Indeed, pizza is not isolated to its birthplace, and other Italian areas are celebrated at more Leeds eateries. Poco, in Kirkstall, serves Sicilian street food, including pizza by the slice, with ever-changing always-tasty toppings. Simpatico, in the Queens Arcade, also offers pizza al taglio, this time delivering ace Rome specialities in a buzzy social setting. LIVIN’Italy are a Milan kitchen bar and deli who have recently opened a Dough House near the Corn Exchange to present a menu that has something for everyone whilst remaining truly Italian; there’s organic and gluten free options, a giant 20 inch sharer, plus ingredients from across the nation, such as Bologna’s mortadella and Puglia’s mozzarella.
One restaurant that has been sharing the joys of its home country’s produce for decades is Leeds institution Salvo’s. Alongside a menu of freshly imported and expertly crafted dishes are a selection of Neapolitan pizzas, all flame crisped edge and floppy middle, and topped with the likes of Calabrian nduja, or closer to home, Yorkshire ricotta. In nearby northern suburbs, Culto and Trattoria Il Forno are also flying the green white and red flag, with delicious stone baked pizzas covered in your choice of enhancing combinations, maybe capers and anchovies, or mushroom and truffle.
Pizza can be equally satisfying in less traditional settings, and one oddity that has carved its own space in the Leeds pizza world is a little Indian called Grove Cafe; popular with nearby Hyde Park students for its cheap and tasty curries, they also have a surprisingly good pizza menu that specialises in vegan options to take out or eat in. The pizza also excels in the British pub, with various bars across Leeds serving the stuff. At Tapped, you can accompany their many craft beers with beer dough pizzas, ranging from New York and South America to Greece and Italy. Wellington Pizza Pub also bring the good times, with happy hours and bottomless brunches, and an array of pizza coverings from pepperoni to prawn. Sela Bar has shown pizza is versatile enough to mix with underground jazz cool, and as well as serving at their own place, have a pizza bus that can be seen at, amongst others, Brudenell Social Club. Perhaps Leeds’ most popular pizza-bar mash-up is at Belgrave Music Hall, where Dough Boys have a permanent pop-up, often offering a famous half-price slice deal that is both classic and innovative, appeals to vegetarians and meat eaters alike, and represents cracking value.
There are of course hundreds more pizza sellers across the city, in Italian restaurants, in late night takeaways, in US diners, or in popular chains. It ain’t difficult to stumble across a Pizza Express, be drawn to chic-chain MOD, or order from a ham and pineapple endorsing leaflet. But there are much more interesting outlets to discover, presenting the pizza in all its glories, from the Neapolitan authenticities to the fun and flexible incarnations of many listed above. Check them out to avoid suspicion and experience the greatest cheese on toast you’ll ever have.