Forget the overhyped reopening in the new premises that never happened, Massimo‘s pizza joint is back. Open in their old premises, which are more than adequate, I went for a meal on Friday and can only tell you that the expectations of greatness were more than satisfied.
The restaurant is in that small centre with the Spar in it as you come down from Constantia Neck into Hout Bay, in a neat space with a playground for kids and a few tables outside. Nothing fancy, but aesthetically friendly. Massimo and his wife Tracy are also the most genuinely hospitable hosts, there every day to oversee things, Massimo making the pizzas himself. They have a decent wine list and plenty of local microbrews on offer.
But let’s focus on the food. I don’t think it’s fair to call Massimo’s pizza the best in Cape Town because to compare it to the other pizza on offer is a bit like comparing the best tennis player to the best squash players. They’re similar but different sports, and these are a different type of pizzas. And pizza is very subjective, everyone has their favourite place. Actually, wait, fuck it - Massimo’s is the best pizza in Cape Town. It just is. There. Done.
1. The crust is perfect. Light enough you can imagine eating two pizzas yourself and also crispy and a touch chewy without being doughy. Perfect.
2. The quality of ingredients beats any other pizza I’ve had in town. There are some pizzas out there with good crusts, but at Massimo’s he goes further with toppings. Everything, from the cheese (and he uses a wide variety here) to vegetables to the basic tomato sauce is fresh and noticeably more flavourful than what you’d expect. And with ingredients this good, just two per flavours pizza is good enough. Roasted fennel and some nuts on one. Fresh goats cheese and salsa verde on another. Feta and roasted peppers. You get the idea.
3. Here’s the kicker: a lot of his pizzas are made with ingredients added after he’s cooked the crust. And with no tomato base. Imagine pizza dough, rolled, brushed with garlic butter, cooked to crispy perfection, then a few blobs of superfresh goats cheese added, topped with some thinly sliced mortadella (salami-style meat). The cheese bursts with tart flavour to offset the rich, fatty meat. Or a similar thing with blobs of fresh bocconcini mozzarella balls and parma ham.
That mortadella pizza was my favourite of about the 9 pizzas the six of us ate. With the R115 “pizza feast” option, Massimo just brings out a new pizza every 15-20 minutes, meaning you get to try a bunch and experience a lot more options. A pretty good way to do it, since you’ll just want to keep eating these pizzas, I promise you.
We also had a bresaola, parmesan and rocket starter that was delicious and some roasted chestnuts afterwards. Massimo raves about the chestnuts but personally I think they taste like stale cake. Try for yourself though. They also do daily specials on the menu should you not want to eat any pizza, but that just seems absurd.