Woodstock Pizzicheria Essendon
Tony Cannata's family has been pumping out pizza-pies since arriving in Melbourne in the 1920s. They opened the first Woodstock Pizzicheria, now a small chain of pizza restaurants across the city, in 1994. The Essendon location joins branches in Brunswick East and Chadstone.
At Woodstock, the pizza is a little bit different to Melbourne's typical offerings. While the likes of 400 Gradi and D.O.C dish out classic slices of Neapolitan-style pizza; Woodstock opts for the Roman variety, which has a thinner, crispier crust. On top of that, the Cannata family comes from Sicily, so the focus at Woodstock is to showcase flavours from the Mediterranean island.
Anchovies, prawns and mussels get a lot of attention across both the "pizza" and "not-pizza" selections. Flavours from the rest of Italy also get a look in: San Marzano tomatoes are used for the bases of the pizze rosse (red bases), while San Daniele prosciutto, eggplant parmigiana and risotto with mushrooms all round out a large pan-Italian menu.
An accessible wine list keeps the focus on Italian drops, with sangiovese and moscato on tap. There's also a classic line-up of Peronis, Negronis, spritzes and Chinottos to drink.
The fit-out is bright. Blue and turquoise mosaic tiling covers most walls; the rest are brick painted in crisp white. The seats are all wooden and the tabletops are all marbled. Eat indoors or alfresco.