier the Pizza, the better the taste. The crust is gloriously puffy, airy and blistered, the base just a little too scorched in parts, but the texture is great – crisp without being all biscuit-like. The Parma ham is piggy-sweet, the sugo is addictive (must be those San Marzano tomatoes), and anchovies give it a zing.
All up, pretty darned good.And the rest? They’re big on imported Italian salumi and boast a GAS-worthy display cabinet that’s like a spiritual visitation. There are whispery shavings of prosciutto Crudo mornello with surprisingly deep flavour and chewy “hunter-style” hot salami (more warm than hot, truth be told), served on plate-like wafers of Sardinian carasau flatbread splashed in rosemary oil.
All up, it’s a big menu. Pasta, risotto, big meaty mains, although if you’ve hit the Pizza too hard, go for the vongole in a broth of white wine, garlic and lemon for something that’s more fab than flab. On the other hand, polpetta (meatballs) are $6 you probably won’t remember. As for the wine list – it’s Italian, and it’s trying hard, although the prices are a little touchy and the staff’s knowledge bank isn’t always up to speed. It’s early days, and it’s a baby restaurant finding its feet. Nevertheless, 400 Gradi has as good a shot as any at the fickle Crown market.
Harley and Rose
The Black Sorrows, Midnight Oil, AC/DC and Steely Dan are on the stereo. Three-child families camp at tables littered with stray pizza toppings. And with no apparent irony, salads come in those dinky faux-wood bowls that pubs used to serve chips in.
Welcome to Harley and Rose, the expectation-defying, sort-of pizzeria from Josh Murphy and Rory Cowcher, two chefs who spent years at Three Two One, Cumulus Inc., the Builders Arms and Cutler and Co.
But they’re not cooking that kind of chef-y, fashionable food. Here you have six pizzas; heaps of snacks and salads; and a banging wine list by peppy manager Mark Williamson, another Andrew McConnell alum. He also oversees the attached bottle-o, a weird little room behind the bar – one you’ll think you’re not allowed in. You are, and it’s filled with bottles from established producers and trendy low-interventionists such as Lucy Margaux.
Either style goes well with the Pizza, which could be piled with Goolwa pippies, parsley, garlic and cream. Or basil, tomato and buffalo mozzarella to make a classic Margherita.
Ten or so snacks include mortadella from Meatsmith; fennel salami made by Dave Roberts, an ex-Movida chef; wood-fired octopus with pesto; and burrata with rocket oil and fig and olive tapenade.
Roberta’s Romaine Lettuce with candied walnuts, pecorino and mint lead a quartet of salads, which bring some balance to the otherwise heavy selection.
If you’re looking for a slice of heaven, you can get it at DOC—it truly is some of the best Pizza northern suburbs Melbourne has. This institution has never failed us, even though it can be a tough ask to get a table. Our pick would have to be the Pizza ai Porcini with wild mushrooms, mozzarella in Bianco with grated D.O.P. pecorino and truffle oil for that extra hint of decadence. If you’re looking for a slightly meatier option, their Pizza Speck with smoked prosciutto or the Pizza Tiger Prawns is also gold.
Cancel your plans to Italy. This place is the next best thing, at least if you’re looking for the best pizza northern suburbs Melbourne has to offer. The Tempo Pizzeria team have over 30 years’ pizza-making experience and even travelled to Italy to be officially certified at "Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana".
We don’t know exactly what that means, but it sounds pretty damn Italian, so go with it. The pizza range is full of all-stars, but try the Pistachio Pizza: a pistachio and pesto base topped with prosciutto, semi-dried tomatoes, and rocket for something a little different.
Little Michael's Pizzeria
Little Michael's Pizzeria is one of only seven pizza joints in Melbourne with an AVPN accreditation from Naples. That's like the Italian stamp of pizza approval, and it's bloody hard to get. The dough is hand-prepped and leavened for over six hours (layman’s terms, it’s going to be fluffy AF).
The toppings are sourced from Italy’s Campania region, and the pizzas are cooked for just 60-90 seconds in a blistering hot wood-fired oven. It’s a pretty special experience for those after classic Ital-cuisine, and easily some of the best Pizza in Melbourne’s eastern ‘suburbs.
While new apartment developments tower over Collingwood’s previously dirty surroundings, all is not lost in the ’hood. Just a few hundred metres off Smith Street’s shiny new Coles is Lazerpig, whose winged pig neon signage beckons to punters.
This former men’s shelter (and later pub) is today a slashie bar (as in bar/pizzeria/disco) that will see you go from eating pizza in the dining room with your mum to busting a move in what little room you have between the DJ booth and the bar counter.
Start your night at Lazerpig in the red and white tablecloth-clad dining room, where you’d be wise to go straight to a double patty cheeseburger or the wood-fired Queen Margherita – unchanged and still brilliant since the bar’s opening almost four years ago. Whatever Pizza you order, slather on the chilli oil like there’s no tomorrow and pair it with a fresh pint of the Lazerpig house lager.
More grown-up party food options such as the antipasto plate will go brilliantly with the bar’s range of Italian drops: opt for an Aperol or Campari Spritz when it’s warm, but the grappa-based Amaro Nonino on ice is a good post-pizza drop.
