Opening a pizzeria was always part of the game plan for Francesco Stella, a former attacking midfielder for local and international clubs including Glasgow Rangers, Siena FC, Sisaket FC, Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners.

Classe 90 uses Caputo flour from Naples for its thin-crust pizza bases. The dough is left to rest for a minimum of 24 hours, depending on the weather. The pizza line-up includes margherita, marinara, ortolana, the token San Daniele and the squad’s newest addition, La Mediterranea – with all the colours and flavours of the Mediterranean coastline.

Along with the 14 other pizzas on the menu and a rotating pizza special, Stella prides himself on his fried pizza dough. The pizzette fritte entrée is four servings of fried dough topped with buffalo mozzarella and thinly sliced prosciutto. For dessert, it’s a bowl of 20-cent-piece-sized dough balls coated in Nutella, strawberries and nuts.

The majority of the products used are imported from Italy. Wines come from Enoteca Sileno in Carlton, and Caffe Trombetta beans are used in a variety of coffee-based drinks, including the crema di caffe – a coffee slushie.

Architect Mario Di Natale, Stella’s family friend, helped turn the former catering kitchen into a restaurant. A distinct feature is the wood-fired oven, coated in terracotta-red mosaic tiles, with the restaurant’s name in black. It took four days to stick all the tiles down. An exposed brick courtyard with pitched roof and wooden beams doubles as a 60-seat dining area and function space.

Classe 90 is an Italian term for soccer players born in the ’90s (Stella was born in 1991). True to the theme, Serie A – a radio show dedicated to every aspect of Italian football – can often be heard over the crackle of the wood-fired oven and the Italian banter.

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Updated: November 22nd, 2018

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