Arguably one of the most versatile dishes out there, pizza holds a special place in the hearts of people all over the world. Sure, history tells us that pizza is first believed to have originated in Italy (way back in 1889), but it has since gone on to be adopted in some way, shape or form by pretty much every city across the globe.
London is no exception, where pizza is a favourite among students (kudos to the Domino’s marketing team), a staple of house parties and a fixture on various restaurants around the city, Italian or otherwise. You see, pizza may not be glamourous or particularly healthy, but it has satisfied the cavernous appetites of hungry London foodies for decades now. Who doesn’t like pizza? The insane, that’s who. Whether you are drunk, starving or just craving cheese, tomato and dough, pizza provides.
If you fancy throwing out some pizza based fun facts at your next social gathering, why not let your pals know that pizza is thought to be a cousin of flatbreads such as focaccia, or that up until the early 20th century, it was actually considered a sweet dish, rather than the savoury delight we know it as today. If it’s legitimate London pizza restaurant recommendations you are after, we have plenty of those too. In fact, the capital is full of great options for pizza, ranging from cheap and cheerful by-the-slice operations to upmarket Mayfair Italians where your pizza pie will arrive topped with an avalanche of truffle shavings. Whichever kind of pizza is your favourite, we think it’s about time we all raise a glass to one of the world’s most popular dishes, and get ourselves down to one of the delicious restaurants below, which serve up some of the best pizza in London.
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Traditional pizza in London
Pizza has taken on all sorts of styles and forms in London, but some people think pizza is at its best when it’s kept simple and classic. If you’re one such person, you’ll love these restaurants which serve traditional pizza.
50 Kaló di Ciro Salvo
What: Ciro Salvo’s debut London pizzeria continues to carry the British torch for the original in Naples. While this restaurant’s eclectic interiors are not to everyone’s taste, the pizza definitely is. Each pizza has a soft and thin Neapolitan-style base with crispy outer edges and charring marks. Toppings include carbonara, lasagne, and Bianca with ham and mushrooms, as well as many more.
Where: 7 Northumberland Avenue, WC2N 5BY
Portobello Ristorante Pizzeria
What: Portobello Ristorante Pizzeria is all about keeping its pizza traditional. The sourdough is left to rise for 48 hours and cooked in an artisan Italian oven. Its pizza is also sold by the metre, a Neapolitan tradition. Half a metre is enough for two people and one metre will feed four. All the classics are available including, quattro formaggi, romana and diavola.
Where: 7 Ladbroke Road, W11 3PA
What: A relaxed neighbourhood joint which is big on authenticity, Vernedi focuses on classic Italian comfort food. In contrast, the interior is industrial-chic with distressed wooden tables and low hanging lights. Pizzas from a wood burning oven mean perfectly crisp dough and that they are firmly the stars of the show. The calzone with ham, spinach, mushroom and pepperoni is not to be missed.
Where: 9 Chatsworth Road, E5 0LH
What: Another Italian that looks to Naples for inspiration, Quartieri produces large, sourdough pizzas with plenty of toppings. The pizzas here favour fior di latte over mozzarella, which they source from the Agerola municipality in Naples. The pizza menu has two sides – one focusing on the classics (Margherita and Diavola) and ‘something a little different’, which includes a pistachio pesto pizza.
Where: 300 Kilburn High Road, NW6 2DB
What: The original Holloway branch of this pizzeria opened in 2016 with great results. Now with an additional restaurant in Brook Green, Zia Lucia has quite the following. Its pizzas are 48-hour slow fermented and offer four different types of dough: vegetable charcoal, wholemeal, gluten-free and traditional. Pizza toppings includes the ‘Speck-tacular’ with gongorzola, pecorino and smoked ham.
Where: 61 Blythe Road, W14 0HP; 157 Holloway Road, N7 8LX; Unit 1a, 12 Piazza Walk, E1 8ZH
L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele
What: Made famous by the film Eat Pray Love (starring Hollywood royalty Julia Roberts), this pizza chain already has one London site on Baker Street, with a second one in the works for Soho. Expect a concise menu which includes pizzas such as a half-and-half combination of margherita and marinara, and a fried pizza which is topped with salami, pressed pork and ricotta cheese.
Where: 199 Baker Street, NW1 6UY; 44 Old Compton Street, W1D 4TY
What: With two sites in London (Chelsea and Fitzrovia), Santa Maria is a no-bookings pizza restaurant which packs a serious punch. Pizzas are made using Neapolitan-style bases and cooked in a wood-fired oven, with all of the varieties being served alongside extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil leaves. Choose from toppings such as ‘nduja, Parma ham and rare breed Yorkshire sausage.
Where: 92-94 Waterford road, SW6 2HA; 160 New Cavendish Street, W1W 6YR
The Bird in Hand
What: Its name may make it sound like an old-school boozer, but The Bird in Hand is actually a rather cosy little eatery. The Italian-leaning menu features cicchetti and pasta, but the pizzas are our favourites. All of them are made using a traditional tomato and mozzarella base, but toppings vary from the likes of truffle paste and Tuscan sausage to smoked duck with spring onion and a balsamic and honey glaze.
Where: 88 Masbro Road, W14 0LR
By-the-slice pizza in London
Although eating pizza by the slice is a bit of a foreign concept to us (we’ll take the whole thing please), we understand that pizza slices are great for when you’re on the go and also provide the opportunity to try a few different toppings. There are a few by-the-slice pizza joints to choose from in London, so check out our favourites below.
What: Voodoo Ray’s (found in Peckham) pizza slices are cut from a 22-inch pie kept behind a glass counter. Interiors feel like you have stepped into an 80’s arcade game, due to the colourful square tiles sorted into geometric patterns. The pizza names here are fun, with the ‘Queen Vegan’ made up of artichoke, olives, onion, tomatoes and green sauce, or the opposite end of the spectrum, with the ‘The Meat is on’.
Where: 285 Rye Lane, SE15 4UA
What: Don’t fancy American-style pizza by the slice? Arancina is best for you then, as it serves classic Italian pizza at its site in Notting Hill. Opened by brothers Edoardo and Michele Mortari (who also have branches in Rome), their London restaurant can be identified by a bright-orange Fiat 500 cut in half, on display in its front window. This pizzeria is notable for the fact it has two vegan options, which are the ‘Vegan glory’ and ‘No meat, no cheese’.
Where: 19 Pembridge Road, W11 3HG
What: Ever eaten by the slice pizza in a public toilet? No? Well now you can at Joe Public, a pizzeria that inhabits the site of a former block of public loos. Pizza comes California-style, i.e. with lots toppings served on a sourdough base. Our favourites are the chicken, halloumi and chorizo, and the native mushrooms, crispy shallots and truffle oil, with a Parmesan and cream chive base.
Where: Former Public Convenience, The Pavement, SW4 7AA
What: In 2018, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson ordered a pizza from Mulberry Street pizza on one of his ‘cheat days’. One Instagram post later and Mulberry Street’s website crashed from all the incoming traffic. If all-American Hollywood star Dwayne Johnson enjoys slices of pizzas from this restaurant, who are we to disagree? Its best seller is the ‘meat lover’, which includes Italian sausage, meatballs, ham, onion and mushroom.
Where: 47 Moscow Road, W2 5RT
Posh pizza in London
If you find yourself craving pizza, but don’t want to order yet another Domino's, why not treat yourself to a slap-up pizza in a posh restaurant? We’ve found some of the most decadent pizzas in the capital for you to tuck into, topped with luxe ingredients like truffle shavings and served in sumptuous surrounds. See where you can splash the cash below.
What: With an imposing reception desk, plush beige seats and chandeliers, Bocconcino is far from your typical pizza joint. However, despite being an upmarket trattoria, there is a long list of pizza options on the menu. These consist of classics such as Quattro Fromaggi and Napoletana, alongside more contemporary toppings such as spicy salami and black truffle shavings.
Where: 19 Berkeley Street, W1J 8ED
What: A sibling site to the original in Porto Cervo, the London locations for Crazy Pizza are sleek and sophisticated affairs, featuring deep red interior accents and staff donning bowties. Pizzas here are made without using yeast, resulting in a much thinner and crispier base that doesn’t leave you feeling bloated. We loved the truffle loaded pizza on our visit, although we’re sure not everyone would be keen on the £45 price tag.
Where: 7 Paddington Street, W1U 5QH; 32-34 Hans Crescent, SW1X 0LZ
What: Elegant Italian restaurant Chucs has a few outposts across London (Mayfair, Kensington, Serpentine and Westbourne Grove) all of which serve ‘Chucs classics’. This section of the menu contains three pretty swanky pizzas. The first is your archetypal pizza margherita, second is a pizza bianca with bresaola, rocket and Parmesan and the last (which costs an eye-watering £30) is the pizza Bianca with black truffle.
Where: 30B Dover Street, W1S 4ND; 97 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LD; Sackler Gallery, West Carriage Drive, W2 2AR; 226 Westbourne Grove, W11 2RH
What: A traditional Italian in old-school surrounds, Osteria Basilico serves up delicious pizzas which are the real deal. Thin crusts and traditional toppings are the main draw, with options to choose from including the Nostrana with mushrooms, ham and olives, and the Quattro Formaggi which combines four different kinds of cheese. If you’re sharing, choose a bowl from Osteria’s pasta menu too – you won’t regret it.
Where: 29 Kensington Park Road, W11 2EU
What: A sibling to the Mayfair members’ club of the same name, Harry’s Bar is an all-day operation which serves a menu of Italian fare. A couple of the pizzas are a bit whacky (smoked salmon and avocado pizza, anyone?), but the more classic takes such as the margherita and the rosso (pepperoni, ‘nduja and roasted peppers) fare much better. We’re also just a little bit in love with Harry’s dreamy old-school Italian interiors.
Where: 30-34 James Street, W1U 1ER
What: Courtesy of serial restaurateur Alan Yau (the man who founded Wagamama), Princi is a London outpost of a well-known Milanese bakery, which offers a smart all-day menu of fresh baked goods and light bites. The menu also features a concise but considered selection of excellent wood-fired pizzas, which includes plenty of classic varieties - think Quattro Formaggi or ham and mushroom.
Where: 135 Wardour Street, W1F 0UT
Giant pizza in London
If you’re heading for pizza with your entire family in tow, or you’re catching up with a large group of friends over some dough, we’d recommend heading to one of these London restaurants which serve giant pizza. Whether they’re 18 or 20 inches wide, these giant pizzas will satisfy everyone in the group, or if you’re really hungry, you could always try tackling one each.
What: Famed for it’s Instagram-ready dining room (twinkling lights, foliage and walls lined with thousands of bottles of spirits), you might think that Circolo Popolare is all style and no substance, but the food here is better than it needs to be. Pizzas are XL-sized and full of decadence - just take The Truffle Squad, a heady mix of Mozzarella fior di latte topped with ricotta, black truffle cream, fresh truffle and button mushrooms sauteed with thyme and fresh chives.
Where: 40-41 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HX
Gordon Ramsay Street Pizza
What: Ok, so the pizzas at Gordon Ramsay’s Street Pizza (one of the celebrity chef’s many London restaurants) may not be giant in and of themselves, but they are never-ending. That’s because Street Pizza is one of few London restaurants to offer bottomless pizza to its diners. For just £15 per person, you can munch on as much pizza as you like, and top up your meal with sweet treats like Negroni ice cream if you fancy too.
Where: 10 Bread Street, EC4M 9AJ; Arch 759, Arches Lane, SW11 8AB
Yard Sale Pizza
What: Established by three friends in an actual back yard, Yard Sale is probably most famous for its Clapton branch being the random venue that served as the UK debut for actor Macaulay Culkin’s covers band, but there are other branches too in Finsbury Park, Hackney, Leytonstone and Walthamstow. The 18-inch option is perfect for sharing with a friend or two, with humorously named pizzas including the TSB (tender stem broccoli) and the ‘herb your enthusiasm’.
Where: 105 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP; Finsbury Park, 54 Blackstock Road, N4 2DW; 184 Hackney Road, E2 7QL; 622 High Road, E11 3BZ; Walthamstow, 15 Hoe Street, E17 4SD
What: Homeslice was originally a pop-up selling pizza by the slice (which it still does), but now the six-strong group has sites all over London – City, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Old Street and White City, and is best known for its 20-inch pizzas. All Homeslice pizzas cost £20 and that’s plenty enough to share with a friend or two. The restaurant's toppings are quite creative too, with options such as kimchi, porcini cream and basil, or chorizo, corn and coriander.
Where: 69-71 Queen Street, EC4R 1EE; 13 Neal's Yard, WC2H 9DP; 52 Wells Street, W1T 3PR; 374-378 Old Street, EC1V 9LT; Television Centre, Wood Lane, W12 7FA
What: Pi Pizza is one of London’s more aesthetically pleasing pizzerias with its white-washed brickwork and a flower-laden ceiling. It also sells 20-inch pizzas, which can be split into halves or thirds for pizza toppings. We like the sound of 'nduja, ricotta, mint and jalapeño jam pizza, and the Lebanese spiced ground lamb, Turkish yoghurt and fresh parsley pizza.
Where: 6 Battersea Rise, SW11 1ED
What: Among the most fun venues in London, Bunga Bunga boasts a rustic space in Battersea and a swish sibling in Covent Garden where the camp factor is dialled up a notch. While you’re being entertained by the karaoke room or on-stage cabaret, you can tuck into metre long pizzas with cheeky names such as David’s Sausage and the Italian Stallion, all while sipping from cocktails served inside the ‘heads’ of famous Italian celebs.
Where: 37 Battersea Bridge Road, SW11 3BA; 167 Drury Lane, WC2B 5PG
Cheap pizza in London
Pizza is one of the best cheap eats you can find in London, with several restaurants offering up slices of the good stuff for under a tenner. If you’re on the hunt for some pocket-friendly pizza that won’t leave a hole in your wallet, check out these cheap and cheerful pizza joints which will leave both your stomach and your wallet full.
What: King’s Cross isn’t exactly known for being cheap nowadays (the area has come a long way from its 90s reputation as a no-go zone), so this pocket-friendly pizza parlour is a welcome addition to the area’s thriving restaurant scene. The cheapest pizza on the menu at Happy Face is just £5 and the most expensive £12, with toppings to choose from including pepperoni or ham and mushroom. There are vegan pizzas too, while post-dinner, you can head to the basement bar Supermax for cocktails.
Where: 14 Handyside Street, N1C 4UZ
What: Cheap and cheerful, self-service joint Pizza Union boasts a handful of sites across London, including in King’s Cross and Spitalfields. The USP here is that your pizzas are often ready to collect from the counter in under five minutes, with options to choose from including both the classics and more contemporary takes. Although dine-in tables are available, all branches offer takeaway if you’re short on time.
Where: 29 Leman Street, E1 8PT; 14 Kingsland High Street E8 2JP; 145 City Road, EC1V 1AZ; 246-250 Pentonville Road, N1 9JY; 25 Sandy’s Row, E1 7HW
What: Pizza Pilgrims started out with brothers Thom and James Elliot, who set out in a van on a pizza pilgrimage across Italy to find slices worth worshiping. We reckon they succeeded as their crisp Neapolitan-style sourdough pizzas are great. With its monthly guest pizza and Nutella pizza ring dessert, Pizza Pilgrims has enough twists to be different to the competition. You’ll also be happy to know that most pizzas are under £11.
Where: Various London locations
Made of Dough
What: Serving up wood-fired pizzas on Peckham’s bustling Bellenden Road (also home to Artusi and The Begging Bowl), Made of Dough is a quick and casual joint turning out some seriously good pizzas. We’re fans of toppings which include spicy lamb sausage, while vegans can opt for a variety topped with mushrooms, peppers and vegan cheese. You can also order sauces to dip your crusts in, including a lemon and rosemary aioli.
Where: 182 Bellenden Road, SE15 4BW
What: Each of London's two Pizza East locations have different vibes. Shoreditch sees funky staff whizz around a wood-heavy dining room, while Notting Hill is a more intimate affair. Pizzas are affordable, starting from £10 for your basic buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil, and stray no further than £15 with San Daniele which is topped with prosciutto, rocket, Parmesan and tomato.
Where: 79 Highgate Road, NW5 1TL; 310 Portobello Road, W10 5TA; 56 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ
What: Cheap as chips and plenty of fun, Franco Manca locations have now been rolled out across the capital. Franco Manca is walk-ins only, so it’s a great spot for quick and casual dinners, especially if you’ve got your little ones in tow. Pizzas are great value too, with tomato, garlic, basil and oregano on a sourdough base setting you back just £5. Post-pizza, tuck into traditional Italian desserts including panna cotta and tiramisu.
Where: Various London locations
Cecconi’s Pizza Bar
What: Cecconi’s Pizza Bar is a more casual spin-off of the upmarket Italian brand, and although the décor feels a little bit Pizza Express, the menu features a reliable run of Italian classics. There’s spicy salami with mozzarella with chilli for the carnivores, while veggies can tuck into a combination of aubergine, sundried tomatoes and basil pesto. To round things off, try the gelato of the day or the chocolate cheesecake.
Where: 19-21 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JJ
Four Hundred Rabbits
What: With three neighbourhood sites on the fringes of London (you’ll find Four Hundred Rabbits in Crystal Palace, Nunhead and West Norwood), this popular pizzeria turns out a run of simple yet delicious pizzas. These are made using sourdough bases and there’s plenty of choice for vegetarians, who can tuck into combinations such as tomato and crushed garlic or feta and courgette. For the meat eaters, there’s 35 day-aged long horn minced beef.
Where: 30-32 Westow Street, SE19 3AH; 143 Evelina Road, SE15 3HB; 521 Norwood Road, SE27 9DL
Bobby Fitzpatrick, Hampstead
What: Bobby Fitzpatrick is not only cheesy because of its pizza toppings. Celebrating the shag-pile days of the mid-1970s, this restaurant may be an assault on the senses (and perhaps taste) but it’s a lot of fun. The pizza selection is concise and largely features the usual fare, such as pepperoni and courgette, but the option to buy crust dips such as garlic mayonnaise and nacho cheese adds an extra sense of cheese.
Where: 273 West End Lane, NW6 1QS
One of the best ways to enjoy pizza is out in the sunshine and if alfresco dining is your thing, you'll want to check out our guide to London's best outdoor restaurants.