As most of the regulars know, I have a bit of a thing for Pizza. Over the years I’ve eaten all sorts and types you can think of. A lot of my love for Pizza stems from one pizzeria that alas no longer exists but back in the late eighties it was the standard that I judged all others by and if you are of that age and ever ate in Fat Freddy’s Pizzeria in Temple Bar you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Since it closed down I’ve tried everything from those frozen ones in the supermarkets, through most of the American styles until I discovered Domino’s in the mid nineties and from then on whenever I thought of Pizza I would think of Domino’s.
Not because they were the best but more because they were consistent and only a phone call away almost any time of the day or night. When hunger strikes, Domino’s to the rescue.! Those guys on the mopeds were like superheroes to me.
Even at a point in my life when I was eating Domino’s 3 or 4 nights a week I knew there was better, proper pizza out there. My problem was that sometimes it would be great and others times it would be so-so and others just plain awful and all from the same restaurant. I think the reason for the difference was more to do with the delivery drivers than the chef, to be fair, but why risk it when you know exactly what you’ll get from Domino’s and you know that it will be okay every time.
Then a few years back, on holidays on the continent, I re-discovered proper Italian pizzas and I decided that the mediocrity of Domino’s was no longer enough for me. I still like their Pepperoni Passion, even now I’ll occasionally sneak a Domino’s order in every couple of months, but by and large I’ll eat Italian style pizzas when we’re out at an Italian restaurant and I do a pretty good Italian style pizza at home as well. I know it will never be as good as what I have eaten in Italy for a number of reasons, the principle ones being my lack of a 400+ degree stone oven and the lack of San Marzano tomatoes. But I’m happy in the knowledge that I’m as close as I can get at home.
When eating out, particularly recently, it’s become a little bit of an obsession for me, there are so many Italian restaurants in Dublin that seem to be highly regarded, so one has got to be close to if not matching a proper Italian pizza – or at the very least my teenage memory of Fat Freddy’s? right?
Well I’ve eaten a lot of pizzas recently and while La Med in temple bar had a nice sauce the bread was flat and obviously machine made, Botticelli (also in temple bar) is definitely a step up, the sauce is of a similar quality and the bread has the look of being handmade and certainly tastes superior, but it’s still a pale intimation of anything you would taste in Italy or even a reasonable Italian restaurant on the continent.
The best that I’ve had in a Dublin restaurant recently was Bar Italia on lower Ormond Quay, just across from the North end of the Millennium bridge. The evening in question we did not have a reservation and Italy were playing in the World Cup so we were grateful for the table and my pizza really surprised me by how good it was. Head and shoulders above La Med and Botticelli, but it still seemed to be lacking something and I’m at a loss to think of what it was.
Oddly the best tasting pizza I’ve had in Dublin recently did not come from a restaurant but a van, yup, Dick and Dave’s Wood-Fired Pizza Co. that I tasted at The Point Village Market when we visited a few weeks back. Both the base and the toppings were incredibly fresh and so tasty, my only criticism was the sauce, it was a little thin for my liking and this took away from the look of the pizza but still had great flavour. Was it as good as a pizza you would get in Italy, no, but it’s definitely the best that I have tasted in Dublin.
So do you have a favourite pizza place? If so tell us about it below.