Despite the sheer amount of choice in London, a truly great pizza can be hard to come by. But there’s no need to settle for second rate. Whether you’re looking for an authentic Neapolitan number or a quick Roman pizza to take away, here are the places to go across the capital fort the best pizza in London.
The passion project of two pizza-mad north Londoners, Pizzeria Apollo came to life in 2015 after the founders became tired of the lack of good pizza in their neck of the woods. Most of their budget went into the pizza oven, which was shipped from Naples, and it shows. Pizzas here are flash-cooked, for the authentic charred crust and runny middle, and come with a limited selection of toppings – just like in Naples. Just like the menu, the space is also back-to-basics, with long wooden tables and low lighting.
Go here for: oozy, gooey Neapolitan pizzas, served with a compact wine list. Come with friends, bag a long table and settle in.
160 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 7JL pizzeriaapollo.com
An under-the-radar favourite of many north Londoners, you’ll have to travel to leafy Crouch End or Kensal Green for one of these. Staffed by Neapolitans, and hosting hefty authentic pizza ovens shipped straight from the mother land, Sacro Cuore is the kind of low key, yet unbelievably tasty, joint that you want to keep to yourself. But we’re generous, and so it’s made the list anyway. As well as a comprehensive list of toppings, plus the kind of crisp-yet-soggy dough that’s straight out of Naples, they also do a great line in Italian gelato and homemade tiramisu.
Go here for: a low key first or fiftieth date – it’ll impress either way.
45 Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Green, NW10 3NB; 10 Crouch End Hill, N8 8AA sacrocuore.co.uk
Although you can’t move for sourdough pizzerias in London, one that stands out from the chain-eatery crowd is Theo’s. The independent pizzeria opened its doors in Camberwell in 2015, instantly wooing locals with its concise menu of real Neapolitan pizzas on wood-fired sourdough bases. And it’s a recipe that’s proving popular: a second branch just opened Elephant & Castle in late 2018, testament to the success of Theo’s dedication to simple dishes, locally-sourced ingredients and well-priced menu. If you’re in Camberwell at lunchtime, then check out their panuozzo – basically pizza sandwiches, stuffed with meat and cheese. The afternoon carb coma will be well worth it.
Go here for: crisp-yet-pillowy sourdough pizzas, simple ingredients and a low-key atmosphere.
2 Grove Lane, London SE5 8SY, theospizzeria.com
East London’s favourite pizzeria more than lives up to the hype. What started as a supper club, with a pizza oven in co-founder Johnnie Tate’s back garden, now takes in four restaurants across east and north London. Its stone-baked pizzas, with toppings that run the gamut from traditional to new fangled (vegans are well-served at Yard Sale), come paired with local craft beers and ice cream sandwiches for dessert. A simple equation, but one that’s won many hearts and minds out east.
Go here for: The winning pizza and beer combo – great for a Friday night.
Across London, yardsalepizza.com
Starting life in 2011 as a street food stall, Homeslice has grown to encompass six locations throughout London. Founded by New Zealander Ry Jessup and Mark Wogan (son of Terry), the pizzeria serves up huge 20” pizzas from its wood-fired ovens whole or by the slice, featuring toppings that you probably wouldn’t find in Naples – spiced lamb, savoy cabbage and sumac yoghurt is one favourite, while kimchi, porcini cream and basil is another. Pizza purists might be dismayed, but for everyone else Homeslice is the place to head for a pizza to share after work. The accompanying menu of much-loved cocktails – mojitos and margaritas feature heavily – and local craft beers round off its down-to-earth feel.
Go here for: Tasty new flavour combinations in sharing-friendly sizes.
Across London, homeslicepizza.co.uk
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Often cited as the best pizzeria in the world, Neapolitan establishment L’Antica shot to prominence in the 2010 Julia Roberts film Eat, Pray, Love. The restaurant, which has been feeding hungry Neapolitans since 1870, descended on these shores back in February 2017, when it opened its much-anticipated first London branch in Stoke Newington. A second spot has now opened in Baker Street to replace the first, and queues can regularly be seen snaking around the block. Despite the tourists, it’s well worth a visit.
Go here for: the real deal. Think perfectly puffed, slightly charred crusts, and superbly sloppy middles.
199 Baker Street, Marylebone, London NW1 6UY, anticapizzeriadamichele.co.uk
This successful London pizza chain was founded by Thom Elliott and his brother James after a six-week tour of Italy in an old Piaggio Ape van in September 2011. Inspired by the verdant produce and delicious food they found there, they transformed said van into a food truck, popping up around London’s food markets and serving their take on authentic Neapolitan pizza. Fast forward seven years, and the brothers have six branches and a dedicated fanbase who return time and time again for their pizza.
Go here for: the short, but well-considered menu of pizza toppings, all sourced from fine Italian suppliers. Also top-notch negronis, which always hit the spot.
Across London, pizzapilgrims.co.uk
Although Naples claims to be the originator, there are different versions of great pizza all over Italy too. Rome’s interpretation, for example, is thin, crispy and made for eating on the go. Pizza Union has taken this ethos and run with it in London, opening several branches that sell super-fast, super-cheap pizza to hungry passers-by. You can see your pizza assembled before your very eyes, before it’s whisked into the large oven and fired for a matter of mere minutes.
Go here for: a quick, tasty pit-stop to refuel while gallery hopping, or as a casual meet-up with friends.
Across London, pizzaunion.com