When 400 Gradi first opened in 2008 on Lygon Street, Brunswick East, owner Johnny Di Francesco had already dedicated himself to the rules of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN, or The True Neapolitan Pizza Association), widely considered the world authority on traditional Neapolitan pizza-making.

From that first tiny Brunswick East eatery, there are now 400 Gradi siblings in Essendon, Eastland in Ringwood and at Crown Casino. Internationally, you’ll find 400 Gradis in the Middle East, New Zealand, and on board P&O’s Pacific Explorer cruise ship.

The Yarra Valley outpost is on the estate of Rochford Wines, a winery and cellar door that’s hosted Hot Dub Wine Machine and a Day on the Green.

The industrial-style design of the diner features blond plywood, steel beams and concrete finishes. On warm days, the floor-to-ceiling glass panels open, the roof retracts and the sun streams in. Or head upstairs to the loft-style mezzanine for a smaller, more intimate setting.

Expect traditional woodfired pizza including the famed margherita that won Di Francesco World Pizza Champion in 2014. It’s cooked for just 90 seconds in a 400-degree Marana Forni oven. The result is a slightly charred, chewy base, topped with sweet San Marzano tomatoes and creamy, rich fior di latte. The Diavola comes with spicy salami and peppery rocket, and the quattro formaggi is loaded with fior di latte, grana Padano, Emmental and gorgonzola.

There’s also salumi; a slow-cooked lamb ragu with pappardelle; clam linguine; and croutons topped with anchovy, tomato, whipped ricotta and capers.

For dessert, try the three cannoli (vanilla, pistachio and ricotta), or the Nutella calzone.

There’s a predictable amount of Rochford drops, and a few from sister winery Toolangi.

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Updated: January 22nd, 2019

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