We looked up the top pizza places in Melbourne and thanks to Broadsheet, we dared to trek into a wild, unknown territory – Thornbury! ha! Just kidding! This unknown territory is merely one street back from the main Ivanhoe strip we frequent quite a bit. Booking made, we drove into the night – and like a beacon of light in the middle of nowhere on Darebin Road, Il Pizzaiolo appeared. Jam-packed and clearly attracting the locals like moths to a flame.
|Packed dining room.|
Aside from having to nearly yell at each other to talk (told you, jam-packed and pumping!) this place had the standard Melbourne hip look (brick walls, industrial-esque fittings) and warm feel to it. Or maybe the warmth was just the heating after coming in from the cold? Oh, no bother! We’re here to eat some good food and it appears we’re rubbing elbows with another 500 Thornbury locals doing the same!
Although I can’t quite remember which we liked better, hubby bear and I tried a glass of Chianti ($9.00) and a glass of Sangiovese ($8.00), both Italian reds that go perfectly with this sort of meal.
|Either the Chianti or Sangiovese – not sure!|
I really (really!) like trying Caprese Salads ($9.00) whenever possible, so was stoked when this one hit the table. Lovely soft mozzarella cheese falling away from my fork (not the super firm type like a lot of places dish up) with sliced sweet tomatos, fresh basil, all sitting on a lovely pesto – and topping it all off, aside from the olive oil – was a good price for what you get! What a perfect accomopaniment to our pizzas; and now my second favourite next to the heavenly one I get from D.O.C..
Although tempted to try something different, I stuck with my guns this time. Whenever trying somewhere new like this, I hold the Margherita ($20.00) pizza as my ‘true’ comparison point. And I’m so glad I did! In addition to crispy pizza dough, a perfectly balanced tomato base, basil and mozzerella cheese, there were sprinklings of parmesan as well, which gave it a great salty bite here and there. Bellisimo!
Hubby bear cast aside his typical choice, which would’ve been either a Cappriciosa or a Prosciutto style pizza and ordered the Salsicia ($23.00). He enjoyed the mixture of tomato, mozzarella, chunks of spicy pork sausage, roasted peppers and potatos. And while he ate it all – and enjoyed every bite – he pined over not getting one of his faves. Oh well, looks like we’ll have to go back again!
To finish off such a well rounded Italian meal, we had to try their Homemade Tiramuisu ($10.00), which was unbelievably delicious! Layers of just the right amount of coffee, cream and cake. Hands down, one of the best we’ve had (next to my mother-in-law’s, eh-hem.) in a very long time!
Yes! Yes! Yes! Go! Go! Go! But make a booking if you head out on Saturday night – otherwise they may never see you standing there among all the other people waiting!
Oh, and just a heads up, they’re not the best place to go for a quiet, romantic dinner, yeah?
Flavour: ★★★★★ ✔
Quality: ★★★★★ ✔
Value: ★★★★★ ✔