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Where to find Italian-style gourmet Pizzas in India

Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Pappa John’s, Nirula’s… what do you seek when you crave a pizza? As a child growing up in the 1980s, pre-liberalisation India, I really loved what they served us at Nirula’s—stringy cheese pepperoni and ketchupy. There has been a sea change in the way we Indians eat now since then. And though one would still go to Nirula’s for the sake of nostalgia, there are many other choices if you crave a pizza.

But until recently, what Indians understood from the word “pizza” was American-style pizza, thick crusts, loaded with mozzarella and calories. Domino’s and Pizza Hut are still by far the overwhelming favourites in the country, in the smaller towns as well, where local street foods are being fast replaced with this kind of “fast food”. It is not for nothing that the chains have introduced a variety of Indianised flavours—a tandoori chicken tikka pizza, anyone? – at prices that are usually far lesser than what they charge for all their classics. But that isn’t pizza is it?

Italian style, thin crust pizzas, that don’t even have to have tomatoes for their base (or cheese) depending on the region they trace their origins from, are the current rage in the metros with many chic cafes and Italian restaurants serving these. On three consequitive evenings, I tried out thin-crust pizzas at three New Delhi restaurants, including Italia, a popular elite five-star restaurant in Bangalore that has now made its appearance in New Delhi at the DLF Place mall, next to the Emporio that houses all the luxury brands.

Italia is an incredible restaurant in many ways but particularly for the kind of food that it serves up. Divided into three sections, a formal area in gold with a beautiful private dining room, a cheerful informal area, and a large balcony with outdoor seating that looks out to the last of the greens in the area…I was reviewing the restaurant and chef Bakshish Dean who will be looking after the restaurant served me a superb, specially tailored menu, which included such innovative stuff as a dip made from red pumpkin, the kind that we cook locally in India, some excellent local mutton (instead of lamb), baked asparagus, and of course the pizzas, which for me were the highlights of the meal. The crust here is extra thin and I had a simple yet elegant one with an onion and salmon topping—no tomatoes. There was another to-die-for one with an assortment of seafood for topping. Addictive.

Amici at Khan Market is another new café that has become quite popular with the younger lot. The service is tardy and on the night I visited with a large group there were many irate diners on this account. But I liked the pizza that they put out nevertheless—we had ordered a simple chicken piri piri one (thin crust with a tomato base). In fact, I liked it so much that I ordered a second one (we were sharing). They also have an alio olio pizza that you will never find at any other Indian restaurant.

Finally, I tried the specialties at Sevilla, a beautiful Med restaurant at the Claridges that looks like a fairyland with candles and lights and open air seating in the nights. The chef made a marvelous pepperoni one for my daughter that we couldn’t resist either. And then I tried out their Spanish style pizza with chorizo and goat cheese. The restaurant has a wood-fired oven right in the open so that adds to the experience as well. If you are in New Delhi, try these out.

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2 Responses to “Where to find Italian-style gourmet Pizzas in India”

  1. [...] Anoothi Vishal placed an interesting blog post on Where to find Italian-style gourmet Pizzas in India | India – Food …Here’s a brief overviewPizza Hut, Domino’s, Pappa John’s, Nirula’s… what do you seek when you crave a pizza? As a child growing up in the 1980s, pre-liberalisation India, I. [...]

  2. Berry Yeh says:

    Nice post on the topic. I am bookmarking this! ;~)