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ShortList’s search for the UK’s best pizza

By cramming a mountain of cheese, sauce, vegetables and assorted meats into slice after slice of belt-loosening euphoria, pizza rarely fails to spectacularly sate our appetite.

So, after filling our bellies in the hunt for the UK's best burger, we turned out attentions to the UK's burgeoning pizza scene, quaffing slice after slice in the name of journalism, three times a week for 12 months.

Quite frankly, we've never eaten so much pizza and we probably need to sit down for a while - but it's been entirely worth it because now we have the entire list for you in full:

April 1st

Alfie Birds, Birmingham

Address: The Custard Factory, Digbeth, B9 4AA

Pizza of choice: Peter Piper's Pulled Pork Pickle

Toppings: Pulled pork, pickles, cheese, bbq sauce

Price: £11

Thoughts: Proportions. Get them right and prepare to look stone baked nirvana square in the face. Get them wrong and your soggy-bottomed greed will be punished. At Alfie Birds - Digbeth's laid back, Eastside dah-ling - the good news is that the dough to topping ratio is bob on, resulting in a crisp base of modest depth, shifting the pressure on to the clincher: the flavour combinations. Toppings-wise, an accomplished handful of pulled pork is kept honest by a tangy BBQ sauce and moreish tickle of pickle, which accentuates the sweetness of the meat without dominating it. And we're not usually down with pickles. All-in-all, a satiating yet refreshingly light slice. And one that is at its happiest alongside a chilled can of Beavertown's Gamma Ray. 

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Alfiebirds.co.uk

March 30th

The Birkbeck Tavern, London

Address: 45 Langthorne Road, E11 4HL

Pizza of choice: The Devil

Toppings: tomato, mozzarella, salami, chilli, garlic

Price: £5.50

Thoughts: Considering that the local football team, Leyton Orient, was taken over by an Italian billionaire last summer, we're surprised that it's taken this long for the taste of Italy to also reach the area. But the time has come at last, in the form of the new Italian food range at the Birkbeck Tavern, located 5 minutes from Leyton station and a sprightly 10 minute walk to the ground itself. The Birkbeck is a treasure - a proper, East End boozer complete with boxing memorabilia including flyers for fights involving a certain pair of twins known as Ronnie and Reggie, but has more traditionally associated itself with drinks, rather than the food side of things. However, with a new Italian chef in, we investigated and found a pleasingly hearty - and cheap - dish in the form of the no-nonsense 'Devil' pizza. If you're looking for subtlety and haute cuisine then you'll be disappointed, but it's sloppy, big and big of flavour in the best tradition of pub grub. For a fill up before the big game, you can't really go wrong. With East London becoming increasingly gentrified, get down here for the feel and taste of a real pub.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

The Birkbeck on Twitter

March 27th

Ply, Manchester

Address: 26 lever Street, M1 1DW

Pizza of choice: Artichoke and pig’s cheek 

Toppings: artichoke, tomato, mozzarella, smoked pigs cheek, chilli

Price: £12.00

Thoughts: When you think of disco balls you probably think of a nightclub that hasn't caught up with the times yet. You certainly don’t think of disco ball tiling around a clay-fired oven which fires pizzas for the great and the good of Manchester. Well that’s what we found at the newly launched (the doors officially swing open this weekend) Ply, another sure-fire Northern Quarter crowd puller from the folk behind Kosmonaut. Impressively decked out Scandi-style space, it’s got a good menu to match. We sampled a variety of their pizza creations but were taken by the artichoke and pigs' cheek. At first for its intriguing name alone; then for the flavour. The base was everything you'd expect from a clay fired oven pizza, crunchy crust with a pillowy soft centre and the ingredients worked well together. The sweet tomato sauce, the salty smokiness of the small chunks of pig’s cheek and the subtle heat of the chilli to finish. The only downside was that the flavour of the artichoke didn't really come through. In an area dominated by bars that also serve food it brings a refreshing spin to things and we'd certainly encourage you to give it a whirl.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Plymcr.co.uk

March 25th

Brutti Ma Buoni, Glasgow

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Pizza of choice: Antipasti

Toppings: Salami Milano, Proscuitto, Olives

Price: £10.95

Thoughts: Situated in the basement of the trendy, boutique Brunswick Hotel, Brutti Ma Buoni (“ugly but good”) is a quirkily decorated cafe-bar with a Mediterranean flavour. Prominent on the menu is its Brutti Bread, misshapen, thin and crispy pizza which encourages gripping around the irregular sides and scoffing with your hands. It might be larger but the antipasti is generously festooned with salami and Proscuitto ham, obscuring satisfying tangy tomato sauce and subtle cheese. Crucial to its appeal are a fantastic smattering of olives, firm, rich and slightly bitter, demanding to be plucked and singularly wolfed rather than consumed on the pie. Solid if not quite special.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Brunswickhotel.co.uk/eat

March 23rd

Aces and Eights, London

Address: 156-158 Fortess Road, NW5 2HP

Pizza of choice: Il Bacio

Toppings: Parma ham, asparagus, rocket and parmigiano.

Price: £9.00

Thoughts: Aces and Eights, just next to Tufnell Park tube station, combines a live music venue with pizza because, as everyone knows, adding pizza to anything makes it better. After being told to sit “under Jimi Hendrix” (there are pictures of musicians all over the walls) by very friendly staff we ordered the Il Bacio pizza, which comes with Parma ham, asparagus, rocket and parmigiano. As soon as it arrived we had our reservations: the cheese was the colour of someone in the late stages of jaundice and had the cheapish tang you might expect from Dr. Oetker, not a place specialising in pizzas. The Parma ham was fine but the asparagus was almost entirely flavourless and came chopped up into tiny little chunks that looked like they’d been dropped on by accident. Aces and Eights is a great place to go for a drink - seriously, if there's a better saloon bar in the whole of the UK we'd like to hear about it - but not a place for great pizza.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

acesandeightssaloonbar.com

March 20th

The Olive, Liverpool

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Star rating: ★★★★✰

 

March 18th

Italiano Coffee Co., London

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Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

 

March 16th

Pizza Peddlers, Manchester/Liverpool

Address: Various street food events across the North West
 
Pizza of choice: Pancetta
 
Toppings: Fire roasted red peppers, goats cheese, Gloucester old spot pancetta (crumbled and strips), mozzarella – optional extras: Rocket, garlic oil and black pepper.

Price: £6.50

Thoughts: According to Joni Mitchell they paved paradise to put up a parking lot. But little did she know that on a cold Manchester night, one car park in town was actually going to provide us with a slice of paradise in the shape of a pizza. Based out of a vintage catering van the chaps at Pizza Peddlers are travelling around serving up some of the finest pizza that money can buy - this time it was at the recently launched Manchester Urban Food Fest. Based on their recommendation we went with the Pancetta and, boy, we were not left wanting. Everything about this wood fired pizza was superb, from the dough with its soft centre and crunchy crust, through to the sweetness of the fire roasted red peppers, to even the spiciness of the rocket and the depth of the goat's cheese. The star of the show, however, was the pancetta, sourced from an award winning local butchers, so you could taste the quality and the crispy meaty salty goodness that kept you coming back for more. Yep, it was so good we ordered up another straight away. We urge you to do likewise.
 
Star rating: ★★★★★

@pizzapeddlers

March 13th

Luna Rossa, London

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Star rating: ★★★★✰
Madeinitalygroup.co.uk

March 11th

Box Pizza, Leeds

Address: Unit 3, The Triangle, 2 Burley Road, LS3 1JB

Pizza of choice: Yorkshire Pizza

Toppings: Yorkshire Chorizo, Black Pudding, Garlic Chili and Pepper jam

Price: £8.95

Thoughts: We've all heard the cries ‘Yorkshire! Yorkshire!’ on the terraces at Headingley or during an encore at a Kaiser Chiefs gig but now the Tykes really do have something to shout about as the good folk at Box have created their very own Yorkshire pizza. Unfortunately, after a journey in cardboard delivery box, this pizza is about as attractive to look at as the back end of Elland Road. Even our mega pixel camera couldn't tart it up how we'd like. But taste-wise, by eck, that Yorkshire Chorizo and chilli jam is right good, a proper treat on the taste buds and what could be better to top things off than a slice of black pudding from God’s county? Given the appearance, it’s difficult to assess against some of the UK’s top restaurant pizzas we've sampled in this quest so far. But we'd have no qualms in hailing it as one of the best takeaway pizzas.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Boxpizza.co.uk

March 9th

Franco Manca, London

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Star rating: ★★★★★

 

March 6th

O Sole Mio, Glasgow

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Star rating: ★★★★✰
Osolemio-glasgow.com

March 4th

Arancina, London

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Star rating: ★★★★✰

 

March 2nd

Craft & Dough, Sheffield

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Stars: ★★★★★

 

February 27th

GB Pizza Co, London

Address: 50 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QE

Pizza of choice: Lamb special

Toppings: Lamb salami, mint and basil pesto, tomato and mozzarella

Price: £11.00

Thoughts: Don’t worry - Mel and Sue don’t make an appearance halfway through your meal to bother you about the quality of the pesto (which is superb). The Great British Pizza Company (GB Pizza Co) of Exmouth Market has been serving up delicious creations to this slice of central London for just over a year. With their regular offerings a much-discussed local triumph, we went for their weekly special - a lamb salami on a bed of mint and basil pesto. The base is on the crispy side of traditional Italian - more akin to a flatbread on the outter edge, the brittle texture fading into a foldable fare in the centre. While the lamb and mint do work wonderfully together, it's a flavour pairing you may find slightly disconcerting on a cheesy pizza base. It's great to see a pizza specialist experimenting with something a bit "different" - best give their weekly experiments a visit if you're tired of the average pepperoni offering.

Star rating: ★★★✰

GreatBritishPizza.com

Suede Bar, Nottingham

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Star rating: ★★★★✰

 

February 23rd

Vineyard, London

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Star rating: ★★★★✰

February 20th

Atomic Pizza, Oxford

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Star rating: ★★★★✰

 

February 18th

The Florist Arms, London

Address: 255 Globe Road, E2 0JD

Pizza of choice: Wild Boar

Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, chilli, wild boar chorizo

Price: £11

Thoughts: We can't be the only ones for whom pizza is a drug. No matter how hard you try, you just can't keep away from it (so we suppose this Pizza Search is like an addicts' dream). And this tremendous effort from a hidden away pub in Bethnal Green was like the crack of pizza. Despite being, superficially, quite a straightforward affair, we just couldn't stop eating. A nice, thin base, with a perfect balance of tomato and mozzarella on top, finished with small, chewy drops of wild boar chorizo (and we specifically requested wild, not tame), together with a nice kick from just the right amount of chilli. As we say, nothing groundbreaking going on here, but expertly done, and just so moreish. The pub itself had a lovely ambience, warm and welcoming, so we'd thoroughly recommend it - just don't let Super Hans go near this one, or there'll be some serious trouble.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

thefloristarms.co.uk

February 16th

Spectacular Goat, Birmingham

Address: Street food vendor, tracked down at Digbeth Dining Club, Lower Trinity Street, B9 4AG

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Star rating: ★★★★✰

 
 

February 13th

Railway Tavern, London

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Star rating: ★★★★✰

 

February 11th

Peter, Loughborough

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Star rating: ★★★

 

February 9th

Sweet Thursday, London

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Thoughts: You know you're in safe, dough covered hands as soon as you enter Sweet Thursday. It's not the wall of choice Italian wines lining the entrance, nor the friendly, Italian welcome from the staff (all smiles and hand waving), it's the sight of the vast pizza oven glowing at the back of the homely, packed out restaurant. The pizza offering is vast - growing even longer on weekends with a special English Breakfast Pizza for brunch - but the chefs will put pretty much anything you ask for on your pizza. We stuck with the regular options and went for the Porchetta: no tomato on this one, the base held together with a creamy mix of mozzarella and fennel. The pulled pork belly is roasted on site; thick succulent chunks of ham swimming in a cheesy sea. If you like your pizza sloppy (really sloppy) with a traditional Napoli-style base, you're in for a treat - otherwise you might find yourself drowning in oils. 
 

