The nation’s favourite pizzas

We asked readers to tell us about their favourite pizzas. We counted the votes, read the comments and can now reveal the winners are . . .

For the third episode in our food series Feast, we visit three Dublin pizza outlets, each with its own unique style: Italian, New York and Wicklow. Yes, Wicklow. Video: Kathleen Harris

Sat, Apr 12, 2014, 09:04

Ireland’s favourite pizza, based on your votes, is to be found at Platform Pizza Bar on Strand Road in Bray. Conor and Nicola Duggan, who both come from families of publicans, opened the restaurant in June of last year. “Even though Platform is young, we have been thinking about it and gathering inspiration from lots of different places for years,” say the couple, who have three young daughters.

“We felt we had limited options in terms of where we could go to enjoy good food where children were genuinely welcomed. So, our starting point for Platform was to set about creating somewhere that we would love to eat; family friendly and welcoming to all, but cool and laid back too.”

Reader Eimir Molloy enjoys the “Londonesque atmosphere”, while Edmund Lalor says it reminds him of “the pizzas I used to enjoy in New York’s Little Italy”.

Several Platform customers mentioned the restaurant’s goat’s cheese, prosciutto, maple syrup and walnut pizza. “Sounds strange but tastes amazing,” according to Paul Heagney, who says it is “worth a visit for the design of the building alone.” The restrooms were commented on by several customers. “The toilets are accessed by stepping through the doors of an antique wardrobe. The experience tends to bring- a smile to young and old alike,” says Nicola Duggan.

“We have teenage kids who will drop everything to happily accompany their parents to Platform, which in my experience says it all,” says Diane Doyle.

Plans are already afoot to extend the restaurant – no surprise according to Ruth Carey, who says she “hasn’t ever been in Platform on a quiet night”.

John Donohue rates Platform for its gluten-free offerings. “The owner informed me that he tried over 16 recipes and almost removed coeliac-friendly pizza from the menu as he could not find a decent one. But thankfully he found the best pizza base I have come across. Everything on the menu is available gluten-free.”

If there were prizes for the most eloquent endorsements of a pizza place, it would have to go to customers of The Big Blue Bus, a 1979 Daimler double decker that once trundled around the streets of London but now has a permanent parking space at the Bernard Shaw pub on Dublin’s Richmond Street South.

“My favourite is the Pick The Pear pizza which excites the taste buds with its crispy, thin base and combination of Gorgonzola cheese, pear slices, Parma ham, pesto oil, and, if you ask ever so nicely, and I recommend that you do, walnuts,” says Kevin Mangan.

Owner Oliver Allison used to tour music festivals with his bus, but has parked it at the Bernard Shaw since 2009. “You can come down for a pizza and take a seat on the top deck which is clad in Moroccan decor, or take a seat in the pub’s smoking area,” he says. “I am self-taught. We use the best ingredients we can find and we offer three types of freshly prepared pizza dough, made with 00 white flour, Khorason kamut low-gluten flour, and a gluten-free potato and rice flour mix.”

“It’s the only place in Ireland to make me a vegan calzone,” says Derry Delaney, while Mark Stringer mentions the “pizza with a pint” deal for €11. “It’s no secret to the Italian community who live in the area, and with whom I often share a slice,” says Tim Nairn, who also happens to work there.

PAT’S PIZZA Letterkenny
Pat’s Pizza in Letterkenny has been around since since 1984 and has a very loyal customer base. The “Pat” in the name is Pat Bradley, who runs the business, and another restaurant, Pat’s on the Square, with his wife Mary.

Alex O’Donnell has been in Australia for the past year and a half and has eaten pizza in many different places there – “and not one of them comes close to Pat’s”. “They have a lovely doughy base, they pile the toppings high, and although I’ve been eating there for 20 years I’m never disappointed,” says Edna Keeney.

“Every Friday my family and I would have a pizza night while watching Top of the Pops. I still get excited getting a Pat’s Pizza years later – I am now 22 ,” says Zara Vambeck.

