Not so long ago, finding a restaurant that made good pizza in Hong Kong was a near impossibility for those who were spoiled by terrific Italian offerings or a fine New York styled slice. For the unschooled, there’s always Pizza Hut and its increasingly bizarre toppings. There was also the occasional hotel offering or outliers like Black Sheep in Shek O, where the late Daniel Marinov would proudly light up his illegal coal fired oven on weekends in order to make crispy delights.
These days, it seems a delicious pizza can be found within walking distance no matter where one lives. “The most amazing observation about Hong Kong’s pizza scene is how many new places open up all the time,” says the self proclaimed Professor Dr. Pizza, a Swiss professional who has posted over 350 Hong Kong based pizza reviews on his Instagram site (@profdrpizza). “There are so many great pizza places that have opened up within this past year alone.”
Pizza makers themselves agree. “Hong Kong is on the rise,” says Ricky Yuen, owner of the acclaimed Mother Of Pizzas in Causeway Bay. And Yuen would know as he’s been working on perfecting the “Queen Margherita” in its various forms for years. Largely due to their Italian roots, most chefs on the list below opt for the small, round Neapolitan style which offers fresh toppings and an airy, chewy crust, as opposed to the longer, New York-style foldable pizza. “The Neapolitan pizza is the original pizza and if it’s executed well, no other style can possibly beat the experience in terms of freshness, flavor, texture and authenticity,” says Dr. Pizza. “The amazing paradox is that only a few ingredients are needed, but it still takes years of experience to perfect it.”
So what are the city’s best pizzas? Here are a dozen to get you going…and there’s plenty more where these came from…
Hong Kong’s Best Pizza (in no particular order)
Mother of Pizzas
Hong Kong native Ricky Yuen worked at three pizzerias in Vancouver, Canada before studying the pizza making craft at the altar of two masters: World Pizza Cup Champion Tony Gemignani and Naples native Tomasso Mastromatteo. “There’s an art to this. That’s why my pizza is Neapolitan inspired,” Yuen says. “It’s the dough and the crust, which links up to the temperature of the oven. It’s got to be San Marzano tomatoes, cheese from Naples.” Combine that with 48 hour dough leavening as well as the perfect amount of time spent in the 800 degree gas fired oven, and it’s no wonder that the open aired Causeway Bay venue has become a mecca for pizza lovers. At HK$198.00 for a 13″ (and HK$138.00 and up for an `8″), it’s a pricey pie, but the chewy, charred crust, fresh cheese, basil, tangy tomato sauce and olive oil combo makes for a seriously satisfying, top notch meal.
Tried the rest? Check out the: Summer of Love 1967 – A best seller and their most controversial too, featuring chili infused honey and a fresh pineapple topping.
Mother of Pizzas
When the Brooklyn-based venue opened in SoHo several years ago, it truly marked a new age for pizzerias in the city. Motorino set a new standard to this day as pizza hounds are assured a good Neapolitan pie each and every visit due to a strict time-tested playbook. “We use Caputo 00 flour which is left to raise for 12 hours, before baking in our Stefano Ferrara oven for only 90 seconds, a process that requires the skills of our trained pizzaiolos to ensure that they are perfectly cooked every time,” says Black Sheep restaurant group Co-Founder and Managing Partner Christopher Mark. Combine that with San Marzano tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil and the basic Margherita (HK$188.00) va va vooms on the tastebuds, though the Soppressata Piccante (with salami and chili topping) is the most popular.
Tried the rest? “For anyone looking for something more adventurous, try the Guanciale or the Colatura di Alici, a special we run sometimes,” says Mark.
Motorino Wan Chai
When Kytaly, called the “best pizza restaurant in the world”, saw its Hong Kong venue go down due to management disputes, Salvatore Fiata decided he liked the city enough to branch out with his own pizza-making skills. In autumn 2021 he opened the tiny venue Fiata in the heart of SoHo, where he fires up his Moretti oven to 500 degrees and makes his fresh, fluffy pizzas. “I come from Caserta, Italy, near Naples,” he explains. “And every Tuesday my tomato sauce arrives from there as well as the fresh cheese and a special old-style onion cream too. Then I make everything fresh everyday.” At HK$145.00 (and a terrific HK$178.00 lunch special), the basic Margherita is a pizza masterpiece made with care.
