Ponder this life-altering question for a mo’: what defines a great pizza? Is it the crust, the sauce, the cheese, the toppings or a combination of all four? What about thin crust versus deep dish versus American style with loads of crazy toppings? In our quest to find our favourite pizzas in the 852, we’ve chowed down on a whole lotta sodden crust, tasteless sauce and rubbery cheese – but in the end we’ve found five pies that have surpassed the rest by a Neapolitan mile. Here are Foodie’s 5 Favourite Pizzas in Hong Kong:
1) 208 Duecento Otto
This buzzy, stylish Italian bar and restaurant is just around the corner from Foodie’s office – oh how lucky we are. In the space of about five minutes, we’re able to place an order for one of 208’s excellent charred-crust pies, so delightfully chewy and moreish. The generously sized pizzas here ($158–208) are classified as either non-sauce bianche (white) or tomato-based rosse (red), both dolloped with the best of the best buffalo mozzarella. Also worth a mention are the ace toppings, from sweet cherry tomatoes to lush Parma ham.
Carciofina at 208 Duecento Otto
208 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2549 0208
Gliding up the escalator in SoHo, it’s difficult to pass by this highly acclaimed Big Apple import without stopping in for a cracking wood-fired pizza pie (Motorino boasts a hand-crafted Stefano Ferrara brick oven from Naples). Chef Mathieu Palombino’s crust is supple with a blistering char, and his packed-with-flavour tomato sauce reaches the pinnacle of the HK pizza pack. When choosing a topping, go for Motorino’s amazing pillow-y meatballs (heavy on the Pecorino/Parmesan). We also adore the signature sauce-less pies topped with Brussels sprouts, smoked pancetta and lots and lots of garlic ($158) or buttery lemon-laced cherry stone clams ($208). There’s a bigger cool-as-can-be branch that’s recently opened on buzzy Ship Street in Wanchai too.
Motorino – Margherita
14 Shelley Street, SoHo, Central, 2801 8881, and 15 Ship Street, Wanchai, 2520 0690
3) Paisano’s Pizzeria
It’s all about the slices at this pizza joint, first established in New York more than 20 years ago. Paisano’s slices are absolutely enormous and also very reasonably priced considering their girth (12 inches). Twenty-five dollars buys you a tasty cheese and sauce triangle, and if you dish out just 40 buckaroos, you can sink your teeth into our fave meat-laden slice. Christened The Godfather, natch – it’s expertly loaded up with ham, sausage, pepperoni and onion without causing a crust collapse. Paisano’s cheese is gooey and its sauce is well seasoned – what more could you ask for from a humble slice?
23 Hollywood Road, SoHo, Central, 2544 4445 (with outlets in Discovery Bay, Sai Kung, Stanley, TST and Wanchai)
Not only meatballs indeed. All of NOM’s pizza dough are homemade, and use fine Molino Mariani flour from a small family mill in the Marche region. All the tomatoes and mozzarella are imported from the Campania region. The marghertia DOP (HK$128) topped with tomato, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil was simple, uncomplicated and irresistibly delicious. We especially love the rustic, crunchy crust, bursting with yeasty goodness. The mushroom and black truffle pizza (HK$218) layered with wild mushrooms, fennel sausages, taleggio cheese, buffalo mozzarella and (of course) shavings of black truffles was, surprisingly, bland and devoid of any intoxicating aromas. In fact, the flavour that held this pizza together came from the cheese and fennel sausages! The redeemer came in the form of the NOM pizza with tomato sauce, Pecorino cheese, beef meatballs and buffalo mozzarella (HK$158). This, was what pizza dreams are made of. Thin, crunchy crust slathered with hearty tomato sauce, and adorned with hefty pieces of cheese and succulent meatballs. The meatballs were a tad on the rare side, and rather pinkish in the middle, but we wolfed it down like the pizza beasts we are.
NOM Wild Mushroom, Fennel Sausage Pizza
1/F, 1-5 Elgin Street, Central; 2540 7988
5) CIAK – In the Kitchen
Inspired by the old-world philosophy of Italian markets, the newly minted one-star Michelin CIAK knows a thing or two about fantastic pizza. Under the guidance of three-star Michelin Chef Umberto Bombana (who can be found daily in CIAK’s open kitchen checking on the breads and pastas), the cozy trattoria offers honest and comforting cuisine with authentic “tastes of an Italian home”. The secret to CIAK’s phenomenal pizzas lies in the crust, as the organic pizza dough goes through a slow 36 hours natural fermentation process to achieve that light yet flavourful crunch. Our favourites include the meaty Norcina pizza, topped with homemade sausage, mushroom and mozzarella, and the Prosciutto and Formaggi, a decadent pie layered with parma, gorgonzola, taleggio, mozzarella and tuma piemontese. Mama mia!
Shop 327-333, 3/F., The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road, Central; 2522 8869