A snoop around leads to a pizza treat

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SOMETIMES you stumble across a place to eat by accident – sheer accident. And that’s what happened to us the day we ended up having lunch at La Piazza at Erindale.

We headed to Erindale to dine at a soul food place only to discover that they weren’t open for lunch (despite what their website said). Starving, we decided to snoop around and see what we could see.

That was when we spotted La Piazza, on Gartside Street. It looked a bit trendy and we thought: “Why not?” It’s always fun to try something new.

The range and quality of pizza in the food world is phenomenal. In Canberra, we have very high end, such as Italian and Sons. And the takeaway joints. And the chains… and then more chains… and more chains. But places such as La Piazza, as I discovered, score well and it’s super to have them in the marketplace.

The menu is quite extensive and we sat near the kitchen watching all the activity around the traditional oven in which dozens of wood-fired pizzas were lovingly made (takeaway as well). A medium pizza is six slices and a large, eight slices (gluten-free medium is available for an additional $4). La Piazza is happy to split either size in half – with any two varieties your little heart desires.

Veal saltimbocca at La Piazza. Photos by Brent McDonald.
Veal saltimbocca at La Piazza. Photos by Brent McDonald.
More than 20 types of pizza are on offer. If you prefer you can order a range of pasta dishes or mains which included, on our visit, lamb shanks, grilled eye fillet, chicken, veal and so on.

But it was the pizza we were after. We ordered half Napoletana (vegetarian), with tomato, olives, oregano, bocconcini ($14 medium, $19 large) and the more extravagant Arugula, with prosciutto, rocket, olives and provolone ($17 medium, $22 large). The pizza came piping hot and hit the spot – lots of ingredients on top, a superb base and flavours that exploded like fireworks on Canberra Day.

La Piazza is open seven days a week. It’s tucked away in a small street, away from the main shops, and so dining al fresco is pretty attractive. Coffee is available from 8am, hot breakfasts start at 8.30 and then lunch and dinner follow.

The service wasn’t exactly perfetto, even though the place wasn’t super busy. We waited a long time for our glass of wine, and we had to ask for utensils so we could share our salad (too much balsamic for our liking). But the staff were welcoming and friendly.

La Piazza’s décor features one wall with very bold wallpaper – quite colourful and flamboyant, actually. But it works. The aim here isn’t to win awards with design, but to keep customers happy with darn good pizza. And that’s what La Piazza did for us.

La Piazza. 3/33 Gartside Street, Erindale. 6296 2995. Open seven days for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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