It’s official – the ‘best pizza in Oceania’ is coming to Adelaide.
Italian restaurant 400 Gradi made its mark in Melbourne when chef and owner Johnny Di Francesco was named World Pizza Champion for his margherita pizza in Italy back in 2004 – the first Aussie ever to do so.
Then just last year, the restaurant made international headlines again, named ‘Best Pizza in the Oceania region’ at the Top 50 Pizza Gala in Naples.
And now Johnny is bringing his authentic Neapolitan menu to South Australia.
He first started working in a pizzeria as a teenager, doing odd jobs, just so he could save up for a pair of sneakers.
“What started out as a casual after-school job turned into a lifelong passion,” says Johnny.
“I dedicated my career to Italian cooking, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I spent time in Italy learning traditional Neapolitan techniques before returning to Melbourne and opening my first restaurant – 400 Gradi Brunswick.”
It’s been 11 years since the opening of that first restaurant, and there are now 400 Gradi restaurants across Melbourne, plus Zero Gradi a gelato store next to the original location, and international stores in the works.
This month they’re expanding with their first Australian store outside Melbourne, opening a restaurant on Adelaide foodie strip, The Parade in Norwood.
“With a buzzing food and of course wine scene, Adelaide was the natural next step for the Gradi group,” says Johnny.
“Norwood, known for its lively dining and entertainment scene was the ideal location to position 400 Gradi Adelaide. This opening has been planned for some time now, and we can’t wait to open up the oven doors.”
So, about that pizza. Their name refers to the high temperature that the thin-based traditional Neapolitan pizza is cooked in the wood-fired oven – 400 degrees and for only 90 seconds – with toppings that replicate the authentic flavours of Italy.
They’re all about tradition, adhering to the strict guidelines of Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana – the world authority on traditional Neapolitan pizza – for each and every pie.
Also on the menu, there are pastas – all made in house – antipasti, risottos, meats, seafoods, salads and Italian desserts.
And as a nod to their new home, the Adelaide 400 Gradi will have South Australian wines on the list alongside Italian drops, plus Pirate Life brews alongside Peronis.
The space itself, which seats 130, is designed with the family in mind and oozes warm, Italian hospitality.
“True Italian dining is all about sharing the experience with family and friends, so the fitout of 400 Gradi Adelaide has been designed with this in mind. It’s a little different to our existing Gradi restaurants, but it’s all part of a fresh direction,” he says.
There’s also a spacious outdoor dining space, ideal for a pizza and a pint on these warm summer days.
400 Gradi Adelaide will open on Monday January 21. It’s at 121 The Parade Norwood. Open seven days from noon-late. For more info and bookings, click here.
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