Adelaide hasn’t been lacking for great pizza. Whether you’re ride-or-die for traditional Neapolitan or enjoy a crunchy biscuit-y base, require your pies to be wood-fired or fancy an electric oven, or prefer minimal or maximum toppings, there’s a slice to suit every taste (even the gluten-intolerant). But Adelaide’s dining scene isn’t done with the doughy discs yet; 2019 saw an influx of new pizza places, and we’re not complaining. Here are five new restaurants to try.
Pizza menus mean decision-making. How many? What size? What toppings? Newly opened Blue Velvet – an artisan pizzeria and pastry lab in one – offers another unique consideration: dough type. Its pizzas come in two sizes, each made using distinctly different dough. The smaller, eleven-inch round bases are noticeably lighter and crunchier, the result of a pre-fermentation method – the biga method – that takes 72 to 90 hours, and sees yeast added at the beginning along with two types of flour and water. For the larger, rectangular alla palla pizzas, yeast is added during the second resting stage – making dough that’s “more elastic, smooth and fluffy,” according to owner-chef Paolo Rosina.
As for the toppings, choose from combinations like Tasmanian cold-smoked salmon with mozzarella, rocket, cherry tomato and chives; or vegetarian and vegan options including a six-“cheese” pizza, and one with asparagus, sautéed leek, Swiss mushrooms and olive oil. All are baked in an Italian-made Moretti electric pizza oven (which Rosina says cooks more evenly than wood-fired varieties), and all are worth a return-trip – during which you must try the Dragon Chai-tea tiramisu, too.
“This is a restaurant for everybody,” Duncan Welgemoed says of new Italian bistro Aces Pizza & Liquor. “It’s an Italian family restaurant like you had in the ’70s and ’80s, [before] everyone either got too posh or too serious.” The former sports bar and bistro – which used to be called Aces Bar & Bistro – has been run by Enzo Fantasia since 1993. Now under the stewardship of his son Andrew (who also runs the wine label Hustle & Vine), the Market Plaza site has received a makeover and a menu overhaul courtesy of Welgemoed, who’s come on board as executive chef.
The menu features largely Italian and American-Italian classics, with a few curveballs thrown in. This includes 10-inch pizzas, which are divided into two categories: Old School (including a marinara dubbed Legalize Marinara) and New School (including the spicy Napoli Dynamite, the ham-and-pineapple Tropic Thunder and the self-explanatory Back to the Funghi). The movie puns were left off the pasta menu, which features cavatelli ragu bolognaise; Mario Carbone’s spicy rigatoni; and capellini “Golden Century” with prawns in garlic butter, which is inspired by the famous Golden Century dish – snow crab with garlic butter on egg noodles – served up in Sydney.
At this sequel to McLaren Vale’s Pizzateca, all of the pizza dough is made using seawater flown in from the Mediterranean. A bit extra, sure. But there’s method to the madness; firstly, it’s illegal to use local seawater, and secondly, Mediterranean seawater has a different salinity to what laps our own shores. The final product at Madre is one of the best pizzas around. It’s Naples-born chef Ettore Bertonati’s baby, made with a mother, or madre (sourdough starter) he’s fed weekly since moving to Australia in 2012. It’s lighter, softer, and, according to Bertonati, easier to digest than other Neapolitan pies.
Highlights include a fior di latte-topped margherita and a pork sausage and fried eggplant number. There’s also deep-fried calzones, a monthly pasta dish and pizza montanara, for which the dough is half-cooked in the deep-fryer, topped, then finished off in the woodfired oven. It all comes in a very pretty pastel-pink and -blue dining room, designed in collaboration with Chris Rowlands from RAD-Studio.
After sitting dormant and boarded up for years, Caos Cafe’s former digs on Hindley Street’s western end is buzzing with activity thanks to new hospitality group One Block West. The 300-square-metre corner site re-opened in August as Stem, a sprawling 180-seat wine bar and restaurant. The food leans Mediterranean, with a focus on woodfired pizzas, flanked by plates of, perhaps, oven-baked osso buco gnocchi; broccoli hummus with charred broccoli and chilli jam; or a knockout honey-and-nut tart served with olive-oil gelato.
The open kitchen is presided over by head chef Mike Proud (ex-Osteria Oggi) and pizzaiolo Jake Haughton (Est), who’s turning out new-school pies such as pumpkin, fior di latte, pesto and white anchovy; barbequed jackfruit with tahini and rocket; and pulled pork shoulder with roasted fennel, fior di latte and rhubarb chutney – all fired in the Italian-made wood oven. “He’s developed his own style,” says Proud of Haughton’s pizzas. “It’s not Napoli or Roman … It’s his own dough recipe, and his own technique for hand-stretching it.” The team has also introduced “pet-nat and pizza Tuesdays” for the duration of summer – get glasses of some of Australia’s best pet-nat producers and a pizza for just $25, every Tuesday in February.
Last year brothers Mattis and Lukas Vanzati (from the family behind New Nordic, Malobo, Swedish Tarts and Hermanos Cubanos) overhauled the old Sandbar site in Henley Square to become Seamore’s, a modern take on the classic seaside surf club, which opened in December. The result is an approachable space for diners and imbibers of all stripes. “You’re more than welcome to come here and just have a beer or a cocktail,” says Mattis. But with chef Chris Zechmeister (ex-Enzo’s) turning out a menu described as “New York-Italian meets Australian surf club”, you’d be missing half the point.
Neapolitan-ish pizzas, with a thin base and puffy, chewy, lightly charred crust, plus house-made pastas and hoagie sandwiches comprise the bulk of the menu. The pizzas – simply listed on the menu as #1 through #8 – reinforce the venue’s focus on approachability, with familiar favourites such as margherita, four-cheese, and smoked ham and pineapple with smoked scamorza. There’s also a bottomless Bellinis and pizzas deal, available for $49 (over two hours) until 3pm each day.