10 Best Pizzas in Dublin - A slice of the city for every price point
Looking for the best pizza in Dublin? Pól Ó Conghaile scours the city for top-notch pie... whatever your budget.
The main takeaway after eating my body weight in pizza these past few weeks? Dublin has upped its game. Deliciously.
Years ago, pizza purists had slim pickings in this city. Today, planet-shaped wood-fired ovens are popping up all over the place. Aficionados know their Romanas from their Napoletanas. Chefs and restaurateurs have done proper homework... many making pilgrimages to New York and Napoli.
True, there is no such thing as a signature Dublin pizza. But this wood-fired revolution, together with a growing confidence in Ireland's casual food scene, and its excellent ingredients, have taken things up a very tasty notch.
It's impossible to compare pizzas pound for pound (how can an artisan 12-inch compare with a 3am slice of shame?) That's why I've kept things simple, steering clear of big delivery chains and divisive toppings (that's you, pineapple), favouring well-judged Irish touches and, of course, value for money.
Here's your eat list. Tuck in!
1. Best pizza: Dublin Pizza Company
It was Friday lunchtime. The shutter was barely up - maybe a foot or so over the counter. Was this hole-in-the-wall pizza joint even open? When I peered inside, however, warmth air from a big blue oven whacked me in the face. Two guys in white tees were furiously working the paddles and dough. "Sorry, we were so busy," one of them grunted as I placed my order - for a 'DPC' with Coolea "18-month extra mature shavings", Dingle whiskey cured salami and fresh basil. 10 minutes later, this Irish spin on a classic, Neapolitan style pizza was in a box. There are no seats, so a brisk walk to Stephen's Green saw me wolf it down on a rain-riddled park bench. The base combined a kiss of crunch with just enough (but not too much) chewiness, the sweet-spicy salami kicked off against the cheeses, and I had a keeper. Make a detour - this is shut-up-and-eat good.
Details: 32 Aungier Street; dublinpizzacompany.ie; from €11.
Bonus point: They do 9" or 13" pizzas... which should be the law.
If you like that, try these: Coke Lane, Big Blue Bus (The Bernard Shaw).
2. Best value: Sano
Is this the Bunsen Burger of Dublin pizza? Stashed away on Exchange Street, doing a simple, 12-inch Marinara (essentially a Margherita without mozzarella) from just €6, Sano offers mouth-watering value for money. My pick was a Diavola dotted with spicy Calabrian salami, and it arrived with great big pools of mozzarella floating in blood-orange tomato sugo. The chilli kick and cheesy stringiness stayed with it throughout, and the chewiness always felt under control. At Sano, customers chow down in a big room peppered with hipster touches like cutlery tins, neon slogans (“Its’ all about the dough”) and Five Lamps beers alongside the wine and fizz. Gluten-free bases are available, too (€3).
Details: 01 445-4344; Exchange St; sano.pizza; from €6.
Bonus Point: There's a Nutella pizza on the dessert menu.
If you like that, try these: Pi, Cotto, Zero Zero.
3. Best neighbourhood Pizza: Manifesto
That big oven crammed inside the door is a statement of intent (heck, you practically step through it on your way in). New arrivals like Tiger and Fallon & Byrne (see below) have upped the ante in Rathmines, but Manifesto is rooted in the basics and locals love it - for its no-nonsense Italian buzz, keen prices and coeliac-friendly offerings (sadly not available at lunch). The pizzas I tested were thin, with bases rolled into thumb-thick, chewy edges dotted with charred bubbles. Every 'hood should have one...
Details: 01 496-8096; 208 Rathmines Rd Lwr.; manifestorestaurant.ie.; from €11.
Bonus Point: Takeaway pizzas and a soft drink cost a tenner. A tenner!
If you like that, try these: Da Mimmo, Cotto, Ciao.
4. Best late-night slice: DiFontaine’s
It’s a bold move, calling yourself an “authentic NY pizzeria”. Stopping by DiFontaine’s, I found an Italian guy in whites and a bandana at work behind the counter. A whirring fan, a handful of stools and a steady flow of customers... minimal distraction, in other words, from the task at hand: inhaling a slice of pizza bigger than your face. These are seriously good late-night slices. A crisp base nicely charred underneath, and the cheese is gungy, though I did notice the whole thing hardening up as I worked through it. Still, at 3am, nobody’s got Michelin stars in mind.
Details: 22 Parliament St.; difontainespizzeria.ie.
Bonus Point: Still hungry? They also do 20" full pizzas.
If you like this, try: Ray's (Temple Bar).
