City of Pizza: Some of the Best & Most Unique Pizzas Dongguan Has to Offer

What determines great pizza? The modern concept of pizza is extremely interchangeable as time has allowed for a whole plethora of unique adaptations and fusions to develop and transpire, meaning that there is more choice and variety than there ever was before.


As one of the most popular and recognizable foods in the world, pizza has certainly upped its game over the years. What originated in Italy as a traditional dish soon became known as a common fast food in Europe and North America, before spreading all over the globe to other locations including China.

It’s funny to imagine Dongguan before any of the westernization. Dongguan without any pizza chains or Italian restaurants would certainly be a whole different ball game, and not one I would particularly like to experience. We are extremely lucky to live in a town comprising of so many options for local and western food, and more importantly, for pizza.

There will always be the traditional style Italian pizza, whether Neapolitan, Roman or Pizza al Taglio–not to mention calzones of course. Tradition will be maintained by some and not by others. To many, authenticity and simplicity is of crucial importance; typically, it’s Italian restaurateurs who hold this notion close to their hearts. Of course, there are also chefs and cooks who like to reveal their unique creativity with modern twists and reworkings in the art of pizza, handcrafting and incorporating a sense of themselves within their food. Even nowadays certain restaurants and pizzerias offer sweet or dessert pizzas, including chocolate or fruit, as something a little more innovative.

Whether a romantic candlelit dinner for two, a social gathering with friends after playing sports or simply a hangover “breakfast,” the iconic star of this story is so versatile in the way that it can provide great eating and pleasure in all situations. A fun and sociable food, if done expertly it is also something that most of us consider as one of the best things to indulge in. We all have our own ideas of what makes a fantastic pizza, and that is why comparisons and competition can be difficult in this sense. Personally, I opt for a thin base, not a thick base, but some people like a good fill. Some people prefer plentiful cheese and others like a lighter option. Even your mood and time of day can determine which style you may prefer.

 

AN AWARD-WINNING PIZZA
Pizzeria Calzone

A Tuscan delight, “Bella Donna” earned its maker, Miguel Alves, the Gold Plate Shanghai Award in 2007, for its elegance and execution in terms of taste, presentation and ingredients. Rich in taste, light in texture and fresh with basil, the creation incorporates a dough made from three types of flour, including two imported types combined with a local flour. This produces a fine crust to hold the flavors of the tomato sauce, Italian sausage and the US imported pepperoni. Since its inception in 2003, Pizzeria Calzone has certainly maintained its reputation of quality. With an impeccable delivery service, you don’t even have to leave your home to taste what all the fuss is about!

Bella Donna
Dough: Fine and crispy
Cheese: Mozzarella
Sauce: Tomato
Price: 105 RMB 12-inch
Size: 12-inch / 9-inch

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A TRUE TASTE OF THE SEA
Maccheroni by Salvatore

Watching the dough rise in the branded stone bake oven was simply satisfying, as a masterpiece formed in just two minutes. “Pizza del Pescatore” loaded with large shrimps, small crab, mussels and squid, was certainly a dish to remember. The seafood and tomato sauce were a match made in heaven. Light and airy crusts that had risen from the 500-degree heat allowed for me to appreciate the work with the dough. His passion for authenticity at the forefront, Salvatore Di Lorio commented, “All our pizzas are true Neapolitan pizzas, using imported specialty flour.” Ending the tasting on a high, the chocolate mousse cake left me speechless which does not happen very often.

Pizza Del Pescatore
Dough: Fine and rustic,
fluffy crusts
Cheese: Mozzarella
Sauce: Tomato
Price: 98 RMB
Size: 12-inch

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A FRESH APPEARANCE
Bartolini’s

The scent of roasted garlic filled the room when the pizza box was opened, revealing the 16-inch disc of saucy goodness, or the “DIY Pepperoni”. A handful of homegrown fresh basil on the side delivered fragrant freshness which complemented this pizza perfectly. Indeed, the sauce exceeded expectations, as it was easy to pick out distinct ingredients in the tasting. Speaking to the founder of Bartolini’s, MJ Scheadler, he explained “Working for the best pizza place in Cincinnati Ohio taught me that people want variety.” You can choose two, three or four toppings and even two different kinds of sauces in one pizza from Bartolini’s. Excitingly, the restaurant will open in February. Fortunately, delivery service is already available.

