Berlin’s pizza game has been picking up in recent years. A new wave of artisanal Neapolitan and Brooklyn-style joints have joined forces with existing old school Italian restaurants to displace Domino’s and improve the quality of pizza across the city. There’s also a strong scene for cheap and cheerful spots, too, where you can buy a whole pie for a pittance. Here’s our pick of the best of the bunch. For starters, though, a few honourable mentions...
For wackiness, Ron Telesky’s menu is worth a try. They serve up huge slices of ‘Canadian pizza’ with a variety of both traditional and left field toppings and chili-infused maple syrup on the side (it totally works). For a quick bite, Pazzi X Pizza in Schillerkiez is great. Their square slices come cheap (around 3 euro a pop), tasty, and quick. For ultimate thriftiness, though, the former Pizza Dach, now known as Aceto Lokanta, in Friedrichshain can’t be beat. Full pizzas cost 3 euro, so when you’re in need of refuelling at the end of a long night you can buy two and still have a decent chunk of a €10 note left over.
Now for the real contenders. Neukölln’s Gazzo serves up sourdough pies that Neapolitan purists would probably term ‘non-traditional’, as they crisp up their base and get a nice char on bottom as well as the crusts. Veggies should give the #4 a go – roasted portobello mushrooms and pine nuts on a sauteed spinach base – and meat-eaters the #8 – burrata, spicy salami, pimento peppers and fresh chili. Gazzo also gets extra points for their cheap-but-great Aperol Spritz and the Pavarotti playlist in the bathrooms.
The traditional, wood-fired oven – made in Naples but tiled black for that Berlin feel – is the star here. At peak it can hit up to 500 degrees celsius. Zola's pizzas go in for 60-90 seconds and come out with crusts blistered black and toppings bubbling. Best to book a table, they’ve got a prime spot on the canal in Kreuzberg and it gets busy.
You won’t find a better quality to price ratio than this one. Stranero is easily as good (if not better) than both Gazzo and Zola, and cheaper too. All pizzas on the permanent menu are under €10, while rotating specials creep into the teens. Run by an effortlessly trendy Italian crowd, it’s all about the Neapolitan influence here. There’s the traditional wood-fired oven, puffed up crusts with char bubbles, and a super fresh and tasty tomato base. Toppings-wise, get the tuna, onion and olive. It’s a doozy.
A restaurant that celebrates all things Neapolitan, with a good selection of meat and fish dishes and family-style dining on a Sunday. Frankly, though, it’s the pizza you should be ordering. Malafemmena's oven isn’t traditional brick, but it’s one of the best pizza-making gas models money can buy – and the pies come out perfect every time. The mortadella pizza with a whole ball of burrata on top, garnished with basil, is an absolute monster. Bonus points for the beautiful terrace outside for summer dining and the boisterous-cum-charming charming service.
Founder of Zola Łukasz Sołowiej went in search of greener pastures in 2018 and opened up this place. While this Polish maestro has never been to Naples, he’s a dab hand at making Neapolitan-style pizza, and W, like Zola, has been an instant hit. The ‘W’ in the name stands for both ‘Wheat’ and ‘Weed’, as you can order your pizza with either a straight wheat or a 50/50 wheat/hemp flour base. Our pick of the pies is the ‘Eggplant’: eggplant cream, salsiccia, provola and basil.
Not strictly a pizzeria, but this little Sicilian spot on Stargader Straße in Prenzlauer Berg serves up a mean and sizeable slice that’s well worth stopping by for. Their snacks, antipasti and traditional desserts are excellent too. Best course of action: grab a table outside, an Aperol Spritz, a slice of pizza with an arancini (stuffed rice ball) on the side, and then a cannoli for afters.
Salami Social Club
Currently rated the #1 pizza place in Berlin on Tripadvisor, SSC is all about NY-style pizza paired up with craft beer from across the continent. While the menu pays tribute to the classics (Salami, Margherita etc.), these American boys are unconstrained by tradition, and thus there’s some pizzas that err on the funky side: ham and pineapple, black pudding, and beer chicken pies are all on offer here. Look out for slice night on Thursdays (€1 per slice), tap takeovers and other events on their Facebook.
Trattoria Venezia is quaint and traditional at first glance. There’s the red and white checkered tablecloths, and the adorable old lady (also the owner) behind the counter. Don’t be fooled, though – here there be monsters. Their giant pizzas – one metre in diameter – bring the wow factor in a big way. The base is wafer thin and you can split your pizza up with different toppings. As such, it’s a great place for sharing so take your friends and/or family.
Papà Pane di Sorrento
The only entry from Mitte in our list, Papà is an undisputed legend. It’s top notch pizzas, coming fast out of the brick-built, wood-fired oven, have won awards in Germany and Italy, and have reeled in Hollywood royalty – Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Robert Redford have all eaten there. Thankfully, they don’t price out regular visitors and the restaurant remains bustling, chaotic and affordable.
This cosy spot has a rustic basement dining space ornamented with earthenware jugs and slender trees. Pizzas at St. Bess come from the stately oven upstairs and their veggie-friendly menu focuses on seasonal produce. The kale pie with lemon is worth a try – but for those looking for something richer, the white pizza with goats cheese and balsamic mushrooms has just the right level of decadence.