Madre Lievito opened in August 2019 in the former Feliciano site on Gilbert Street.

Step onto swish pink-marble tiles and move through blush-pink surrounds that slope up to an all-blue kitchen. There, a Madre (Virgin Mary) statue takes pride of place (alongside a second, which chef Ettore Bertonati bought to look over the kitchen).

It’s from the same crew as Pizzateca, but the pies here have more in common with the pizzas of Bertonati’s hometown Naples than Pizzateca’s “Oztalian” ones. The dough combines Tipo 00 flour, Tipo 1 wholegrain flour, seawater (imported from the Mediterranean) and a sourdough starter – and its salt content is almost half of that in conventional dough. Then there’s the sauce – at Madre Lievito (Italian for "mother dough") the sauce is canned San Marzano tomatoes, hand-crushed and salted – that’s it. What results is fresh, and acidic.

The pizzas are minimally topped: choose between a classic marinara or margherita; a pork sausage and fried eggplant number; and more. The pizza montenara is something you won’t find at many other pizzerias around town. The dough is half-cooked in the deep-fryer, topped, then finished off in the Naples-imported wood oven (which also turns out sourdough made with seawater). Get it with Napoletana sauce, fior di latte and basil; slow cooked beef, onion and pecorino; or mortadella, ricotta and pistachio crumble. There’s also a single monthly pasta dish.

The drinks list is a manageable one. Wines are Italian-made or Italian varietals, locally made, and all come by the glass and bottle. And the tight Italo-centric cocktail list leans on local spirits.

Updated: May 7th, 2022

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