La Pinsa – A ‘Real Deal’ Italian Restaurant in Paddington

Besides the fact I love eating out at different restaurants around the city, I’m on a quest to track down the best pizzas in Brisbane. When I discovered there’s an Italian Restaurant in Paddington that prides itself on ‘real deal’ Italian pizzas, I was in. Particularly as it’s around the corner from my house and some friends were keen for a mid-week Italian adventure.

La Pinsa on a Wednesday night

Nikki and I have been to La Pinsa before, but it was about six years ago when they first opened. I can’t remember the details of our experience, except we enjoyed it, so I was keen to have a closer pizza inspection tonight. We arrived at La Pinsa on a Wednesday night at 7:30pm. It was a quiet evening, although there were a couple of tables enjoying a night out when we arrived.

The Atmosphere

We decided to sit outside as La Pinsa has alfresco sidewalk seating and it was a cool, pleasant night as it was nearly autumn. La Pinsa is in a pretty part of Paddington – one of Brisbane’s nicest suburbs – and the fact that it’s not on a main road gives it a nice, local feel.

Bright, cosy, Italian vibe

The inside is painted yellow and there are pictures of Italy on the walls and baskets and bottles of wine lying about too. The place feels like I imagine many Italian restaurants would – homely, inviting and cosy. Outside, there was greenery draped about the large window of this little Italian restaurant in Paddington. There were even bowls of water for dogs passing by, even though they’re not allowed at the restaurant.

We took a seat on the backstreet sidewalk and decided on a bottle of wine to share between the three of us, while our teens were happy with just water.

Our posse anticipating our little Italian adventure

The Drinks

I was impressed that the majority of the wine on the menu was from Italy, and as we were still in the clutches of a savage Brisbane summer, we went with a chilled pinot grigio from a small town near Vincenza in Northern Italy. I’ve been getting into the Pinot Grigios this summer and this one – the Borgo Matilda Pinot Grigio – was a pleasant drop indeed. Light, dry, yet smooth, with a citrus flavour.

Andrea in action

There’s probably a good dozen bottles of Italian wine to pair with your dinner here, along with two types of Italian beer, an Italian apple cider and about half a dozen cocktails and spirit selections on the menu. There’s also soft drink, ginger beer, lemon, lime and bitters, and San Pellegrino for the non-drinkers.

The Food at this Italian Restaurant in Paddington

There was no indecision about what I was ordering. I came here to review the pizza as I’m scouting for the best pizza in Brisbane. As La Pinsa touts itself as an ‘authentic’ Italian pizza restaurant, I was certainly keen to give it a try! The pizza came in two sections – the pizza rosa – which comes with tomato sauce; and the pizza blanca – which comes without tomato sauce.

My Giardiniera

Feeling more like the traditional option tonight, I went with a pizza rosa Giardiniera – which came with mozzarella, mushroom, olives and roasted pumpkin. A fairly simple combination, which I thought would allow me to get a good taste of the base and quality of the pizza. Well, I’ll say right up that I certainly wasn’t disappointed. La Pinsa really is, as their website will tell you, the ‘real deal’.

Our meals – tasted as good as they looked

The base was light and crunchy, yet not too floppy in the middle, which I don’t like in a pizza and which I’ve experienced with many ‘good’ pizzas. The toppings were also nicely cooked and spread out, with the result being a savoury, crunchy experience with subtle, appetising flavours that went well together.

Olin enjoying his margherita

Part owner Andrea was kind enough to shed a little light on the family recipe. ‘La Pinsa’, she told me, is made from a blend of organic wheat, soy and rice flours. ‘Pinsa’ comes from the Latin word ‘Pinsere’, which means ‘to push the dough by hand’.  

Ruben’s Bombetta – mozzarella, ham, Soppressa salami, pork sausage & pancetta

It’s a traditional, Roman-style pizza and once the dough is needed, Andrea tells me La Pinsa leaves the dough to prove for 36 hours, as opposed to the common 24 (or often less). The pizza is then baked in an imported electric Moretti Forni oven. I’ve seen some mixed reviews of this little Italian restaurant in Paddington, but I’m here to tell you it’s fantastic and you should pay it a visit!

