We visit Lucio Pizzeria Darlinghurst to celebrate a big birthday and sink our teeth into Australia’s best Neapolitan pizza.
Everybody knows that pizza is life. And while I can’t say I’ve ever met a pizza I don’t like, there’s more to great pizza than just slapping cheese and tomato on dough and cooking it.
Did you know there are seven different styles of Italian pizza alone, from the thin and crispy pizza tonda Romano to thick crusted fincione from Sicily. But the OG is Neapolitan pizza which, according to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (who are kind of like the Neapolitan pizza police), must have a soft and elastic base with golden puffy edges, be topped with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese from the Campania region in Italy, and baked fast in a wood burning oven.
Another interesting pizza fact you might not know is that the best of the best can be found right here in Sydney, at Lucio Pizzeria.
You see the owner Lucio, who was born and bred in Naples, has been making pizza since he was my age. He arrived in Australia for a short stay when he was 21… and lucky for us forgot to go home. In 2018 he did return to Italy though to compete in the annual Pizza World Championships in Parma, along with 800 of the world’s best pizza chefs. And I’m not exaggerating about it being the best because Lucio’s traditional authentic Neapolitan style pizza was literally awarded the title of the Best Pizza in Australia.
But it’s 2021 and Lucio is celebrating again, only this time he’s celebrating a very special birthday. You see, just like me, Lucio Pizzeria has become a teenager, turning 13 this year. And from Monday to Thursday until 30 June, you get the pressies!
Lucio is inviting anyone who is celebrating the big 13th to come and eat for free. It doesn’t matter of its a 13th wedding anniversary, a 13th birthday, or even if you were born on the 13th of the month – as long as 13 is your lucky number, it’s Lucio’s treat. Check out all the deets here.
To make it even easier, there are two Lucio Pizzerias in Sydney – one in Zetland and the OG in Darlinghurst, where mum and I went to find out what Australia’s best pizza tastes like.
Let me tell you, we were not disappointed. But before I let you know what I honestly thought, I need to build a little suspense… like they do in MasterChef. Don’t worry, there’s no ad break. I just want to walk through the rest of their menu first.
Feeling cheesy, mum and I started with Fiori di Zucchini (Zucchini flowers filled with ricotta and parmesan) and Burrata con pan grattato e spinaci (burrata with spinach).
The zucchini flowers were fat with the cheese mix with a super crisp batter and we devoured them at speed, so we could dive into the next plate and its giant bouncy pillow of burrata. Seriously, is there anything better than a good ball of burrata all firm on the outside and oozy and creamy on the inside? Nope. I thought not. This particular ball of brilliance was served on a bed of wilted spinach and served with a sprinkling of crispy, garlicky pangrattao that added texture to the finished dish. To be honest if we had left after that I would have gone home happy. But I’m really glad we didn’t cause pasta.
Lucio has just added a range of traditional handmade pastas to his menu at Lucio Pizzeria Darlinghurst and it would have been rude of me not to try one! Right? It was a tough call choosing just one though, because all my favourites were on the menu, including a tomatoey gnocchi and pesto smothered orecchiette.
But on a chilly Sydney night there was simply no way I could go past the ragu’ d’Agnello, a dish of home-made casarece pasta that was smothered in the most soul soothing, slow-cooked lamb shoulder ragu. Honestly, it was the best ragu I’ve ever eaten (sorry mum).
Then it was time for that award-winning pizza. And boy did I have trouble picking just one of the 18 pizzas on the menu. Mum and I, after getting a hot tip form someone in the know (Lucio) chose the Filetto, topped with Mozzarella, cherry tomato, rocket, prosciutto and shaved parmesan.
My first piece of advice is “TRUST THIS MAN!’ – he knows his stuff! The pizza was everything it was supposed to be. The base was soft, fluffy, a little bit elastic and ever so slightly charred from the woodfired oven. The top tangy from the tomato and the slivers of prosciutto were so they melted in the mouth. My second piece of advice? Add a hit of their epic chilli oil! That stuff is the bomb.
While the Filetto will be hard to beat, I plan on tasting my way through the other 17 pizzas on the menu at Lucio Pizzaria Darlinghurst. You know, to be sure!
But not tonight! Tonight, I finished my gobsmackingly good meal with pizza of a different kind. Bomboloni di Nutella are essentially a donutty chunk of pizza dough topped with a slab of Nutella. A perfectly sweet end to a sweet meal.
Happy birthday Lucio! 13 is the best (well, at least until we both turn 14).
Reviewed by Raff – Age 13
Republic 2 Court Yard,
Shop 1/248 Palmer St,
Darlinghurst , Sydney
PH: (02) 9332 3766