La Pizzeria Italiana – Catford

Star pizza, star restaurant

There’s no nice way of putting this: La Pizzeria Italiana looks rough from outside. And that’s because it’s at the base of Eros House, a drab concrete tower in Catford. But stick with me here, it’ll be worth your while…

Award winning architecture_ErosHouseCatford
Eros House – RIBA’s London architecture medal, 1962

This grade II listed building was awarded a ‘London architecture medal’ by RIBA in 1962, and given a ‘civic trust award’ in 1964 (an acknowledgement of the new, brutalist, concrete-slab architecture of the time?). The concrete is textured to look like wood and – being almost as iconic as the Catford cat – you might even grow to love it in time. All I’m saying is don’t let first appearances fool you.

Come this way – just grin and bear it a moment more…

The approach to La Pizzeria Italiana may not be appealing. But peer in through the doorway and it’s a different matter: it’s a small restaurant (about 50 covers) with frescoes of an Italian landscape and Venetian waterways. A mobile of teacups and white feather boas hangs centre-stage from a fabric ceiling; all really inviting and just that little bit different.

Tea cups, feather boas, soft lighting + Italian hospitality

Warmly acknowledged the moment we stepped inside, our waitress was really hospitable and helpful. The patron (from Bologna) came over several times to make sure we were comfortable, and to let us know we could go ‘off menu’ (“Don’t be shy!” were his exact words) – all dishes are freshly cooked to order and can easily be adapted to individual preference.

Admiring the sea view, Venetian waterways, inside La Pizzeria Italiana

It was a hot evening at the end of the working week and some cold bubbles were in order. A bottle of prosecco arrived, served in a solid rubber bag filled with iced water – a practical alternative to a space-consuming wine bucket. Despite being hidden from the street, this intimate restaurant was busy, doing a good turnover of tables. And it attracted all types of clientele: we noted a group of senior citizens, a young couple, a party of three lads (in their twenties), a couple of families with very young children, and a couple of middle aged couples (we were one of them and in case you’re wondering, anyone over 35 qualifies as middle aged). If their target market is anyone who enjoys fine quality pizza and food in a comfortable, relaxed environment then they look to be on target. That market is diverse, and all looked to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. You’d be hard pressed not to feel comfortable here.

Clockwise: Hand grenade style Prosecco bottle, Insalata Tricolore, Caprina pizza, antipasto

La Pizzeria Italiana was first recommended to me in August 2013 by CaT here on LardButty, and I’m seriously gutted that it took me nearly a year to visit. Still, I’ve been twice in my first week so I think that says something (aside from I’m greedy). We are committed to working our way through the menu, and have found that the pizzas are outstanding (*proper* Italian, thin crust pizzas) and everything’s freshly prepared. Given the excellent food quality, it’s also reasonably priced. So far, LardButty can recommend: ~ Insalata Tricolore – tomatoes, mozzarella, basil + avocado starter salad @ £5.50 ~ Antipasto Miso All’ Italiana – Italian cured meats + roast vegetables @ £7.50 ~ Caprina pizza – Mozzarella, goats cheese, olives, red onions, basil + fresh chopped tomatoes @ £9.50 with extra mushrooms @ £1.00 ~ Lasagna Al Forno – fresh pasta layers, Bolognese, Béchamel and parmesan @ £8.95 ~ Tomatoey meatballs – starter @ £4.95 ~ Parmagiana – baked aubergine starter @ £4.95

Meatball starter @ £4.95

IMG_9787_parmagiana_bakedauberginestarter Parmagiana – baked aubergine starter @ £4.95

~ Quattro Stagioni – four seasons pizza with Mozzarella, tomato, ham, pepperoni, mushrooms + spinach @ £9.00

Four seasons pizza @ £9.00

~ and last but by no means least: the star special pizza @ £11.50 IMG_9791_starpizza Star pizza – choose 5 ingredients/toppings for each ‘corner’

This star shaped pizza had real novelty value, while also bearing a different tasty treat in every corner. My five toppings were anchovy, mushroom, chilli, dolcelatte, and olives, with loads of fresh salad.

The verdict: Don’t rush me, I haven’t worked my way through *all* the menu yet (It’s amazing. Is La Pizzeria Italiana still one of Catford’s best kept secrets? shhhhhh….)

Still working through the menu: IMG_0336 Whitebait starter @ £5.95 IMG_0337 Calamari starter with tartar sauce @ £6.95 (squid so fresh it melts in your mouth) IMG_1911_fish stew starter Fish stew starter @ £4.95 IMG_2813_Avocado and walnut salad Avocado and walnut salad starter @ £4.95 IMG_2814_Avocado al forno Avocado al forno starter @ £4.95 – baked avocado IMG_6067.jpg Mushroom risotto IMG_0339 Calzone Napoletano – Mozzarella, tomato, tuna, capers, anchovies, olives + ricotta @ £8.95 (superb) IMG_1917_Napoletana_w_mushrooms Napoletana with extra mushrooms @ £8.50 + £1.00 IMG_1915_QuattroFormaggi_w_Pepperoni Quattro Formaggi with extra pepperoni @ £8.50 + £1.00 IMG_0338 Special: fresh monkfish in tomato + sweet pepper sauce with mussels + clams @ £15.95 (as served) IMG_0342 Special: fresh monkfish in tomato sauce – simply stunning, generous portion with lots of meaty fresh monkfish IMG_2816_seabass Special: fresh seabass in tomato sauce made with fresh ginger and chilli, served with potatoes and spinach @ £13.50 IMG_0341 Salad special: warm chicken, dolcelatte, and grapes @ £6.95 IMG_3062_chicken and dolcelatte salad Salad special: warm chicken, dolcelatte, and grapes @ £6.95 IMG_2819_zabaglione Zabaglione @ £4.95 (divine – lovely and strong on the Marsala wine ingredient!)

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Italian
~ Address: 3 Eros House, Brownhill Road, Catford
~ Postcode: SE6 2EF
~ Tel: 020 8461 4606
~ Nearest station: Catford Bridge, Catford, Ladywell
~ Website + menus: La Pizzeria Italiana website
~ Photos on flickr: images of La Pizzeria Italiana food
~ facebook page: La Pizzeria Italiana on fb
~ Location: La Pizzeria Italiana map

RELATED LINKS More Catford dining: ~ Catford Chippy ~ FS2 – Turkish deliveries ~ Mekan – Mediterranean cuisine ~ Pide – Turkish pizza ~ Sapporo Ichiban ~ Turkish Kitchen

La Pizzeria Italiana on Urbanspoon

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