Pepperoni
Dough: Medium crust
Cheese: Mozzarella
Sauce: Tomato
Price: 100 RMB + 20 RMB
delivery fee to Dongcheng /
25 RMB Nancheng
Size: 16-inch

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A SURF’N TURF SURPRISE
Margaritas Chang’An

Margaritas by name, Margaritas by nature. But let me tell you, Margaritas aren’t the only thing that this place executes well. The “Hawaiian” comprised of a fairly bendy crust laden with stringy mozzarella, topped with large shrimps which came as a generous surprise, creating an impact for this modern-adaptation of the classic “Hawaiian” style. Washed down with a frozen Mango Margarita, this really was the real deal. All pizzas are served as 12-inch, feeding one or two people easily. Whilst you wait for your dinner, check out the classic memorabilia dotted around the place or have a game of pool with friends upstairs.

Hawaiian
Dough: Medium-thickness
Cheese: Stringy mozzarella
Sauce: Tomato
Price: 85 RMB
Size: 12-inch pizzas as standard

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A REGAL NOTION
Fifth Avenue

Like a cloud in the mouth, this refreshingly light and aromatic option known as “Truffle Queen” is certainly a treat, displaying fine Parma ham and truffle-infused cream. A growing trend of incorporating truffle oil into Italian dishes (pasta and pizza in particular) has taken a storm over recent times, and many of us know that it instantly provides a distinct flavor and taste, and one that is palatable and elegant. Interestingly, this pizza integrates a fusion-style concept, combined with a dedication to quality ingredients. Faultlessly matched with the house red, this dish can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner either indoors or sat outside in the sunshine.

Truffle Queen
Dough: Thin and rustic
Cheese: Light and creamy Buffalo Mozzarella
Sauce: Truffle cream
Price: 118 RMB
Size: 12-inch as standard

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A LIGHTER OPTION
Buongiorno

This appetizing number known as “Estiva” flaunts a marriage between fine ingredients and light, refreshing flavors. Buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and arugula complement each other well, particularly with a dash of Buongiorno’s chili oil. 150 RMB could be seen as expensive for pizza but for me, the price was justified. Once Executive Chef Massimo Canzian had recommended ‘La Monella 2012’–the perfect accompaniment from the extensive wine list–he revealed, “All of the restaurant’s produce is imported from Italy, except for our vegetables.” With a sister restaurant in Guangzhou, the Italian eatery presents authenticity as you step inside, with its gigantic feature stone bake oven.

Estiva
Dough: Thin and rustic,
crispy edges
Cheese: Buffalo mozzarella
Sauce: No added sauce
Price: 150 RMB
Size: 13-inch as standard

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A WHOLE LOT OF CHEESE
Papa John’s

Famous for its pizzas, American restaurant franchise company Papa John’s Pizza came to Dongguan a while ago. Looking at the menu showed an assortment, including customizations for stuffed crusts, thin and thick bases, and even artisan styles. We’re recommending “Super Papa’s,” with its irresistible cheese-stuffed crust, ready for dipping in the side serving of garlic sauce once you’ve finished eating the center, covered with ham, pepperoni, Italian sausage, onions, black olives and green peppers. This pizza was admittedly a little pricey, however between two people sharing, it isn’t so bad. A meat-lover’s dream with cheese and more cheese. Bliss for many!