Tried the rest? Order the A Salsiccia, featuring red onions, dried spicy sausage and that special Alife onion cream, uniquely made by an old lady in Caserta.
The Pizza Project
From the first bite, customers at The Pizza Project are assured of both value and a fresh, mouthwatering pizza that can comfortably be devoured in one sitting. Its quality can be found in the tangy tomato sauce, cheese that doesn’t overwhelm and a crust that chews well. “What we we’ve always wanted to do is provide a bit of the genuine pizza experience from back in Italy, where pizza is affordable and social, an occasion to share with friends and family,” says Corporate Chef Andrea Viglione. The basic Margherita offers terrific value at HK$85.00, but others, including the Not So Capricciosa vegetarian pizza with mushrooms, artichokes and black olives, are just as satisfying.
Tried the rest? Okay sure, go for their limited Hot Dog Pizza release (HK$130.00) featuring sliced hot dog and a crispy french fry topping.
The Pizza Project Central
The Pizza Project Wan Chai
Alvy’s resembles a New York hipster saloon, with its bank of local beers on tap (many brewed by its affiliated brewery Young Masters), pizza oven in the back and overall dark, casual vibe. Sit at the bar or grab a table — it’s all good — and a pint and pizza will hit the spot. The yeast comes from the same blend as the beer and when that 11″ arrives full of toppings, the foldable crust is able to support the weight and then some. The basic Alvy’s Classic (HK$128.00) is packed full of drool-worthy flavor, while those looking for an intriguing Cantonese hybrid can ask for a Bak-Gwei, which comes complete with char siu pork. gruyere bechamel cheese and ginger-scallion dressing. Whether eating in or taking out, this is a reliable Friday night go-to.
Tried the rest? Tuck into a Bourbon Pie, with chicken, deep fried pickled shallots and plenty of barbecue flavor.
Italian couple Marco and Marzia Di Giacomo once ran Capo in TST, before recamping to their relatively new and cavernous basement surroundings in Sai Ying Pun. There, the duo create pizza and other sumptuous dishes in a northern Italian style. “It’s thinner in the north with more crunch, rich but not too hearty,” says Marzia about their tasty pizzas. Their basic Pizza Margherita is a delicious meal at just HK$128.00 (their lunch specials offer terrific value too), while those who rave about their generous toppings often gravitate to their signature Pizza Capo, with its cherry tomato, burrata and parma ham topping.
Tried the rest? Dip into the Pizza Marco, with seared fresh tuna, burrata, cherry tomatoes, pepper and lemon oil.
Capo Sai Ying Pun
What’s a 25 year pizza maker to do when the “world’s best pizza” restaurant closes down? You’ve got the oven, you’ve got the know how, so you rename it Babacio and keep on carrying on. “We’re using original Italian flour and it’s mixed with the strong flour Manitoba,” says veteran pizza chef Roberto Marchi. “It makes it good for digestion and keeps it light, so you don’t feel full. Combine that with fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil and San Marzano tomatoes and — voila! — you’ve got the makings of a fine Neapolitan chef’s kiss (at HK$178.00 and a terrace view).
Tried the rest? The HK$288.00 Mare Orto will challenge the taste buds with its blend of clams, shrimp, calamari, squid, white wine, garlic, tomato sauce, oregano, cherry tomato and basil.
It could be the location that makes some people overlook Emmer as a pizza destination: atop a mall. Or it could be the cafe-like vibe. Whatever the case, they do make a fine “crunch pizza” with plenty of chew. “It’s definitely the dough,” claims Emmer General Manager Mostafa Zeineldin about the process. “It’s not a sour dough, but it’s similar to that process and a lot of people who have a food intolerance find it’s easier on the stomach.” Their HK$99.00 Margherita, with its lush San Marzano tomato topping, is all you need. But their specials change regularly and their Diavola and Four Cheese varieties are popular as well — so much so that Quarry Bay folks will get to find out all about it when they open there before the summer.
