Plenty of restaurants try to recreate a summer in Portofino or a night in Mexico, but only a few manage to actually pull it off. But at Alley Cats Pizza, a walk-in only, NYC-style pizza spot in Marylebone, exposed brick and checkered tablecloths whisk you to the streets of Williamsburg. No gimmicks, just excellent thin-crust pizzas and a queue out the door.
The industrial-looking room mixes out-of-the-way corner booths where pizzas are layered on stands and tables for two—closely huddled together—that make for a cool dinner date when you’re trying to show someone that you know “just the spot”. At night, when the room is busy, dimly lit lamps throw shadows, and a projector plays The Sopranos, this place is a real scene. The kind that makes you want to tag the restaurant on your story, so everyone knows you know about it. During the day, you can get a seat with little-to-no wait but when the clock strikes 6pm—or it’s a weekend—expect to stand outside for a little bit. But it’s still quicker than a flight to New York.
The pizzas are thin, covered in a rich tomato sauce, and big enough to share. Toppings like vodka sauce or vegan ‘nduja and potato aren’t something you find at every pizza place in the city, and they’re made to a high standard here. The slices are crispy, even when they’ve been sitting in a puddle of stracciatella, and the crusts are nice and chewy. Plus, get the scotch bonnet dipping sauce and there probably won’t be any crusts leftover. Alley Cats isn’t just one of our favourite pizza spots in Marylebone, it’s up there with some of the best in the whole city.
When the marinara sauce is as rich as the one at Alley Cats, you know this straightforward sauce-heavy pizza is going to be good. But it’s the added stracciatella that’s dolloped on top to create pools of cheese that makes it our favourite. If you’re only getting one pizza, it should be this.
The exact creamy, glossy sauce you'd find coating penne alla vodka, but on a crisp pizza base with satisfying, oozy blobs of buffalo mozzarella and artfully scattered basil leaves. This is the margherita's fun-loving younger sibling and it's one of our favourites.
Our first bite of this pepperoni slice made us wonder if we were eating dessert. It's sweet, very sweet. Honey has been used liberally and there's not much relief from the pepperoni, which isn't spicy enough to counter it. It's not a very pleasant mouthful.
Vegan ‘N’ Fire
Cheese is often the giveaway when it comes to vegan pizzas, but here they’ve decided to skip the cheese altogether and opt for a vegetable and spicy plant-based ‘nduja topping that more than makes up for it. This isn’t just a good vegan pizza, it’s a good pizza full stop.
This white-based pizza sounds great on paper and we love how earthy and chunky the mushrooms are, but the red onion jam is overwhelmingly sweet.
Proving it’s not all about looks, this folded pizza is skippable. It’s filled with mortadella and oozing stracciatella, but a bite is overwhelmingly doughy.
Not that we need encouragement to eat the excellent, shiny crusts, but the dippers, namely the scotch bonnet and the ranch, are a welcome dipping sauce.
Vanilla Soft Serve
You should be too full for ice cream by the time you’re done with the pizza, but get the soft serve anyway. It’s milky and creamy, and when you add toffee fudge sauce and salted peanuts, it’s a delicious sweet and salty combination.