Most of you probably know about the JoziPizzaWars by now but if you don’t, read here. The war rages on.
Here we go:
The Grove, Melle and Juta Streets, Braamfontein
86 Public is, as far as I know, the only legit pizza place in trendy Braamfontein. It’s in a good location, off a courtyard in a popular student square called the Grove. 86 Public offers crazy topping combinations — bacon, dark chocolate, feta, and pear is just one example — sized medium or large, ranging in price from R60 ($5.00) to R100 ($8.50). The prices are comparatively high but you’re paying for the nice location and atmosphere.
86 Public’s pizza crust is light and crispy and I love the variety of toppings. But I think the sauce could use a few more herbs and spices. The veggie pizza I ordered was a bit bland, especially later on when eaten cold.
On a positive note, 86 Public has good, free wifi and plays great music.
Cold factor: 3
Overall rating: 14.5/20
I really dig the vibe at 86 Public. The pizza is good but not great, in my opinion.
Picola Pizza and Pasta
Linden Square Shopping Centre, Linden
Picola is a locals-only joint and I only know about it because my boyfriend used to live in Linden. Picola’s pizza is, in my opinion, among the very best in Joburg. The crust is the perfect thickness and consistency, the cheese is plentiful, the sauce is well seasoned, and the toppings are fresh and generously distributed. Picola also has good service.
However, Picola’s atmosphere is a major problem — cramped, smokey, and just not conducive to eating. So I can only recommend Picola for take-away. The good news is that take-aways are prepared amazingly fast at Picola, usually within 5-10 minutes of placing the order.
Cold factor: 4.5
Overall rating: 15.5/20
The cheese is the best thing about Picola’s pizza. It’s perfect pizza cheese.
Picola’s location leaves a bit to be desired.
Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Co.
101 Lancaster Ave, Craighall Park
Toni’s Pizza is a Pretoria institution that opened a location in Joburg two years ago. The greatest thing about Toni’s in my opinion, is that they offer small, 15-centimeter-wide pizzas that cost less than half the price (usually between R30 and R40) of their full-size pizzas. The adorable 15-centimeter pizzas are perfect for one person. I can easily eat a whole one without feeling like I pigged out, and walk out of the restaurant spending less than R50 (about $4.25).
Toni’s pizza is also delicious. My only complaints are: 1) The pizzas need more sauce (a common problem with South African pizza); and 2) You have to pay extra for chiles. (WTF?)
Cold factor: 4.5
Overall rating: 16.5/20
My adorable little pizza from Toni’s. I wish I’d put something next to it for scale.
Tim and I made an exception to our rules in reviewing Andiccio, as it’s a chain with several locations around Gauteng province. (I guess Toni’s is technically a chain too, as it has three locations in Pretoria.) We decided to review Andiccio because: 1) It’s a relatively small chain, nothing like the big national/international brands; 2) We’d heard good things about their pizza (actually Tim had already tried it); and 3) Andiccio asked us to review them and we are easily flattered.
Andiccio is very different from most other Joburg pizza places in that its menu does not offer any set topping combinations. Instead, the customer chooses from a dizzyingly wide array of bases, cheeses, and toppings, creating his or her own unique pizza.
I chose the intriguing chakalaka base (chakalaka is a South African spicy tomato relish) with cheese, avocado, and brinjals (eggplant). I liked my pizza, especially the spicy base, but I was overwhelmed by all the choices — I would rather have at least a few set combinations to choose from. Also the open-ended topping selection process can jack up the price of your pizza very quickly if you’re not careful.
Tim and I ate at Andiccios’ Greenside location, which is pleasant enough albeit a bit fast-food-like. Andiccio offers free delivery and is open 24 hours a day — two perks that are relatively rare in Joburg.
Cold factor: 4.5
Overall rating: 15.0/20
My Andiccio creation was very tasty, but I second-guessed my ingredient choices afterward.
End of round three. Here’s where we stand so far:
1) The Ant Café: 17.5/20
2) Chalkboard: 17/20
3) Modo Mio: 17/20
4) Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Co.: 16.5/20
5) YOLO: 16/20
6) Nonna Mia’s Kitchen: 16/20
7) Picola Pizza and Pasta: 15.5/20
8) Picobella: 15/20
9) Andiccio24: 15/20
10) 86 Public: 14.5/20
11) Gema Trattoria: 13.5/20