Tried the rest? Keep an eye out for those “Daily Specials”, which have included shrimp and anything else that strikes the fancy of the chefs.
Emmer Pizzeria & Café
Take an informal poll of the city’s pizza makers for their favorite go-to joint and Ciak will come up frequently. A light pizza and fresh ingredients are just two of the ways to describe it. Chef Chat Leung has another trick up his sleeve. “We use natural yeast with 36 hours fermentation,” he says. “The recipe is good. We stand by it.” Michelin stars over the years would second this opinion. The pizzas themselves range from the basic Margherita — with mozzarella, sauce and basil (that’s it), to the extravagant. A tad pricey, but worth it.
Tried the rest? Save the pennies for the Tartufo Nero, with its sausage, egg yolk and Black Truffle topping. Oh you’ll pay alright — to the tune of HK$1,680.00.
Ciak in the Kitchen
Ciak All Day Italian
Another popular venue amongst fellow pizza chefs is this Elgin Street hideaway run by Julia and Ben Proust over the past couple of years. She’s Italian, he’s French — and together they cook up handcrafted pizzas with panache. “I cannot tell you our secret recipe, of course,” says Julia. “But our dough rests for 48 hours and that’s an important part.” Le Margherita is basic at HK$98.00 with cheese, sauce and fresh basil while their La Camburrata (HK$208.00), featuring 150 grams of burrata in addition to parma ham, is their best seller.
Tried the rest? Cosy up on a cold night with their La Montagna HK$178.00, featuring a fresh cream base, raclette cheese, potatoes and onions.
Gustaci Pizza Lounge
It’s Neapolitan style all the way at the year old Italian lounge Gustaci at PMQ in SoHo. They’ll tell you that the dough resting for 24 hours is part of their secret sauce. Professor Dr. Pizza believes that they just have the “It” factor. “It’s incredible how they are newcomers, but already established themselves as an absolute top-notch pizza on the Hong Kong restaurant scene,” he says. “All three pizzas I’ve had here reached a perfect 10/10 score. That speaks for itself.” A couple bites of their basic Margherita (HK$128.00), with fresh basil and a drizzle of virgin olive oil, and you’re likely to agree.
Tried the rest? Sample their folded Calzone, with salami, ricotta, black pepper basil, mozzarella and surrounded with tomato sauce.
Gustaci Pizza Lounge
It depends on which outlet you choose — and perhaps, how they feel making it, but when the mood strikes, this takeout venue offers a pizza that tastes just as good the next day as it does when it’s freshly made. They offer nearly 40 varieties, and many more combos are available on top of that, and at just HK$120.00 for a 14″ basic Margherita, it’s as close as one will come to a New York-Italian hybrid in the city.
Tried the rest? Then The 14″ Godfather (HK$168.00) is calling with mushroom, sausage, spicy salami and beef, mixed peppers and onion.
Pizzeria Italia Sai Ying Pun
Pizzeria Italia Central
Pizzeria Italia Kennedy Town
By the Slice
“We make pizza in the Roman style, with 72 hour fermentation for the dough,” says Stefano Todini of his creations. Whole pizzas are on offer, but it’s the square slices that will do just fine by the HK$43.00 slice (vegan offerings are available too).
It’s one of the only venues in the city to feature Detroit-style pizza with a thick square crust and tomato/cheese topping. One slice of their most popular flavour Spicy Pepperoni is a mini-meal. Eat an entire tray in under 20 minutes and your next pizza just might be free.
Hong Kong Side:
If you need that pizza fix, but the purse strings are drawn tight, this unassuming Causeway Bay venue is the perfect remedy. Their mozzarella is made from water buffalo milk, giving it an interesting twist and their takeaway pizzas are just HK$100.00.
Casa di Thali
A trio of Indian brothers who trained at other venues opened this Indian/Italian hybrid. For HK$82.00 (HK$88.00 as part of a set lunch), the tasty Margherita is great value no matter which side of the city you’re on.