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

 

February 6th

Jalopy Pizza, Dorset 

Address: Bridport, DT6 and back at various street food events across the region from April

Pizza of choice: Margherita

Toppings: Tomato, parmesan, basil, mozzarella, 

Price: £8.50

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Stars: ★★★★✰

 

February 4th

Pizza East, London

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Thoughts:ShortList.comInherent Vice

 

Stars: ★★★✰✰

 

February 2nd

Planet Pizza, Bristol

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Stars: ★★★✰✰

 

January 30th

Oregano, London

Address: 15 Tulse Hill, Brixton, SW2 2TH

Pizza of choice: BBQ

Toppings: BBQ sauce, mozzarella, chicken, bacon, spring onions, fresh tomatoes

Price: £11.50 (13”)

Thoughts: Since we began our quest to find the UK’s finest slice last year, you've emailed us in your hundreds, suggesting the best places for us to try far and wide, in turn sending us off to discover swanky new restaurants and tucked away hipster alcoves throughout these fair isles. One place we kept hearing about is Oregano, a rudimentary looking post-beers pizzeria parked a 10 minute walk from Brixton station. We'll be honest, it didn't exactly scream excellence. Then we heard the takeaway spot used a wood-fired oven... we ordered the BBQ. Though the decidedly thin crust wasn't quite as fluffy or yielding as we’d hoped, the taste was exemplarily, comprising a real sweet before you even reach the honeyed tang of the BBQ sauce. Shame then, that while the dough was clearly up to scratch, the ingredients were not: the chicken tasted rubbery and the spring onions didn't so much spring as bury themselves deep down in an over-helping of gooey mozzarella alongside the equally helpless bits of bacon. A cut above the normal high street takeaway, perhaps, but this is miles away from gourmet status.

Pizzaoregano.co.uk

Stars: ★★✰✰✰

January 28th

Buca di Pizza, Leeds

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Thoughts:A Life Less Ordinary

 

Stars: ★★★✰✰

 

Ice and Slice, London

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January 23rd

Gino’s Pear Tree, Loughborough

Address: 8 Church Hill, Woodhouse Eaves, LE1 28RT

Pizza of choice: Nduja

Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, hot nduja, onions and peppers.

Price: £10.95

Thoughts: Tucked within a scenic pocket of the Loughborough outbacks, Gino’s Pear Tree is a family-run Italian restaurant that houses modern class inside an 18th Century Inn. Don’t let the innocent British village surroundings fool you though - our nation’s typically limp capacity for spice was soon given a cheeky poke by the waiter – spurring our hearts onto their devilish recommendation, the Nduja: a spreadable pork sausage that crackles with chilli-spice and suitably originates from the tip of Italy’s boot. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the meat-triggering heady mercy, but the light, mushy tomatoes and mozzarella circle pits which combined for a firework of hugs and punches. While the finely sliced onions ride the nduja’s sting, the sweet red peppers ensure tastebuds are always nursed for the next Italian bang. From what began as a lofty challenge to our masculinity, we were left unashamedly floored by its softer side. Well worth a trip to the country.

Stars: ★★★★★

Ginospeartree.net

January 21st

Goppa, London

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Stars: ★★★★✰

 

January 19th

Honest Crust, North West

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Stars: ★★★★✰

 

January 16th

The London Fields

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Stars: ★★★★★

 

The Italian Club, Liverpool

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Stars: ★★★✰✰

 
 

January 12th

The Bird in the Hand, London

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January 9th

The Herb Garden, Newcastle

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Stars: ★★★★✰

 

January 7th, 2015

Luppolo, London

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Stars: ★★★★✰

 

January 5th, 2015

Kilderkin, Edinburgh

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Stars: ★★★★✰

 

Voodoo Ray's Christmas Special, London

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Thoughts:Home AloneBoogie Nights

 

Stars: ★★★✰✰

 

December 19th

JAMIE’S ITALIAN PIZZERIA, OXFORD

Address: 24-26 George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AE

Pizza of choice: Funghi

Toppings: Roasted mushrooms, smoked provola mozzarella and tarragon (with sausage meat)

Price: £10.00

Thoughts: Despite being located in the basement of Jamie’s Italian, you'll find no awkward spaghetti twirling here. An entirely separate establishment, the menu is fairly simple – only five pizza options ranging in price from a reasonable £8 to a tenner, with a short but tasty list of sides and extra toppings available according to taste. Our waiter recommended the Funghi with extra Italian sausage, a meat which worked terrifically alongside the mushroom and cheese we found layered atop the thin and ultra crispy base. Famished punters should appreciate not only speedy service but some seriously huge pizzas, best washed down with a neat glass of white from Jamie’s own vineyard. Decanted by Jamie himself. Well, if he's around.

Stars: ★★★★✰

Jamieoliver.com/italian

December 17th

Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill, London

Address: Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, SW6 1HS

Pizza of choice: The American

Toppings: Pepperoni, fresh chilli

Price: £9.50

Thoughts: Unlike Jose Mourinho, whose Chelsea team talks must resemble a United Nations summit, Marco Pierre White had only two nationalities to work with when curating the menus for Frankie’s - an American-style restaurant owned by Italian race jockey Frankie Dettori. And no sooner had we finished tear-inducing hot wings, arriving in a neat, commendably greasy and generously portioned basket, that we knew they clearly had the American side of things right at this Stamford Bridge establishment. So what about the pizza? Well, as you’d expect with a stone-baked base, it was rigid; really rigid, relying on big thick bites on the outside to make up a lack of subtly and softness in the centre; this overly firm texture also helped by the rich grainy flour coated along the crust, joyfully pouring into the edges of the mouth like dust into the tyre tracks of a Mars Rover. And while the thick chilli goop on top fell some way short of the spiciness we’d found in the wings earlier, it did possess a real sweetness, offsetting the sharp after taste of the pepperoni for a nice finish. Overall, a good pizza in a pretty good venue - despite the match day hubbub, there’s a neighbourhood charm and diner-like authenticity which most UK sports bars lack. Pop in on NFL Sundays for proof of that.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Frankiessportsdiner.com

December 15th

Streatza, Manchester

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Star rating: ★★★★✰

 

December 12th

Bocconcino, London

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Star rating: ★★★★✰

 

December 10th

Crazy Pedro’s, Manchester

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December 8th

The Oak, London

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Star rating: ★★★★★

 

December 5th

The Quarter, Liverpool

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Star rating: ★★★★✰

 

December 3rd

Fields Bars & Kitchen, London

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Star rating: ★★★✰✰

 

December 1st

Flour & Ash, Bristol

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Star rating: ★★★★★

 
 

November 28th

Holborn Whippet, London

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Thoughts:Masterchef

 

Star rating: ★★★★✰

 

November 26th

La Favorita, Edinburgh

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Star rating: ★★★★★

 
 
 

November 24th

Princi, London

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Star rating: ★★★★✰

 

November 21st

Piccolino, Bristol

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Star rating: ★★★✰✰

 
 

November 19th

Rustico, London

Address: 271 Clapham Road, SW9 9BQ 

Pizza of choice: Quattro Stagioni

Toppings: Tomato, mozerella, ham, salami, artichokes, olives

Price: £7.50

Thoughts: While nearby Brixton and Clapham brag a bevy of independent eating establishments, Stockwell all but remains a dining abyss, barren of even a decent pub within the one mile radius from the tube station. This certainly goes some way to explaining why Rustico appeared to us like a mirage, its cosy glow at odds with the darkened shops wedged next door, drawing in nomadic foodies like a middle class tractor beam. And if these sizable mid-week crowds were anything to go by - not to mention our terrific calamari starter - it’s a top-notch place to grab a Mediterranean bite. That goes for the pizza, too, arriving so gooey and hot we weren't sure if the tomato sauce had been mixed up with lava, and when we plucked up the courage to dig in, that rich and bubbly sauce erupted with flavour, particularly when oozing onto a slobber-some meat selection. We can’t say we were too convinced by the olives, mind, rolling straight off our slice with every bite  to make our plate something of a battleground for space; or indeed the crust, which was perhaps a tad overcooked. Though on pure flavour alone, we might be visiting Stockwell more often.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Rusticolondon.com

November 17th

Zerodegrees, Bristol

Address: 53 Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5BA

Pizza of choice: Smoky Mexican

Toppings: Spicy Mexican sausage, roasted mixed peppers, red onions, sweetcorn, jalapeño, smoked cheese, coriander, chilli oil and tomato sauce

Price: £10.75

Thoughts: Perched at the top of Christmas Steps, Zerodegrees is a cool microbrewery with a great rep for pizzas. We ordered a Smoky Mexican, electing for their honey-wheat base. After mutilating the pizza with the pitiful knife provided, we found the Smoky Mexican’s base was perfectly crispy but there was no honey coming through – any sweetness was courtesy of the yummy roasted peppers. And despite the abundance of sausage, it just didn’t bring any flavour to the party. This, combined with some disappointingly bland cheese offering none of the promised smokiness, meant that the pizza was only rescued from being unmemorable by the addition of fragrant coriander. The pizza wasn't bad per se – we simply felt that Tesco's Finest range would’ve offered something just as good. The beer, however, is outstanding.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

zerodegrees.co.uk/bristol


 

November 14th

Obicà, London

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November 12th

Black Dog Ballroom, Manchester

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Star rating: ★★★✰✰
 

November 10th

Crate, London

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Star rating: ★★★★✰
 

NOVEMBER 7TH

PICTURE HOUSE SOCIAL, SHEFFIELD

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Toppings:Nduja & Salsica, 

 

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Thoughts:if not Sheffield's finest pizza place, 

Star rating: ★★★★✰

 

NOVEMBER 5TH

OLIVELLI, LONDON

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NOVEMBER 3RD

FUMO, BIRMINGHAM

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October 31st

York & Albany, London

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OCTOBER 29TH

ARTISAN, MANCHESTER

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OCTOBER 27TH

Grand Union, London

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OCTOBER 24TH

Tapped, Leeds

Address: 51 Boar Ln, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 5EL

Pizza of Choice: 12” Bit of Blue

Toppings: Gorgonzola, Walnut, Rocket, Cherry Tomatoes

Price: £9.00

Thoughts: Amidst the homebrew equipment of the beer Mecca that is Tapped lurks the unsung hero that is the pizza kitchen. With only pizza on the menu and quite a limited selection at that, the chefs are able to concentrate on getting the food just right and the Bit of Blue does not disappoint. Beneath the verdant layer of rocket the relatively simple palette of creamy Gorgonzola, crunchy walnut and sweet cherry tomatoes is perfectly balanced on a fine base - made with the house wheat beer to deliver a soft centre and a crisp outer. There’s no need to invent brand new combinations when you get these classic just right. 

Star rating: ★★★★✰

tappedleeds.co.uk


OCTOBER 22ND

Pizza East, London

Address: 5 Kingly St, W1B 5PF

Pizza of Choice: Veal meatballs

Toppings: Veal meatballs, proscuitto, lemon, cream

Price: £12.00

Thoughts: While Pizza East might have started in, yes you guessed it, East London, it’s now become available in Finsbury Park, Notting Hill and, ermmm, Chicago. As much as we’d have enjoyed a trip to the Windy City, we felt it was more “authentic” to go back to where it all started. We opted for one of the old classics of the menu because it sounded like a mixture of ingredients that we’d never put together on a pizza. Veal meatballs, prosciutto and cream. Mmhmm. But these guys know what they’re doing. The absence of a tomato base AND CHEESE was made up for rather wonderfully by a creamy sauce and an indulgent amount of high quality meat. Strangely satisfying.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Pizzaeast.com

OCTOBER 20TH

The Peacock, Liverpool

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Decked out with benches, leather sofas and wallpaper funkier than a Jimi Hendrix LP cover, The Peacock has no real need to serve up hot doughy circles to throngs of hungry punters on Liverpool’s trendy Seel St. It could well survive on booze and easy-eats alone. But this establishment isn't afraid to buck the trend, and we're mightily glad they do. Whipped up by an Italian chef who prepared the dishes not too far from us, there was a real home-cooking vibe on our visit, translating straight into the end product itself. The crust was perfectly crisp (although we wish the base had been a bit firmer), the tomato and mozzarella meshed together smoothly, and the chilli? Well  that was akin to a spicy grenade exploding in our mouth. Overall, it's a very good pizza, and priced at a lowly £5 - we repeat, just £5 - you'd struggle to find a better deal anywhere else.
 

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

 
 

October 17th

La Porchetta, London

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October 15

Cornerhouse, Manchester

 

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October 13th

Exeter Street Bakery, London

Address: 1 Argyll Rd, W8 7DB

Pizza of choice: Tomato & salami

Price: £3.60 (per double slice)

Toppings: Salami, mozzarella, tomato

Thoughts: A slice of paradise for bread lovers and Kryptonite for those with yeast intolerance, Exeter Street Bakery is a plush back-street Kensington hotspot specialising in home-made Italian bread, with the best creations used for its small but mighty minimalist range of pizza. Needless to say the base of our chosen pizza was tasty, collapsing with the symmetrical implosion of a wet Ryvita cracker after one particularly large bite; just the right side of chewy and the sort of fresh that makes you want to buy another immediately. Despite the toppings not quite living up to the same heady standard (the tomato could have been slightly richer), it’s a very good pizza. And if Kensington’s a bit of a slog, it’s well worth paying a visit to their newly opened Finsbury park branch, too.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Exeterstreetbakery.co.uk

 

October 10th

NY Slice, Glasgow

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October 8th

Malletti, London

Address: 176 Clerkenwell Rd, EC1R 5DD

Pizza of choice: Frankfurter & onion

Toppings: Frankfurter, onion and chilli

Price: £3.50 (per double slice)

Thoughts: Drawing the great and the good of Clerkenwell’s creative sector away from their stale Pret sandwiches for some time now, Malletti is a hip gourmet gaffe selling pizza by the double slice. We joined the modishly dressed lunch queue, instantly feeling as if we were auditioning to appear on Grand Designs; although the only designs we had were on some Frankfurter and onion pizza. Its fiery aroma erupted before we’d even finished peeling back the wrapper, stinging the nasal passage as we dug in to discover a sweet tang of onion and gratifyingly hard aftertaste of chilli. For such a wafer-thin crust there’s a real thickset bite to the slice, too - and though we were not overly impressed by the slightly taste-lacking sausage (reminding us of one left out on some breakfast buffet of a three-star hotel) we wolfed it down with joy. If you don’t work in the Bloomsbury area, change jobs immediately, this is your new favourite lunch option.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Malletti.co.uk

October 6th

Oscar & Rosie's Das Kino, Nottingham

Address: 22 Fletcher Gate, NG1 2FZ

Pizza of choice: Meat Sweats

Toppings: Pepperoni, smoked bacon, fennel and black pepper infused pork, mozzarella.

