Three wheeled vans.
They may not sound like the best way to make a steady income.
But the fateful Piaggio Ape that James and Thom Elliot bought back in 2011, drove at a hair-raising 32mph across Italy and brought back to London a year later… turned out to be the best purchase of their lives.
Because it was on that tour across Italy that they painstakingly perfected every part of the pizza-making process, tracking down the most respected pizzaiolo in each town and assiduously studying how to prove the dough, what flour to use, and how to get the best out of the toppings.
Unsurprisingly, when they popped up with a Soho street food stall the following year, they were quite popular.
Fast forward, and they’re now proud brother-parents to eight individual Pizza Pilgrims across the city (as well as a pop up at Swingers crazy golf and another branch in Oxford). So behold, a brief introduction to each Pizza Pilgrims restaurant in London – including the vital intel on which one will serve you chocolate bar calzone for dessert.
Their first bricks and mortar(della) space; Pizza Pilgrims Soho is the original, non-truck based incarnation of Pizza Pilgrims. Perched on a corner of Dean Street, it’s a two-level space, dressed up with vintage Italian film posters and adverts; their now-signature gingham tablecloths; and, naturally, a foosball table… READ MORE
Details: 11 Dean Street, W1D 3RP | Open Mon-Sat 11.30am-10.30pm, Sun 12-9.30pm
Descending elegantly into the colourful Kingly Court, just off Carnaby Street, is Pizza Pilgrims numero duo, acting as both pizzeria (which is Italian for “pizza place”) and friggitoria (which is Italian for “fried goods restaurant packed with tables that spill out onto the sun-drenched courtyard, where you can swill negronis and house limoncello with tonic, and feast to your heart’s content on smoked mozzarella arancini, breaded artichoke hearts, and deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese”). Roughly. READ MORE
Details: 11 Kingly Court, W1B 5PW | Open daily from 11.30am (12pm Sundays) until late
PIZZA PILGRIMS EXMOUTH MARKET
If an old Cockney pie & mash shop and a pizzeria had a lovechild, this would be the – admittedly unexpectedly – beautiful result. With chequered tiled walls, daily menus scrawled on mirrors and intimate seating with wooden pews around reclaimed tables, Pizza Pilgrims Exmouth Market is full of Anglo-Italian charm. Luckily the food doesn’t attempt that same fusion, and sticks to their tried ‘n’ tested toppings. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 15 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QD | Open Mon-Sat 11.30am-10.30pm, Sun 12-9.30pm
PIZZA PILGRIMS COVENT GARDEN
Covent Garden. Home to theatres, galleries, and some of the finest pizza in town thanks to the fourth Pizza Pilgrims site, where you can get all their classic Neapolitan pizzas with Dean Martin and the Statue of Liberty for company. VIEW DETAILS
Details: 23 Garrick Street, WC2E 9BN | Open Mon-Wed 11.30am-10.30pm, Thur-Sat 11.30am-11pm, Sun 12-10pm
Without a doubt their most picturesque spot, Pizza Pilgrims Shoreditch weaves the kind of elements you’ve come to expect from PP (those chequered tablecloths, vintage posters and industrial green lamps) with the local aesthetic (festoon lighting, old school chairs and marble topped tables). And, most crucially, they’ll turn any chocolate bar you bring with you into a calzone. READ MORE
Details: 136 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE | Open Mon-Wed 11.30am-10pm; Thurs-Sat 11.30am-10.30pm, Sun 12-9.30pm
Perched in a warehouse overlooking the canals of Canary Wharf, Hot Tugs bobbing along the waterway, Pizza Pilgrims West India Quay is their biggest yet. And to fill all that space, they’ve installed an outdoor terrace complete with bocce court (a kind of Italian boules) and a basement ‘pizza playground’, with bespoke 8-person table football, a separate bar, and a hireable sofa area with Mario Kart and boxed up PP pizzas. READ MORE
Details: 12 Hertsmere Road, E14 4AE | Open Mon-Sat 11.30am-10.30pm, Sun 12-9.30pm
PIZZA PILGRIMS CITY
Strung up with bunting and garlands of festoon-lit foliage, Pizza Pilgrims City is a narrow but bountiful pizza emporium, serving all the classics followed by Nutella pizza rings and limoncello affogato. VIEW DETAILS
Details: Tower 42, 22 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HQ | Mon-Wed 11.30am-11pm, Thurs-Fri 11am-11.30pm, closed weekends
PIZZA PILGRIMS LONDON BRIDGE
The latest pizzeria to join the fold has settled down into an atmospheric railway arch right underneath London Bridge station. Take a pew and settle in for some people watching as you dine al fresco, with an all new menu to be announced soon… VIEW DETAILS
Details: Unit SU48, Bermondsey Street, SE1 9SP | Open Mon-Wed 11am-11pm, Thur-Sat 11am-11.30pm, Sun 11am-10pm
Looking for Italian comfort food? Check out Pastaio