Top that! Warsaw pizzeria named in European top fifty
A Warsaw restaurant is celebrating after being named as one of the best pizzerias in the whole of Europe.
Honoured by the prestigious Top 50 portal, Ciao a Tutti were ranked 30th in Europe after being described by the Italian-run guide as a “fresh and stimulating” business venture.
“Everything is Neapolitan in style,” says their entry, “from the 00 flour and a direct dough method through to the mozzarella and fior di latte cheeses as well as, of course, the DOP certified San Marzano tomatoes.
“The pizzas,” they continue, “vary from the classics to those with different combinations, to those reminiscent of other areas of Italy, such as the pizza Carbonara. The final product, however, is similar to a contemporary pizza in style; it has a pronounced crust rather than the traditional, smaller one.”
For co-founder Michał Wesołowski news of his restaurant’s inclusion has come as a bombshell: “we only found out via Facebook,” he tells TFN, “and while we’re very proud we’re also totally surprised!”
For Wesołowski, the news has vindicated his bold decision to open a restaurant in 2012 alongside his future wife, Joanna Księżopolska.
“When we opened we had six tables,” he remembers. “It was me doing the cooking and Joanna acting as the front-of-house.”
Though just 23-years-old at the time, Wesołowski, a former photography student, quickly learned the ropes of the industry.
“I was at that age when you just think you have nothing to lose,” he says. “I’ve loved pizza all my life so simply figured why not give this a try.”
The restaurant made an instant impact, largely thanks to its pioneering dedication to Neapolitan-style pizza.
“In some ways,” says Wesołowski, “I think you could say we taught the public what pizza should really be about.”
Sourcing key items from Italy, and complimenting those imports with seasonal, local produce, Wesołowski credits much of the restaurant’s success to this commitment to finding the best ingredients.
“From the very first day it was always about the product,” he says. “Things like money and business plans always came second.”
This philosophy has served them well, so much so that two other restaurants have been added, as well as two business partners, Mikołaj and Hanna Romanowicz.
Enjoying a cult following and a staunchly loyal fanbase, the Ciao a Tutti empire has become legendary in the capital with their flagship restaurant a permanent entry in any rundowns of Warsaw’s best pizzerias.
“There is no real secret to the perfect pizza,” says Wesołowski, “after all, you’ll find some great tutorials just by searching about on YouTube. But what is crucial are the ingredients. Moreover, you need to be consistent. You need to be make every pizza great.”
For many, a trip to Ciao e Tutti has become a travel portal to Italy. Painstakingly authentic, it’s a place that immediately gratifies with its positive mood and Italian flavours. “And of course,” laughs Wesołowski, “there’s no pineapple. Pineapple on pizza is a crime.”
Learning his art at the Accademia Nazionale Pizza DOC just outside of Napoli, Wesołowski’s efforts have been richly rewarded by Ciao e Tutti’s entry into the Top 50.
Updated each year, the Top 50 “is inspired by the concept of excellence in the broadest sense”, with the pizzerias judged on a variety of factors including the pizza, service, ambiance, waiting times and beverages.
Excluding Italian pizzerias, the European rankings were topped by Peppe Pizzeria in France. Via Toledo Enopizzeria in Vienna came second and Fratelli Figurato in Madrid third.