I found the best pizza in Melbourne, and it’s in Coburg

I’m going to preface this by stating that I am in no way shape or form a food critic. Not even a food blogger. But, listen, I know pizza. Like, I know know pizza. We’ve been entangled in a romantic relationship for the better part of my life, and while at some points she’s been relegated to side chick status, I’ve always found my way back to her warm embrace.

And while I’m a simple man with simple desires, I also love the finer things in life. I don’t want a million cheap frozen toppings on some crusty base. Give me a margherita so I can properly appreciate the flavor of each ingredient on each slice. Less is more. Quality over quantity.

Yeah I know pizza. In fact, one of my life goals is to take a year off of work, travel, and just blog my way from pizza place to pizza place. Some people travel for the sights, I travel for the slices.

I love pizza.

And so I thought Melbourne pizza and I had an understanding. I thought that we had our communication down. We’d been through our ups and downs, from walks along South Bank to Gradi, to food poisoning at D.O.C. in Albert Park, to date night at Tiamo (conveniently located near Readings Bookstore. Best. Place. Ever.) I thought I knew what to expect. We’ve been through a lot and developed a strong foundation. Trust is the base of any relationship like a good dough. But yo, I was wrong.

Something happened on Friday night. I was planning a date night that involved the Coburg drive in and I googled “pizza in Coburg.” I will be the first to admit; I didn’t expect much. Honestly. I’d have been happy with a decent family take-a-way place. You know the type, the crust is slightly thicker, the cheese slightly cheaper, the mushrooms are button instead of the more gourmet field mushrooms. Still good though right? Not life changing good, but hit the spot kind of good.

So off we went to Cornerstone Pizzeria, a house turned restaurant located on an unassuming side street in Coburg.

Photo by Norah Niemeh.

Brah, I was surprised! Not the, “oh that was better than I expected” type of surprised, but the “holy hell this place has the best pizza in Melbourne why the hell hasn’t Broadsheet written about this place? Why have I not been here earlier? Pizza night will never be the same again” type of surprised.

How can I explain it? The quality of the ingredients was as good as any of the famed places in Melbourne, but the dough was different, it was a kind of in between the D.O.C’s style super thin air-bubble-in-my-crust base that has taken Melbourne by storm, but is prone to getting soggy and sometimes a little too floppy, and the more traditional firmer woodfire base. It was on point! ON POINT!

We ordered the Margherita, because you always have to order a Margherita at a new place to really gauge their skills (amazing!), and honestly, Margherita is just the best. And then a Romina, which I must say, featured every ingredient I could ever want on a gourmet pizza, but was so well balanced, with the perfect amount of toppings, that it didn’t feel too heavy, nor too light. I’m talking mozzarella, rosemary potatoes, salami, mushrooms, Spanish onions, gorgonzola, and just the right amount of shaved parmesan, where you don’t really notice it, but it adds a nice touch. All perfectly balanced.

And then, as a “side,” I ordered the four cheese potato gnocchi. So good. Like I mentioned, the restaurant is a renovated house, renovated enough to not seem cheap, but homely enough to instantly welcome you, and even though we sat at the front on the stools by the window, it was a charming experience. But oh my god, the food was amazing, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters (the epically large pendant lights were a plus too. Damn I’m a sucker for pendant lights).

So there you have it, a new pizza place, on a totally unexpected night, in a totally unexpected place. If you haven’t checked it out, please do. If you’re a real food writer, please spread the word about this place. Or actually maybe don’t, maybe I want to keep this little gem of a pizzeria to myself, because I will certainly be back, and I really don’t want to have to fight for a table.

Although I totally would, I will cut you if I have to, because it’s that good!

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