I’m usually pretty averse to “best-of” lists. Once you reach that point, elements become pretty much indistinguishable from another, and even vaunted number one positions don’t really mean much, except for getting your name and brand out there. After all, if you could actually, legitimately tell the difference between the number one restaurant in XYZ cuisine to the number 5 restaurant, also in XYZ cuisine, then congratulations – you’re a super taster. I only wish we were all super tasters (then we’d all be able to make and thus eat better food).
Still, such lists do have a use – and that’s to draw attention to the general public about such places. If Quay was never featured on Masterchef and was not present on the San Pelligrino’s top 50 restaurants in the world list, it’s not likely that you’d have to book 6 months in advance. Good talent does deserve to be recognised, and if you don’t actually serve great food, then your own skills as a chef will eventually “standardise” you. At least hopefully.
Lucio Pizzeria is one of the best pizzerias as named by Time Out Sydney, as well as Good Food. When it comes to pizza, it’s hard to imagine that it could reach such heights as to be exemplified like fine dining is, but one should keep in mind that even the simplest foods (such as the legendary 蛋炒饭 – egg fried rice) can reach godly levels through pure skill. Why would that apply to pizzas either?
Okay that was way too much exposition for a entrée review, so let’s get right into it.
Date Visited: 1/2/13
Address: 248 Palmer Street Darlinghurst, Sydney NSW 2010
Go-to dish: go with your preferences in toppings
You wouldn’t think Lucio is a place that sells some of the best pizza in Sydney from its decor. But then again, pizzerias are not known for their looks. This is great, the last thing I’d want is to have pizza in a fine dining environment – that’s just so…wrong! So yes, do feel free to dress casual (but perhaps not street casual, there’s a line for everything).
Besides, having pizza for dinner often involves groups, not one on one dining – you quickly get full on a limited variety of pizzas if you go with just one other person. Naturally, Lucio does not do splits for you as they cook everything to order.
I should’ve taken my own advice unfortunately – I only went with The Lady and her appetite isn’t exactly voracious, so we only ended up being able to try two pizzas. Thank goodness they’re of the thin-base type, and aren’t gigantic (somewhere between a pizza hut large pizza and a pizza mia size in diameter).
One of the pizzas recommended to us was The Filetto – it looks very much like a rucola pizza thanks to the generous amount of rocket. I’m usually not a fan of rocket in most circumstances, but I like it on this pizza as it somehow detracts away from the pungency of the rocket when you bite into it with the saucy base.
- Having said that, you always do wish you had more prosciuitto. Having said that though, if you eat it evenly, the prosciuitto has enough flavour to actually flavour every bite you take. Still, I wish there were more as it would bring the meat’s textures more to prominence over the crunchy salad-like texture of the rocket
- The pizza style, like all the pizzas here and on the menu, are made in classic Napolitana style I believe. This is very similar to Ormeggio at the Spit, and bears a lot of resemblance to GPO’s Pizza By Wood. It’s pretty much become my preferred style of eating pizza – deep dish is just such a waste of flour and carbs imo – YMMV
- The shaved mozzarella on top and the cheeky base sandwich everything very well, and despite the obvious visibility of the olive oil used, you never really feel it too much unless you just keep eating without drinking anything.
I would recommend The Filetto for any first-time visitor.
So believe it or not, this is actually only the second time ever in my lifetime that I’ve had calzone. I missed out for big time. The first time I had it was only in December 2012 on a visit to America. That was…epic, but a story for another day.
Yeah calzone is more or less just folder pizza. Some purists would rather you not call it a pizza, as the act of enclosing the ingredients in the base turns it into something else. But really, it’s pizza toppings inside a pizza base. So you know…
- Not exactly too big on margherita pizzas (guess why? The answer is a four letter word that starts with “m” and rhymes with “peat”). Nevertheless, from a technical standpoint, I can’t fault Lucio’s margherita – the base is classically crunchy and doughy, and the base does have ample levels of melted cheese. *takes out packet of prosciutto…)
- The calzone half of the pizza is very interesting. I’m surprised (in retrospect) that I didn’t take a picture after I had cut it up to show you what’s inside, but it is essentially a classic ham & cheese pizza with a ricotta twist. Flavours were quite good, and you could roll this and eat it with the margherita side of the pizza for some bonus flavours
Another top pick!
Well that’s only two dishes that I’ve managed to cover here. Lucio is a place to visit again for sure, I’ll just have to justify deliberately going out of my way to Darlinghurst in order to do so. That proposition is much harder, but if you ever do get sick of fast food pizzas, you ought to one-up your game and try out Lucio.
Is it the “best”? I’m not qualified to answer that question. That’s your cue to pay them a visit and try for yourself.
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three
The Good: pizzas that are pretty much eccellente, reasonable pricing for the class of dining it is
What could be improved: not too many flavours/options available to choose from, nothing “groundbreaking”, (not so much an improvement), meat lovers will have to look elsewhere
I give Lucio Pizzeria a grand total of eight Caesars out of ten – 8/10