I could say that I visited Naples for the culture. To explore the famous ruins of Pompeii, to delve into the ancient catacombs or gaze upon the beautiful Gesù Nuovo church. But in complete honesty, I actually went with the intent of making a pizza pilgrimage (the rest was an added bonus, I suppose). 

The Neapolitans cannot get enough of pizza. Almost every shop, café and bar have a cabinet outside telling €1 pizzas. The best restaurants like to keep it fresh and simple and just go along with the colours of the Italian flag  – green basil, white mozzarella and red tomato sauce. However, Naples is also famous for its fried pizza (pizza fritta) and we particularly enjoyed the calzone version. It’s all you’ve ever dreamed of and more; crispy dough, oozing tomato sauce and stringy mozzarella all in one satisfying bite. 

However, the more I thought about how great the pizza was in Naples, the more inclined I was to go on another pilgrimage, but this time a little closer to home. I decided to see what my local pizza scene had to offer as I set off to sample Brighton’s own pizzerias. 

To keep things fair, I ordered the classic (and arguably superior) margherita at each. I’ll be ranking them according to their price, delivery capability (because sometimes pizza just needs to be eaten in bed) and quality of their pizza. Got it? I hope you’re hungry. Let’s dive in.

4th place – Franco Manca

Price: £6.75

Delivery? Not currently available.

Franco Manca was my introduction to sourdough pizza and it was with that they had me hooked. I abandoned my preconceptions of the superiority of thin and crispy as I delved into my first mouthful of soft, fluffy crust. I love their seasonal small Italian and English ingredient supplier and no thrills ‘wine-served-in-tumblers’ philosophy. They have a small menu and they do it well.

They say a good pizza is marked by the toppings falling off when you hold up a slice. However, I do find the margherita at Franco Manca to err on the side of soupy. Their mozzarella releases a lot of liquid and the tomato sauce is a little thin, making for a particularly messy meal.

3rd place – Purezza

Price: £8.95 (Offer often available on the Wriggle app – £5.95 for a 9” pizza with 2 toppings.)

Delivery? Available through Deliveroo.

Purezza is the UK’s first plant-based pizzeria and on the more expensive end of the spectrum, they have a carefully curated menu that places an emphasis on cleaner and more sustainable eating. 

Their own artisan organic Italian brown rice-based mozzarella is half the calories and fat as traditional dairy mozzarella; however, you do not feel you are missing out. This vegan joint has not slapped some infamously stinky and oil filled dairy-free cheese on a pizza with a bit of quorn ham and called it a day- they are pioneering authentic flavours with great care. 

2nd place – Fatto a Mano

Price: £7 

Delivery? Not currently available.

Literally translated to handmade, this authentic restaurant is a firm Brighton favourite with their use of local Sussex ingredients. Their pizza is great. Their crust is soft and pillowy and their toppings are interesting and varied with exciting and constantly changing specials. 

They have locations in Hove, London Road and my personal favourite, the North Laines. You really cannot beat sitting outside, rain or shine, with a slice of pizza in one hand and an aperol spritz in the other, just watching the buzz of the Laines go by. The fact they don’t deliver isn’t ideal, but with their various locations you are never too far from one of their top-notch pizzerias.

1st place – VIP: Very Italian Pizza

Price: £6.80

Delivery? Available through Deliveroo.

I have definitely saved the best until last with this one. Ask any Italian student on campus where to get the best pizza in Brighton and they’ll definitely say VIP, and if that’s not proof, I don’t know what is. 

They’re crazy busy, just like any good pizzeria in Naples, but their service is quick and friendly. Their menu is extensive; Neapolitan street food dishes, pastas, pizzas, main meals and even panuozzo (essentially a giant woodfired sandwich). But don’t let that worry you, every dish is as outstanding as the next. Not to mention, their pizzas are the biggest and one of the cheapest – obvious first place material. 

So, there we have it, my official ranking of Brighton’s best pizza joints. Forget about ordering that Dominos you know you will regret after the second slice and see what your local pizza scene has to offer – they’ll be cheaper, healthier and definitely more delicious.

For more foodie thoughts, check out my Instagram: @porkbellyandtofu

Categories: Culture

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