Pizza is the simplest thing in the world. Dough, Tomato sauce and a bit of cheese. How can you fuck that up? It’s a question I’d love to ask pretty much every restaurant in Dublin that serves it. Most “authentic” pizzas range somewhere between “completely shite” and just “plain old regular shite”. For the purposes of this review I’ve been trying places all around the capital including chains, takeaways, Italian restaurants and pretty much anywhere else I could find a slice. To really understand what a good Pizza is you need to have eaten one in Napoli.
Preferably just a plain old Margherita with a bit of torn up basil on top. It will typically be ginormous and cost you between €3-5. Somewhere along the line that concept got exported to a point where we now pay up to €20 around the world and toppings range from BBQ chicken right through to cheeseburgers. Everybody has their own opinion but having lived on Pizza in Italy for so long I tried to track down the most authentic spot in Dublin for a good old fashioned Pizza.
There are a few clues when looking for a good pizza. The first is a wood fired oven. Great pizza and especially a great crust can’t be achieved without one of these. The older the oven the better. The second is a group of greasy Italians eating in the place and shouting loudly at each other. The third is amazing strong expresso coffee because the two go hand in hand. Paulies Pizza in Ballsbridge has them all. It also has by far and away the best pizza in Dublin. The place is tiny with tables wedged in beside each other. Very buzzy with hardly any Irish folk and plenty of tech heads spilling out from the local Google and Facebook offices. You could walk in here and easily think you were in Madrid, Rome or Cannes. Until you walk outside in to the pissing rain that is.
There are actually a bunch of different pizzas that are broken in to either Italian or New York style. The toppings are simple enough without having to go over the top to entice you in. Standard stuff like artichokes, parma ham, rocket etc. They have nice starters but I always find that having a starter with a pizza makes you way too full and the portions here are more than generous. The other wow factor is that you can see your pizza being made and because the oven is so hot it can be ready in a couple of minutes depending on how busy the place is. They also have a bunch of good wines and some craft beers which work well for the slightly hipster crowd who would turn their nose up these days at a Carlsberg or Heineken. The best thing is that dinner for a couple of people including a good few drinks and a dessert and there was still plenty of change out of 50 Euros. The brownie with nuts was simply out of this world.
I know plenty of people will have their own opinion (I do like Credo as well) on the best Pizza in Dublin (make sure to share your own suggestions below) but Paulies wins it hands down for me. Well worth the visit and as close to a proper Italian classic as you’ll find in Ireland. The only real difference is the price and the weather outside. Apart from that this is very much the real deal.