“You can go anywhere you want for your birthday meal with me – you choose, I don’t mind!”
My son, not having the knowledge of what’s hip, hot and happening in Glasgow’s foodie scene (he’s a ‘go to Five Guys with his five guys kinda guy’ and actually probably takes more trips to Glasgow with his mates than I do these days…) replied, ‘Something pizza-ish’. Which would probably narrow it down to…pizza.
I follow loads and loads of foodie bloggers so my thumb regularly scrolls through images of places I would love to try but never do because I don’t socialise as much as I probably should (I have defo been all work and no play of late) and I make a conscious decision to try to eat out as much as I can with my son and we don’t always find a place that ticks all of our boxes, so mostly, we just don’t!
Paesano Pizza opened in Miller Street in 2015 (why did it take me two years to get along there?) and has become the ‘go to’ in Glasgow for the best pizza in town. To say “There’s nothing worse than a rubbish pizza” would be wrong, obviously there are far things in life that are miles worse than a rubbish pizza but ever since I left London (14 years ago) and came back home, I have lurched from disappointing pizza to disappointing pizza. It’s not the worst part of my rollercoaster journey since I left London but it’s definitely been consistently bad and I’ve never found anywhere in Scotland that lived up to the pizza experiences I enjoyed during my pre-child, girl about town days spent enjoying life in SW11’s Northcote Road, sometimes at Osteria Antica Bologna but mainly at Buonasera. That…is where I have had the best pizza of my life, on a weekly basis (because you literally burn off everything when you’re running all over London working for a TV company and can pretty much eat and drink whatever you want – not so much nowadays unfort…).
Until my visit to Paesano that is, which hit the Buonasera mark.
Pizza – you and me (after that…) – I didn’t think we’d ever get there…
Paesano don’t do reservations, which I always feel is a bold show of confidence. It’s pretty much saying “We’re busy all the time because our food is so excellent, so you might have to wait a bit for a table”. So that’s cool – we’ll head along and wait for a table but lucky us, we don’t have to wait, because we’re having an ‘early tea’, so we cruise in, pop ourselves down and the power of magic brings us a waiter within about 20 seconds.
We are hungry (and a little thirsty – clothes shopping with a teenager requires a post-shopping, post “Fine – I think it looks awful but it’s your birthday money…” glass of vino) and instantly presented with the menu which has everything on it I’d ever like to eat, possibly all at the one time but of course I must choose, and we both go for the Proscuitto Cotto (Italian cooked ham) with Portobello mushrooms, tomato sugo, mozzarella and eevo.
While we’re waiting for the pizza I have a wander round the restaurant to take some pics and get a feel for the vibe. It’s a lively, busy, bustling, noisy but not too noisy place and people watching is an added extra of the whole experience.
I spot five pizza chefs giving it some, turning (low gluten) sourdough into pizzas in less than five minutes (the £20,000 ovens follow a 400 year old design, are heated to 500 degrees C and bake pizza in less than a minute – actual wow…).
Pizza magic is happening right in front of my eyes. The restaurant has rustic charm (stack of Caputo flour bags, logs, oven flames, pizza, passion and authentic Italian voices around me) in what feels like an entirely urban, slightly factory-esque setting (metal pipes, wooden floors, little bit of starkness) and a bit of Hollywood dressing room thrown in with the ‘name in lights’.
I head back to our table and tad-dah, our pizza has arrived. This is traditional Napoletana pizza, so it’s crisp, sweet, doughy, chewy but well fired on the outside and deliciously floppy on the inside. It’s pizza that’s too good not to pick up, despite the high risk of Strianese San Marzano tomato sugo on clothing (who cares…he has new “awful” clothes!).
It’s absolutely deliciously unforgettable pizza, and I kind of like it even more because it’s served in a place where it’s all about the pizza. There’s something really glorious about going out for the best ‘whatever’ – burger, hot dog, fish and chips, pasta, oysters, seafood, steak…) and focussing on that, rather than the “How is work?’ How are the family?” dining pleasantries.
It’s a quick stop, top notch, fuel up rather than a long lingering dining experience and that suits me right down to the ground on most occasions, mostly when eating with a food focused teenager.
Paesano Pizza is also incredibly easy on the wallet – pizzas are between £5 – £8, a pain free treat and exceptional value for money.
It’s the best pizza joint in town (and Scotland) in my experience. Willing to be persuaded otherwise, but happy to have reached the dizzy heights of pizza perfection after a 15 year hiatus.
Go. Try. Enjoy. Go back again. Tell your friends (do not let them suffer like I did…).
There’s something awesomely beautiful about simple things done very, very well. It’s a skill for sure and Paesono Pizza are all over it.
94 Miller Street, Glasgow
471 Great Western Road, Glasgow