brisbanetimes.com.au readers gave varied and passionate responses when asked to name Brisbane's best pizza.
Choosing what makes a perfect pizza comes down, like all things, to your definition of ‘perfect’. For some, that means a thick, crusty base, piled high with toppings and smothered in cheese. For others, it means a chewy, crispy base, with a simple topping of tomato, mozzarella and not much else.
When we asked brisbanetimes.com.au readers last week who makes Brisbane’s best pizza, we expected a passionate, varied response ... and that’s exactly what we got.
We added up the votes to find the top five most recommended pizza-makers in Brisbane, then had the tough, tough job of reviewing each of them. The most-voted for, in descending order, were:
- Sugo Mi, Bulimba
- Pizza Capers, outlets throughout Brisbane
- Beccofino, Teneriffe
- Schonell Pizza Caffe, St Lucia
- Posh Pizza, New Farm
- Il Forno, Sandgate
- Vespa Pizza, outlets in New Farm and Woolloongabba
- Naples Pizza, Ashgrove
- La Via, South Bank
- A tie: Capri, Fortitude Valley; Tomato Brothers, chain; Kookaburra Cafe, Paddington; Il Corso Trattoria, Sandgate.
We reviewed the top five, which can be grouped roughly into two: the traditionalists, modelled on classic Italian pizza, and the modernists, who offer pizzas with everything from Peking duck to corn chips.
Here’s how they scored.
This Oxford Street restaurant is so devoted to pizza it takes it name from one of its key ingredients - sugo, an Italian tomato sauce that forms the base of their ‘rosso’ (red) pizzas. They also offer ‘bianca’ (white pizzas). Combinations include the classic margherita (sugo, bocconcini, basil and extra-virgin olive oil) and porca vacca (sugo, pancetta, gorgonzola, double cream and rocket) on the rosso list; zucca (roast pumpkin, pine nuts, goats cheese, mozzarella, rosemary, balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil) and ravello (leg ham, mozzarella, spinach, hazlenuts and truffled honey) on the bianca list - 14 combinations in total, ranging from $19.90 to $25.90.
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday from 5pm; Sunday from 11.30am.
Location: 3/190 Oxford Street, Bulimba. Phone (07) 3395 6327 or visit sugomi.com.au.
Pizza reviewed: Proscuitto, with sugo, proscuitto crudo, bocconcini, rocket and parmigiano-reggiano, $23.90.
Toppings: 5/5. Top-quality ingredients, great balance of flavours.
Base: 4/5. Chewy, crispy and blackened on the bottom, just like they are in Italy.
Menu: 5/5. Great choices, traditional with some inspired combinations.
Total: 14/15. As close to traditional Italian pizza as you’ll get in Brisbane.
One of Brisbane’s upmarket pizza chains, Pizza Capers offers a staggering 28 menu combinations. This is one for those who want unusual toppings packed on: a Thai barramundi and prawn comes with roasted capsicum, red onion, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, shallots, prawns, barramundi, sweet chilli sauce, coriander, lime and lemon, while a Gulf of Mexico includes Black Angus marinated rump, salsa, nacho beans, olives, jalapenos, mozzarella, red onion, sour cream, chives and guacamole. Prices range from $15.95 for a regular to $20.95 for a large.
Opening hours: Vary, but generally midday-3pm and 4.30pm-9pm daily.
Location: Stores all over Brisbane including Chelmer, Annerley, Camp Hill, Toowong and Spring Hill. Phone 134 74992 or visit pizzacapers.com.au.
Pizza reviewed: Roasted Beetroot, with proscuitto, mozzarella, feta, red onion, roasted beetroot, rocket, parmesan, pine nuts and balsamic glaze, large for $19.95.
Toppings: 3/5. With all those ingredients, we expected it to pack more of a flavour punch.
Base: 3/5. Crusty and medium-thick, a better version of standard pizza-chain bases.
Menu: 5/5. An incredible range of combinations, trying to offer something for all tastes.
Total: 11/15. You wouldn’t call it traditional, but a lot of Brisbaneites love it.
This Italian restaurant in inner-city Teneriffe offers pizza much in the same style as across the river at Sugo Mi - top-quality ingredients, simple combinations, traditional Italian bases, split into red and white-base offerings, as Sugo does. A 'rosso' Salsiccie pizza includes tomato, mozzarella, pork and fennel sausage, mushrooms, chilli and rocket, while a 'bianche' funghi porcini has mozzarella, asiago cheese, porchini, mushrooms and thyme. Twelve combinations, from $20 to $21.50. Takeway pizzas are available off the restaurant menu for an extra $1 for the box.
Opening hours: Tuesday-Thursday 5.30pm-late; Friday-Sunday noon-late.
Location:10 Vernon Terrace, Newstead. Phone (07) 3666 0207 or visit beccofino.com.au
Pizza reviewed: Lonza, with tomato, mozzarella, pumpkin and cured pork loin, $20.50.
Toppings: 5/5. Beautifully fresh, deli-quality ingredients, and a simple, full-of-flavour combination.
Base: 4/5. Crispy, thin, freshly made - nearly perfect.
Menu: 5/5. With a list like this, it doesn't need to be any longer.
Total: 14/15. Rivals Sugo Mi for Italian-style authenticity.
PIZZA CAFFE, UQ
UQ alumni are passionate about the pizza place at the university's Schonell cinema. The cute menu lists 26 combations, named after an A-Z of Italian cinema (the Sophia Loren has baby spinach, garlic, black olives and blue cheese while a Fellini is a simple combination of smoked salmon and mozzarella). You'll jostle for a spot with students finding an pleasant alternative to ECON1010 if you decide to eat in. The pizzas are small but reasonably priced - $14 to $16, with discounts for students and staff and $10 pizzas on Sundays.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 9am-9pm; Saturday noon-8.30pm; Sunday noon-5pm.
Location: Union Complex, Union Road, University of Queensland, St Lucia. Phone (07) 3377 2988 or visit schonell.com.
Pizza reviewed: Pasolini, with pancetta, roasted potato, rosemary parmigiano cheese.
Toppings: 4/5. Well-balanced, generally good quality, but parmesan-in-a-jar is a let-down.
Base: 4/5. Thin and crispy, but very pale and could have been cooked longer.
Menu: 4/5. Plenty to choose from with simple combinations.
Total: 12/15. Not your typical student hang-out, it's worth a trip back to university.
Posh Pizza takes what chains like Pizza Capers are doing and goes one well-heeled step further with an unashamedly 'posh' menu brimming with ingredients like goat's cheese, Australian bugs and pine nuts. Peking Duck includes hoisin sauce, coriander, mozzarella, roasted duck breast, cucumber and shallot salad, while Posh Pumpkin combines zucchini ribbons, olive oil, balsamic onions, taleggio, mozzarella, roasted pumpkin and pine nuts for a pizza that's no standard vegetarian token offering. Prices from $14.95 to $20.95.
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 4.30pm-9.30pm; Friday-Sunday 12pm-2pm and 4.30pm-10pm.
Location: 6/710 Brunswick Street, New Farm. Phone (07) 3254 1677 or visit poshpizza.com.
Pizza reviewed: Chilli Bug, with chilli confit, roma tomatoes, sauteed onion, parsley, mozzarella and bug.
Toppings: 4/5. The ingredients were fresh, the seafood generous and flavours well-balanced.
Base: 3/5. Similar to Pizza Capers' upmarket pizza-chain base.
Menu: 5/5. Superb range and some truly original offerings.
Total: 12/15. It's something completely different in Brisbane's pizza market.