The indignities done to this humble Italian food can't be underestimated. But Brisbane is finally starting to appreciate pizza made with a less-is-more approach and quality ingredients. A lick of flame from a wood-burning oven doesn't hurt either. Here are 10 of Brisbane's best pizzerias if you're looking for something beyond a thin and crispy meat lovers.
The original and some say still the best, supported by its longevity in the fickle "next big thing" world of hospitality. Pizzas come in both "bianco" (without tomato sauce) and "rosso" (with tomato sauce) and there are more than a baker's dozen on offer; from a classic margherita to a punchy 'nduja topped with spicy soft salami, roast peppers, basil and pecorino cheese.
10 Vernon Terrace, Newstead, 07 3666 0207, beccofino.com.au
Everything about this place screams Italian from the black and white prints of piazzas and Vespas on the wall, to the giant jar of Nutella on the pass. Expect the real thing – pizza with puffed, chewy crust. Toppings range from the pared-back traditional such as translucent slices of prosciutto, mozzarella and a tangle of rocket, to a heartier boscaiola – pork and fennel sausage, mushrooms, mozzarella and red onions. There's also pizza by the half metre to share with a choice of two toppings.
191 Musgrave Road, Red Hill, 07 3369 7417, collerosso.com.au
Coppa's pizzas come as perfectly proportioned lunch or pre-dinner-friendly "pizzetta". They may be smaller, but they're still made with the same amount of care in the traditional tiled wood-fired oven. There are seven in total, each simple and elegant with no more than four toppings; from a simple Coppa (pecorino and rocket), to an artichoke, olive, anchovy and salsa verde. Perfect with a negroni.
88 Creek Street, Brisbane, 07, 3221 3548, coppaspuntino.com
The wood-fired oven dominates the entry of this friendly suburban Italian where the pizza is as authentic as the staff's accents. Topping ingredients, such as prosciutto, fior di latte mozzarella and olives are gratifyingly top-shelf. Equal dedication is given to the dough, resulting in a light, chewy, foldable crust.
21 Nash Street, Rosalie, 07 33682122, illocaleitalian.com.au
The Number 1 (tomato, fior di latte, basil and prosciutto di Parma) is a great expression of Julius' faithfully rendered Naples-style pizza. The menu is divided by rosso and bianco – about nine of the former and six of the latter – supplemented by a weekly pizza special. Crusts are chewy and charry, and toppings, such as mozzarella, bocconcini, anchovies, capers, olives and oregano on the Siciliana, are judicious in quantity to avoid the dreaded soggy centre.
77 Grey Street, Corner Fish Lane, South Brisbane, 07 3844 2655, juliuspizzeria.com.au
The newest venue to fire up the traditional pizza oven, Mister Paganini has a primo pizzaiolo, with award-winning Youssef Ben Touati in charge of the menu's pizza section. There are 10 in total: five pizza "in bianco" and five "rosso", with traditional toppings such as Salsicce (sausage, truffle and onion) and margherita.
174 Grey Street, South Bank, 07 3844 855, misterpaganini.com.au
The mosaic-tiled wood-fired pizza oven dominates the space at Violetta where a flour-dusted pizzaiolo produces perfect pizza at a cracking pace. Available in both regular and gluten-free versions, Violetta's pizzas are as authentic as anything you'd find in Naples, from charry-crusted margherita to spicy pork and pancetta.
10 Wongabel Street, Kenmore, 07 3378 2533, pizzeriavioletta.com.au (with a second pizzeria set to open in Paddington)
Sorellina's claim to "take pizza seriously" starts with the dough. It's cold-risen for 36 hours, hand-shaped and topped with no more than five ingredients (although add-ons are available). More than half the offerings are vegetarian, from a zucchini, ricotta, mozzarella, olive and mint number, to rosemary, basil, oregano, garlic oil, ricotta and mozzarella, but there's plenty for meat lovers too, including prosciutto, spicy salami and more.
31 Logan Road, Woolloongabba, 07 3391 8459, sorellinapizzeria.com
Sugo probably runs through the veins of Tartufo owner Tony Percuoco who hails from Naples, the birthplace of pizza. Tartufo unsurprisingly sticks to the traditional, the fiercely hot wood-fired oven produces properly chewy cornone (outer crust) with authentic toppings. Not only will you find no trace of pineapple, don't expect to see seafood or cheese on your marinara either.
Emporium, 1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, 07 3852 1500, tartufo.com.au
A locally built wood-fired oven complete with viewing window dominates Tinderbox's interior. Pleasantly smoky notes infuse the bubbled, chewy crust made with organic, stone-ground Australian flour. The popular pizzas fly out of the oven, and while the offerings are not broad, each is exactingly made with premium toppings, from the house special featuring Mooloolaba prawns, to a spicy Diavola.
31 James Street, Fortitude Valley, 07 3852 3744, tinderbox.com.au