Price: £14.00

Thoughts: Joining the ranks of the hottest bars in the city, the German cinema-inspired Das Kino houses cocktails, hearty pizzas and, for the post-meal workout, a neon lit corner packed with ping-pong tables. You’ll need it too after the stone baked ‘Meat Sweats’ which arrived on the owner’s recommendation. Covered in grandstand meats and meshed together by hand-cut mozzarella, each topping performs its own solo before sinking into the gullet. From the instant spice of the pepperoni to the cleansing aftertaste of the smoked bacon, it’ll satisfy as many hangover cravings as evening dinner gluttony. It might become a little top heavy for some, but if you’re prepared for a weighty meat fiesta and enjoy tussling with composure against delightfully thick mozzarella, you’ll be well catered for here. Don’t skimp out on the extraordinary cajun-spiced potato wedges, either. While they possess the daunting size of a tugboat, they’re twice-cooked to perfection and serve as a pleasing swan song once the sweats take a bow.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Facebook.com/daskinonotts

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Bite Me, London

October 3rd

Address: 95 Westbourne Grove, W2 4UW

Pizza of choice: La Napoletana

Toppings: Friarelli and mozerella and Napoli sausage

Price: £7.00

Thoughts: 'One TRILLION combinations', read the menu at Bite Me, both ramming home the novelty of being able to choose from up to 30 different toppings, and forcing us to read the line again in our best Dr Evil voice. One man clearly set on world domination is the young Swiss entrepreneur Chris Manessis, whose newly-opened Notting Hill venue already has the air of a successful chain thanks to its mechanical, Pret-like sleekness. Rather than suggesting we build our own, took his Italian chef’s advice and picked a minimalist special: La Napoletana. Rigidly crisp on the outside, the further we got down the slice the wetter it became, mounds and mounds of soft mozzarella becoming near drinkable as it landed on the tongue. This was no accident, the chefs use only the softest mozzarella for this reason, which, mixed with the pungent and richly flavoured Friarielli turnip greens, creates a luscious creamy effect. The meat, on the other hand, proved quite tough, jarring with the gooey cheese and vegetable mix and slightly impairing the overall experience. Still, it's a rocking start. Grab some napkins and get stuck in.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Bitemepizza.co.uk

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October 1st

Revolution, Manchester

Address: Arkwright House, Parsonage Gardens, M3 2LF

Pizza of choice: The Bad Boy

Toppings: Chorizo, fennel sausages, spicy pork n’duja, meatballs, BBQ sauce, Roquito peppers, peppers, red onions, mozzarella. Served with a trio of dipping sauces; big easy, blue cheese and suicide.

Price: £12.95

Thoughts: Pizza probably isn’t the first thing that enters your mind when you think of a Revolution bar. The ‘I love vodka’ drinks menu and ‘world of vodka’ wall art suggest it’s more a shot of Russia than a slice of Italy. But don’t let the perception put you off…the revamped food menu hosts a number of stone-baked pizzas to tempt you as much as a few drinks. We went with ‘The Bad Boy’ due to its name alone, and it didn't let us down. Just like a layered shot, the flavours develop over time, from the sweet BBQ sauce, Chirizo and red onion, to the salty meatball, sausage and cheese, through to a nice heat of the spicy pork and peppers. If you wanted to add another layer it also comes with 3 dips for the crust - the best being the Big Easy which reminded us of a burger sauce with added gherkin. In short, it's a good eat, though if you're after added reason to make the trip then this coming Saturday marks the two millionth Vodka bottle being poured in Revolution bars, meaning you'll get a free glass of the good stuff to boot.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Revolution-bars.co.uk/bars/manchester

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September 29th

Verdi, London

Address: Door 12, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, SW7 2AP

Pizza of choice: Gamberoni

Toppings: King prawns, courgettes, mushrooms, tomato, mozzarella

Price: £12

Thoughts: Right now, the Royal Albert Hall is attracting a younger, trendier and noticeably cummerbund-less crowd than has previously been associated with the iconic dome. There have been concerts by the likes of Foals, special events to rouse the next Zuckerberg (Ted X Talks), and, for another major cool factor, this newly opened restaurant, benefiting from a £1m refurbishment and now arguably the most heavyweight Italian in residence since Pavarotti was turning purple in the face. We found it impossible to look past the Gamberoni in its rich range of stone-baked pizzas. A good job, too - lathered with smokey mushrooms and a thick bed of tomato, unlike most pizzas which dare to add seafood, it excels: the king prawns are regal, packing some excellent texture. Which sadly wasn't quite the case of the middle of the base, which we found it a little dry and too robust if we're nitpicking, but overall we enjoyed it so much we've not ruled out returning for an encore.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Verdiitalian.com

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September 26th

CC's Wood Fired Pizza Pie Company, Glasgow

Address: 685 Clarkston Road, Netherlee, G44 3SE

Pizza of choice: Piri Piri Chicken

Toppings: Piri Piri Sauce, Cajun chicken, red onion, mozzarella

Price: £8.75

Thoughts: This hallowed Glaswegian pizza joint is a lot like Nando's. Firstly, you'll walk in, sit down, all nod in agreement and quickly get up again to go and order at the counter; and secondly, it offers piri piri with chicken on its menu. We were sold. A truly fiery pie that'll leave your mouth burning (in a good way), CC's wood-fired oven affords this pizza a light, crispy taste despite not stinting on the toppings. The homemade dough and tomato sauce are low on salt but the latter retains a rich and full flavour, even with the marinated chicken slathered in an especially peppery piri piri. Red onion adds some tangy sweetness while the mozzarella is evenly distributed and creamy. A valiant effort.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Ccspizza.co.uk

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September 24th

The White Hart, London

Address: 367 Norwood Road, SE27 9BQ

Pizza of Choice: Panchetta

Toppings: Diced Pancetta, goats cheese, red onion, mozzarella and parsley

Price: £9.50

Thoughts: You’re probably not expecting to find decent pizza in Tulse Hill, or a decent anything for that matter. That’s because there’s not a lot around the area at the moment. It’s currently a bit of a no-man’s land, with most heading to the yuppified Brixton village or Herne Hill for fashionable gastropubs/street food/pop-ups. Thankfully, in the White Hart we’ve found a solid pizza place. While the menu isn’t exactly extensive (they don’t offer any calzones, which is a star off in our books), there’s enough choice for both meat lovers and veggies. We opted for two pizzas – the panchetta and the funghi. The former came with a smattering of goats cheese, red onion, and mozzarella – the goats cheese perfectly balancing the sharpness of the tomato and red onion. The latter, which came with a sprinkling of truffle oil, was a little greasy but definitely worth it if you like your toppings slightly gooey. Both of which came on a base that was still slightly doughy in the middle but charred around the edges (the only way a pizza base should be). Now go quickly, before you find yourself queuing with the hipsters and kids on scooters.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Whitehart-tulsehill.com

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September 22nd

Bare Bones Pizza, Birmingham

Address: Streetfood traders [find their next spot here]

Pizza of Choice: Bonfide

Toppings: Pepperoni, n'duja Italian sausage and buffalo mozzarella

Price: £6.00

Thoughts: See that? That's how a pizza should look. Anything rounder just isn't real. We want wonky, handmade irregular pizzas where time goes into flavour and cookery, not mastering a 360 degree base. Hats off to Bare Bones for a crispy, lip-thwacking bite with the perfect level of spice. A good price for a filling, authentic, thin, moreish dish. Perfectly cooked, the cheese had bubbled and married with the meat juices, but been taken out of the woodfired oven before any sign of the cheese browning. We thought it was perhaps a little sparse on n'duja and pepperoni, and the tomato sauce could have been a pinch sweeter, but Bare Bones have only been going for six weeks, so we're splitting hairs here. Give it another six weeks and this could easily be a five-star success. We'll be back for more way before then.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Barebonespizza.co.uk

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September 19th

Cafe Football, London

Address: Westfield, Stratford City, E20 1EN

Pizza of choice: El Clasico

Toppings: Chorizo sausage, red onion, peppers, chilli olives, mozzarella

Price: £13.95

Thoughts: We have to admit, we were hoping for a little more football-related merchandise to be dotted around this restaurant - owned by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs - sadly, an impressive boot selection on entrance was about all we saw, rather than some Fergie hairdryers, framed Giggs chest hair or Villa Park-goal shirts. But, nonetheless, this is a solid sports bar affair and, pleasingly, football punnery is on offer, with the pizza menu offering The Goal and Zola, the Early Kick Off, and El Clasico. Naturally, we went for the feast that was the latter and we weren't disappointed. This pizza was like a 4-4 draw, packed to the gills with 'stuff' - weirdly, it reminded us of a particularly filling Sunday roast dinner. There wasn't much subtlely, but it was hearty and enjoyable. The Frank Lampard of pizzas then.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Cafe-football.com

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September 17th

Gusto Didsbury, Manchester

Address: 756 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury M20 2DW

Pizza of choice: Caprino

Toppings: Goat's cheese, pine nuts, caramelised onions, roasted red peppers, pesto, mozzarella and rocket

Price: £10.25

Thoughts: Should you know your Latin, you’ll know the name Gusto originates from the Latin word for tasting, and should you know this Mancunion haunt, sat amid the hustle and bustle of Manchester’s Didsbury Village, you’ll know it more than lives up to the name hanging above the door. First introductions - large clay oven, open kitchen, friendly staff, solid selection of pizzas for both meat eaters and vegetarians - were strong. We selected the Caprino, which offered a real variety of taste: the sweet caramelised onions, crunchy pine nuts and tangy goat’s cheese combined superbly on top of a base which would have been perfect had it not been slightly too moist in the centre. Try washing it down with a few cold cocktails, like the non-alcoholic (a direct result of too much booze over the summer) Honey Dew, with its heady mix of ginger, lime and fresh mint sure to help make room for dessert. And as far as that's concerned, the espresso-covered affogato is an absolute treat.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Gustorestaurants.uk.com

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September 15th

Salento Green Life, London

Address: 51 Goodge St, London W1T 1TE

Pizza of Choice: Stracciatella

Toppings: Stracciatella cheese, cherry tomato

Price: £7

Thoughts: There are several overt hints that Goodge Street's Salento Green Life is a haven of all things Italian. First there's the café/deli's website - written exclusively in Italian. Then there's the warm greeting from the staff - in Italian, rapidly switched to English once you mumble an apologetic "Hello". And most importantly, there's the food. On the recommendation of the owner, waiter and couple who were just leaving, we plumbed for the stracciatella pizza - and so should you. The tomato base is an exceptionally rich, flavoursome foundation for the thin-based pizza - made with tomatoes from the south of Italy. A fresh mound of fibrous stracciatella cheese sits atop the pizza; a gorgeous, mouth-watering flavour not unlike mozzarella, with an incredible string-like texture. It's simple, basic, Italian and one of the best pizzas you'll find in the capital for under £10.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