The disco ball gets switched on from Thursday to Sunday to set the mood, and DJs start spinning vinyl by the bar from dinner time. If you have a long night ahead of you, ask the barkeep for a Laser Beam. It’s a mix of the highly caffeinated German soft drink Club Mate, vodka and lime, and no doubt someone by the bar will tell you all about how they lived on vodka-Mates that time they were in Berlin.
Lazerpig gets better and looser as the night wears on and the tunes get louder. But, as easy as Smith Street makes bar hopping, we’re not going to begrudge Lazerpig’s one-stop-shop approach to a night out. This bar can take it from 0 to 100 in no time, so hang on for the ride and deal with the ramifications later.
Just when you thought Heartbreaker couldn’t get any better, they went and opened Connie’s: a good New York-style pizza bar, serving giant slices to order.
Think minimal toppings and lots of cheese—the kind of Pizza you can hold with one hand while sipping a Negroni in the other. Of course, you can't go wrong with a gooey Margherita, but we recommend the 'Grandma Slice': a square-cut, deep-pan pie where the cheese goes on BEFORE the tomato sauce. Shake on chilli and oregano to taste, and don’t forget to mop up the grease with a napkin.
Santoni Pizza Bar
This sleek, three-storey pizza bar keeps things simple. The pared-back menu is typical of authentic, fuss-free Italian cuisine. Thin pizza bases come with blistered crusts and only four or five toppings, carefully selected to create well-balanced spins on old classics.
The San Daniele contains bocconcini, prosciutto, oregano and rocket. The most expensive Pizza, the Prosciutto Tartufo, is an aroma bomb thanks to truffle cream, truffle oil, parmesan, mushrooms, prosciutto, rocket and mozzarella.
Although it isn't overly advertised, almost all menu items can be adapted to be gluten-free, with special pizza bases available on request. Likewise, vegetarians are well catered for, with options beyond the basic Margherita.
A selection of cured meats and mozzarella makes for good grazing options, especially if you’re just after a light meal and a beer or glass of wine on the open-air rooftop. In summer, it’s a good place to be, with a pretty view of the adjacent church, Immaculate Conception. Pasta and larger mains round out the offering.
This refined approach to modern-Italian cooking is delivered in a tongue-in-cheek package, with suggestive branding and flirtatious signage. The coasters read, "I got it from my Nonna", and the walls are lined with black-and-white imagery of ’60s Italian babes in retro swimwear.
Takeaway Pizza by name, takeaway pizza by nature. From the same team as premium sandwich shop Nico's, their motto is “no fuss...just pizza, beer and good times”, which sums the place up pretty well.
The specialty here is giant, New York-style pizza slices, backed up with tropical cocktails and a whole lot of swagger. Our fave is a vego spin-off: Baked Eggplant with Za’atar, pomegranate and lemon yoghurt. Regardless of your taste, some of the best American Pizza in Melbourne can be found here.
You may remember this Lygon Street pizzeria when it was known as La Bussola, an Italian restaurant that changed very little over the decades. With its charmingly outdated shiny brown floor tiles, exposed brick walls and chunky chandeliers, it came to represent an old guard of Brunswick eateries – the sort of place you'd rely on for a quick takeaway or a mid-week dinner down the road.
Beyond the neon-crowned shopfront, nothing much has changed about Compass Pizza. The new owners are the crew behind Northcote’s Wesley Anne and Edinburgh Castle. Even the name – the English translation of La Bussola – is a statement of intent to update, not overhaul, an old favourite. As a result, the space remains unapologetically old-school, with classic vinyl tunes stirring suburban family pizza nights memories.
But while the fit-out is refreshingly no-frills, you’re here for chef Joseph Nauer’s great Italian fare. The menu is classic to its bones, save for a few contemporary touches, like the option of vegan cheese and gluten-free bases and the announcement of organic and free-range produce. However, even most of the prices are from a few decades back.
The crowd is fairly low-key: the deeply etched tables are occupied by a mix of feasting families, budgeting date-nighters and other young, inner north types. Sure, there mightn’t be much new or shiny about it, but Compass Pizza serves as a neat reminder that kicking it old-school has plenty of perks.
It's versatile enough to serve as a quick bite before or after a meal, or even as a late-night treat. Our go-to comfort food, this combines fluffy crusts with hearty tomato sauce and crisp vegetables. We've sampled pizza all over Melbourne, and these are our 15 favourite spots, in no particular order. We've also researched their delivery options so that you can order the best slice of pie even if you're stuck inside.
FAQs About Pizza In Melbourne
Some of Melbourne’s best pizzerias are joining the ranks of Supermaxi in Fitzroy North. Owned by the OG chef and co-owner of Ladro, Rita Macali, this place serves wood-fired Pizza that looks fresh off a pizza peel in Naples.
Old-school Pizza seems to be having a renaissance in Melbourne, and we are here for it. With a nice crispy base, generous toppings, and cheese for days, it's got a pizza our heart. So, let's go all-in; here's a list of where to get the best Pizza Melbourne has to offer.
400 Gradi, Brunswick East, other locations. 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.