Pizza! We love it and there are few kids who don’t get excited at the mere mention of some wood-fired dough topped with melted cheese and a choice of toppings (or plain old Margherita, as the babes prefer).
Having both lived in the Big Apple at different points, the Babe Papa and I often reminisce about the ‘New York slice’. And I still have fond memories of Little Italy Pizza just off where I worked on Madison Avenue – a pizza restaurant that had queues every lunch time stretching around the block.
Pizza restaurants in London have come a long way since Pizza Hut claimed king of the chains.
Our favourite places to grab a pizza in London range from well-established restaurants to pizza spots that started as pop-ups on the burgeoning London street food scene. Here’s our tried-and-tested list of best pizza places to take the kids. Go on, have a slice with us!
Best Pizza in London [Babes Choice]
Pizzeria Oregano, 18-19 St Albans Place, N1 0NX (Angel tube)
This is such a charming little restaurant, with unfussy decor and a warm ambience. The owner often stops at your table and the babes love being able to see behind the counter to where the pizza is being made. When we first moved to Islington, Abiye introduced Pizza Oregano to me as the best pizza in London and it still tops our list. Their traditional flame-fired pizza comes with fresh ingredients, some imported from Italy. It’s just around the corner from the luxurious boutique cinema Everyman Screen on the Green, making it a perfect ‘dinner and a movie’ date night spot. Read my full Pizzeria Oregano review.
The Regent, 201 Liverpool Rd, N1 1LX (Angel/Highbury & Islington tube)
Any lunch day of the week, you’ll find families propped up on the back sofas, or kids rustling through the toy baskets at this child-friendly pub on Liverpool Rd. They do a great £5 lunchtime pizza deal, and kids meals are just £3.50 (no servings for little ones after 6pm though). It can get rammed in the evenings and during matches, but otherwise it’s a relaxed and happy place to tuck into really delicious, stonebaked pizzas with a wide range of toppings (I like Smoked Pancetta and Wild Mushroom off the main menu). They also do kids’ birthday parties in the basement and at their sister pubs, The Hanbury Arms and The Lauriston. Read my full The Regent review.
Homeslice, 13 Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials, WC2H 9DP (Covent Garden tube)
We first came across Homeslice as part of the original Eat.St. collective (later Kerb) that our man Big Apple Hot Dogs once belonged to. From their handbuilt oven, they’d serve up fast and furious pies that always hit the spot. Homeslice have gone from market stalls to their first bricks and mortar pizzeria in Covent Garden, but the pizza hasn’t lost any of its street cred or its rub-your-hands-together tastiness. You can get a huge pizza or grab one by the slice. And you’ve gotta love that name.
Osteria Basilico, 29 Kensington Park Rd, W11 2EU (Ladbroke Grove tube)
When we visited this Notting Hill restaurant with a local friend, the owner and waiters showered him with Italian warmth and showed my kids nothing but kindness. Osteria Basilico is a hugely popular neighbourhood venue and it’s not hard to see why. Their menu is bursting with fresh, authentic Italian ingredients and the pizza is top-notch. The boys ordered one Margherita pizza each (adult size) and I remember my buddy’s eyes nearly popping to see them finish every mouthful. While I have your attention, I’d like to give a shout out to their Linguine allo Scoglio (fresh seafood pasta in a rich tomato sauce). Slurp.
Franco Manca (various locations)
It all started in Brixton at the original Franco Manca where devotees would flock to from all over town. Soon the secret of their sourdough pizzas grew too big to contain, and now Franco Manca can be found at 10 locations around London. We discovered Franco Manca at Westfield Stratford food court and their pizzas are nothing short of spectacular. The trick is in the slow-rising sourdough and blast-cooking process to create a pillowy base that works beautifully with toppings sourced locally as well as direct from Italy. It’s one of the few pizzas where Ezra and Jed are happy to eat the crust too!