SalentoGreenLife.com

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September 12th

Brewdog, Edinburgh

Address: 143 Cowgate, EH1 1JS

Pizza of Choice: Spicy Monster

Toppings: Chorizo, jalapenos, nachos, mozzarella

Price: £9.00

Thoughts: Beer and pizza. Pizza and beer. It just sounds right, doesn’t it? The two go together like, well, two things that go really well together. And it's a pairing that the folks at upstart independent Brewdog have embraced. While beer is undoubtedly king here, they recognise the value in providing a measure of sustenance to soak up the suds, opting to keep it simple, the aim being to do one thing well. And, boy, do they do pizza well. There’s no doubting that the Spicy Monster is a good-looking dish. Handsome even. So irresistible in fact, that upon returning to the table to find that the pizzas had arrived in our absence, we also discovered that a slice had mysteriously disappeared without trace, the only clue to its whereabouts a softly shimmering jalapeno-induced sheen on our co-taster’s otherwise ‘oh-so-innocent’ face. But any indignation at this flagrant breach of etiquette (not to mention a spoiled photo opportunity, sorry) was soon tempered by a sense of understanding, for it tastes as good as it looks. Covered in juicy chorizo, with just enough jalapenos to tickle the tongue without scorching the tastebuds, it also comes with a secret weapon: a scattering of crushed nachos. They come hot from the oven, adding extra texture and wonder to proceedings, a truly inspired addition to a pizza that also boasts a good dose of molten mozzarella and a rich tomato base. The only teeny quibble is that it could have benefited with another 20 seconds in the oven to perfect the crunch of the crust, but that really is nit-picking – this is not far off pizza perfection. It’s also deviously clever, acting as an upmarket equivalent of a bowl of nuts on the bar, forcing the necessity of another draught of brew to deal with the thirst created. At least, that’s our excuse anyway.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Brewdog.com/bars/edinburgh

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September 10th

Stephen Street Kitchen, London

Address: BFI, 21 Stephen St, W1T 1LN

Pizza of Choice: Spicy Salami

Toppings: Salami, basil, cherry tomato, mozzarella

Price: £11.00

Thoughts: Firstly, we need to clarify that this is not a kitchen run by Blur and Smiths producer Stephen Street, which is slightly disappointing. But it is a lovely restaurant situated within the BFI, gaining you access to its private screening rooms, which more than makes up for it. Cooked in an open kitchen using a wood-fired oven, the Kitchen doesn't serve a big variety of pizzas - essentially a straightforward tomato and mozzarella New York pizza; a pepper, aubergine and courgetta pizza; and the classic spicy salami being the options available. We went with the latter and it was immaculately done, with the salami packing a serious punch, the dough crisp and the whole thing nicely cooked. We wouldn't head here specifically for the pizza, but it's a lovely quiet, relatively hidden space right next to the busiest part of London, so if you're in the area and want a well-earned rest augmented with a quality pizza, then it does the job nicely.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Benugo.com

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September 8th

No. 51, Bristol

Address: 51 Stokes Croft, BS1 3QP

Pizza of choice: Stokes Squash

Toppings: Roasted squash, garlic & herb soft roulade, toasted pine nuts

Price: £7.50

Thoughts: There are few better things to load up on before a night out than pizza, and No.51 Stokes Croft, sat on one of Bristol's hippest streets, has quite the selection to get you going. We went al fresco in their sunny courtyard with a local cider (of course) and a 'Stokes Squash'- the menu also includes the puntastic 'Living on the Veg' (topped with a selection of roasted veg) and 'Smokey and the Bandit' (smoked bacon & garlic mushrooms). The base on our pizza was light and crisp, and the tomato sauce was rich and herb-y - all the better to go with the perfectly roasted squash and soft cheese, what there was of them. That was our only gripe - that the toppings could have been a bit more generous, as even the mozzarella on our pizza was a little on the thin side. Even so, it tasted great and you can't argue with the value at £7.50 for a sizeable pizza, or their 2 for £12 deal before 8pm Mon-Thu (or before 4pm Fri-Sat) and all day Sunday is a bargain. In terms of cheap and tasty refueling, or lining your stomach before hitting the bars of Stokes Croft and beyond, you're onto a winner here.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

51stokescroft.com

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September 5th

Mayfair Pizza Co., London

Address: 4 Lancashire Court, New Bond St, W1S 1EY

Pizza of choice: Bloody Mary

Toppings: Celery leaf, cherry tomatoes, wild rocket, tomato base made from Belvedere Bloody Mary Vodka, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, Horseradish, celery salt and smoked peppercorns.

Price: £13

Thoughts: Eagle-eyed readers of Shortlist.com should have already picked up on the fact we reviewed the Mayfair Pizza Kitchen back on April 28th, awarding the succulent BBQ pork shoulder a whopping 5 stars (scroll down for that treat). So when we heard the outfit is now also serving up a Bloody Mary pizza, we didn't need to be asked back along twice. Such was the abundance of greenery on top, requiring the machete skills of a Gurkha to hack through those celery leaves and decipher exactly what's going on underneath, our first impression was exasperation. When we eventually reached its base, however, our opinion changed in the course of a mouthful, discovering that tart combo kick of the Belvedere vodka and Worcestershire sauce, rolling our tongue superbly with some fresh tomatoes and sweetly crafted homemade horseradish, all on a base as crisply cooked as we remembered. It took us a few more bites to truly appreciate the Tabasco though, which is arguably the strongest part of the cocktail’s mule-kicking flavour and perhaps slightly lacking here. Nonetheless, it's a brilliant effort and, perhaps the ultimate compliment to its flavoursome quantities, lovers of meat might not even realise it's missing any until they've given the menu some closer inspection. As for veggies, getting to order something bloody should make for a nice change.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Mayfairpizzaco.com

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September 3rd

Little Pizza Kitchen, Liverpool

Address: 39-41 S Rd Waterloo, L22 5PE

Pizza of choice: Meat Feast and Smoking Pig (half-and-half)

Toppings: One half salciccia picanta, salami, parma ham, and sliced meatballs; the other 24-hour pulled pork, red onion, corn, pineapple, smoked cheddar and pea shoots

Price: £11.95

Thoughts: On the cusp of Liverpool (Waterloo, to be exact, and never visited by Napoleon to our knowledge) lies Little Pizza Kitchen – a modern eatery from the exterior, with a homely decor and welcoming atmosphere on the inside. Boasting an Italian-American menu, the tender BBQ chicken wings - delicious - are an ideal precursor to their super-thin crust pizzas, which come in various, intriguing combos. For hungry carnivores, the Meat Feast will likely suffice, yet the offer of a half-and-half is also tempting. Combo your salciccia picanta, salami, parma ham, and sliced meatballs with Smoking Pig: a tasty blend of 24-hour pulled pork, red onion, corn, pineapple and smoked cheddar for a lighter, sweeter experience. While we found the aforementioned toppings really worked, and in the case of Smoking Pig, excelled, the crust was slightly too thin and rigid at times, shattering with every bite. Still, the pizza is presented impeccably, and thanks to its truly excellent staff, we can think of few better places to take friends for a casual Saturday night of pizza-eating.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Lpkpizza.co.uk

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September 1st

Bianco 43, London

Address: 7 Northumberland Ave, WC2N 5BY

Pizza of Choice: Calzonpizza

Toppings: Ricotta cheese, mushrooms, ham, mozzarella, basil and tomato

Price: £11.50

Thoughts: We don't know the exact origin of this slightly wacko idea but we picture a dark stormy night, a manic pizza chef in a lab coat and lots and lots of cheese. The Calzonpizza is a margherita pizza which has a section devoted to a calzone, in case you're struggling to decide between the two options. It's not an awful idea on paper but in reality, it feels like a bit of an afterthought, as if one part of crust has been stuffed but the rest was forgotten about. There's nothing wrong with the toppings, in fact they were mainly delicious but the concept didn't work for us. Plus, the base of our crust has far too blackened, read burnt, for our liking...

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Bianco43.com

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August 29th

Rossopomodoro, Birmingham

Address: The Foodhall, Selfridges, Birmingham B5 4BF

Pizza of Choice: Massese

Toppings: Spicy spianata salami, tomato and mozzarella

Price: £10.95

Thoughts: So often on this search for the UK's best pizza we've been forced to say that had we been reviewing on the basis of more than just the pizza (i.e taking into account location, view, staff etc) then a pizzeria may have scored higher, but we are committed to reviewing the pizza and the pizza alone, not the entire restaurant. It's for that reason that Rossopomodoro is, absolutely, a wonderful pizza. Sat in the incredibly busy Selfridges food hall, the location is far from perfect, but the pizza is superb. Made by Neapolitan chefs from Neapolitan ingredients in a traditional wood burning oven, the ingredients are so fresh that you can taste every single one of them, all marrying together brilliantly. We ordered the Massese on the advice if the Sicilian manager - the heat of the sausage is spot on, giving a slight kick, but taking nothing from the mozzarella and tomato sauce. With a slightly charred crust (just how we like it) the base softened perhaps a little too much, making this is a knife and fork - not fingers - pizza.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Rossopomodoro.co.uk

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August 27th

Bravi Ragazzi, London

Address: 2a Sunnyhill Rd, Streatham, SW16 2UH

Pizza of choice: Maradona

Toppings: Mozzarella, tomato, Italian sausages, sweet peppers, black olives, capers and extra virgin olive oil

Price: £9.95

Thoughts: A revolution is raging in South London. A pizza revolution, to be exact - so put down the pitchfork, disassemble your angry mob and get yourself down to the small and unassuming restaurant currently magnetising hip foodies and homesick Italians in their droves. Bravi Ragazzi, translating to 'good boys' or 'Goodfellas', and ran by a group of good natured young Neapolitans exhibiting more tattoo to skin ratio than a middling Premier League team, is exactly that - in fact the owner, Luca, splits his time between serving up wood oven sourdough treats here and his native Italy where he’s a fairly successful rapper. Keen to crack on, we started with the Saltimbocca flatbread sandwich which we were told would "jump in the mouth". Not far off in truth - we inhaled it. Next to wow us was the Maradona (everything is a love letter to Naples here, with the city's erstwhile footballing hero still held in high regard), our tongue barely getting chance to register the sweetly cooked dough such was its melt-in-the-mouth make-up. The sausage was far juicier than our napkin allowance had planned for, and the sweet peppers complimenting offering some real punchy flavour against the smoked cheese. Be it for us to say the owner should give up the rap game, but if we gave out platinum records for pizza reviews, this would go double. Outstanding.

Star rating: ★★★★★

Braviragazzipizzeria.co.uk

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August 22nd

San Carlo Cicchetti, London

Address: 215 Piccadilly, W1J 9HL

Pizza of choice: Basilicata

Toppings: Spicy sausage, chillis, tomato and buffalo mozzarella

Price: £7.95

Thoughts: We'd never usually send you into the depths of a tourist trap in search of a good meal - but it's worth dodging (ruining) a few family photos to make it through the door of San Carlo Cicchetti. An all-Italian heaven just off the melee that is Piccadilly Circus, this is classy joint (it's got a marble bar, for one) that knows its way around a pizza. The Bascilicata is a take on the classic Italian thin-base - a tablet of not-quite-crispy dough topped with tomato and buffalo mozzarella. Rather than overpowering your tongue, the spicy sausage and chilli are well balanced, giving the pizza a satisfying zing. And it's the perfect size - you won't be rolling down the stairs of the Underground after this one.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

SanCarloCicchetti.co.uk

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August 20th

DAT Bar, Newcastle

Address: 11 Market St, NE1 6JN

Pizza of choice: Tallulah Mae

Toppings: San Marzano tomatoes, Fior Di Latte mozzarella, Calabrian spicy cured sausage, dried baby plum tomatoes

Price: £7.00

Thoughts: This newcomer to the Newcastle bar scene is not only known for its extensive real ale selection but also its tasty menu, heavily focused on burgers and pizza. No guesses which food we opted for - and the Tallulah Mae, as with all pizzas here, consists of a sourdough base cooked in a wood-stone oven at a minimum of 700f. Service was speedy, and the flavours did not disappoint as the rich meaty flavour was perfectly balanced by the sweetness from those semi dried baby plum tomatoes. Our only real quibble was that the crust was unevenly cooked, only slightly but enough to ensure some bites were crunchier than they should have been. However, at £7.00 for what is a very classy pizza, who are we to complain? One tip worth remembering: don't try to get through all 20 beers on tap - the pizza will end up being a distant blur.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Datbarnewcastle.co.uk

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August 18th

Apres, London

Address: 31 Duke St, W1U 1LG

Pizza of choice: ‘All the trimmings’

Toppings: Jalapenos, mushrooms, black olives and turkey bacon

Price: £9.50 (toppings 50p - £1.50 each)

Thoughts: Nestled between Selfridges and other wallet-emptying outlets, this might not be the first area you associate with a hot slice of the good stuff, but then you might not know it's home to Après. Delectably, the method behind the mozzarella stood out before the pizza even landed on the table, as we were told the tangy sour-dough mix (pineapple is one element used) is left to chill in a fridge for three days, all done to give it a real crunch upon cooking. Add some roasted tomato sauce, fresh vegetables (or turkey bacon if you’re feeling carnivorous), and a 360 degree oven, and finished with a blow torch, believe it or not, and its makers are left with an ultra thin labour of love. Though with all that extra crispiness, we can't deny that it does leave for a rather dry finish, which is aided by salivating vegetables and succulent meat, making this doughy customer one for the books. Try the cocktails, too. Outstanding.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Apres-london.com

