21.03.2019

Leonardo’s Pizza Palace has to be your first Italian food venture for 2019

By Georgia Spanos

The pizza is oh so cheesy; but oh so good.

Welcome Beat readers, to a brand new you, erm I mean year. How are your New Year’s resolutions panning out? I don’t doubt plenty of them feature promises of less drinking, burgers, and bad decisions. I’m all for the above, although I don’t think you should ever skimp on quality – especially when talking food.

For instance, if you happen to walk past a new Carlton eatery where pizza is flying out of the kitchen faster than Nick Cave tickets, then don’t torture yourself. Go ahead, immerse yourself in the hyped-up, cheesy joy that’s unfurling before you. You won’t regret it.

As you might suspect, I’m alluding to a particular eatery that’s caught my attention lately: Leonardo’s Pizza Palace. As the venue has garnered itself so much attention of late, it’s turned into the kind of place where you might accidentally bump into everyone that you don’t want to see. But, your face could be so deep into Leonardo’s gigantic jalapeño pizza, that you aren’t really bothered by your ex-boyfriend sitting at the bar on a date.

When dining here recently in a clan of four, our first thought was that a pizza each would suffice. That was before we saw the table next to us receive their order: one gigantic pizza fit to feed a festival. When scanning the menu, and going off the casual ‘70s feel that encompasses the establishment, instantly I gathered what type of Italian we were about to devour. Leonardo’s is more so American-Italian rather than traditional Italian (like their neighbour Mr Pietro across the road). If you can’t gauge the cuisine I’m referring to, the idea of serving ranch dressing to dip your pizza crusts into might help you understand. There’s certainly a space for this type of Italian cuisine in Melbourne, and Leonardo’s Pizza Palace hit the craving well.

The ham and pineapple pizza is certainly a guilty pleasure. Another star order would be the delight featuring tomato, anchovies, roast peppers, house cheese blend, caper and olives. A salty affair for sure, but very tasty. The pork and fennel sausage variety uses less ingredients compared to the rest of the menu’s offerings, yet its power outlaws all. An obscure yet rather appetising pizza I noticed included Chinese bolognese, white sauce, fior di latte and scallions – I wouldn’t tell Nonna about this one, even though it was delicious. Pizzas aside, there are plenty of other delights to dig into including spaghetti bolognese, porchetta with gremolata, red sauce rigatoni and antipasti classics laid on crusty breads. Truly, Leonardo’s is another addictive addition to the North, where music, pizzas, and people spotting come together in one big delicious Melbourne affair.