Melville Pizza: Think Thin

South Africa is not known for pizza, and you certainly won’t find authentic New York- or Chicago-style pies here. (I recently saw a Facebook photo of someone eating Ray’s Pizza in New York. It looked so delicious — I nearly wept.)

But there is pretty decent pizza to be had in Melville. I’ve become a fan of two restaurants, both of which serve pizza of the ultra-thin-crust variety. The atmosphere of both places will give even the coolest New York pizzeria a run for its money.

My top pick is the Ant, which I described briefly in a previous post. I didn’t get back with my camera until today though, and the essence of the Ant is best conveyed through pictures.

There’s no wine list at the Ant. You just walk up to the shelf and pick the bottle you want. Can you spot the “Still no credit cards” sign?

Ronnie, the original owner of the Ant, creates a lot of fish art.

The Ant was originally a coffee house. It was opened by Ronnie, an artist who got fed up with Melville’s dearth of decent coffee. Ronnie then started experimenting with wood-fired ovens and created a recipe for thin-crust pizza. (When I say thin, I mean so thin it’s almost non-existent. Which I love, because I can chow a whole pizza and still feel relatively non-piggish.)

The famous oven and the famous tortilla-thin crusts.

Mmmm. (Photo courtesy of Joe.)

Feta cheese with avo. Avo (no one says “avocado” here) is a popular pizza topping in SA. Note the ramekin filled with red sauce. This is chili sauce — every South African pizza comes with a side of it. It’s much hotter than the red pepper flakes we sprinkle on in the States. Joe always advises me to use the oil only, but I like to dump it on seeds and all.

The Ant serves a secret blend of South African coffee, developed by Ronnie. A wonderful discovery in Melville, which is a bit of a coffee wasteland.

Ronnie isn’t the Ant’s owner anymore, but his art is still on the walls and the pizza and coffee are still delicious. They still don’t take credit cards.

My second Melville pizza pick, the Bo, is actually just outside Melville in Richmond. But close enough.

The Bo (it’s real name is the Bohemian but no one calls it that) is across the street from a building that houses most of the international media offices (CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Associated Press, etc.) in Joburg. Journalists like to drink copious quantities of cheap beer in grungy dives. Hence, the Bo.

The Bo’s pizza is slightly thicker, and slightly cheaper, than that of the Ant. I find it nearly as good.

I had Margherita with tomato. Joe had everything. (Photo courtesy of Joe.)

But the crown jewel at the Bo actually isn’t the pizza — it’s the ginormous palm tree that grows over the courtyard. Sitting under the tree at a picnic table at sunset, with juke box music and cigarette smoke wafting around you, is a magical experience. So magical that you’ll hardly care when a racoon-sized rat scurries past your table.

Glorious. I think the rat ran by right as I snapped this.

The Bo has live music on Saturday nights. Joe and I went for dinner last Saturday to check it out, but there was an electronica band playing and the performance didn’t start until 10. We tried to stick it out but got tired and gave up around 9. I make a lousy entertainment blogger.

Monday is half-price pizza night at both the Bo and the Ant. Boo-ya.

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30 Comments

  • Reply jaclin February 17, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    My partner and I came across your blog quite by accident… my partner is Portuguese and I am English – however we both grew up in South Africa… now both living in the UK… we often visit family and friends back in South Africa… we were drawn to your blog – not only because of the South African connection – but also the American aspect as we took three months out last year and did a road-trip across the States from Boston to Seattle – visiting Washington DC on the way… we set up a blog simply for our trip and we loved doing it… Your photos are fantastic… and we will be regular visitors to your blog… thank you for your entries and photos – they bring back many memories for both of us… and we find ourselves talking about home more thanks to you…
    Good Luck with your continued adventure…
    Jace and Linz

    • Reply 2summers February 18, 2011 at 8:44 am

      Jace and Linz: Thanks so much for your comment. It’s wonderful to know that you stumbled upon my blog and are enjoying it so much. I’m sure you saw my post on Washington from a few months ago, but here it is just in case (I realized I didn’t have it tagged properly): http://wp.me/pYnRq-fv. I’m glad I’m helping to bring you some reminders of home!

  • Reply Joshi Mukard February 18, 2011 at 6:58 am

    I’m a regular visitor. I come here again and again, not because I like South Africa, but because I like your simple style of writing. Your posts are delicious to read. Thank you, and will come again.

    • Reply 2summers February 18, 2011 at 8:35 am

      Thank you Joshi. As a blogger, I couldn’t ask for a nicer comment than that.

  • Reply Deano February 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Still enjoying the heck out of your posts, Heather! Keep up the fun(?) work. 🙂

    Deano

    • Reply 2summers February 18, 2011 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks Dean! Hope all is well with you and Mary.

  • Reply Deano February 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Still enjoying the heck out of your posts, Heather! Keep up the fun(?) work. 🙂

    Deano

    • Reply 2summers February 18, 2011 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks Dean! Hope all is well with you and Mary.

