We’ve come a long way from the humble origin of pizza in Italy, which is essentially a poor man’s dish of Neapolitan flatbread topped with tomato, mozzarella and herbs. Today you can have your pizza deep-fried, folded, put on a stick, made into soup and even stuffed.
With the rise of pizza’s popularity, countries around the world have adapted this versatile dish to suit their own tastes and traditions. India will have you ordering a Tandoori chicken pizza, while in Israel you can get a pizza with corn or labneh on it. In Japan they top pizza with ingredients like mayonnaise, potatoes, avocado, eel, and even honey or chocolate.
South Africa’s pizza culture has seen us going a bit overboard with toppings. We love the rich ingredients; traditional Italians would probably frown on the bacon, feta and avo pizza classic. While this does not do much for keeping the tradition of pizza alive, we have no qualms with eating a few more calories as winter approaches. In true carb-and-cheese-loving spirit, we’ve gathered a list of wood-fired haunts and their signature pizzas that are so hot right now.
So hot right now: The pizza with bacon, chilli, avocado and feta.
So hot right now: The Republiek with biltong, avo, feta, sweet piquant peppers, olives and caramelised onions.
So hot right now: The Bianca al Cantina with Parma ham, fresh rocket, avocado and parmesan shavings or the Picobella Deluxe with bocconcini mozzarella, Parma ham and avocado.
Chalkboard Collaboration Café
So hot right now: The Meryl Streep with pear, gorgonzola, prosciutto and rocket.
Col’Cacchio (Hyde Park)
So hot right now: The Morituri with seasoned chicken breast strips, bacon, feta, roasted red peppers and avocado.
The Foundry Café
So hot right now: The Filleta pizza with chargrilled fillet of beef strips, caramelised onion, roasted tomatoes, rocket and balsamic reduction.
Franco’s Pizzeria and Trattoria
So hot right now: The one with potato, rosemary, grated pecorino cheese, chorizo and garlic. (It’s not on menu, but it can be requested at any time.)
Luca’s Ristorante Italiano
So hot right now: The topping of roast lamb, roasted red and yellow peppers and rocket; smoked salmon, capers, mascarpone and caviar; or the Del Sole (dream of the sun) with Italian fennel-infused pork sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, chilli, garlic and fresh avo.
So hot right now: The Di Giuliano with spicy chicken, feta and sweet picante peppers; or the Claudio with bacon, feta and avo. They also suggest the Lucio’s calzone (folded) with onion, olives and salami; or the Carne with marinated pork loin rib-meat, onion and green pepper.
So hot right now: The Contadina with Italian sausage, caramelised onions and avo; or the Foie Gras with a cheese base, goose liver and Italian sausage.
So hot right now: The pizza with salami, ham, mushrooms, onion, green pepper and garlic.
So hot right now: The San Marina with Parma ham, rocket and parmesan shavings; the Pancetta with pancetta, potatoes and rosemary; or the Zuma with chicken, mushrooms and avo.
So hot right now: the Love Mary Pizza with serrano ham and a tomato and parmesan confit.
Tony’s Spaghetti Grill
So hot right now: The Tony’s with salami, ham, mushrooms, onion, peppers, garlic, artichokes and olives.
So hot right now: The Tracy Special with peppers, mushrooms, olives, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, chilli, garlic and salami or chicken, which is topped with basil pesto, parmesan and avo.
So hot right now: The Vera Vita with no tomato base, baby marrow, Italian pancetta and emmenthal.
Al Dente Ristorante and Pizzeria
So hot right now: The Italian with Parma ham, balsamic cherry tomatoes, fior di latte, mozzarella, rocket, basil and grana padano shavings.
BICCCS (Waterkloof Heights)
So hot right now: BICCCS Pizza Slice, which is a rectangular Neapolitan-style pizza slice with cheese, tomato, garlic and basil.
So hot right now: The Alla Calabrese with ham, salami, bacon, green peppers, mushrooms, onions and chillies.
So hot right now: The Giovanni with mushrooms, olives, artichokes and garlic.
Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Company (Rietondale)
So hot right now: The Pizza Pesto with sweet piquant pepper pesto, basil pesto, goat’s milk cheese, walnuts, prosciutto and avocado.
Villa San Giovanni
So hot right now: The Troia with bacon, feta cheese, garlic, spinach and avo.
La Casa Nostra
So hot right now: The Quattro Stagioni with olives, ham, mushrooms and artichokes.
So hot right now: The Spago with bacon, feta and avo.