Pizza Pilgrims, 11 Dean St, W1D 3RP (Tottenham Court Rd tube)
Just like with Homeslice, we met the Pizza Pilgrims at various street food markets including Street Feast night market and the Feast events at Tobacco Dock. The babes enjoyed a chance to roll out their own pizza dough and place it in the wood-fired oven (with lots of assistance from the PP crew). Ezra and Jed still talk about Pizza Pilgrims pizza as one of their favourites. It’s traditional Neopolitan sourdough pizza as produced after training with pizzaiolos in Naples. They only use extra virgin olive oil, adding a distinct peppery fragrance that they say makes all the difference. Find them at the pizzeria or in their pizza oven van at Berwick St or various London pop-ups.
Voodoo Rays, 95 Kingsland High St, e8 2pb (Dalston Kingsland/Dalston Junction overground)
They were dishing out Voodoo Rays pizzas at the opening night of Winterville in Victoria Park and let’s just say those slices were flying off the trays. We couldn’t get enough of them and will cheerfully stalk them to their home turf in Dalston, where they only serve pizza by the slice. Any fellow ‘80s kids will enjoy pizzas named Cabbage Patch Kid, Porky’s and The Meat is On. Look out for the Voodoo Rays pizza trailer as it hits the road for festivals, street fairs and pop-ups.
Pizza East, Shoreditch High St, E1 6JJ (Shoreditch High St overground)
The Soho House brand seems to have London’s tastebuds on lockdown with its winning formula for venues that serve good, simple food that pleases the masses, but still retain an air of exclusivity. Pizza East is as popular with Shoreditch families as the bearded massive and there can be a roadblock at weekends. We love to get our hands on the large, wood oven pizzas that you can order with not-so-common toppings like pulled pork and nduja (Italian spiced sausage).
Pizza Express (various locations)
Pizza Express has stood the test of time as a popular chain that actually serves up really decent pizzas. It’s hard to tear me away from the American Hot (give me fire!), but their menu has changed up several times over the years, and they make special efforts to please the nippers with their Piccolo menu. Handmade pizzas, fun puzzle sheets, delicious dough balls and rich puddings keep us coming back. They run pizza making classes in schools and their ‘make your own pizza birthday party’ package is great fun for Pizzaiolos of all ages. Read my Pizza Express review.
Arancina, 19 Pembridge Rd, W11 3HG (Notting Hill Gate)
The Mortari family are bringing a little slice of Italy and their native Rome to Notting Hill (also find them in Westbourne Grove). They’re known for the ‘pizza alla pala’ – long, rectangular pizzas available whole or by the slice. You’ll find familiar toppings and a few new combos all doused with extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs on a thin, yet surprisingly fluffy crust. Right near the corner of Pembridge Rd, Arancina is a useful pit stop if you’re shopping around Portobello. I enjoyed a Vegetariana slice loaded with aubergines, mixed peppers, courgettes and artichokes. What a way to start on your 5 a day!
Favourite Pizza Takeaways
Basilico (branches across London)
We’re regular customers of their Islington branch for (mostly) reliable deliveries of mouthwatering gourmet pizzas and they keep adding to the menu!
Firezza (branches across London)
We discovered them back in Willesden Green, award-winning woodfired pizzas delivered to your door. Babe mama and papa like the fiery Diavola.
London Pizza Restaurants on our Hit List
Big Red Pizza Bus (Deptford) – pizza on a double decker bus!
Sartori (Leicester Square) – highly rated pizzas, in a handy part of town.
La Porchetta (various locations) – also found in N1 (boy are we spoilt here) although strangely enough we’ve only ever had their ice cream!
Rossopomodoro (various locations) – according to their site, it’s the best pizza this side of Naples. Now also in John Lewis.
Bounce (Holborn) – dunno much about the pizzas, but there’s ping pong involved.
Santa Maria (Ealing) – heard so many great things, we’re ready to trek far West (ha) to sample it.
Where else should we try? What are your favourite London pizza spots?
Photos by Babes about Town except The Regent (2nd), via The Regent and Pizza Pilgrims (3rd) via Pizza Pilgrims, credit: Paul Winch-Furness
NB: This isn’t a sponsored post in any form, we just really love pizza!
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