Sure it shares the same name as the first I Carusi in Brunswick East (and originally they were both pizzaiola Pietro Barbagallo operations), but the the two restaurants, these days, have quite a different feel. For a start, it’s stepped up a notch here with white linen tablecloths, then the altogether snappy Barkly Street frontage makes the mood here less industrial. But whatever the differences, we come here for the pizzas, the crispy thin bases with a fine balance of quality toppings are sheer 12-inch bliss and labeled "artisan" for good reason.
It can be tricky to get a seat if most of St Kilda gets hungry at the same time as you, but delayed gratification only adds to the thrill of a Caprese (fiore di latte and sopressa) or a No. 26 (gorgonzola, leeks and mozzarella), so it’s worth the occasional wait.
Exposed timber beams, provincial style fittings, a certain hubbub to the neatly packed space and a flux in service styles make for a relaxed pizza experience. But it’s open views to the servery and kitchen – allowing a good old squiz at trays of toppings and freshly thrown dough – that really set the scene here.
Whether you eat in or take away; I Carusi II is a contender for some of the best pizza in town. There’s also a bar upstairs where you can sit and wait for your table.