  • Reply Le Id'iot Speaketh February 18, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Hi! I recently went to Bolivia and Peru and our first night in Bolivia, our hosts took us out to Bolivian PIZZA….it was interesting to say the least…… The SA Pizza actually looks great! Thanks for stopping by my blog! It is always great to have another reader in SA, I have really grown to love and admire the country through my great SA friends and I look forward to visiting there sometime in the near future. Have a great day! 🙂

    • Reply 2summers February 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      Bolivian pizza! That sounds interesting. I’d like to see what that looked like.

  • Reply Le Id'iot Speaketh February 18, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Hi! I recently went to Bolivia and Peru and our first night in Bolivia, our hosts took us out to Bolivian PIZZA….it was interesting to say the least…… The SA Pizza actually looks great! Thanks for stopping by my blog! It is always great to have another reader in SA, I have really grown to love and admire the country through my great SA friends and I look forward to visiting there sometime in the near future. Have a great day! 🙂

    • Reply 2summers February 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      Bolivian pizza! That sounds interesting. I’d like to see what that looked like.

  • Reply Francis February 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Feta cheese and avocado toppings, yummy, definitively something to try very soon. And as always a wonderful post and pictures. I love to visit. 🙂

    • Reply 2summers February 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks so much Francis! Glad you’re enjoying it.

  • Reply Francis February 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Feta cheese and avocado toppings, yummy, definitively something to try very soon. And as always a wonderful post and pictures. I love to visit. 🙂

    • Reply 2summers February 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks so much Francis! Glad you’re enjoying it.

  • Reply Tommy February 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Funny enough, we ate tons of pizza in South Africa, of varying quality. The Ant is delicious – it was our first meal in Jo’burg.

  • Reply Tommy February 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Funny enough, we ate tons of pizza in South Africa, of varying quality. The Ant is delicious – it was our first meal in Jo’burg.

  • Reply Fidel Che February 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Great photos, as always.
    In Japan they like to put hot sauce on pizza rather than crushed red peppers. I’m still a fan of the crushed red peppers. Pizza in Japan is unique and weird too. I try and frequent the places that use a wood-fired over.
    Did you know that you can have Ray’s NY pizza freeze-dried and delivered to you? I’m not sure if they deliver internationally but you may want to see if they do.
    Did you ever eat at Matchbook pizza in D.C. near Chinatown?

    • Reply 2summers February 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Yes, I’ve eaten at Matchbox many times. My office was right around the corner from there. Great pizza and great food overall. I didn’t know that about Ray’s pizza but I’m skeptical it would make it through customs in SA 🙂

  • Reply Fidel Che February 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Great photos, as always.
    In Japan they like to put hot sauce on pizza rather than crushed red peppers. I’m still a fan of the crushed red peppers. Pizza in Japan is unique and weird too. I try and frequent the places that use a wood-fired over.
    Did you know that you can have Ray’s NY pizza freeze-dried and delivered to you? I’m not sure if they deliver internationally but you may want to see if they do.
    Did you ever eat at Matchbook pizza in D.C. near Chinatown?

    • Reply 2summers February 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Yes, I’ve eaten at Matchbox many times. My office was right around the corner from there. Great pizza and great food overall. I didn’t know that about Ray’s pizza but I’m skeptical it would make it through customs in SA 🙂

  • Reply Ra'ees April 25, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Hi, just came across your blog, really interesting to read and really love to see you enjoying Jozi…. My favourite in pizza in jhb has got to be @ Lapa Fo… I’ve lived here all 22 years of my life ad Lapa Fo is one of the better pizza places in Jhb… 🙂

    • Reply 2summers April 25, 2011 at 9:33 am

      Thanks so much for reading and glad you’re enjoying the blog! You’re the second person to tell me about Lapa Fo – I need to try it.

  • Reply Ra'ees April 25, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Hi, just came across your blog, really interesting to read and really love to see you enjoying Jozi…. My favourite in pizza in jhb has got to be @ Lapa Fo… I’ve lived here all 22 years of my life ad Lapa Fo is one of the better pizza places in Jhb… 🙂

    • Reply 2summers April 25, 2011 at 9:33 am

      Thanks so much for reading and glad you’re enjoying the blog! You’re the second person to tell me about Lapa Fo – I need to try it.

  • Reply 10 Things to Do in Jozi this year | findingjozi January 31, 2013 at 9:03 am

    […] Bohemian: IT’S STILL OPEN! This is probably the oldest live venue in Jozi and is in the Melville/Richmond area. I remember watching people dance upside down on the ceiling while Hog Hoggidy Hog played. […]

  • Reply 10 Things to Do in Jozi this year | findingjozi January 31, 2013 at 9:03 am

    […] Bohemian: IT’S STILL OPEN! This is probably the oldest live venue in Jozi and is in the Melville/Richmond area. I remember watching people dance upside down on the ceiling while Hog Hoggidy Hog played. […]

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