What: Delucas Pizza
Where: 159b Darby Street, Cooks Hill
Prices: Entrees, $8.50 to $18.50; pastas, $17 to $24; pizzas, $16.50 to $22.50; desserts, $10 to $11
Wines: Small selection of Australian and Italian wines, and Australian wines from Italian varietals
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 5pm until late
Vegetarian: One pasta, one risotto, five pizzas; check the specials board
Bookings: 4929 3555
Bottom line: Pizza dinner with dessert, for two, without drinks, about $60
If you favour the kitchen sink style of pizza or go into a decline if you can't get a Hawaiian then this place is not for you. But if thin, crisp crusts, simple toppings, not too much cheese but lots of flavour are what you crave, you need to go no further.
That's to say you have secured a table. Space is tight so booking is essential on any night of the week. Service is efficient and cheerful but sometimes the kitchen can't keep up, so expect to wait, particularly if you are a group of four or more.
The specials board lists an antipasto platter. This is a fine introduction to the excellent quality of ingredients used here. There are dates stuffed with feta and wrapped in prosciutto; roast pumpkin, ricotta and rocket salad; a decent wedge of firm, creamy frittata; a small salad of ripe, diced tomato, parmesan and basil; prawns and squid stewed with onion, chorizo, roast capsicum and green onion; a dish of marinated mushrooms; and a dish of spicy olives spiked with preserved lemon. And if the crust on the pizza is as good as the crisp bread served on this platter it will be worth the wait.
Margarita celebrates the Italian flag with its rich red tomato sauce, melting white mozzarella and shredded green basil - classic perfection.
Vegetarians will be more than happy with the pizza selection. Chunky roast pumpkin gets a boost from tomato, vibrant spinach and crumbly ricotta. Although simple, the toppings are generous and the crust is a finely executed supporting act.
Meat lovers are certainly not forgotten. Pizza toppings include lamb, chicken, seafood, chorizo or various salamis but still show restraint. You won't be disappointed in the Italian sausage pizza, one of the nightly specials. Tomato sauce provides a base for plenty of meaty pieces of sausage, broken up with caramelised onion and lots of rocket, and topped with golden, grilled cheese.
The dessert list includes tiramisu and panna cotta as you would expect in an Italian restaurant. The tiramisu is a generous serve, embellished oddly with waving fronds of deep-fried spaghetti. Luscious liqueur and coffee saturated biscotti lurk below layers of mascarpone and cream, the top dusted with chocolate and crowned with strawberries.
Freshly baked apple crumble is hard to pass up. Perfectly cooked, tangy apple is hidden under a blanket of fine, crisp, golden crumble. Ice-cream isn't available but a dish of thick, dollop cream more than compensates.
Chocolate tart comes as two wedges of dense, dark chocolate in a slightly too thick crust. Chocoholics will be in heaven and won't care that the swirls and smudges of berry coulis and some strawberry segments make a valiant effort but don't quite succeed in balancing a very rich dish.
While pizzas are the choice for most diners, there is also a well-chosen list of other Italian dishes. Come again to try pasta, risotto and other dishes on the main menu or specials board.
And if you can't get a table, takeaway pizza is always a fallback option.