How to Spot Traditional Italian Pizza Restaurants in London

soho pizza restaurant interior

Authentic Italian pizza is widely recognised and loved across the world, and London is no exception, boasting a plethora of traditional pizzerias.

The key to truly enjoying Italian pizza lies in its authenticity, which encompasses everything from the ingredients to the cooking methods and the overall dining experience.

Today, we will share with you how to find the best pizza spots in London that serve up genuine Italian flavours, and let you know why Cinquecento may be the solution to all of your pizza-craving problems.

The Joy of Finding the Perfect Italian Restaurant

There is a special kind of joy in discovering an authentic Italian restaurant, particularly when it comes to pizza.

The perfect Italian pizza is not just a meal; it is an experience that transports you to the heart of Italy with every bite. From the first taste of fresh mozzarella to the smokey aroma of a wood-fired crust, an authentic Italian pizza offers a taste of tradition and craftsmanship that is hard to beat.

In a city like London, with its vibrant and diverse food scene, finding a pizzeria that stays true to Italian roots can be a delightful adventure and can transport you straight to the streets of Naples and beyond.

Here’s how you can spot the best Italian pizza spots in this wonderful city.

1. Look for DOP Ingredients

One of the fundamental indicators of an authentic Italian pizza is the use of DOP (Denomination of Protected Origin) ingredients.

These ingredients are regulated to ensure they meet stringent quality standards and are produced in specific regions of Italy. For example, San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella are key DOP ingredients commonly used in Neapolitan pizza.

San Marzano tomatoes are known for their sweet flavour and low acidity, grown in the rich volcanic soil near Mount Vesuvius. Buffalo mozzarella, sourced from the milk of water buffaloes in the Campania region, is prized for its creamy texture and rich taste.

Spotting these ingredients on the menu is a clear sign that the pizzeria prioritises authenticity, delivering flavours that stay true to traditional Italian roots.

2. Wood-Fired Ovens

The method of cooking is just as crucial as the ingredients.

Traditional Italian pizzerias typically use wood-fired ovens to cook their pizzas (set to a temperature of 500, which is where our name comes from!).

These ovens reach very high temperatures, allowing pizzas to cook quickly, which is essential for achieving the perfect crust. The high heat creates a distinctive char and crispiness on the edges while keeping the centre soft and chewy.

The wood-fired oven also imparts a subtle smoky flavour that is impossible to replicate with conventional ovens.

When looking for an authentic Italian pizza restaurant, check if they use a wood-fired oven, as this is a hallmark of traditional pizza-making techniques.

Haverstock Hill Pizzeria Oven

3. Simple and Fresh Toppings

Italian pizza is renowned for its simplicity and the quality of its toppings.

Authentic Italian pizzerias use fresh, high-quality ingredients to enhance the natural flavours of the pizza. Typical toppings include fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, prosciutto, and rocket.

The philosophy behind this is to let each ingredient shine without overwhelming the palate. Minimalist toppings also ensure that the balance of flavours and textures is just right, highlighting the freshness and quality of each component.

When evaluating a pizzeria, look for menus that emphasise fresh, seasonal, and high-quality toppings rather than overloaded, complex combinations.

4. Italian Chefs and Staff

The presence of Italian chefs and staff can significantly enhance the authenticity of the dining experience.

Italian chefs bring with them time-honoured techniques and recipes passed down through generations. Their expertise ensures that the pizzas are made with the utmost respect for traditional methods.

Additionally, Italian staff members contribute to the overall ambience, offering a warm, hospitable environment reminiscent of dining in Italy.

Their knowledge about the cuisine can also enhance your dining experience, providing insights into the dishes and their origins, as well as information on drink pairings and beyond.

haverstock hill pizza restaurant

5. Traditional Italian Ambiance

The ambience of a restaurant plays a vital role in creating an authentic dining experience.

Authentic Italian pizzerias often feature rustic interiors with traditional Italian décor, including elements like wooden tables, brick walls, and vintage Italian posters. The atmosphere is typically warm and inviting, designed to make diners feel like they are in a cosy trattoria in Italy.

Our brand is based on making every customer feel welcome in an environment as close to authentic Italy as possible, and our restaurant design is based around this.

Italian music playing in the background and a family-friendly environment further enhance the authenticity.

When choosing a pizzeria, consider the overall vibe of the place and how well it reflects the culture and tradition of Italian dining.

Choose Cinquecento as Your Italian Pizzeria in London

Finding real Italian pizza in London is a rewarding endeavour.

These elements together create a dining experience that is true to the rich culinary heritage of Italy, and you can find all of them and more in Cinquecento.

If you want to explore Italian cuisine and visit authentic pizzerias in London, head on down to one of our locations.