5. Best new arrival: Pi
Best pizza in Dublin? It's too early to say. While most on this list have earned their stripes over time, Pi still buzzes with newness. The dark decor feels gimmicky to me (they even do black cutlery), but there's no doubting the pedigree floating out of that big black oven. Describing themselves as "wood-fired pizza fundamentalists", Pi produces the goods in jig time at 500-degrees, and my Margherita mixed lovely, melty balls of Toonsbridge fior de latte (a soft, mozzarella-style cheese made with cow’s milk) with a bang of basil, dribbly juices and a base brandishing a neat, charred smack. A technical K.O.
Details: 10, Castle House, Sth. Great George's St.; pipizzas.ie.; from €9.
Bonus point: There are two desserts, a chocolate pot and vanilla ice cream. Brave.
If you like that, try these: The Yarn, Cotto, Forno 500.
6. Best food hall pizza: Fallon & Byrne
Haven't rocked up in Rathmines for a while? Here's your excuse. Fallon & Byrne's new food hall offers all the foodie chops you'd expect, along with a healthy seasoning of premium pricing (I paid €12.95 for a 10" takeaway 'Dolce Vita' above). The pizza was in and out of the big red oven in minutes, with a lovely, thin Neapolitan-style base, sweet prosciutto, mascarpone and a few leaves of basil knitting everything together. A polished performance.
Details: 01 406-0044; 39 Castlewood Ave, Rathmines; fallonandbyrne.com.
Bonus Point: There's a gelato counter next door.
If you like that, try this: Dollard & Co.
7. Best cheesy pizza: Cirillo’s
Why don't we see more Irish cheese on Dublin pizzas? Small Irish producers make some of the best farmhouse and artisan cheese in Europe. But wait... Cirillo's to the rescue! A tidy Italian bistro on Baggott Street, the 'Quatrifoglio' (above) here not only includes mozzarella for your mouth-stuffing pleasure, but a blend of Hegarty's cheddar, Gubbeen and Cashel Blue. I feared it would eat too heavily, but the mix is spot on - the sharpness of the blue playing perfectly off the rounded cheddar and pungent Gubeen. Buon appetito.
Details: 140 Baggot St. Lwr; 01 676-6848; cirillos.ie.
Bonus Point: The wine list.
If you like that, try these: Da Mimmo's, Forno 500, The Yarn.
8. Best buzz: Paulie's
The atmosphere pops at this long-time haunt of Dublin pizza hounds. Walk in, and you're immediately sandwiched between brick bar, tight seating and a hard-working oven bearing the local legend, ‘Paulie’s’. Pizzas tick all the right boxes - Caputo 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, with options listed under ‘Napoli’, ‘New York’ and ‘Home Creations’. I went with a daily special loaded with pepperoni, peppers, garlic, onion, basil and Parmesan. Its springy crust was just the right thickness, but the main asset here is atmosphere.
Details: 58 Grand Canal St. Upper; 01 664-3658; paulies.ie; from €11.50.
Bonus Point: Outdoor heated seating.
If you like that, try these: Manifesto, Mamma Mia, Da Mimmo's.
9. Best alternative pizza: Gaillot et Gray
Pizza without mozzarella? As the name suggests, Gaillot et Gray has a deep French influence - Giles Gaillot and Emma Gray's business began life as a vintage Citroën food truck in Greystones. And then there's the note: ‘always emmental cheese’. Unlike milky mozzarella, emmental provides a nutty, buttery base - though its molten yumminess can firm up quite quickly... particularly if you're a slow eater. Pizzas are served from 4pm to 10pm, and they're huge - my choice came with a thick layer of grated cheese covering tangy slices of chorizo, specks of fresh chilli and a plummy tomato sauce. Sharing may be wise...
Details: 59 Lwr Clanbrassil St.; 01 454-7781, facebook.com/GaillotGrayP; from €10.
Bonus Point: It's also a bakery. Nom.
If you like that, try these: Pi, Sano, Cotto.
More: Read Katy McGuinnes's Gaillot et Gray review here.
10. Best pizza chain: NKD
I'd go for any of the above over a cardboard-tasting chain takeaway, but if you absolutely must order to the door (and remember, Dublin Pizza Company delivers, while places like Manifesto and Pi do takeaways for collection), NKD gets my nod. Based in Rathgar, the chain is known for its healthier approach - without sacrificing the guilty bang of a decent pizza. A mix of grains creates a base that, for me, produces less post-pizza bloat than competitors like Domino’s and Apache. Gluten-free options are available, and the 'sweet heat' does a tasty mix of peppers, jalapenos and Sriracha sauce.
Details: 01 497-5457; 9 Orwell Road, Rathgar; nkdpizza.ie; from €5.
Bonus Point: Meal deals. 'Nuff said.
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