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Proper Pizza

25 August 2015
Proper Pizza
With the dirty burger takeover in Leeds, the humble pizza has arguably become unjustly neglected. With Leeds having some of the best pizza offerings in the North we think it’s about time for a change. So in honour of all things doughy, cheesy and covered in goodness here is my round up of some of the most mouth-watering slices in the city.

Buca di Pizza

Priding themselves on their Italian imported ingredients which they promise is the key to their authentic taste and genuine pizza, Buca di Pizza is potentially one of Leeds’ best kept pizza secrets. Although centrally located, close to the train station, you could be forgiven for not spotting the restaurant which is shadowed by the surrounding high-rise buildings. However, once inside you are transported to a little piece of Italy with an authentic Mediterranean interior and rustic setting to complement their bona fide dishes. Stand out pizzas available include the Hickory Pig with pulled pork and smoked pancetta toppings and the Cousin Vinay which incorporates an Indian/Italian fusion of curried tomato sauce, paneer cheese and onion bhaji pieces. As well as the pizza menu there is an impressive Cicchetti (small side dishes predominately served in Venice) menu promising the perfect accompaniment for your pizza with choices such as warm octopus and potato salad, truffle anarchic and Borolo Tuscan sausage. FYI: Now available on Deliveroo.

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White Cloth Gallery

Classy yet affordable, White Cloth Gallery offers a unique array of posh pizzas with toppings including smoked paprika cured Yorkshire ham, spicy meatballs, roasted globe artichoke, salami Milano and other such artisan treats. If you feel inclined to make your order extra authentic you can order a Limoncello Spritz Cocktail or Tipopils Lager to accompany your pizza and up the Italia ante. The bar area permits table service in an ambient surrounding or for a more relaxed setting their cafe area is full of comfy sofas and allows you to order at your own leisure for a more chilled surrounding, creating both a romantic date spot with a difference or a relaxed location to catch up with an old friend.

Black Swan

Having only recently stumbled across the pizzas at the Black Swan I am now an avid fan of their Neapolitan inspired sourdough pizzas whose aromas surround you at your seat in their rustic and quaint pizza restaurant and bar. The atmosphere and quality of the food at the Black Swan means that you would expect a pizza with a heavier price tag, but with choices averaging between £4-9 for top quality toppings and ingredients, the Black Swan’s pizzas are dangerously affordable. On top of this, every Tuesday you can treat yourself to 2 for 1 on all pizzas, with toppings including Yorkshire blue, parma ham, cured meats and white truffle oil. The menu allows you to opt for smaller 6” pizzas making it possible to order several varying pizzas and creating the occasion to test out favourites among friends. Also available are piadinas, wraps made from folded Italian flatbreads, which are a must try for any Italian culinary fanatics. Incorporating a little bit of culinary genius into their offering, these guys have gone one step further with suggested beer pairings for each pizza - making for the ultimate pizza/pint experience. During the school holiday (until the 26th August) pizza making sessions for little ones are held every Wednesday, keeping the kids both fed and happy. FYI: Now available on Deliveroo.

Candle Bar

Candle Bar have really got the whole authentic Italian wood fired crust down with their wafer thin and crispy base, making them ideal for a lighter lunch. Located at the bottom of Candle Place (the round building next to the train station) and quaintly set next to the canal, Candle Bar allows customers the opportunity to enjoy a gourmet pizza and fine glass of specially selected Italian wine in their intimate and relaxed outdoor seating area. Each month they change the pizza special which is usually themed by country and alter their wines to match this - meaning there is always a reason to go back.

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Sela Bar and Pizzeria

Located on New Brigatte Street Sela Bar and Pizzeria is a personal favourite owing to their innovative approach to pizza toppings, crusts and service. Take for example their Sela Pizza Van which can often be spotted on the streets of Leeds baking up fresh, hand-stretched pizzas including the Sesame, which in addition to being slathered with caramelised onion, spinach and stringy mozzarella cheese, also has a sesame seed encrusted crust which it makes it that little bit more special than your usual slice. Current specials in the restaurant include the Ham and Pickle and the The Parmo which both include beer infused ingredients (home baked beer glazed ham and stout caramelised onions) highlighting gastronomic innovation by bringing the brews into their creative kitchen.

Slate NQ

New kids on the block Slate, have been making a name for themselves on the Leeds pizza scene with their made in house, topping smothered pizzas which punters can enjoy in the picturesque surroundings of an old converted Tudor mansion that also boasts three chilled outdoor terraces. With a fully stocked bar and reasonably priced cocktail menu, as well as gaming and numerous pool tables available, you can make Slate the perfect spot for both pizza and partying - particularly great for bigger groups looking for a cheaper night out. Look out for deals on Twitter and Facebook as Slate NQ often offer up pizza discounts such as 40% off on Tuesdays and competition giveaways.

Dough Boys

Served by the generous slice, Dough Boys has in many ways changed the face of pizza in Leeds. Instead of your late night pizza being a box of greasy, sloppy cheese you’ll no doubt regret in the morning, a quick stop at Dough Boys after a few pints at the Belgrave will grant you a little piece of luxury with the same satisfying feel (at half the price). These guys are pretty adventurous with their topping with specials regularly popping up as they try out new topping concoctions or bring back old favourites. I find their tomato sauce one of the best around as it’s not either too salty or sweet but genuinely rich in tomato flavour; and there is always the half-price slice deal to look forward to Sunday to Thursday.

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Of note in Headingly

Salvo’s

Tucked away at the end of Headingly, any pizza lover worth their slice will surely be hooked on Salvo’s authentic and hearty Italian cuisine. Serving for nearly three decades, the family run restaurant is one of the longstanding landmarks in the Leeds culinary scene and their extensive pizza listings comprise one of the highlights of their accomplished and much loved menu. Well worth the short trip out of the city centre, Salvo’s is a favourite for family celebrations as well as candlelit dates. More traditional in their approach, their well-worn pizza recipes mean that they have an army of dedicated regulars who continue to indulge in their stone baked doughy dishes.

Ecco Pizzeria

Top of the charts in many pizza lovers’ hearts, Ecco Pizzeria is both a restaurant and a takeaway that is truly passionate about top quality pizza. Their pizzas are not inspired by the growing trend of American style pizzas with stuffed crusts and artificial cheese but by true Neapolitan pizza and they have even gone as far as to have their pizzas certified by the Vera Pizza Neapolitan Association. With this in mind there is no doubt that the pizza you’re tucking into is using natural and artisan ingredients which are kinder to your body than other options. Ecco ensures that each of their pizzas has the right thickness of golden crust with a soft and elastic centre that is thinly coated in their vibrant tomato sauce and finished with a scattering of buffalo mozzarella and your choice of toppings from a seriously substantial list of options. Particularly suitable for vegetarians, with the menu boasting over fifteen different options, as well as a round the world section with pizza inspired by the culinary traditions across the globe.

By
Becky Peartree is our resident food writer and is in her final year at Leeds University where she studies English Literature.