The South William Street wine bar brought out the poets in its customers who waxed lyrical about its pizzas. “Every time I eat their pizza I am transported back to the streets of Rome,” says Xanah Robinson. “Their margherita is as close as you’ll get to Napoli where I have sampled the best local pizzerias with my Italian inlaws,” Lisa Morrissey. “If you close your eyes you could be in Italy,” says Gemma Kilbane. “The staff are always pleasant and create a personal touch by knowing a lot of customers by name, and even their regular orders,” says Róisín McDonnell.

GAILLOT & GRAY Greystones
Gilles Gaillot’s vintage Citroen van with its wood fired oven can be spotted in the old Watson & Johnson car park in Greystones, Co Wicklow, Wednesday to Sunday nights, 5pm-9pm. “I know how much goes into the whole process from making the dough fresh every day to sorting and chopping the wood for the oven, which is sourced locally from sustainable forests,” says Emma Gray, Gilles’s wife. The couple encountered mobile pizza vans while living in a village near Montpellier.

“They’re in nearly ever village, and I couldn’t believe how tasty pizza from a little truck could be,” says Gray.

When the couple moved back to Gray’s native Greystones, they decided to put their own truck on the road, and as well as its regular pitch, it can be booked for parties and events. “We’re hoping to get another truck off the ground as we’re having to turn down work,” Gray says.

“Wood-fired pizzas with a French twist, served from the cutest Citroen van, and they’re serious about the quality of ingredients,” says Niamh Douglas. “Worth the trip; the emmental, spinach and pine nuts is my favourite,” says Alex Calder. “I always have the four cheeses and my kids like the emmental and tomato with a drizzle of chilli oil. We then head under the arch to the beach and sit savouring every mouthful, watching the sea while snuggled under a blanket. Perfect,” says Kim Hayden.

You also like . . .
La Cucina in Limerick gets the Italian vote. “I have lived in Ireland for 13 years and have no doubt that the best pizza in Ireland can be found at La Cucina. It is exactly as I would get it at home: perfect base (not too crispy, not too breadlike), perfect tomato sauce (fresh and simple, no additions), and great toppings.” – Luigina Ciolfi
Pizzeria San Marco in Midleton also gets the vote from the Italian jury – or in this case Dr Mark Chu, head of the Italian Department at UCC, who says, “Choose the right pizza and its just like being in Italy.”
Pure Magic on Achill Island is “probably the last place I expected to find good pizza,” says Jennifer Blayney. “I used to live in Rome and the pizza in Achill is the closest I’ve tasted to authentic Italian pizza base. The dough is made using yeast made from fermented cider and the pizzas are all named after parts of the island.”
Albergo in Skibbereen makes an unbeatable pizza, according to Katie Loane. “ I lived in New York for some time and never found a pizza as good as the ones made in Albergo. They stretch the pizza before topping it with Italian ingredients and cooking it in a wood burning oven.”

A flurry of late votes put Sober Lane, a pub and pizza restaurant in Cork city, into an unassailable position, but a connection was soon made between the stream of emails – more than 100 in quick succession – and the business’s Facebook page offering free pizza to everyone who voted for them: “Email and say sober lane pizzas rock and why. Send us a screen shot of the sent mail and we will give you a free pizza, deal?”

Fair play guys, we salute your initiative, but we can’t let you win.

Sober Lane’s entirely unbiased fan club included comments such as: “The black pudding pizza is a tour de force. I rarely eat anything else in fact.”
– Julian Walshe.
“We all fight over the last slice ... scissor paper rock as opposed to actual violence.”
– Simone Taylor.
“My favourite is the black pudding, red onion and apple pizza. If honey and milk was the food of the Greek gods, this is surely the food of the Tuatha Dé Danann.”
– Aidan Burke.
Sober Lane is expanding to Dublin, with a pub and pizza restaurant due to open in Irishtown. “We got they keys of John Clarke and Sons last week and hope to open in approximately six weeks,” says Cork manager Ian O’Driscoll.

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