While the ingredients are simple and the cooking process straight forward, pizza is hard to master. To excel at pizza making you have to obsess over each element of the cooking process; from the dough you prepare to the temperature and dynamics of the oven to balancing the acidity and sweetness of your base sauce - pizza nirvana can only be reached by respecting every minute detail. 

There are very few places in Bristol that can actually lay claim to making a perfect pizza - but a very small number are genuinely the best you're going to have this side of Naples. We've folded, sliced and chomped our way around the best in Bristol to create this magical list of pizzerias that are worthy of your time. 

Berthas Pizza

Since opening, Bertha's has stirred up a sourdough dust storm. The Guardian named them as one of the best pizza providers outside of London in a widely shared article, which quickly led to an even bigger increase of diners desperate for a table. The founders also have a great story, that began with a back garden with a Sheffield steel wood fired oven called Bertha. The guys behind the name were looking for a vocation not a chore. They sat there sharing the food they’d cooked with friends and the answer stared back - pizza. Great pizza is simple. Good ingredients on good bread. It’s accessible; the best pizza in the world is affordable to the masses. We love that. It’s a showcase for ingredients. They want to be part of the community, to partner with local suppliers. This isn’t about buzzwords or trends. It matters. Provenance matters. Quality matters. Our sanity matters. They found the best way to keep the fire in their bellies and passion for their work is to team up with the best local producers and change the menu with the seasons.

Read more about Bertha's

Pi Shop

Pi Shop has seen esteemed culinary dynasty the Sanchez-Iglesias family of Casamia fame return to their roots (Casamia used to be a Pizzeria I’ll have you know). Opened in 2016 in The General complex where the Sanchez-Iglesias’ have also relocated Casamia and opened Paco Tapas, they are bringing something truly wonderful to the world of Pizza. Feel free to sit outside on the sun-trap terrace as they cook each pizza in a copper, wood-fired oven, leaving a smoky taste on the light and crispy sourdough base. The toppings used are decadent and subversive, take their ‘Meat Feast’, a name that evokes the image of drunken protein and carb loading, but in reality boasts quality sourced artisan cured meats. For more adventurous eaters there’s a Pizza with Slow Roasted Lamb, Pickled Cucumber and Mint Yoghurt or for ultimate luxury there’s the £30 Australian truffle, 36 month aged parmesan (no tomato) with flavours so strong you’ll want to take them on in an arm wrestle. For dessert they make creamy soft-serve ice creams with freeze-dried strawberries and tarragon, while their beer selection is all you’d hope for from an establishment of their caliber.

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Flour & Ash

Flour and Ash was started by Steve Gale, a former finance worker who left the trade to focus on his true passion, good quality cooking. After earning his Chef’s stripes at the City of Bristol college he teamed up with fellow chef Joe Wilkin, a trained butcher and baker, and together they make a red hot sourdough pizza making team. They were officially named Bristol’s best Pizza in the Good Food Awards 2015, and on account of their sourdough made from locally milled flour, salt and water, superb ingredients that make for homely mouth watering toppings such as the ox cheek simmered in red wine to become a ragu and then spread out across the pizza base and roasted with béchamel, grana padano and basil. Be sure to try one of their amazing ice creams and sorbets too as they venture into flavours such as popcorn, pumpkin, or green tea. Best of all, if you order any pizza before 6:30, it’s £9!

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Ray's Pizza @ The Crofters Rights

Smartly, the guys at Crofters Rights have got Ray's Pizza in permanent residence, providing excellent Neapolitan pizzas as the perfect accompaniment to a few jars. Adeel is the chief pizza-maker (and pizza connoisseur). He uses only authentic Italian and locally-sourced ingredients to create handmade pizzas with character. The pizzas look a picture, too - big crusts erupting like Mount Vesuvius, with a beautifully soggy tomato'ey centre, which is the Neapolitan way. Options include the the New York Hot (buffalo mozzarella, pepperoni, roasted red peppers, jalapenos and basil), Goats Cheese (buffalo mozzarella, goats cheese, red onion, marinated olives, basil, balsamic glaze), the Vegan (red onion, roasted artichoke, red pepper, olives, fresh basil, marinated glaze) and a Margherita or Marinara.

Read more about Ray's Pizza @ The Crofters Rights

Bosco Pizzeria

Wine, beers and freshly baked focaccia. Oh, and expansive pizzas with big fat crusts and melting middles. Bosco Pizzeria has mastered the details of good pizza favoured by the majority of us - a wide span, medium-thick base and pools of cheese. The kitchen team stick to truly traditional Italian toppings, yet ensure interesting combinations with tons of flavour. Get a dose of pure umami deliciousness from the salted Calabria anchovy, clams, marinara sauce and caper pizza, or for something simple yet flavoursome, choose the Queen Green topped with spinach, soft herbs, pine nuts, pesto, ricotta and rocket.

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Romanesca PIzzeria

This unassuming artisan pizzeria on Gloucester Road has been described by Mark Taylor as one of the best pizza joints in town – but you'll find that they're doing something a little different to the others. Romanesca are inspired by Pizza al Taglio from Rome – but instead of being served by the slice, they are cooked at the perfect point of fermentation; an extremely skilful and labour intensive method . Unlike the on-trend Neapolitan variety of pizza, the Al Taglio is baked slower and longer in rectangular trays, so it gets a perfectly crispy bottom. It has a slightly thicker crust and a wonderfully chewy crumb with big, open bubbles.