Super Papa’s
Dough: Thick
Cheese: Extra cheesy crusts
Sauce: Papa John’s classic
tomato
Price: 126 RMB 12-inch
Size: 12-inch / 9-inch

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A SPICY LITTLE NUMBER
Gecko Chang’An

Selected from the concise Gecko Pizza menu that has been around since 2005, the “El Gecko” was served to us as a 12-inch plate topped with spicy Mexican ground beef and chicken, onion, tomato and jalapeños. Personally, I enjoy a pizza studded with those delightful green gems known as jalapeños, so naturally, I was instantly happy. Served with Tabasco sauce and a parmesan cheese shaker, this spicy little number has just the right amount of heat to warm up your taste buds. A tasty pizza clubbed together with a beer or cocktail in this swanky low-lit diner is perfect for a get-together with friends.

El Gecko
Dough: Thin and crispy
Cheese: Cheesy
Sauce: Tomato base
Price: 80 RMB 12-inch
Size: King / 14-inch / 12-inch / 10-inch / 8-inch

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A HIDDEN GEN
Hollywood Baby Too

Now we have all traipsed over to Hollywood Baby Too after a few drinks at other bars, but did you know this place has had pizza on its menu for 11 years? Similarly, the chef that whipped up the classic “Pepperoni” has impressively been with the business for 10 years. Loaded with pepperoni slices, the 12-inch dish displayed its cheesiness when I pulled the first slice away and the strings were going strong. The most notable thing about this pizza for me personally however, was the creative addition of oregano cooked through the dough. For those late drinkers, pizza is available at HBT until 2 am.

Pepperoni Pizza
Dough: Thin and herby
Cheese: Extra stringy
Sauce: Tomato base
Price: 90 RMB 13-inch
Size: 13-inch / 12-inch

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A PLATTER THAT MATTERS
Liberty

This beast will certainly make both your eyes and belly pop! Baked in gigantic ovens, Liberty has become famous for its “22-inch pies” as restaurant manager, Kendall O’Brien, refers to her gut-busting beauties. DIY pizza night takes place every Thursday from 5 pm, allowing you to choose your favorite toppings. Apparently, the most popular pizza is the classic “DIY Pepperoni” and this is indeed the one we tasted. Lashings of sauce and cheese meant for an indulgent dinner that evening. The great thing about this colossal pizza is that it acts as a catalyst for socializing, encouraging people to come together to share food, fun and photos.

Pepperoni
Dough: Thin and floppy
Cheese: Lots of!
Sauce: Tomato base
Price: 150 RMB
Size: 22-inch / individual slices also available in three styles 25 RMB

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AN AUTHENTIC AUSSIE STYLE
Mix π

A proper Aussie style deep pan pizza is what’s on offer here at Mix π. Build your own pizza on Sundays and Mondays means any pizza including four toppings for a bargain of 70 RMB. The “Buffalo Chicken” style brought a change from the usual tomato sauce base, and wasn’t overly cheesy. Jalapeños, red onions and red bell peppers adorned this deep dish, with crusts ideal for dipping into the homemade Ranch sauce that was served beside a plate of irresistible jalapeño poppers. Conveniently, Mix π also recently became available on Meituan for delivery, meaning you can have your favorite deep dish delivered to your door!

Buffalo Chicken
Dough: Deep pan, thick with a crunch
Cheese: Cheesy
Sauce: Buffalo sauce base
Price: 70 RMB
Size: 12-inch as standard

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A BASE CANVAS
Buonasera

A colorful picture before me, the “Parma” insisted on layers of arugula, intermingling with the combination of cheeses and pieces of Parma ham, all above a tasty thin base crust, which is the standard style available at Buonasera. Arugula certainly is an ideal accompaniment to Parma ham, balancing the saltiness with fresh, peppery notes. Interestingly, according to staff members, customers have often requested buying the empty pizza bases. Although the thin base is the only choice for all pizzas at Buonasera, I understand the idea of maintaining simplicity and perfection by doing things this way.

Parma
Dough: Thin base
Cheese: Mozzarella
and Parmesan
Sauce: Tomato
Price: 88 RMB 12-inch
Size: 12-inch / 10-inch

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