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August 15th

Sela, Leeds

Address: 20 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 6NU

Pizza of Choice: The Sesame

Toppings: Pale Ale ricotta, spinach and stout caramelised onion, beer glazed ham

Price: £8.00

Thoughts: There’s a bit more to this than just the obviously admirable achievement of getting no fewer than three different types of booze onto a pizza. The ale in the ricotta makes it the fluffiest you’re ever likely to taste, the stout adds an extra sweetness to the caramelised onion and the beer glaze to the ham keeps it nice and moist out of the oven. Add a sprinkling of sesame seed to the perfect combination of crisp crust and soft inner and you have a damn fine pizza. That’s not to say that it’s still not worth trying some of the excellent Erdinger on draught to wash it all down with.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

selabar.com

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August 13th

Polpo, London

Address: 41 Beak St, W1F 9SB

Pizza of choice: Cured pork shoulder

Toppings: pork, pickled peppers, jalapenos,

Price: £8.00

Thoughts: An unfussy Venetian bàcaro crammed with fussy creative media types, Soho's Polpo is the sort of place where the best plan to attack is to mount up on mini plates and embrace the elbow-to-elbow intimacy. And seeing as we love pizza of all shapes and sizes, we had no problem asking for the pizzettes - specifically the Bianca and the Pork Shoulder, which turned out to be a masterful dish. Okay, so the flakiness of the sauce-less Bianca was more crusty than crunchy, but, boy was the pork shoulder full of juice, its meat mouth-melting. What's more, small and hot-headed thanks to a strong hit of eye-watering jalapeño, it's basically the Joe Pesci of pizza. Furthering this Italian American analogy, the close quarters dining and rustic ambience evoke a certain downtown New York Little Italy vibe which should ensure you visit again. Oh, and the delicious fried stuffed olives? Fuggedaboutit.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Polpo.co.uk

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August 11th

Rosso, Manchester

Address: 43 Spring Gardens, M2 2BG

Pizza of choice: Salumario

Toppings: Tomato Sauce, garlic, mixed cured meats, smoked mozzarella

Price: £13.00

Thoughts: Some among you may already know this sleekly upmarket restaurant as belonging to Rio Ferdinand, who as far as we're aware never pulled on an Azzurri jersey. On the basis of the delicious pizzas being whipped up in the kitchen, however, you'll wonder why he never did. There's a truly authentic Italian look, taste and feel to the dishes: we found the smoked mozzarella worked a treat with the tomato sauce, giving the amply-sized base some real finesse, though the real match winner on this beauty was its array of mixed meats, with pepperoni, mortadella and finocchiona delivering hit after hit of fizzing flavor. Perhaps a crust of more substance would have worked better, but, as it was, we found it a very fine effort from Rosso, and one of the best in the city. It's also worth keeping an eye out for the filoncino bread. So good you'll be back for that starter alone.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Rossorestaurants.com

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August 8th

Yard Sale Pizza, London

Address: 105 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP

Pizza of choice: Slap Ya Mama

Toppings: Slap Ya Mama pulled pork, apple sauce, crackling

Price: £11.00

Thoughts: Brand spanking new hipster joint Yard Sale has the proud title of being the only pizza place to have been opened by Macaulay Culkin's pizza band. Quite the claim to fame. But beyond the gimmick, there's thankfully a lot more to enjoy. Styled like an '80s teen movie location, a varied menu offered up essentially one choice to us: the special, a strange combination of pork, apple sauce and crackling. But rather than just being a novelty, the combination of tender pork, salty crackling and sweet apple on a pizza was an absolute doozy. If they can make apple sauce seem like a dealbreaker of a pizza ingredient then we look forward to what else they have in store.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

www.facebook.com/yardsalepizza

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August 6th

Peel & Stone, Birmingham

Address: Arch 33, Water Street, Jewellery Quarter, B3 1HL

Pizza of choice: Margherita with anchovies

Toppings: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies

Price: £5.50

Thoughts: New bakery Peel & Stone is the dream team work of The Soul Food Project and pop-up foodie pairing Clarke & Lee. It's taken the city by storm and they'll soon be launching a weekly pizza night. For the time being, however, you need to follow them on Twitter to find out where their wood-fired pizza wagon will be. That's worth doing, because their pizza is exquisite. Those who have read the Birmingham chapter of this pizza search know that we West Midlanders place a lot of stock in tomato sauce, and this one is as fresh and flavoursome as we've ever found. A perfect amount of mozzarella sits atop the crisp exterior and soft interior base, ballooned and charred with aplomb. The saltiness of the anchovies lifting the sweetness of the tomato into a simple but stunning pizza heaven. Great value, too. Incredible.

Star rating: ★★★★★

Twitter.com/peelandstone

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August 4th

Vapiano, London

Address: 84 Wardour St, W1F 0TQ

Pizza of choice: Diavolo

Toppings: Spicy Italian sausage, peppers, red onions, tomato sauce, mozzarella

Price: £8.95

Thoughts: Vapiano, if you’ve yet to visit one of its branches, has something of the US mall food court about it. You grab a tray and choose between various thronging ‘stations’ serving everything from salad and appetizers to pasta and pizza, all freshly made by chefs before your very eyes. There’s also an Oyster Card-esque payment system wherein you touch a card to a reader on each station you patronise, before picking up the tab at the end. Anyway, that’s the introductions out the way - let’s get down to the pizza. We were pointed in the direction of the ‘Diavolo’, which, we can report, packs considerably less throat-scorching punch than its name and ingredients might suggest. The base was superbly crisp, but the meat not hugely succulent, and the onions and peppers didn’t do a whole lot to boost the overall flavour, either. Diavolo probably won't win any gastronomic awards, but in terms of value for money, it’s a decent, and fairly tasty, bet.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Uk.vapiano.com

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August 1st

San Carlo’s Flying Pizza, Leeds

Address: 60 Street Lane, Roundhay, LS8 2DQ

Pizza of choice: Pizza Bianca

Toppings: Smoked Scottish salmon, red onion, soured cream and chopped dill

Price: £10.00

Thoughts: Despite the alfresco dining and hub bub of genuine Mediterranean accents, for some reason, call it too much time watching The Commonwealth Games, we thought we'd choose the Scottish salmon. However, this white pizza offered a very rich flavour where the sweet smoked fish and red onion were each finely balanced with the soured cream. Ultimately, the richness was the main shortcoming of this one – believe us, we are as gluttonous at they come, but there’s a limit to how much soured cream and salmon anyone can consume in one sitting. It seems less is more with this one, and it might have just been one topping too much. Otherwise great.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Sancarlo.co.uk/flyingpizza

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July 30th

Pizza Union, London

Address: 25 Sandy's Row, E1 7EZ

Pizza of choice: Carne

Toppings: Beef, chicken, pepperoni and onions

Price: £6.50

Thoughts: While we might have dabbled with some of the more 'non-traditional' toppings during our pizza quest, sometimes all you want is a meat pizza topped with meat and some extra meat for extra meatiness. The Carne definitely delivers for its impressive price. Bittersweet then that the price is ultimately the biggest reason to recommend this solid and wallet-friendly effort, perhaps just lacking a punch in flavour but certainly worth checking out. It's not the very finest pizza you'll come across in the capital, but it's a fine effort nonetheless. Also, try the nutella and marscapone dough ring if you're going - it's delicious.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Pizzaunion.com

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July 28th

Peter's Yard, Edinburgh

Address: 3 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, EH4 1LU

Pizza of choice: The Special

Toppings: British asparagus, lemon ricotta cheese, lemon zest, garlic oil and chopped parsley

Price: £10.00

Thoughts: From the outside, there's not much to suggest this Swedish artisan bakery-cum-deli also offers a handful of excellent pizza options, apart from the out-the-door queue and steady stream of punters emerging clutching pizza boxes, that is. With space for only a dozen or so inside, takeaway is a good back-up plan, although ideally you'll be able to bag a table and munch through the pizza, which comes served pre-cut, in a basket, along with a complimentary side of a delicious pickled cabbage salad. We digress. Well, where to begin? With the long, steaming hot spears of asparagus, all fresh and field-y? Or the handfuls of creamy lemon ricotta crumbled over its surface? Perhaps the aromatic combination of parsley, lemon zest and garlic oil that tastes like a burst of summer? How about the sourdough base, with its crispy consistency and satisfying chew? They'd probably be good places to start, certainly. The only drawback? By the end it becomes a little dry without any molten mozzarella to help cheese things up and take it to the upper echelons of pizza mastery. Still, not bad Sweden, not bad.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Petersyard.com

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July 25th

L'antica Pizzeria, London

Address: 66 Heath Street, NW3 1DN

Pizza of choice: Cristoforo Colombo

Toppings: Tomato sauce, garlic, parsley, mussels, clams, prawns, squid, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil

Price: £10.95

Thoughts: A charming location – just a minute’s walk from the tube in North London’s leafy Hampstead - and a cosy venue with a very homely feel, it was immediately clear that this would be an authentic experience. L’Antica boasts a Neopolitan-made wood oven tucked away in the corner which cooked the thick, soft base to perfection. Out of a range of brilliantly-named pizzas (including the Sofia Loren, Galileo Galilei and the Giuseppe Verdi) we were feeling adventurous so, naturally, opted for a Cristoforo Colombo, which boasted the cast of Finding Nemo – presumably picked up on one of Cristoforo’s voyages - for its toppings. There was plenty of nicely-cooked action on top, but not too much; nonetheless, we were stuffed by halfway through. A pleasant, homely experience, real neopolitan pizza and a seriously hearty portion – but you can always walk that off with a stroll around the Heath afterwards.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Anticapizzeria.co.uk

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July 23rd

Yammo, Bath

Address: 66 Walcot Street, BA1 5BD

Pizza of choice: Friarelli, Salsicce & Provola Affumicata

Toppings: Friarelli, sausage, smoked mozzarella

Price: £12.95

Thoughts: A little bit of Naples in Bath’s trendy artisan quarter of Walcot Street, Yammo is on a mission to bring high quality Italian street food to the people of Bath, without any pretentiousness. The restaurant is chilled and colourful, the back garden has table football and ping pong while the menu has an equally sociable variety of snacking antipasti and sharing plates perfect for splitting with mates. But of course the centrepiece here is the pizza. We opted for one of their traditional bianca pizzas which come without tomato sauce; the smoky and creamy mozzarella worked perfectly with the herby chunks of sausage and soft stems of friarelli (found only in the region of Naples, this looks like broccoli but tastes more like spinach). In the interest of research (not greed, you understand), we also tried one of their pizzas with a tomato base – the Alla Norma, which was generously topped with sweets nuggets of roasted aubergine and creamy local ricotta. The crusts were also well balanced – thick enough to be sturdy and chewy, but not at all heavy; leaving the toppings to do all the talking.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Yammo.co.uk

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July 21st

Goat, London

Address: 333 Fulham Road, SW10 9QL

Pizza of choice: 'Nduja

Toppings: Nduja, oregano, mozzarella, tomato

Price: £12.00

Thoughts: Goat is unlike Chicken Cottage for two vital reasons. Firstly, the food, service and general decor of this Chelsea-based restaurant is of a vastly superior quality, to the extent that you'll struggle to bring yourself to leave. Secondly, there's none of their titular animal in the food (though there is a goat's cheese and beetroot salad). While we'd wondered if their 'Nduja pizza might contain a little Billy, we were relieved to discover it's actually a spreadable spicy pork sausage from Italy - which does a wonderful job of lending a meaty kick to this gorgeous pizza. The combination of mozzarella, tomato and meaty juices made for the perfect sloppy pizza experience. Be sure to ask for extra napkins.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Goatchelsea.com

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July 18th

A Cappella Café & Pizzeria, Bristol

Address: 184c Wells Road, Bristol, BS4 2AL

Pizza of choice: Allegretto

Toppings: Homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella, smoked pancetta, caramelised red onions, Brie, sautéed mushrooms, free-range egg and fresh basil

Price: £11.45

Thoughts: The tiny A Cappella pizzeria achieved the kudos of being Trip Advisor’s best UK independent pizzeria in 2013, so we thought it was worth a dabble. We were far from disappointed. The melt-in-the-mouth bases are extremely light and crisp – perhaps owing to the Naples-sourced flour – and diners can watch the chefs expertly twirling freshly made dough in a way that only they can. The homemade tomato sauce brings some real punchy flavours to the table, sweet caramelised onions cut through the intense savoury taste of the pancetta, while Brie and a free-range egg (with a dippy yolk - Yes!) injected extra zing. Spoiler alert: the owner isn’t Italian (could’ve fooled us) but was trained in Naples, meaning that true authenticity still shines through. While you might be eating on a busy road in Bristol, the taste transports you straight to boot-shaped country.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Acappellas.co.uk

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July 16th

Sodo Pizza Café, London

Address: 126 Upper Clapton Road, E5 9JY

Pizza of choice: Lorena

Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, butternut squash, rosemary, feta and pine nuts