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Bocabar

The smell of freshly baked pizza fills Bocabar. If you're familiar with the sheer size of this place, you'll appreciate how impressive this is. Proper sourdough bases topped with an array of fragrant and colourful combinations, many taking inspiration from worldwide flavours. Bocabar place is rightly dedicated to sourcing foodstuff as ethically as possible, and the long menu lists loads of local ingredients. From fresh Severn Project spinach and Dorset watercress, to Bath blue cheese and smoked haddock from Newton Abbot, these toppings are top dolla.

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Pizzarova

Pizzarova’s logo is hand curled to make an ‘ok’ gesture, but one would assume it’s more coded towards being the gesture you make towards your mouth when you’ve eaten one of their Pizzas. Starting life as a Pizza oven in a Land Rover (hence “-rova”), Pizzarova was originally available to make its way over to festivals, parties and street markets alike bringing their delicious sourdough with them. Now a few years into their operation, they have two permanent homes, one at the top of Gloucester road and the other a tres chic shipping crate set up in the new Wapping Wharf district. Head to either and the minimalist set up with regards to decor and menu will wow you. There are three choices, The Lady-the classic margherita, Yours-where you have free reign on the choice of any toppings (Wriggle Pro-tip: Don’t do all of them) and Ours - the house suggestion you’re bound to fall in love with.

Read more about Pizzarova (Gloucester Road)

51 Stokes Croft

You probably fall into one camp with this one. Either you’ve had some seriously blurry nights out here, or you’ve sampled their excellent wood fired pizzas. Have it your way – but don’t rule the other 50 facets to this well-loved Stokes Croft joint: live DJs 5 nights of the week, an excellent beer-garden-sun-trap, a well stocked bar, super friendly service, an eccentric cocktail selection, killer burgers, pizzas and salads, a bizarre pub quiz, regular craft sessions, charity fundraisers, movie nights – to name but a few. What’s more, this is a local family affair. Mr Wolff (of Mr Wolff’s fame) is the top dog, and his family members are all at the helm.

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Pepenero

A family run Bristol institution, Pepenero can now be found in the beautifully vaulted cellars of the Beer Emporium, where Salv and his team continue to produce excellent organic Italian goodies. All their pizza bases, tomato sauce and vegetables are freshly prepared and entirely organic, and to ensure the whole range of ingredients (dairy, dairy free, any meat, or meat free) are suitable for all, they use different utensils to avoid any ​cross-contamination. Right on. But not for Salv the new glamour of sourdough – these are traditional pizza pies with a hearty, wholemeal base.

Read more about Pepenero @ Beer Emporium

A capella

For Jennifer and Paul, artisan pizza dough is no new thing. These guys were using traditional fermentation techniques way before the basics of Neapolitan pizza became hip. They know better than most when it comes to stonebaking, and the Naples-trained chef has over 35 years experience in the trade. The ingredients are first class (the meats sourced from Sicily, the mozzarella from Naples) and the dough is proofed for 48 hours.

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The White Rabbit

White Rabbit is a cozy pub that has mastered adapting their niche to satisfy those who love Italian tradition whilst also appealing to adventurous eaters by offering a range of bold toppings. Encased by a modest architectural build, the characteristics of the White Rabbit are underestimated. The interior is both warm and inviting and dim, strategic lighting adds character to every meal in which all are prepared with great care and flair. Another enticing feature of the White Rabbit: they offer a 'Mad Hatter Calzone' in which the ingredients are unknown until they reach your table - something to possibly add a bit of excitement to the table if you dare to try... The menu ranges from your classic Margherita to toppings of artichoke, pear and guanciale (pigs cheek). There are also veggie options available that sound just as good! Regardless of your preferred taste, there is definitely something for you.

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Beerd

Using 00' Molino Caputo Flour (straight from Naples), Italian Plum Tomatoes and a suite of fine locally sourced ingredients, Beerd's idiosyncratically shaped pizzas are stand-out - hand crafted in a stone hearth pizza oven throughout the day and with flavour combinations that will have you doing triple takes. As for their keg and cask beers, expect famously eccentric flavour profiles without prioritising hoppiness for hoppiness' sake. Friendly and knowledgeable staff are always on-hand to guide people through their impressive range of food and local beers, too. Beerd: highly recommended for proper beer and proper pizza. Don't forget to try our very own Alex's competition pizza, "The Lebanese" - Lamb, Harissa Sauce, Feta & Crushed Pistachio.

Read more about Beerd (St Michael's Hill)

G Brothers Pizza

The G Bros make sourdough pizza, baked with handpicked locally sourced ingredients, from a fitted wood-burning oven in the back of a former Fire Brigade truck. The brothers were formally teachers - although with years of pizza-based experience under their belt (not least working as chef in the excellent Easton pizza-joint Zero Zero) - they decided to ditch the day-job to educate the good folk of Bristol about great pizzas. They pop up all over Bristol - so keep an eye out for their distinguished pizza-truck!

Read more about G Brothers Pizza

Published -29th April 2017