Il Pizzaiolo

“Eel pits.say.oh.loh.” The writing is on the wall at Il Pizzaiolo, quite literally. Diners gain an Italian lesson in authenticity and pronunciation at this traditional pizzeria, which proves more Naples, less Thornbury.

You may need a map to find the place, but it’s all worthwhile once you’re tucking into a San Marzano tomato-based Margherita, which takes the form of a buffalo mozzarella-oozing disc, piping hot and tantalising to the tastebuds.

A thin base – rosse or bianchi – is pliable and yet holds its form, even when held at right angles. These pizzas defy culinary logic. Their compact wine list has an astute underpinning, including great drops like a Port Phillip Estate Quartier Arneis and a Tuscan Poliziano Chianti.

Even early on a Saturday evening, wearing a beseeching smile would be an asset in landing a table overlooking maestro Francesco Deni in action. Frank, as he is known to the locals, gained his pizza doctorate from Vera Pizza Napolitana. No further embellishment required.

Updated: May 12th, 2022

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