My Giardiniera and Nikki’s gluten-free gnocchi Gamberi

As you can see from the pics, our party ordered two more pizzas (eaten by our teens) and two bowls of pasta for the ladies. My partner Nikki ordered the Gamberi, which typically comes with tagliatelle, but which she had with gluten-free gnocchi for an extra $5. The Gamberi came with Napoli sauce, prawns, anchovies, chili and parsley. Our friend Paula had the Norcina – which was tagliatelle with cream, mushrooms, pork sausage, truffle and parmesan.

Paula’s Norcina

The ladies gave sincere ‘delicious’ remarks when I asked them about their meals, and the boys grunted ‘good’, through mouthfuls (which really does mean it’s good). This little Italian restaurant in Paddington was a winner for us. The only negative was that Nikki thought her gluten-free meal was a tad overpriced at $34. Andrea also told me all pasta is made onsite, except the gluten-free gnocchi, which is bought. She hinted that import prices are steep at present.

The Cuore Di Ciccolato

We were all stuffed after our meals, but of course, the growing boys wanted dessert and ordered a Cuore Di Ciccolato each – which is a gluten-free chocolate lava cake served with whipped cream. When I asked how their dessert was, I received a few more grunts of ‘good’ through mouthfuls of food.

The Service

I can say from experience that Andrea and her mother Paola provided excellent, warm service and made us feel right at home. When we were deciding between a couple of bottles of wine, Andrea poured two small glasses each for the three of us, which I thought was great service and it made our purchase easy. I also thought Andrea’s thick Italian accent was a welcome sound too.

Our little extra dessert at the end

Admittedly it was a quiet night, but our food came out all at once and Paola even brought out a little extra dessert for us at the end. We also got into quite a conversation with Andrea and Paola about the business, Italy, Brisbane, different parts of Australia and the current state of the economy (which of course is hurting small business owners a little).

In all, they really made us feel right at home.  

The La Pinsa Story

If you’ve missed the part where I talk about the origin of ‘La Pinsa’, the traditional Roman pizzas, then skip back up to the food section. The food has certainly given this little Italian restaurant in Paddington a name for itself.

Andrea inside La Pinsa

La Pinsa was conceived by David Ruggiero, who also started Colle Rosso Ristorante Italiano in Red Hill. I’ve eaten the pizza there too, as they make the pizzas for Red Hill Cinemas. I recommend it for another great pizza to try in Brisbane.

Paola and Andrea have owned La Pinsa for the past four years, and as I ate here when it first opened, I think I enjoyed it even more this time around. However, Andrea told me that sadly Paola is getting a bit tired and they’re thinking of selling up the business. So make sure you get here before it disappears!

My Thoughts Overall

We really liked La Pinsa – as the food, service and ambience here are a total winner. The pizza really is the ‘real deal’, the service is warm and friendly (they go that extra yard) and we loved the suburban Paddington vibe that makes you feel like you’re out and about, but in a quieter, cosy part of the city. It’s a pretty part of Brisbane and I recommend you get on down to this little family Italian restaurant in Paddington before it disappears. There’s not too many like it.

It certainly makes my list (coming soon) of best pizzas in Brisbane.

A Few Fast Facts

  • La Pinsa is located on the corner of Primrose Terrace and Kenney Terrace in Paddington.
  • The pizzas and pastas are all made on-site, except for the gluten-free gnocchi.
  • La Pinsa uses a special recipe that comes from traditional Italian pizzas in Rome.
  • La Pinsa has regular specials on. Enquire when you’re there.
  • The restaurant seats 65 people max. Andrea says it can get pretty noisy inside (fun if you’re in the right mood. Or just book an outside table!).
  • La Pinsa caters for gluten-free Italian food lovers.
  • Check out La Pinsa’s website for more info.

2 thoughts on “La Pinsa – A ‘Real Deal’ Italian Restaurant in Paddington”

  1. hi Andy just to be clear David is a former owner. my mother and I are the only owner now and from the past 4 years


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