Gone are the days of the basic cheese pizza. To the relief of foodies far and wide, our decades-long love affair with this Neapolitan fast food is turning artisan. Influenced by Italian recipes, fresh ingredients and traditional stone-baking techniques, pizzas are inviting innovation, excitement and proper, authentic flavours. From tomato purée to truffle oil, we’re topping our pizza doughs with ever more adventurous goodies, and the North East is no exception to the wood-fired revolution.
Where To Go
THE HERB GARDEN
A trendy little eatery in a chic shade of olive green, there are no reservations at The Herb Garden: just sidle onto the communal bench and tuck in. That’s because the main event is what’s on the menu – and on the menu, the pizzas steal the show. Pecorino, gorgonzola, prosciutto di parma, bresaola, truffle... every deli goodie you can think up, you’ll find on a pizza. This is fast food dining in its artisan element.
Arch 8 Westgate Road, Newcastle
0191 222 0491
Hoi sin duck, sweet chilli... Pizzaiolo serve more than your classic margherita and Hawaiian (although they also do those). A stone-based oven, fresh ingredients and innovative recipes make this takeaway pizza spot really special.
1 Prince Edward Road, Berwick
There aren’t many pizza joints that serve the authentically Italian side of deep-fried courgette flowers, but Stable Hearth is one. Handmade as you wait, these wood-fired pizzas pack a punch: and with the option of eating in or taking away, everyone’s happy. The Forager is a local favourite – that’s wild mushrooms, truffle oil and rosemary.
Cross Keys, 1 High Row, Gainford
SCREAM FOR PIZZA
Take a former army ambulance from the 1970s, add two chefs trained at a Michelin-starred Naples pizza restaurant, and you’ve got first-class fast food. Street food is all the rage, and eating on-the-go has never been more artisan: Scream For Pizza’s mobile truck serves seasonal slices ranging from roasted butternut squash and spiced Italian sausage to pumpkin and blue cheese.
Gateshead and Newcastle
Restaurant, wine bar, deli – Il Piccolo is a Corbridge institution. Run by Sicilian born chef Manuele Orto, the fare here is the real deal: laid-back, authentic and Italian through-and-through. The pizza menu sticks to the classics – anchovies, parma ham, olives, artichokes – but it’s all cooked with the insider-ease that only an Italian can master.
St Helen’s Street, Corbridge
An archive of traditional recipes collected from across Italy, this back-to-basics guide spills the secrets on mastering pizzas, foccacia and calzones. Italian Cooking School: Pizza, The Silver Spoon Kitchen, £9.95 Phaidon Press
Want the traditional taste without the oven? Cheat with a pizza stone.
Rectangular baking stone, £16.39 Lakeland, stores regionwide