Saturday, May 30, 2020

Restaurant review: SANTA MARIA (Fitzrovia)

Earlier in the lockdown, I'd tried my hand at making a pizza from scratch. It was a solid effort given my complete lack of experience in the department, but it wasn't a patch on the pizzas from Santa Maria, a restaurant which I had had the good fortune to visit at the tail end of 2019.

Santa Maria is a small restaurant, whose aim is to bring the charm and flavour of Napoli to London. The staff are very welcoming - when I asked about what types of cheese I could add to my pizza, the waiter actually took the time to give me a thoughtful, detailed, response. This is a far cry from the eye rolls that I am usually met with in most central London restaurants when I ask the waiters for help ordering.

The recommendations he made were astute as well:

I absolutely loved my pizza (the santa bufalina). The tomato sauce was tangy and moreish. The base was the right level of crispiness without being too thick (my main gripe about pizzas are ones which are over-doughy), and the perfect consistency to support all of the ingredients. 

The burrata on top of the pizza really appealed to my cheese-loving tendencies; it was up there with Franco Manca's burrata in terms of deliciousness and to-die-for creaminess. I suppose my one only gripe is the slightly burnt edges; I don't know if this was on purpose on by accident, but I do think the edges of the pizza would have been nicer if they were under-cooked by one minute.

Below is a picture of one of the other pizzas they make:

The pizzas are cooked in wood-powered ovens, as opposed to the gas-powered ones I use at home, which is partially why I find (properly-made) restaurant-made pizzas more yummy: they have that smoky flavour which can't be replicated in the home kitchen!

I'm a big fan of Santa Maria. The pizzas were made efficiently, tasted wonderful and were reasonably priced. The place had a nice ambience, and the waiters were helpful when I requested extra balsamic vinegar. It has re-instilled in me belief that central London does have good pizza places!

Grade: A-


For more of Emma's gastronomical musings, click here.

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