By this point I’ve eaten at Paesano a number of times but all of those visits were in the pre-writing-shite-on-the-Internet days. Now that the WSOTI era has dawned, I realise that it’s been a frankly inexplicable 2 years since I’ve plonked myself down in one of their bum-numbing metal chairs and gorged on one of the best pizzas I’ve eaten anywhere. And I’ve scarfed down a few belters in Italy (although not this one).
Paesano first opened its doors on Miller Street back in 2015. The decision to sell the Italian Kitchen in the Merchant City may have seemed like a risky one for owner Paul Stevenson, but 3 years later it’s paying off in spades. There’s now a Paesano in the West End, another is planned for the former SSE unit at the corner of Hope and Waterloo Streets, and there’s an ambitious expansion plan that could see them rolling out across the country. Not bad going.
There’s an irritating trend among Glasgow’s restaurant group behemoths to cynically plunder the food culture of the world in search of the Next Big Thing. Once identified it’s usually stripped down, homogenised and sold in spades, ably assisted by hysterical cheerleading from the likes of Glasgow Live and the usual blogger suspects. So when a Glasgow restaurateur comes along offering authentic Neapolitan pizza you’d be forgiven a sideways glance. But you’d be wrong. Wonderfully, spectacularly wrong.
Paesano are doing everything right. The imported wood-fired ovens, at £20k a piece, are by the Acunti family of Naples who’ve been building these things since 1892. There’s no finer flour for pizza dough than the Molina Caputo “00” used at Paesano. The tomato sauce is made with Strianese brand San Marzano tomatoes from Campagna. Puglian buratta, Campagnan buffalo mozzarella and fior di latte; premium, 24 month aged prosciutto di Parma and a smorgasbord of other indulgent charcuterie. If this sounds like an advertising blurb that’s because it is. I’m imploring you to go here.
Because when all of this wonderful stuff comes together in the belly of that 500 degree oven, it takes around 90 seconds to produce a head-shakingly incredible pizza. The crust is the star of Paesano’s show. Not the brittle, mouth-stabbing shards of desiccated bread that you find elsewhere. This crust is soft and chewy and flecked with smoky charring that takes the flavour to another level. On top, the cheese bubbles furiously, threatening your face with third degree burns. The sausage meat topping has taken on some char, giving a deep smoky flavour and the vegetables have softened and sunk down into the cheese. My Parma ham topping is added after the oven has done its work, leaving it fragrant, salty and oh so good. The only criticism I have is that oilier meats such as the Italian sausage and (heretical gasp) chorizo can result in a slightly soggy middle.
Our stay was extended at either end, first by some fat green olives to start and with a gluttonous slice of lemon drizzle cake for dessert. Both were fine. Olives are olives and these were tasty and plentiful. The cake was moist with a pronounced citrus zing but by that point we couldn’t really do it justice.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Paesano is that, despite the incredible effort they’ve put into the food, it’s laughably cheap. A margherita will set you back a mere £6 while the more topping-heavy pies are £8. The odd special might even be another 50p on top of that. I don’t think there’s a better way to spend £8 on food anywhere in the city of Glasgow right now, and I include my beloved Noodle in that (although you should definitely still go there).
For some olives, two pizzas, water, a bottle of wine, a dessert and two coffees we were a touch under £40. If you love pizza, drop everything and run there now.
94 Miller St
0141 258 5565
Outstanding pizza dough
Quick and friendly service
None, but if pushed, that slightly soggy middle.