Price: £8.00

Thoughts: While plenty of our focus in this pizza search thus far has been paid towards the myriad selection of toppings offered up throughout the UK, here’s an East London pizzeria which pays close attention to one part of the pizza in particular and, yes, you can probably guess which part that is. A refreshingly small menu gave us a number of appealing options but we picked the a meat-free option for a change to our normally carnivorous ways. The unusual combination of butternut squash, feta, pine nuts and rosemary was notable in its own right but as predicted, the dough was a major selling point. Substantial without being overly heavy, it made for crusts that demanded not to be left on the plate. But the real surprise was the sauce which was arguably the standout. Our mouth still waters at this very thought. An excellent pizza from the dough upwards.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

sodopizza.co.uk

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July 14th

Ecco Pizza, Leeds

Address: 93 Otley Road, LS6 3PS

Pizza of choice: Marrakech

Toppings: Moroccan spiced lamb, red onions, aubergine, peppers, olives on San Marzano tomato and feta base, fresh parsley, mint, pomegranate seeds

Price: £8.45

Thoughts: Ecco’s speciality is serving mixed-topping ½ metre sharing pizzas. That’s a great idea but if you come from a big family you don’t leave things to chance – you get your own 12” pizza. Besides, there’s no way you'd want to share any of this beauty. A genuine Neapolitan base from hand thrown dough and perfectly charred in the wood burning oven (which incidentally bears an uncanny resemblance to Yoda’s home from The Empire Strikes Back), the modern twist comes courtesy of the sweet and crunchy pomegranate and fresh herbs, expertly accompanying the subtly spiced and slow-cooked lamb. The force is strong with this one.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Eccopizzeria.co.uk

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July 11th

GB Pizza Co., London

Address: 50 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE

Pizza of choice: The Special

Toppings: Truffle, wild mushroom salami

Price: £8.00

Thoughts: After trying our fair share of pizzas that boast a range of authentic imported ingredients from Italy, it's quite refreshing to try one that aims to do the exact opposite. A simple yet charming pizzeria on Exmouth Market, the GB Pizza Co. also offer simple yet charming pizzas, utilising the finest homegrown ingredients available. Our pizza was thin and crispy, arguably a little bit too crispy, with the crust crumbling in our hands as we tried to eat. The truffle was plentiful and the wild mushroom salami made for a slight change but, dang it, the brittle crust held it back from being something that bit better.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Greatbritishpizza.com

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July 9th

Dogs N Dough, Manchester

Address: Bow Lane (Cross St), M2 4JW

Pizza of choice: Triple Threat Pizza

Toppings: Tomato base, cheese, mini burgers, bacon, fries

Price: £10.00

Thoughts: Perched down a small alley, this underground establishment might as well be owned by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles such is its off-piste placement and unorthodox US-styled pizza on offer. One such number is the Triple Threat, loaded with bacon, cheeseburgers and fries - seriously, we wouldn't have batted an eyelid had the bacon been cut into stars and the fries arranged into stripes. And it's exactly as you would expect from something so heavy in US inspiration, with the base crunchy and toppings royally filling - albeit perhaps a little too salty, but then this may be exactly what you're after. As for us, we went hard, went home satisfied and fell into a food coma. But we'll be back.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Dogsndough.com

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July 7th

Earlham Street Clubhouse, London

Address: 35 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LD

Pizza of choice: Super Mario

Toppings: Tomato, mozzarella, spicy homemade meatballs and pecorino cheese

Price: £10 12-inch/£18 20-inch

Thoughts: Sensibly, there wasn’t a mushroom in sight as the Super Mario landed on our table, drawing us in with a heady aroma of sizzling meat melted onto a slender, cheesy base - just one of many meta-named pizzas you can order ironically but eat utterly seriously inside Earlham Street Clubhouse, a preppy pizzeria and cocktail bar in the up and coming Seven Dials area on the edge of Covent Garden. Ours being hotter than a power-up fireball, we had to leave it for a minute before tucking in and discovering the smooth pecorino cheese a perfect match for the tangy, moistly succulent homemade meatballs, each one better than the last as we dug into the wholesome base. And while the tomato did lack a certain punch, perhaps overawed by the cheese, it didn't deter from what was an otherwise tremendous pizza, best washed down with a cocktail called Show Me The Money - a dangerous blend of five white spirits, mountain dew, lemon and sour apple liquor. But just one, mind - too many of these and it'll be Game Over in no time.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Esclubhouse.com

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July 4th

Portofino, Birmingham

Address: 21 Frederick St, Jewellery Quarter, B1 3HE

Pizza of choice: Marco's

Toppings: Beef, chillies, onion, peppers and cheese

Price: £9.30

Thoughts: Immaculate interiors, good staff, cool location. Alas, those three things all fall way below "taste" on your pizza checklist, right? Ours too. This pizza was sad-making. The crust was wonderfully crisp to the bite and soft to the chew (as it should be) but the toppings were utterly forgettable. The tomato sauce (for our money the lynchpin to any good pizza) went missing like Wayne Rooney at the 2014 World Cup, while the chillies, if there were any on there at all, were weaker than a Roy Hodgson pep talk. Best not to dwell. Onwards!

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

Myportofino.co.uk

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July 2nd

Harrods Pizzeria, London

Address: Second floor, Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Rd, SW1X 7XL

Pizza of choice: Poached salmon (special)

Toppings: Poached salmon, dill crème fraiche, chives

Price: £17.95

Thoughts: Adept at holding court as naturally he can a base of dough, Giuseppe Silvestri, former chef to Princess Diana and affable master pizza maker who’s been drawing the great and the good to this Harrods hotspot for some time now, believes that good flour is sacrosanct. He told us this himself, as only a Neapolitan could (hand gestures aplenty), explaining how he uses only a small amount of yeast but high humidity to allow his wares to rise well in the wood-fired ovens. Seconds after our palate hit the high rim of the crust, its blistering softness at once apparent, its sweet texture not long after, we knew he was onto something, while the lip-glistening poached salmon (a dish which almost dissolved on the tongue) only served to bolster our opinion. Sure, the prices might be as steep as the postcode suggests, and additional toppings superfluous (an extra £22 for some Canadian lobster, anyone?), yet by your last bite you’ll be wondering why you’d never ventured here earlier.

Star rating: ★★★★★

Harrods.com

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June 30th

Maguire's, Liverpool

Address: 77 Renshaw Street, L1 2SJ

Pizza of choice: Hey Pesto

Toppings: Bacon, chicken, mushrooms, spinach and pesto

Price: £2.10 (per slice)

Thoughts: On the off chance you’re into heavy metal, being draped in leather and partying with a few drinks, this is your place. With unusual cocktails on offer along with some tasty side dishes, it's unfortunate to say that pizza, which it champions, was a bit of a let down at this rocky bar. Scanning the wide range of vegan options, we almost went with one until our inner meat lover won out and we asked for the Hey Pesto, which seemed a beast on paper. Disappointingly, it came with a lack of meat, the bacon was tasteless and the tiny slices of chicken were hardly identifiable under thick slabs of pesto. A good fall in after a few beers, perhaps, but nothing special while sober.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

Facebook.com/MaguiresPizzaBar

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June 27th

Foxcroft & Ginger, London

Address: 3 Berwick St, Soho, W1F 0DR

Pizza of choice: Slow Cooked Pork

Toppings: Pork, jalapeno, mozzarella, smokey tomato sauce

Price: £7.50

Thoughts: Something a bit different here for a pleasingly low price. The pizzas at café Foxcroft & Ginger (there's another one in Whitechapel) aim to bring something more to the table than just mozzarella and tomato sauce - and while this one might contain those ingredients, there's a twist. The tomato sauce is smokey, making it taste like a less sweet barbecue sauce while the tender slow cooked pork and hot jalapeno peppers help to give it an interesting Mexican taste. Those with delicate tastebuds, ensure there's water at hand.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Foxcroftandginger.co.uk

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June 25th

Firebird, Glasgow

Address: 1321 Argyle St, G3 8TL

Pizza of choice: Blue Cheese

Toppings: Blue cheese, spinach, pear and walnut

Price: £10.00

Thoughts: A relaxed, West End eatery with large windows and stripped stone walls, Firebird's pizza arrives lightly charred from its wood-fired oven, with a colourful blend of sweet and tart flavours instantly catching the eye. On a thin, crispy, white sour dough base, met by tangy tomato and mozzarella, the rare presence of the yellow pear, fresh and juicy as opposed to Caramelised, is supplemented by creamy, classy blue cheese, making for a filling pie even without any meat. Liberally sprinkled walnuts add occasional crunch. No bad thing as it turns out.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Firebirdglasgow.com

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June 23rd

The Honest Italian, London

Address: 13 Balham Station Rd, SW12 9AZ

Pizza of Choice: Zucca gialla

Toppings: Roasted butternut squash, fior di latte mozzerella, chilli and red onion

Price: £10.30

Thoughts: Whether The Honest Italian's minimalist logo (a single slice slightly loose from a circle) was purposely designed to resemble Pac-Man as well as pizza is unclear. Our lovely waiter was nonplussed. The only surefire thing we knew, seconds after coming into nasal contact with the aromas emitted from the nearby wood-fire oven, was that we had an appetite worthy of the famous ghost-guzzler himself. Liking the sound of a roasted butternut squash base, we opted for the Zucca gialla, subtle on flavour but given the right amount of kick by some shrewdly sprinkled chilli. The red onion was almost toffee-like to the taste, while butternut squash gave a good amount of sweet. Our only squabble is that it lurched on the wrong side of crispy - folding a slice required much more effort than it should have done - which we'll put down to an honest mistake.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Thehonestitalian.com

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June 20th

Croma, Manchester

Address: 1-3 Clarence Street, Albert Square, M2 4DE

Pizza of choice: Chilli Salsiccia

Toppings: Tuscan Sausage, red onion, roasted red and yellow peppers, mozzarella, chilli jam

Price: £7.95

Thoughts: Those who ensure a glass of water is on hand before attempting anything with the word ‘chilli’ in it will be left pleasantly surprised. Although there was a slight kick through the extra black pepper we added, the jam-based sauce was perfectly balanced with some caramelised onions and roasted peppers, all making for a tangy twist. The Tuscan sausage was the true standout feature, despite the fact there could have been slightly more of it. But maybe that’s just greediness on our part - and the creamy mozzarella topping was superb. There was an element of smokiness to the base, char on the crust and a great sauce to cheese ratio. Definitely worth delving right into the heart of Manchester for.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Cromapizza.co.uk

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June 18th

Addomme, London

Address: 17-21 Sternhold Ave, Streatham Hill, SW2 4PA

Pizza of choice: Prosciutto & Funghi

Toppings: Mozzarella, tomato, Italian ham, mushrooms, parmesan, basil and olive oil

Price: £8.50

Thoughts: Step into Addomme, with its exposed brick walls and ridiculously pleasant staff, and you might think you're actually in trendy Williamsburg. But wait! Calm down. You're just in Streatham, a little down the road from Brixton. Remember? You got the 159 bus. South West London's gradual metamorphosis into an exciting, vibrant hub for excessive quantities of food and alcohol wouldn't be complete without this small, cheery Italian. We opted for the classic pairing of prosciutto and mushrooms, a decent mix of saltiness and chewiness, with oozing puddles of mozzarella and sharp notes of basil dotted throughout. The tomato base was sharp, sweet and full of flavour (it also could've done with more sauce). Not the most adventurous topping, sure, but when you get the classics this right, why would you want anything else? A solid effort. In the name of investigative journalism, we also tried the dessert pizza; fried dough smothered in Nutella and dusted with sugar. So good we're still full, actually.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Addomme.co.uk

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June 16th

The Victoria, Birmingham

Address: 48 John Bright St, B1 1BN

Pizza of choice: Audrey Hepburn

Toppings: Garlic butter, goats' cheese, onion marmalade, rocket

Price: £8.50

Thoughts: Staff admitted there's no woodfire oven in the kitchen, which worried us, but it needn't have. Perfectly crisp on the exterior and base, but still soft slap bang in the middle of the dough, the garlicky zing is what really makes this pizza superb. Another misplaced fear was of the goats' cheese, which can often overpower, and did nothing of the sort here, working wonders with the rocket and onion marmalade. Is this the best pub pizza in Birmingham? Quite possibly. Try their chocolate brownie and espresso martini, also, if you're so bold.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Thevictoriabirmingham.co.uk

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June 13th

Sandy's, London

Address: 14 Seymour Place, Portman Village, W1H 7NF

Pizza of choice: Sampieru Corsu

Toppings: Crème fraiche, gruyere, sausage, porcini mushrooms, oregano, truffle oil

Price: £13.50

Thoughts: “There’s no tomato on it”, said the waitress. “Instead of tomato, we use crème fraiche.” We’ll be honest, we were worried. Thankfully, though, our worries were allayed within milliseconds of the first mouthful; this Corsican speciality – named after one of the island’s most famous soldiers – is a highly unorthodox beauty. The tang of the crème fraiche worked perfectly with the rich, heady scent of the truffle oil, and the Corsican sausage was cooked to perfection and bursting with flavour. Just like Sandy’s itself - a Corsican pizza place amidst Edgware Road’s shisha bars and Middle Eastern takeaways - the Sampieru Corsu shouldn’t work, but it very much does.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Sandys.uk.com

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June 11th

Slice, Manchester

Address: 1a Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter, M1 1DN.

