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Thursday, July 02, 2009

La Disfida Pizzeria, Haberfield, Sydney

There's only one thing you come to La Disfida for, and that's the pizza.

We're talking thin crust pizzas dressed with only a smattering of topping, and baked in a traditional wood-fired oven.

A firm favourite with locals, La Disfida is the family-run pizzeria well-suited for families as well as BYO wine-toting couples. Timber floorboards and bare wooden tables cluster around the open-style kitchen, pizzas shovelled in and out the fiery furnace in rapid succession.

Bocconcini speck $10.00

The only non-pizza items on the menu--a laminated and concise one-pager--appear in the handful of stuzzichini, or appetisers, and even then, garlic pizza is there for the taking.

At my behest, we orderthe bocconcini speck, a dish I'd enjoyed so much on my last visit over four years ago, but still crystal clear in my gustatory memory.

Oh it's every bit as good as I remembered. The oval dish holds a molten lake of mozzarella cheese, four scrolls of speck sail across the top, a series of toothpicks acting as masts, the speck slightly charred from the oven.

The bocconcini is relentlessly stretchy, a non-stop trail of cheese determinedly following each attempt at separation. We're forced to play with our food, in a moment that brings the child out in each of us.

Bruschetta $12.00

Bruschetta is all the salad we require tonight. Thick rustic slices of toasted ciabatta bread are the perfect vehicle for the dice of juicy red tomatoes dressed simply with olive oil and finely diced basil leaves.


Pizza diavola $22.00
Tomato, mozzarella, olives, hot salame, anchovies and chilli

The pizza diavola has more heat than I'd expected, discs of hot salami combining with the liberal use of chilli powder for a slow crescendo of chilli that happily smoulders on the tongue. Olives and anchovy add a briney salty flavour.

Pizza Santa Maria $22.00
Tomato, mussels, garlic, octopus, parsley, olive oil

The arrival of the Santa Maria chases away any nightmare encounters of seafood pizzas containing bland and watery marinara mixes. This version is adorned simply with a tangle of octopus and six mussels fanning out from the middle like flower petals.

Freshly cooked mussel

The marinated octopus would bring joy to any salad. It's tender and soft and slightly vinegared. The mussels are freshly cooked and opened, the creamy flesh swaddled in its natural juices.

The crust

And one can't have pizza without checking the base. It's reassuringly crisp and slightly blistered.

Roasted chestnuts

The waitress stops by with a surprise complimentary serve of roasted chestnuts fresh from the oven. Hot and toasted, the skins slip off easily. It's a lovely gesture of goodwill and the perfect homestyled end to our meal.

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La Disfida on Urbanspoon

La Disfida Pizzeria
109 Ramsay Street, Haberfield, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9798 8299

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 6pm - 10.30pm

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15 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/02/2009 02:34:00 am


  • At 7/02/2009 7:19 am, Anonymous Simon said…

    Never seen the molten goodness before. Will have to try it out the next time I'm there. Looks so good!

    Love the pizza there too. It's been ages since I've last been there. Should go back.

  • At 7/02/2009 7:52 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    I only just had chestnuts for the first time this year. I love them so much. Seeing as eating out is too expensive for me at this stage, homemade pizza sounds great for next weeks menu. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  • At 7/02/2009 8:49 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Loving the look of that super thin crust. I'm willing to travel for a really good pizza! Ooh I can see why you would remember that bocconcini speck well; you can't go wrong with a ton of gooey cheese! And the added bonus of getting to play with your food, haha :)

  • At 7/02/2009 8:49 am, Blogger Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    Oh, I went here with my friend's family one time. It was so amazing, I keep meaning to go back! I love the thin and crispy base! You're photos are making me drool.... must find some dining companions to go with me soon :)

  • At 7/02/2009 1:43 pm, Anonymous noodleboy said…

    Yum. Despite their rep for surly service they do good pizzas, I'd have to agree. I prefer them to Napoli in Bocca around the corner.

    Still #1 pizzeria for me though is Rosso Pomodoro, Balmain. The potato and salsiccia pizza is the business!!!

  • At 7/02/2009 3:51 pm, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    looks like it's still a good place for pizza. it's been years since i've been there. have you tried the more traditional Naples style pizzas at Lucio yet? http://simonfoodfavourites.blogspot.com/2009/06/lucio-pizzeria-darlinghurst-18-june.html

  • At 7/02/2009 3:58 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    That bocconcini sounds brilliant! It's great when things are as good as you remember.

  • At 7/02/2009 10:15 pm, Anonymous Anita said…

    I love pizza - it's so fantastic. How nice you got to have some hot fresh chestnuts. I burnt my ones and haven't tried good ones yet :(

  • At 7/03/2009 12:01 am, Blogger lifeis2munch said…

    yum!! pizza, so simple but to find a good pizza is not that easy...

    the thin crust with muscles looks so good!!

  • At 7/03/2009 2:18 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Simon - How could you miss the bocconcini speck? I think it's a must-do. Love the fact that parking is so easy in Haberfield too.

    Hi Tara - Chestnuts are great aren't they? I've yet to do them at home though :) And homemade pizza is always good. So much more satisfying too!

    Hi Stephcookie - Gooey cheese + playing with food = good. And don't forget the speck! Yum!

    Hi Betty - Surely no shortage of companions in search of good pizza? lol. The thin and crispy base is always good too.

    Hi noodleboy - It's funny how they have a rep for surly service. I must have always been lucky or perhaps, as a regular at Asian restaurants, I have much lower standards! lol!

    Haven't tried Rosso Pomodoro although I've heard good things. Thanks for the reminder to check it out!

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - Haven't been to Lucio's yet either. Oh my, so many new pizza places to try!

    Hi Arwen - It's such a great dish, and so easy too. I really must remember to do it at home for my next dinner party! Ramekins for everybody!

    Hi Anita - Oh no, so sorry to hear you burnt your chestnuts! I keep meaning to do my own at home. They are worth pursuing as they're so deliciously creamy fresh from the oven.

    Hi Globe Trotting Foodie - The mussels were so good. I was so impressed they were cooked fresh. They had so much flavour the mussels really did have muscles :)

  • At 7/03/2009 3:31 pm, Blogger Forager said…

    Ah I love the pizza at La Disfida! So good. And the roasted chestnuts! Yum! what a bonus! There is actually another pizzeria around the corner which we went to when La Disfida was too busy - and we really rate it. Can't remember the name right now but I'll have to take some photos the next time we're there.

  • At 7/06/2009 9:37 am, Blogger kelpenhagen said…

    happy to hear it's still good. Had read some shocking reviews a few months ago, and decided not to go back, but will give it another try...(have been recently seduced by Rosso Pomodoro in Balmain...)

  • At 7/08/2009 8:28 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Forager - The chestnuts were a lovely touch and re: the other pizza place, do you mean Napoli in Boca?

    Hi Kelly - Have heard a few people mention the pizzas at Rosso Pomodoro - will have to check it out sometime!

  • At 11/07/2009 7:15 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My partner and I had dinner at La Disfida last night and were disappointed. The pizza was oily which made the crust soggy and there was hardly any topping on it; about 1/2 diced tomato and a few pinenuts. We had the affogato for dessert and a very poor quality ice cream was used which completely ruined the whole taste and for $12 each is was more than disappointing. This is one restaurant that I will not be returning to or recommending to my friends.

  • At 11/08/2009 11:47 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - Sorry to hear about your disappointing experience. We haven't had problems with soggy bases before. Shame about the affogato too. Nothing sadder than poor ice cream!


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