So hot right now: The Don Vitto with chicken, sweet piquant peppers, Danish feta and avo; or the Greggo with crispy bacon, avo and Danish feta.
So hot right now: The Forresta with marinated brown mushrooms, feta, chilli and onion; or the Allisomo with bacon, feta and avo.
So hot right now: The Quattro Stagioni with olives, ham, mushrooms and artichokes.
Panarottis (Shelly Beach)
So hot right now: The rib-rack pizza with deboned pork ribs marinated in sticky BBQ basting, spring onion, pineapple and sweet piquant peppers.
So hot right now: The Greek lamb pizza with lamb shank, spinach and Danish feta.
So hot right now: The Lover Boy with camembert, rocket, fig preserve, caramelised onions and springbok carpaccio.
So hot right now: The Materazzi with sweet piquant peppers, salami, feta and avo.
Bardelli’s (Kloof Street)
So hot right now: The Originale Olympia Range with four different toppings: the Figaro with bacon, blue cheese and green figs; the Pablo with bacon, feta, rosemary and fresh tomatoes; the Don with smoked chicken, sweet piquant peppers, caramelised onions and avo; and the Club Italiano with chicken mayonnaise, bacon, sweet picante peppers and avo.
The Brasserie (formerly Societi Brasserie)
So hot right now: The Angry Beef with bolognaise, sweet tomato and pickled jalapeños.
So hot right now: The Margherita; or the Diavalo with fresh mozzarella, chilli tomato base, chorizo, cherry tomatoes and parsley.
So hot right now: The Morituri with chicken breast strips, bacon, feta, roasted red pepper and avo; or the La Zizou with seven-hour lamb stew, balsamic cherry tomatoes, spring onion, garlic and fresh basil, topped with basil pesto mayonnaise.
Da Vinci’s on Kloof
So hot right now: The Da Vinci with bacon, avo, mushroom, garlic; or the Verdi with no mozzarella, pesto, feta, walnuts, fresh avo, rocket and cherry tomatoes.
The Grand Cafe and Beach (Granger Bay)
So hot right now: The salmon pizza with rocket and a yoghurt dressing; or the Parma ham pizza with rocket and cherry tomatoes.
Italian Kitchen: Trattoria Café
So hot right now: The Sei with tomato, mozzarella, bacon chilli, rocket and avo; or the Duedieci (number 12) with tomato, mozzarella, bacon, feta, onions and avo.
So hot right now: The pizza with smoked duck breast, wild and pan-fried mushrooms, buffalo mozzarella and truffle cream.
So hot right now: The Prosciutto with Parma ham, parmesan shavings and rocket; or the Mediterraneo with bacon, feta and avo.
So hot right now: The Wam Bam with bacon, avo, mushroom, onion and garlic.
So hot right now: The Capo with bacon, mushroom, avo and garlic.
So hot right now: The Posticino with mushrooms, olives, asparagus, green pepper and artichokes.
The Woodlands Eatery
So hot right now: The lamb pizza with Tuscan-style slow-roasted lamb, fresh rosemary and a dash of crème fraîche.
So hot right now: The Antonio with salami, asparagus, onion, olives, green pepper, mushrooms and pineapple.
Café Blanc de Noir
So hot right now: The Full House Pizza which is all four of their pizzas in one: the biltong pizza with sweet fig, Danish feta, avo, mixed greens and balsamic glaze; the Cajun chicken pizza with chorizo, red onion, mushrooms, mixed greens and chilli-infused olive oil; the caramelised onion pizza with kalamata olives, Danish feta, mixed greens and balsamic glaze; and the Parma ham pizza with garlic, rosa tomatoes, avo, mixed greens, parmesan shavings and pesto.
Stables at Vergelegen
So hot right now: The slow-roasted lamb pizza with aubergine, mushrooms, olives, dukkah, coriander, topped with a mustard yoghurt dressing; or the hot smoked chicken pizza with bacon, leeks, goat’s cheese and avo.
Mama Cucina Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant
So hot right now: The Special with tomato base, Parma ham, avo, olives, basil pesto, rocket and parmesan shavings (no mozzarella); or the Carne Al Mama with pulled lamb, baby spinach, minted yoghurt and locally produced feta.
So hot right now: The Mario with mozzarella and tomato base topped with bacon, sweet piquant peppers, avo and mozzarella.
La Cantina Restaurant at Fancourt
So hot right now: The Americana with mozzarella, tomato, pepperoni, salami, onions and oregano.
So hot right now: The Enrico Special with olives, ham, onion, peppers and artichokes.
Have we missed your favourite? Let us know about it in the comments.