Pizza of choice: Prosciutto, fig and Gorgonzola

Toppings: As above

Price: £2.95 (per large slice)

Thoughts: The Italians have treated us to many great exports down the centuries: straight roads, baths, Gianfranco Zola, and of course pizza. But when it comes to pizza, one element we seem to have neglected from its creators is ‘pizza al taglio’ or pizza by the cut. Which is exactly what the guys at Slice in Manchester are doing, and boy are they passionate about it, even going to the length of going to Rome to learn their craft. Set in the heart of the city’s trendy Northern Quarter this continental café style pizza bar serves up a mix of traditional flavours with bolder options and because it’s by the slice you don’t have to just choose one! We went with a range of options and all were superb, we especially enjoyed the prosciutto, fig and gorgonzola, which perfectly combined sweet and salty flavours on a delicious base going from a soft, melt in the mouth centre to a crispy crust. But don't stop there - it's also worth exploring the banana and nutella sweet calzone dessert.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Slicepizza.co

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June 9th

Cucina Asellina, London

Address: Me Hotel, 336-337 The Strand, WC2R 1HA

Pizza of choice: Spianata piccante

Toppings: Spianata piccante, onion, smoked scamorza, basil

Price: £15.00

Thoughts: When your waiter makes a point to warn you that the pizza you've ordered errs on the spicier side, if you're anything like us, you'll smile politely and assume he's perhaps being a tad overdramatic. But on this occasion, he was right to tip us off. Not that it was a bad thing; in fact, the kick that came with the spianata piccante, a hot salami, is what really made the pizza a standout, and when combined with the smoked flavour of the cheese and the sweet caramelised onions, the taste was as moreish as it gets.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Togrp.com/togrp-asellina

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June 6th

Del Villaggio, Birmingham

Address: 175 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1DT

Pizza of choice: Fiorentina

Toppings: Garlic base, mozzarella, spinach, parmesan, egg

Price: £10.50

Thoughts: This was a strong pizza and we would return, just a slight shame it's situated on the ailing Broad Street area of Brum. If you do find yourself there though, after a movie at the neighbouring Cineworld, perhaps, it's a good option. A crisp, garlicky base, perfect volumes of cheese and egg with light spinach. White pizzas tend to be crying out for tomato sauce but this one didn't miss it at all. There was a smokiness to it, a nice degree of char to the crust and a perfectly plentiful serving. No qualms from us.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Del-villaggio.co.uk

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June 4th

Ping, London

Address: 180-184 Earl’s Court Road, Kensington, SW5 9QG

Pizza of choice: Sao Paulo

Toppings: Pulled chicken, crispy pancetta, taleggio cheese, san marzano tomatoes and mozzarella

Price: £11.00

Thoughts: Ping is one of the few venues you'll attend to provoke a sense of disappointment when your food arrives. That's not a statement about the quality of the dish - it's because you'll likely have to abandon your table tennis game at a crucial match point. Mercifully, the Sao Paulo is worth that break in play. The sour dough base is excellent: a perfect thickness to soak up the pleasant spill of the oven-cooked tomatoes and mozzarella. While the pulled chicken and crispy pancetta pork work well together, much like our serve, they lack any real punch. Be warned - you won't be as nimble around the tables after finishing one of these off.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Weloveping.com

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June 2nd

The Old Ball, Leeds

Address: Brownberrie Lane, Horsforth, LS18 5SB

Pizza of choice: Spanish Chorizo and Prosciutto Crudo

Toppings: Cherry tomatoes, red chilli & rosemary

Price: £8.95

Thoughts: Sat in what otherwise is a pretty normal looking pub, itself sat in a pretty normal suburb of Leeds, lurks a metal beast of a pizza oven which spawns delectable and unusual dishes. The ‘pizzaluna’ dough, freshly made on the premises, is a talking point in itself – unusually light and slightly cheesey, giving it a consistency more akin to a scone base than a standard pizza. The salty meats and sweet cherry tomatoes combine nicely but it’s the subtle rosemary flavour which gives this pizza another unusual twist. Take note: the toppings are perfectly balanced with exactly the correct amount of red chilli present when the pizza arrives, so adding extra chilli oil, as we fatefully did, isn't the best course of action.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Pizzakitchenbars.co.uk

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May 30th

Whole Foods Market, London

Address: 20 Glasshouse Street, W1B 5AR

Pizza of choice: Pink vodka

Toppings: Butternut squash, pink vodka sauce, mozzarella, green pesto and broccoli.

Price: £3 per slice

Thoughts: Those fearing returning to the office sozzled after a slice will be relieved to hear the pink vodka sauce is a creamy tomato sauce with just a little infusion of vodka. It’s sharp and similar to Marie Rose sauce, but also distinctively different, and we applaud the innovation. The dough is hand-tossed in store in front of you to give the pizza a thinner, crispier American-style base – a delight – and there’s fresh, hand-torn mozzarella. It’s a shame the toppings weren’t as exciting as the sauce and its base, but worth a try, for sure.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Wholefoodsmarket.co.uk

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May 28th

The Plough, Birmingham

Address: 21 High St, Harborne, B17 9NT

Pizza of choice: Chorizo, roasted peppers, cajun chicken, caramelised red onion and black olives

Toppings: As above

Price: £13.25

Thoughts: They use a stone-baked oven to make their pizzas and we can't help but wonder if they are a wood-fired oven off cooking one of the best pizzas in Birmingham. Apparently they're thinking about buying one. It's superb, even without. At £13.25 it may seem pricey but it's easily big enough for two diners and despite ordering the pizza with the most toppings, none of them seemed out of place. Flavoursome, fresh, utterly moreish, the ratio of sauce to cheese was perfect. Time your visit for when the weather's nice because their beer garden is simply stunning. Oh, and they sell Pips Hot Sauce - the best chilli sauce in Birmingham. Heat-heads should try it on everything - but mainly pizza.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

theploughharborne.co.uk

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May 23rd

Fire & Stone, London

Address: 31-32 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7JS

Pizza Of choice: London

Toppings: Cumberland sausage, streaky bacon, chunks of roast potato with roasted cherry tomatoes and roasted field mushrooms

Price: £10.95

Thoughts: As any budding sleuth may have already deduced from the clues above, the pizza we ordered in this sleekly informal setting (futuristic looking couches strewn across the sides of this roomy venue give it the look of a 22nd century sixth form) takes on a British institution every bit as iconic as old Sherlock himself. London, just one of a smattering of global city-themed doughy creations, you see, is essentially an English fry-up in pizza form. And while we're sure pizza minimalists may label it high treason, it's rather good: the roast cherry tomatoes are so loaded with juice they're like tangy miniature grenades going off in your mouth, the rich and chewy sausage truly is some cumbersome Cumberland, the bacon wasn't overly salty and the potatoes were, well, very pleasant. The only real drawback is that it all felt slightly overpowering - there was just a little too much going on atop the gently singed base. Still, a dish of patriotic proportions such as this is well worth seeking out.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Fireandstone.com

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May 21st

The Stable, Bristol

Address: Canon’s Road, Harbourside, BS1 5SU

Pizza of choice: The Lamb Roast

Toppings: Marinated local lamb, mint, Ford Farm goats’ milk cheddar, thyme-roasted sweet potato, roast onions, tomato and mozzarella.

Price: £10.50

Thoughts: West Country-based mini chain The Stable serves only pizzas, pies and cider (what more could you want?). Above all, however, it has swiftly garnered quite the rep for its award-winning pizzas which feature fresh, local, responsibly sourced ingredients – and rightly so. Bubbly sourdough bases and tomato sauce are freshly made on site; this results in a deliciously crisp crust that works with the innovative creations rather than overwhelming them. No doughy stodge here. Of all the slobber-inducing, totally unique toppings, the standout was The Lamb Roast. “Lamb on a pizza? Heathens!” These were our first thoughts, too, but let us assure you, the bleaty meat is lovingly marinated so there are no greasy kebab moments, while sweet potato, mint, goats’ milk cheddar and roasted onions work hard to complete the mind-melting flavour. A masterpiece, which also goes down a treat with some Bee Sting cider, which, at 7.5%, has quite the sting.

Star rating: ★★★★★

Stablepizza.com

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May 19th

Santa Maria, London

Address: 15 St. Mary’s Road, Ealing, W5 5RA

Pizza of choice: Santa Rosa

Toppings: Tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, Neapolitan salame, fried aubergines, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, fresh basil

Price: £9.95

Thoughts: The closest you'll get to fiery Naples taste without grabbing your passport, this intimate pizzeria at the end of London’s Central Line remains a mecca for Italian authenticity. With all ingredients flown in from Italy, quality is never compromised here. Eager to sample such hype, we opted for the Santa Rosa. Not necessarily the most extravagant on their reasonably priced menu, less was definitely more with this pizza. Set on a stage of springy, thin dough, the humble marrying of flavorsome smoked mozzarella and melted parmesan with fresh tomato juices and oils, proved a master class in true pizza craftsmanship. This steadfast quality control has even led owner Pasquale to reject a million pound offer to expand, ensuring the establishment remains a beacon for those after the real deal. That is if you can get a seat, of course.

Star rating: ★★★★★

Santamariapizzeria.com

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May 16th

Mo-Dough, Birmingham

Address: 145-147 Alcester Road, B13 8JP

Pizza of choice: Peaky Blinder

Toppings: Homemade tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, tandoori chicken breast, scotch bonnet chillies, caramelised onion.

Price: £9

Thoughts: Moseley Village has long been crying out for a decent pizzeria and the recently opened Mo-Dough (owned by the people behind The Prince Of Wales) massively fits the bill. The Peaky Blinder, named after the Birmingham-based, BBC Gangster hit, wouldn't normally be our first choice, but we had heard great things. Featuring tandoori chicken, the fear was that it's trying to be both a pizza and a tandoori dish, and the two would compete. Not a bit of it. It's a delicious marriage of flavours, well thought out and well executed. You can even watch your pizza get cooked in the giant wood-fired oven. Their cheesy garlic bread is ace and the hummus is the best we've ever eaten. Go visit.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Mo-dough.com

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May 14th

Il Baretto, London

Address: 43 Blandford St, W1U 7HF

Pizza of choice: Panpizza

Toppings: Parma ham, burrata, rocket & cherry tomatoes

Price: £17

Not wanting a list of 150 margheritas, we're keen to include the full spectrum of pizzas available across the country. So while visiting this upscale Marylebone Italian, we eschewed the more traditional options and went for the 'Panpizza''. Yes, we had to ask what it meant as well. It's actually a thick base that's then been sliced in half and filled with toppings. On paper, it sounds intriguing but sadly, the gamble didn't quite pay off. The ingredients were tasty but there was no sauce and given the crisp, somewhat tasteless dough on top and bottom, it wasn't an easy eat.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

Ilbaretto.co.uk

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May 12th

Salvo's, Leeds

Address: 115 & 107 Otley Road, Headingley, LS6 3PX

Pizza of choice: Focacce Farcite Prosciutto Crudo

Toppings: Cured ham, buffalo mozzarella, rocket and olives

Price: £10.75

Thoughts: It’s unusual to get a type of pizza you’ve never tried before – we’ve all done the rounds of stuffed crusts, folded calzones and deep pan. However, this variant is pretty unique: a sauceless white pizza where the base is first baked in olive oil then the toppings added afterwards. The result is wonderfully fresh, a bit like an open sandwich, and in this case, graced with some of the finest mozzarella and ham we've ever tasted. The negatives? Well you’d better go armed with strong wrists and a sharp knife as the pre-baking makes the base hellishly difficult to cut – definitely not first date material. (Though in fairness the service was so good the staff would probably cut it up for you should you be inclined to ask), while the quantity and bitterness of the olives overpowered everything until we rightly quarantined them to the side plate while finishing the remaining pizza.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Salvos.co.uk

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May 9th

Bounce, London

Address: 21 High Holborn, EC1N 2TD

Pizza of choice: Spicy pork and fennel

Toppings: Plum tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, fresh chilli

Price: £13.50

Thoughts: Disbelieve your eyeballs for a second: the pizza you see above is not radioactive, nor has it been given luminous like qualities via Instagram. We snapped it au naturel during a sit down in Bounce, an establishment which specialises in table tennis, and, as we soon discovered after ordering one, radiant pizzas. In fact, the only thing brighter than this concoction has to be the genius who first whipped it up, meshing drool-inducing tomatoes with the freshest of chill and basil to make your five-a-day seem like a blessing. More than that, the fennel provided a welcome aniseed taste against the chilli and sharply spiced pork, the base was chewy without outstaying its welcome, it was all on the right side of oily and slighted only by underwhelming mozzarella – simply put, it got a lot right.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Bouncepingpong.com

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May 7th

Cal's Own, Newcastle

Address: 207 Chillingham Rd, NE6 5LJ

Pizza of choice: Cheese pie with hot Italian sausage

Toppings: Pepperoni, nduja, chorizo, grana padano, basil, mozarella

Price: £10

Thoughts: From the moment you walk into this wryly-titled Newcastle haunt you could quite easily believe you were in Brooklyn or Naples, such is the authenticity of the place. Cal, the owner and chef, is very much a real person (though we wouldn't blame him for lying to get that glorious pun above the door) and with his dough proofed for 3-4 days and variety of toppings sourced from far and wide, it's clear he's passionate about these 'pizza pies'. Ours combined a hint of spice with meaty flavour on some feather-light dough, leaving a delicious taste on the tongue and no bloatedness in the belly, handily leaving us room for desert. We picked the lip-smacking home made mud pie, but, well, that's another review altogether...

