The unpretentious and relaxed atmosphere of Pizza Mari is mirrored in the following words from its owner, Maria: “If you like the place, then come, if you don’t like it, don’t come.”
But in our not so humble opinion, there is nothing not to like about this Napoletana style pizza bar, but plenty to love about it. It oozes cool vibes, yet has all the awkward, effortless loveable charm of an Italian Oma who hasn’t cut her toenails since 1953, and slaps you on the back of the head as she hands you a fat piece of lasagna and yells, “MANGIA!”
Maria is the first restaurant owner I’ve spoken to that hasn’t tried to sell their restaurant to me. Instead, she gives it to me straight:
“Pizza is a fast food. In Vienna, you have all these fancy-schmancy Italian restaurants with white table clothes and candles and stuff – Pizza Mari is all about the product.”
“And that’s what people should come here for.”
After studying in the birthplace of Naples, Maria brought a whole lot of the place back with her – from the good-humored chefs shooting pizzas into the stone oven one after the other, to the clock above the bar, the plastic handled cutlery, and the salt shakers. It’s honestly Italy, without the cliché kitsch.
The retro-styled pizzeria is brightly lit like a petrol station, loud like an Italian in front of a football match, and the pizzas are some of the best in the city.
They’re made in the typical Neapolitan style (doughy crust, thin center) which makes you want to fold it, and fit as much into your mouth as possible before dripping the tomato sauce on your pants. But it dosen’t matter here anyway. Half of the people walk out with tomato sauce stains on their pants.
While we’re stuffing our face with pizza, a little girl whizzes past our table on her scooter – once again, this place is relaxed.
The waiting staff is friendly, and according to Maria, selected upon their ability and want to ‘have a good conversation’.
The laminated menu is pizza-only, with a selection with either a red or white base – from the traditional Margherita that is eaten from paper on the streets of Naples, to the funky in-house creations like the Patate (a white, cheese based pizza with rosemary, and potatoes on top) – like a lot of the Italian kitchen, simplicity is the secret recipe … and good cheese.
Be sure not to skip the mandatory espresso (complete with a cute little glass of soda water and chocolate covered peanut – the small details, people!), a piece of tiramisù or the Torta Caprese, and the intense and heated discussion on the corrupt government, football, the latest celebrity scandal and who makes the best lasagna in the family.
Now, ignore the rest of this review as it’s unnecessary and too wordy to effectively describe Pizza Mari. The following 7 words are enough: