10 pizzas to jump on a plane for

I’m not sure if it’s the crispy base, the stringy cheese, the dribbly olive oil or the promise of an epic food coma afterwards (or all of the above), but for me, like many people, pizza holds a special place in my stomach heart. Hitting the food scene in the early 20th century thanks to working-class Italian folk, this humble food has taken many shapes, forms and flavours over the years. Whether it’s a round pizza topped with no more than three ingredients, one of the metre-long varieties to “Ooh” and “Aah” over, or a deep-pan square pizza bought by the kilo, I could very happily munch my way around the world trying each and every one of them. So, pizza fans, buckle up and get ready to carb load, because here are my 10 favourite pizzas to jump on a plane for.

1. La Bussola, Florence

If you’re like me and daydream about traipsing through Italy sampling pizza from restaurants with healthy wine lists, mood lighting, and bars with views of open-fire ovens, then a place like La Bussola in Florence is a must-visit. This restaurant has been rolling out dough for a solid 50 years. So, take a seat at the original 1960s marble bar, buy a glass (or a bottle) of vino, and watch as the pizzaiolos (pizza makers) work their magic in the kitchen.

2. Pizzarium, Rome

Novice pizza lovers might be surprised to learn that one of the most popular pizzerias in Rome, Pizzarium, sells their works of culinary art by the kilo. That’s right, not by the slice, not by the pizza – by the kilo. That means that when you walk up to the counter and point out which flavour you’re after, you can ask the attendant to keep going with that knife until she slices off juuuust enough. Keep going, keep going, keep going. There! Grazie mille. Pizzarium gets very busy at lunchtime, so prepare to take a number and wait your turn – however, it’s also easy to find as it’s close to the Vatican Museum. Toppings include everything from the staple La Margherita to a delicious potato, gorgonzola and sausage creation.

3. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Naples

Have you even been to Italy if you haven’t devoured a pizza in Naples? There are many to take your pick from in this busy city, but L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is worth popping into. Rustic, imperfect pizzas dotted with char from the 400+ degrees-Celsius oven will have you coming back for more. Don’t worry about being overwhelmed with food envy either, because there are only two options on the menu – the Marinara and the Margherita. Why not go for both?

4. Di Fara, New York

If there’s one place you’re likely to be overwhelmed with pizza options outside of Italy, it’s New York. But if you want to try an almost dangerously delicious pizza, you can’t go past Di Fara in Brooklyn. Di Fara’s history is one of those classic American Dream success stories. In 1965, Italian immigrant Domenico DeMarco opened a pizza restaurant in Brooklyn and now, more than 50 years later, the pizza keeps getting better and the crowds won’t stop coming. The pizzas here aren’t the cheapest in town – a regular cheese pizza is $30 – but you can also sample a slice for $5 if you’re not willing to make the commitment. With one bite, you’ll be wishing you opted for the whole pizza.

5. Anthony’s, Ottawa

Hop on a plane and head to Ottawa, Canada, because the country’s capital is home to some seriously tasty wood-fired pizzas. The Neapolitan-style base is topped with fresh ingredients like Italian sausage, prosciutto, gorgonzola, spicy salami, roasted peppers and parmesan cheese. The open kitchen, with its visible pizza oven, keeps the cooking theatrics coming and the mouthwatering smell of sizzling meats, cheese and tomato sauce is enough to make you come back for seconds (or thirds – no judgment here).

6. The Good Son, Ontario

With a cosy vibe, dim lighting and plenty of share plates to choose from, dining at The Good Son in Ontario feels like being at a big Italian family dinner party. You half expect a nonna to come out of nowhere to yell at you for being too thin and not eating enough. Created by former Top Chef Canada winner Vittorio Colacitti in 2014, The Good Son combines Vittorio’s Italian roots with his love of travel and international cuisine. Stick to a Capricciosa if you’re a fan of the classics or sample the Mauna Loa if you’re feeling adventurous – it’s topped with smoked pork cheek, Scotch bonnet and roasted pineapple. Looks like that’s an extra point to #teampineappleonpizza! 😉

7. 400 Gradi, Melbourne 

If there’s a valid reason to travel for pizza, it’s the possibility of trying an award-winning slice – and that’s exactly what you get at 400 Gradi in Melbourne. The winner of the World Pizza Championships in 2014, this famous pizza spot gets its name from the temperature of its pizza oven – a whopping 400 degrees Celsius! If you loved your cured meats, you can’t go past the Gradi, which is topped with 20-month aged prosciutto. Yuuuum.

8. Via Napoli, Sydney

If you want to wow your friends over dinner, then a night at Via Napoli in Surry Hills, Sydney, should be at the top of your list. Not only do they sell metre-long pizzas, but they’ve won a host of awards and have been named one of the top 10 pizza spots in Sydney. The pizzas are delicious – think dribbled Italian cherry tomatoes, San Daniele Prosciutto and buffalo bocconcini – and you can flex your photography skills and take a truly like-worthy shot. Because, hello, metre-long pizzas.

9. Gigi’s Pizzeria, Sydney

The original #pizzamarinara #avpn

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Gasp! Is pizza even pizza without cheese? Well, after much thought and some heated in-office discussion – yes, absolutely. Hear us out. One of Sydney’s most popular pizzerias, Gigi’s in Newtown launched an all-vegan menu in 2015, with not a shred of mozzarella, buffalo cheese or prosciutto in sight. But that doesn’t take away from their pizza’s authenticity – in fact, it probably boosts it. History lesson: pizza began its life as the Marinara, which was topped with just tomato, garlic, oregano and oil. NO. CHEESE. So, really, Gigi’s is going old-school. Gigi’s is also one of the only pizzerias in Sydney that’s a member of the True Neapolitan Pizza Association (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana). If that doesn’t give your pizza cred, we’re not sure what will.

10. Pizza Hut, Sydney

Thinking of going keto… but then I remember pizza x

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If one of your first pizza memories includes an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet with limitless soft drink, endless hundreds and thousands-topped soft-serves and more garlic bread than one person can safely consume, then no doubt you visited Pizza Hut as a kid. If you’ve been dying to relive the joy that is all-you-can-eat pizza, then get excited because one of their dine-in restaurants in Waterloo, Sydney, has received a complete makeover and the pizza buffet is back! It’s a little bit modern with a touch of fancy, but not so fancy that you’ll be judged for going up for your fifth helping of Barbeque Meat lover’s pizza, because that is completely acceptable here. I think I’ve finally found my people.

Which pizzas would you jump on a plane for?

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