The Ponsonby Road masters face the panel and come out on top.
Sergio Maglione’s casual Ponsonby eatery, Farina (244 Ponsonby Road), is the only restaurant in Auckland to hold a coveted Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana badge – recognition of Maglione’s work to protect the integrity of true Neapolitan pizza-making techniques here in New Zealand (he also owns Toto’s Pizza in the central city). His pizza was the favourite with our panel.
GINNY GRANT Look at the crust on that! There’s a lot of blistering. The sauce is good too. Definitely a wood-fired one. This is delicious, really perfect and all-over great – the cheese is great, the sauce is good, the herbs on it are appropriate. I ate all of that one! SIMON BENOIT Oh yuuum. For me, the crust like that with a little bit of burnt, that’s what I really like. I’m really enjoying [it]. That’s really good, really nice and really complete – it has everything for me. Earlier, I was trying to taste the crust and the topping separately, but when you eat it folded it all comes together. GIAPO GRAZIOLI This pizza is another level. They put parmesan cheese on the top and semolina on the bottom. The guy that’s doing this knows what he’s doing. I won’t judge the sogginess – it’s at least 10 minutes from where it was made. If the mozzarella is there, it’s going to release more water. There’s steam in the box... you just have to go with taste and texture as it would be when it comes out of the oven. This is Farina – I think so, because of the flavour and because of the texture. It is somebody that is trying to do extra. This is the best. By far. ALICE HARBOURNE It’s really yummy. This is the best all-rounder, and the cheese is really good. Really, really gorgeous, lovely fresh flavours, and really balanced – when you eat the cheese you can taste the creaminess to balance the basil and the sauce. It was really, really tasty.