While the ingredients are simple and the cooking process straight forward, pizza is hard to master. To excel at pizza making, you need to obsess over each element of the cooking process. From the dough you prepare to the temperature and dynamics of the oven, from balancing the acidity and sweetness of your base sauce to selecting the ideal toppings to complement it – pizza nirvana can only be reached by respecting every minute detail.
There are very few places in Bristol that can actually lay claim to making a perfect pizza, but a very small number are genuinely the best that you’re going to have this side of Naples. We’ve folded, sliced and chomped our way around the best in Bristol (it’s such a hard life, we know) to create this magical list of pizzerias that are worthy of your time, appetite, and hard earned cash.
BERTHAS PIZZA (WAPPING WHARF)
Since opening, Bertha’s has stirred up a sourdough dust storm. The Guardian named them as one of the best pizza providers outside of London in a widely shared article, which quickly led to an even bigger increase of diners desperate for a table. The founders also have a great story, that began with a back garden with a Sheffield steel wood fired oven called Bertha. The guys behind the name were looking for a vocation not a chore. They sat there sharing the food they’d cooked with friends and the answer stared back – pizza. Great pizza is simple. Good ingredients on good bread.
G BROTHERS PIZZA (EASTON)
The G Bros make sourdough pizza, baked with handpicked locally sourced ingredients, from a fitted wood-burning oven in the back of a former Fire Brigade truck. The brothers were formally teachers – although with years of pizza-based experience under their belt (not least working as chef in the excellent Easton pizza-joint Zero Zero) – they decided to ditch the day-job to educate the good folk of Bristol about great pizzas.
FLOUR & ASH (CHELTENHAM ROAD)
Flour and Ash was started by Steve Gale, a former finance worker who left the trade to focus on his true passion, good quality cooking. They were officially named Bristol’s best Pizza in the Good Food Awards 2015, and on account of their sourdough made from locally milled flour, salt and water, superb ingredients that make for homely mouth watering toppings such as the ox cheek simmered in red wine to become a ragu and then spread out across the pizza base and roasted with béchamel, grana padano and basil.
PIZZAROVA (GLOUCESTER ROAD)
Pizzarova’s logo is hand curled to make an ‘ok’ gesture, but one would assume it’s more coded towards being the gesture you make towards your mouth when you’ve eaten one of their Pizzas. Starting life as a Pizza oven in a Land Rover (hence “-rova”), Pizzarova was originally available to make its way over to festivals, parties and street markets alike bringing their delicious sourdough with them. Now a few years into their operation, they have two permanent homes, one at the top of Gloucester road and the other a shipping crate set up in the new Wapping Wharf district. Head to either and the minimalist set up with regards to decor and menu will wow you. There are three choices, The Lady-the classic margherita, Yours-where you have free reign on the choice of any toppings (Wriggle Pro-tip: Don’t do all of them) and Ours – the house suggestion you’re bound to fall in love with.
A CAPELLA (TOTTERDOWN) For Jennifer and Paul, artisan pizza dough is no new thing. These guys were using traditional fermentation techniques way before the basics of Neapolitan pizza became hip. They know better than most when it comes to stonebaking, and the Naples-trained chef has over 35 years experience in the trade. The ingredients are first class (the meats sourced from Sicily, the mozzarella from Naples) and the dough is proofed for 48 hours.
BOMBOLONI (GLOUCESTER ROAD)
Wholesome, welcoming and a long time coming are a few words and phrases that can describe new opening Bomboloni. Now set up on Gloucester Road they are serving homely Italian food to the Bishopston masses. You will find, what my vegan friends described as “the most thoughtful pizza they have ever had in the city”! Slow risen sourdough is topped with a variety of ingredients, cooked at high heat served. The tomato base is rich, the cheese is stringy and generous and the toppings sing. Go and get yours ASAP.
51 STOKES CROFT (STOKES CROFT)
You probably fall into one camp with this one. Either you’ve had some seriously blurry nights out here, or you’ve sampled their excellent wood fired pizzas. Have it your way – but don’t rule the other 50 facets to this well-loved Stokes Croft joint: live DJs 5 nights of the week, an excellent beer-garden-sun-trap, a well stocked bar, super friendly service, an eccentric cocktail selection, killer burgers, pizzas and salads, a bizarre pub quiz, regular craft sessions, charity fundraisers, movie nights – to name but a few. What’s more, this is a local family affair. Mr Wolff (of Mr Wolff’s fame) is the top dog, and his family members are all at the helm.
