Only a few years ago, there was a limited supply of good pizza on the Coast.
Pizza purists were in the grip of withdrawals, unable to find a traditional thin crust or a classic calzone to satisfy their cravings.
Thankfully, things have changed and the Coastie pizza scene is now thriving.
From traditional Italian at Terrigal to old school pan at Woy Woy, here are some of our fave Central Coast pizza places.
Woy Woy is home to a rocking pizzeria, Tropicana Pizza Pizza, which has become a fast fave with Peninsula locals since opening a couple of years back. The retro pizza joint is the brainchild of Woy Woy local Tim Stock and his stylish missus Cate Stewart, one half of Central Coast design studio Stewart + Highfield. From the neon sign to the checkered tablecloths, it’s the kind of pizza joint that will make you feel a stab of nostalgia, with the kind of pan pizza that harks back to carefree 80s summers. They brought in a dough expert – local foodie Yasmin Newman – to craft the perfect base for the pan and have modernised the old school flavours – the ham and pineapple pie is spiced up with pickled jalapeños and the Caesar salad is served with kale.
The O.G of proper pizza, La Fiamma has been serving up authentic Italian pizza from its location inside the retro Ettalong Markets for as long as anyone can remember. It was actually 2007 when La Fiamma Pizzeria first fired up their wood-burning oven to 400 degrees with the aim of bringing ‘real pizza’ to the Coast. La Fiamma belongs to La Federazione Italiana Pizzaioli Nel Mondo meaning the dough is made only with flour, yeast, salt and water, and must be rolled out and shaped by hand. Using the same age-old techniques that Napolitan and Sicilian masters have been using for centuries, La Fiamma’s pizzaiolis (that’s what pizza makers are called) have been trained to craft a truly authentic pizza. Add San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and classic toppings such as prosciutto parma, Italian sausage and radicchio salad, and you have a fine piece of pie.
Pizza and mushrooms are damn delicious on their own but when you combine the two, you make a slice of food heaven. Perched on the fringe of Gosford’s Imperial Shopping Centre, Italian restaurant Pinocchios piles authentic ingredients such as DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) parma di prosciutto and parmigiana onto its thin crust to make scrumptious pizza. But it’s the generous use of truffle oil, especially on their funghi pizza, that may literally make your mouth water (you’ve been warned!). They also offer gluten-free and vegan options using ‘notzarella’.
Since undergoing a renovation which has transformed Rhonda’s from a late-night venue into a seaside Italian restaurant, Italophiles have a new hang out. Under the passionate tutelage of executive chef Richard Wagemaker, the Terrigal bar is now serving up classic hand-stretched thin crust Roman-style pizzas with all the ingredients you want to see on a pizza menu: pepperoni, parma ham, pork and fennel sausage, buffalo mozzarella, sopressa and truffle oil. The dough is handmade with 5 Stagioni wholemeal flour which has been milled by granite grindstones and cooked in a two tonne pizza oven that’s insulated with volcanic rock from Mt Vesuvius. As owner Ty Van Emden says, “If you’re going to do Italian, you’ve got to do it right”.
Remy & Co have a reputation for excellent handmade pasta so expectations were high when they installed a Moretti pizza oven in their Erina laneway restaurant. It’s hard to be disappointed by the light and fluffy crust that sits somewhere between a traditional Italian and Neapolitan base, and has proved for 48 hours to avoid that sluggish after-pizza feeling. Whether it’s a classic rosemary and potato, a capricciosa, margherita, calzone or garlic, the pizzas are made with quality ingredients including creamy fior di latte cheese. There is also a gluten-free base and they’ve spared no expense on sourcing the finest GF flour. On Sundays, enjoy a slice with a Peroni or Aperol Spritz and some live music.
If you want your slice with a view, make tracks to the Boathouse at Patonga. You’ll usually find flatbreads on the menu at the Boathouse venues in Sydney but it’s all about pizza at the chain’s only Coastie outlet. From margherita to mushroom and prawn to ham & pineapple, the flavours are classic and the method is simple – a smattering of quality, tasty ingredients, devoured in the shade of Patonga’s pines overlooking the beach. For half price pizzas cruise down on Friday evenings and if timed right, the discount will extend to drinks too – it’s Happy Hour from 4pm-6pm.
Lagune Artisan Pizza Co is the Coast’s official home of true Neapolitan pizza made by a Naples-trained AVPN-certified (the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana is the official home of Neapolitan pizza) pizzaiolo. You can smell the beautifully blistered wood-fired crust the moment you walk into the buzzy Wamberal pizzeria. Opening just one month before Australia’s COVID lockdown, the lads behind Lagune have battled through a pandemic to bring their real deal pizza to the Coast. In line with AVPN regulations, the handmade dough is cooked in a wood-fire oven blazing at up to 450°C, only the finest Fior de Latte mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes are used, and in lieu of forbidden ingredients such as chicken and pineapple, there is Calabrese salami, San Danielle prosciutto and Sicilian pork sausage.