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Calsown.co.uk

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May 2nd

Lardo, London

Address: 205 Richmond Rd, London E8 3NJ

Pizza of choice: Lardo

Toppings: Lardo, Spinach, Egg

Price: £11

Thoughts: The hipster surroundings at Lardo tipped us off that we wouldn't be getting a plain pepperoni pizza for dinner. Okay so there's a black anise pepperoni one on the menu but you catch our drift. We decided to go with the one which actually contained Lardo, which we discovered isn't the Italian for larder. Rather, it's a unique type of salami made from curing fatback (that's the fat from the back of a pig...). It's not like any salami we've had before and together with spinach and egg, it made for a nice change. Perhaps not quite distinctive or flavoursome to truly haunt (as a good pizza really should) but a curio for sure.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Lardo.co.uk

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April 30th

Republic Bier Halle, Glasgow

Address: 7-9 Gordon St, G1 3PL

Pizza of choice: Quattro Stagioni

Toppings: Chorizo and onion, rocket and Parma ham, chicken and wild mushroom, artichoke and red pepper

Price: £13.95

Thoughts: A meaty take on Italy's most popular pizza, this stonebaked four seasons benefits from a sweetly tangy tomato sauce and a salty, none-too-thin-sliced Parma ham, complementing a soft, nutty-tasting artichoke that leaves one desirous of one of the many world beers available at Republic Bier Halle. Lightly seasoned tranches of chorizo, neither crumbly or fatty but still tasty, sit alongside juicy, flavourful wild mushrooms and fleshy, torn chicken, all atop satisfyingly stretchy cheese. With a thin, crispy base that's soft and doughy at the outer edges, it's a little pricey but reflects the fact that every pizza menu is available on a two-for-one offer.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Republicbierhalle.com

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April 28th

Mayfair Pizza Co., London

Address: 4, Lancashire Court, New Bond St, W1S 1EY

Pizza of choice: Pulled Pork Shoulder

Toppings: Pork shoulder, onions, crackling, barbecue sauce

Price: £13

Thoughts: Blink and you’ll miss it. Keep your eyes peeled and, well, you'll probably miss it anyway. So is this plush Mayfair pizzeria firmly tucked down a windy lane just off Old Bond Street and up a flight of stairs worth the faffing about on Google Maps? You bet. It takes two days for chef Michael Lecounteur to cook his pork, brasserie style, in a water bath with apples; and after bruising our appetites with a sterling crab and mac starter, we found out why his method yields results. A pizza of pupil-dilating proportions thanks to a barrage of onions meshed sweetly with a rich barbecue sauce on a freshly-soft-in-the-middle base, the Pork Shoulder contains some show-stopping meat, every single piece dripping in flavour as our tongue tried to decipher crackling (a nice touch) from less crunchy substances. More like this and we won’t need Google Maps, we’ll be following the queues.

Star rating: ★★★★★

Mayfairpizzaco.com

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April 25th

Pasta Di Piazza, Birmingham

Address: 11 Brook Street, St. Paul's Square, B3 1SA

Pizza of choice: Vesuvio

Toppings: Tomato, Italian sausage, meatballs, mushrooms, chilli, olives and mozzarella. Lots and lots of mozzarella.

Price: £9.45

Thoughts: Any review where you have feel the need to mention the positives first, hasn't gone brilliantly. The place is immaculate and the service was nice. Now, we may have caught them on a bad day (midday on a Monday) and we hear the food is usually very good, but we cannot vouch for that opinion. Look how much mozzarella is on this pizza. Honestly, at points the cheese was almost a centimetre deep. It was like a plush version of a bad takeaway pizza. Giant hunks of mushroom, colossal meatballs (which actually tasted good) and rubbery hunks of sausage fought in vain to try and stem the endless flow of cheese. Pick a slice up with one hand and everything, bar the cheese, would flop clumsily back onto your plate. Thick crust at the rim contradicted floppy, crisp-less dough in the middle. It was like a GCSE project pizza. No smokiness, no char. It was filling, with tasty elements, but altogether disappointing.

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

Pastadipiazza.com

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April 23rd

Pizza Pilgrims, London

Address: 11 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 3RP

Pizza of choice: Margherita with Nduja

Toppings: Nduja (a spicy, Calabrian pork sausage), fior di latte (cow's milk) mozzarella

Price: £9

The pilgrims started life by operating a mobile pizza van (our favourite type of van) out of Berwick Street Market before graduating to open a restaurant in the heart of Soho in 2013. The venue gives a welcoming, homely feel, with its roots very much in the Neopolitan style – chequered kitchen-style tablecloths aplenty give this a nice Italian touch. The sausage topping, with simple sauce, is simple and neat, complimenting the cow's milk mozzarella superbly, but it’s the bread which is the real matchwinner here: it's delicious; the perfect thickness and not a hint of grease. Frankly, with a base that good, you could have any pizza and you’d walk away happy. Add in the extremely reasonable price for the location and this gets our napkin-stained seal of approval.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Pizzapilgrims.co.uk

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April 16th

Pizzaface, Brighton

Address: 35 St Georges Rd, BN2 1ED

Pizza of choice: Cuca

Toppings: Mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, shitake and oyster mushrooms, caramelised onion, rosemary and finished with Napoli salami

Price: £10

Thoughts: Is over an hour too long to wait for a pizza delivery? Of course it flipping well is. We'd been forced to eat half a tub of coleslaw and an out-of-date mince pie by the time our Cuca had arrived. That aside, it wasn't a bad effort. The base was thin with a decent crunch to the crust and the salami had a good porky kick to it. But we couldn't detect any smokiness from the mozzarella and there was too much cheese overall. Less is more when it comes to pizza toppings - it's science.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Pizzafacepizza.co.uk

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April 14th

Hunter 486, London

Address: 50 Great Cumberland Place, London W1H 7FD

Pizza of choice: Sicilian Hunter

Toppings: Field Mushroom, cured Italian meats, rocket and shaved Gran Padano cheese

Price: £15.50

Now we wouldn't mention this, or even be aware of it otherwise, but the press release for this hotel-based restaurant specifies that it's opposite Madonna's house. Looking back, one of the main reasons for this might be that the pizza itself needs a bit of oomph to make it stand out from the rest. Sure, there's some fine cured meats on the top but aside from that, there's not a lot else to elevate this from simply being a pleasant meal, which given the high price, isn't quite enough...

Star rating: ★★✰✰✰

Thearchlondon.com

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April 11th

Tribeca, Liverpool

Address: 15 Berry Street, Liverpool, L1 9DF

Pizza of choice: Hogg Roast

Toppings: Slow roasted shoulder of pork, stilton, watercress & Bramley applesauce, finished with pork crackling

Price: £7.95

Thoughts: Home to chefs trained in the heart of that country shaped a bit like a Prada boot, and one of the most popular eateries in Liverpool full stop, this pizzeria offers a unique menu sure to sate everyone’s taste. On our visit the staff recommended the Hogg Roast; a festivity of flavours, apparently - and how right they were. The slow roasted pork (cooked to perfection) was teamed terrifically with Stilton and a rich applesauce, making for a world class infusion of strong yet sweet flavours on its moreish thin base. Even if you don’t live in Liverpool, this beautiful creation is worth the trip to Merseyside alone.

Star rating: ★★★★★

Tribeca-liverpool.co.uk

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April 9th

Soho Joe's, London

Address: 22-25 Dean Street, W1D 3RY

Pizza of choice: Capricciosa

Toppings: Joe's home roasted ham, mushrooms, tomato sauce and mozzarella

Price: £10

Thoughts: We'd prepared our wallet for merciless hammering upon entering Soho Joe's - no one gets a cheap nibble in the West End. The tut died on our lips the minute we saw the menu: £10 for 12 inches (behave). We plumbed for the Capricciosa (Italian for capricious, but you totally knew that), sold by the notion of whimsical British ham roasted in Joe's glowing ovens. The mushrooms were fibrous while the meat was pleasantly smoky - it's an uncomplicated, fresh affair. You'll struggle to find a better priced pizza in theatre land.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Sohojoe.net

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April 7th

DoughBoys, Leeds

Address: Belgrave Music Hall, 1-1a Cross Belgrave St, LS2 8JP

Pizza of choice: The Paul & Linda

Toppings: Artichoke, Sicilian olives, pimento, caper berries, smoked mozzarella, salsa verde

Price: £2.80 per slice (quarter pizza)

Thoughts: Great news, vegetarians: here’s a pizza that’s a step above your bog-standard cheese and tomato; so good in fact, carnivorous colleagues may even be tempted away from more meaty alternatives. Created by northern street food specialists DoughBoys, currently in residence at Leeds' Belgrave Music Hall, their Paul & Linda features a super-light dough with minimal tomato base, meaning the all-singing all-dancing toppings get centre stage. Caper berries (the less tart, more amiable big brother of a standard caper) combine with zesty gloops of salsa verde as the perfect counterpoint to the earthier tastes of the artichoke and molten smoked mozzarella. As an added bonus, the beauty of the slice portion is no need to plough through that unwanted final quarter of pizza just because you’ve already bought it (when you really should be watching your waistline). Or conversely, in our case, you may like it so much that you can take on a mathematics-defying five quarters.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Twitter.com/DoughBoysLeeds

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April 4th

HomeSlice, London

Address: 13 Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9DP

Pizza of choice: Pork belly

Toppings: Pork belly, chimichurri, smoked onion

Price: £20

Thoughts: Like a lot of London’s greatest new finds, HomeSlice grew from a humble food van. It's now taken up residence in Covent Garden and offers up an usual set of killer pizzas. We opted for their pork belly pizza, mainly because a) we love pork belly and b) we were unsure how it would work on a pizza. Thankfully, it worked rather well. The pork was still tender and, drizzled in chimichurri, it was delicious. The smoked onion was also a nice addition, giving a genuine smoky taste. One of the most promising new pizza restaurants in London.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Homeslicepizza.co.uk

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April 2nd

Dough, Manchester

Address: 75-77 High St, Northern Quarter, M4 1FS

Pizza of choice: Duck and Brie

Toppings: Pieces of slow cooked duck leg, creamy brie, crispy duck skin, plum pieces, garnished with rich plum sauce, spring onions and parsley.

Price: £9.95

Thoughts: For a pizza establishment with such high a reputation as Dough, you’re bound to expect something special, and that's exactly what they deliver (please note: they don't actually do delivery). Freshly prepared bases provide the perfect combination of crispy outer crust and soft centre, while the varied menu, pushing the boundaries with their range of signature dishes right through from a Moroccan-inspired lamb pizza through to the 'breakfast pizza', will doubtlessly leave you asking your server for "another few minutes" before finally plumping for your own topping. After much deliberation on our part, we opted for the Duck and Brie, and were not let down thanks thanks to some sumptuously sweet meat, crispy skin, Brie and a rich plum sauce that complimented its tangy tomato base beautifully.

Star rating: ★★★★✰

Doughpizzakitchen.co.uk

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March 31st

Machiavelli Kitchen & Dining Room, London

Address: 69 Long Acre, London, WC2E 9JS

Pizza of choice: Rocket & Parma

Toppings: Fresh rocket and Parma ham

Price: £13

Thoughts: A pizza-toss from Covent Garden tube, this Italian food specialist doubles as a kitchen and diner - beware that your "quick bite" might turn into an unexpected food shopping trip. The rocket and Parma ham pizza is a no-nonsense Italian affair: the thin, crispy base is grease-free, not a hint of cheese in sight. The toppings are excellently fresh and sprinkled liberally, making for a satisfying flavour combination, but it won't transport you to a bustling café in sunny Rome. One for the pizza minimalists, this.

Star rating: ★★★✰✰

Machiavellifood.co.uk

(Widget image: Flickr User - Inside A British Mum's Kitchen, Aurel Dunca Photography]

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