BOSCO PIZZERIA (WHITELADIES ROAD)
Wine, beers and freshly baked focaccia. Oh, and expansive pizzas with big fat crusts and melting middles. Bosco Pizzeria has mastered the details of good pizza favoured by the majority of us – a wide span, medium-thick base and pools of cheese. The kitchen team stick to truly traditional Italian toppings, yet ensure interesting combinations with tons of flavour. Get a dose of pure umami deliciousness from the salted Calabria anchovy, clams, marinara sauce and caper pizza, or for something simple yet flavoursome, choose the Queen Green topped with spinach, soft herbs, pine nuts, pesto, ricotta and rocket.
LA GROTTA (CENTRE)
Grab a pizza history at La Grotta. A family run Italian trattoria that has been feeding Bristol hearty Italian classics for over 30 years. Head down to the vaults where you will find a warm welcome and a big portion. Expect high standards, the huge stone baked pizzas are served with thin bases topped generously with traditionally Italian toppings and thrown into their stone oven. La Grotta have been doing pizzas for over 30 years, using the same method and the same ingredients the entire time. If it aint broke…
PIZZA WORKSHOP (NORTH ST & WHITELADIES ROAD)
Pizza Workshop aren’t embroiled in some dastardly plot to rid the world of choice – they simply believe in concentrating all their energy into crafting one thing as best as they possibly can. Pizza is the name of the game in this extremely stylish operation – expect 100% sourdough bases with no added yeast, slowly risen over 30 hours, resulting in an incredibly light and delicious dough – topped with homemade tomato sauce using San Marzano tomatoes, finest Italian cheeses and extra virgin olive oil.
RENATO’S TAVERNA DELL’ARTISTA (KING STREET)
Sat next door to the infamous Old Vic, Renato’s is a bit of a National Treasure, but with less Nicholas Cage. Although the upstairs is a traditional Italian restaurant, the downstairs pub has historically been dedicated to watering Thespians far and wide whilst they’re on tour. Open til 2am on weekends Renato’s pub incarnation will serve you up thin based pizzas to combat the munchies at a decent price. All under £10, expect traditional favourites like Four Seasons, Ham and Mushroom and personal favourite the Inferno, thick cut salami with a good burn of chilli.
THE WHITE RABBIT (CLIFTON)
White Rabbit is a cozy pub that has mastered adapting their niche to satisfy those who love Italian tradition whilst also appealing to adventurous eaters by offering a range of bold toppings. The menu ranges from your classic Margherita to toppings of artichoke, pear and guanciale (pigs cheek). There are also veggie options available that sound just as good! Regardless of your preferred taste, there is definitely something for you.
RAY’S PIZZA @ THE CROFTERS RIGHTS
Smartly, the guys at Crofters Rights have got Ray’s Pizza in permanent residence, providing excellent Neapolitan pizzas as the perfect accompaniment to a few jars. Adeel is the chief pizza-maker (and pizza connoisseur). He uses only authentic Italian and locally-sourced ingredients to create handmade pizzas with character. The pizzas look a picture, too – big crusts erupting like Mount Vesuvius, with a beautifully soggy tomato’ey centre, which is the Neapolitan way. Options include the the New York Hot (buffalo mozzarella, pepperoni, roasted red peppers, jalapenos and basil), Goats Cheese (buffalo mozzarella, goats cheese, red onion, marinated olives, basil, balsamic glaze), the Vegan (red onion, roasted artichoke, red pepper, olives, fresh basil, marinated glaze) and a Margherita or Marinara.
PLANET PIZZA (GLOUCESTER ROAD)
Thin and crispy is the order of the day at Planet Pizza – forget stodgy sourdough that’s more chewy crust than anything else – these elegant beauties are generously lavished with tasty toppings that extend right to the far reaches of the pizza stratosphere. Team Wriggle are particularly enamoured with The Moon: a tangy, vibrant concoction that’s been lovingly crafted from Gorgonzola, ricotta, feta and peppery rocket. To be honest, though, everything sounds positively intergalactic; made using fresh, seasonal produce that’s often locally sourced. Veg comes from the legendary Bristol Veg Market, whilst craft beers are courtesy of Bristol institutions Wiper & True and Bristol Beer Factory.
Content kindly provided by our friends at Wriggle, the amazing app to help you discover Bristol food & drink. Check out their profile to see if you could work there!