The latest venture in my quest for London’s top pizza led me to Streatham’s Bravi Ragazzi, a neighbourhood-friendly restaurant firing out traditional Neapolitan pizzas. The natural competitor to this candidate in the contest would undoubtedly be Franco Manca. Both pizzerias serve sourdough bases, wood-fired in the flaming oven for a matter of minutes. Yet whilst Franco Manca has expanded well beyond its Brixton roots and has unfortunately become something of a “chain”, Bravi Regazzi is, at heart, an independent and local eatery. No doubt Franco Manca will soon set its sights on the gentrifying Streatham.
On the busy Friday evening when my family and I visited, we were lucky enough to secure a table in minutes, despite expecting a queue of at least 15 minutes due to its no-booking policy. The restaurant seats only about twenty and quickly filled up with a mixture of couples on dates, friends catching-up and families enjoying an end-of-the-week treat. The authentically Italian atmosphere, combined with the relaxed décor reminded me of Ealing’s Santa Maria, probably my favourite pizzeria. The tables were decorated with an eclectic range of newspaper cuttings. Yet the service at Bravi Ragazzi was more friendly and warmer than in Ealing.
Bravi Ragazzi offers a broad selection of pizzas. To start, we shared the Foccacia (£3.50), a garlicy sourdough bread served with olives and seasoned with oregano. The garlicly oil and charcoal base made for a delicious appetiser and was akin to a pizza bianca. As is tradition, my companions and I shared three different pizzas for the mains: the Vegetarian (£9) with mozzarella, sweet peppers, mushroom, aubergines, courgettes, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil; a custom made Paesana (£9.45) with mozzarella, ricotta cheese, and mushrooms; and my favourite, the classic and simple Bufalina (£10.50) with tomato, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil and extra virgin olive. The tomato sauce on the Bufalina was wonderfully sweet and the cheeses on all the pizzas were creamy, the mozzarella oozing due to the short cooking time of these pizzas. And it’s not just the pizzas that seem to be their specialty. A diner on the table adjacent to us was tucking into their highly appealing Parmigiana (£5).
Unlike Franco Manca’s pizzas, these sourdough bases felt considerably lighter. We happily shared a couple of deserts to cleanse the palette – the Tiramisu (£3.75) and their signature Caprese (£3.75). This neapolitan almond chocolate cake was a triumph: the marriage of rich dark chocolate and crunchy almonds lent an intensely nutty flavour. The tiramisu, meanwhile, was light and perfectly strong in coffee flavour.
Bravi Regazzi’s delicious pizzas and its convenient South London location will certainly bring me back to Streatham again.
Bravi Ragazzi, 2a Sunnyhill Road, SW16 2UH