Massimo’s Pizza Club review

Writing critical reviews either depresses me or makes me angry, both emotions I don’t particularly care for. I guess I should appreciate the contrast they provide though, as it means that I can get genuinely excited when I get to review a gem like Massimo’s Pizza Club. My favourite pizza spot is Col’cacchio, I like their thin base and fresh toppings. Massimo takes pizza to a new level, in no small way due to his very rare ingredient which he uses liberaly, passion.

Massimo is originally from Italy and his wife, Tracy, is from the UK. He fell in love with SA, so they immigrated here and set up this venture to share the beauty and art of real pizza with us.

Our belief is that pizza has a bad name in this country, as it has mostly developed a reputation as cheap, fast-food. In Italy pizza is not an everyday food taken from the frozen food aisle. Eating pizza is a fulfilling experience & a treat, rather than a junk food staple.

The restaurant is very basic, with simple wooden tables and chairs. They are not able to change it at all because they rent the space from Scarecrows (a coffee shop type place during the day), but despite that the place retains some warmth and ambiance (it might have something to do with the large pizza oven in the corner!). The wine list is also simple and reasonable, a little something to accompany the pizza, nothing more.

The pizza is the focus of the experience, to consume it without paying some attention to it would be a waste. The finest flour is used to make the very thin bases which are the sprinkled with only two or three toppings. The idea is that you are able to taste each individual ingredient not just have a gallimaufry of toppings hiding behind each other in your mouth. This focus on the toppings obviously requires that Massimo use only the best, and freshest ingredients to guarantee maximum flavour. Each pizza is only in the oven for less than two minutes, just enough time for the searing heat to crisp the base and activate the toppings.

You can just order yourself a pizza from the menu (R44 – R79) or you can opt for the ‘Italian Experience’ (R88) which is salad and unlimited pizza. Massimo will keep bringing you different pizzas to try (this obviously only works for groups). Eight people would be a perfect number as there are 8 slices per pizza so you can just keep tasting until you are full (or 4 people could have 2 slices each). This is what we did, enjoying 8 different pizzas over the course of about an hour. I was very full by the end of it but thoroughly enjoyed trying all the different options. Some of the pizzas we were served:

•Bianca (garlic, mozzarella, smoked cheese, rosemary)
•Pere (tomato, gorgonzola cheese, sliced pears)
•4 Formaggi (tomato, mozzarella, blue cheese, feta, goat’s cheese, olives)
•Napoli (tomato, anchovies, mozzarella, capers, olives)
•Finocchio (garlic butter, fennel, parmesan, mozzarella)

There were several more but I won’t spoil the surprise, I’ll just tell you they get more tasty and interesting. We ended off with some Tiramisu (R30) and some of his homemade Limoncello (deadly).

Massimo’s is a little out of the way, but it is worth the trip. Make a plan to get out there and experience for yourself what pizza should be.

Massimo’s pizza club
Scarecrows, Oakhurst Farm Park
Main Road, Hout Bay
http://www.pizzaclub.co.za/index.html
021 790 5648

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54 Responses

  1. Marc says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Dax, the people were friendly and engaging the service was attentive, and the pizzas were simple yet amazing. I see Dax doesn’t want to ruin the surprise by naming other pizzas so I won’t either – but it was great. The owners say that the secret is in the quality of the Mozzarella that they use.

    The one improvement that they could make is to the atmosphere, somehow what they’ve got to work with is a little cold and sterile.

    p.s. – I think Dax really liked it because they don’t serve imported bottled water.

  2. Mark says:

    Hey Dax … really enjoy your website .. but I just went to the Massimo’s link now and they say they were closed for the entire month of June and are only open again on July 08.. were you so lucky to get a special opening?! 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Dax says:

    @Marc, in fact, we were served jugs of tapwater. 1st prize!

    @Mark, good work, Sherlock Holmes, I actually went in May and only posted the review now.

  4. Pia says:

    My favourite was the Finocchio – wow, what flavour! I don’t think I’ve eaten that much in a long while… just couldn’t say no to another and yet another slice of something new and delectable. I had pizza like that in Rome some years back (or something like it anyway) and hadn’t had anything comparable until this visit to Massimo’s. I will definitely be back once they open again!

  5. Massimo says:

    thanks all for the great comments, we are back from our holiday in Italy with a few new pizza ideas and other more explosive novelties (like our ‘Cuciarin’… a sugar cube infused in aromatic alcohol and set on fire!)

    we are also running a competiton in Eatout where you can win a Pizza Feast with us! see http://www.eatout.co.za/win/competition_massimos.asp

    ciao
    Massimo

  6. Dax says:

    Thanks for the feedback Massimo, looking forward to my next visit.

    You should be running a competition on Relax with Dax!

  7. Massimo says:

    Dax, i’m up for it!
    lets do it like this: anyone can write a review on the Pizza Club here in your site (but come and try it first!), you choose the best review… the winner and you are my guests for a Pizza Feast.

  8. Dax says:

    Cool, that sounds great. I’m not sure which people will be more keen for: dinner with me or your famous pizza feast. Together it’s a great prize.

    I’ll mention this offer in my newsletter which is going out soon.

  9. Liz says:

    Wow, Massimo has obviously gone out of his way to find some excellent ingredients. I am still dreaming of your Bagna Cauda! Its an amazing pizza experience, the base serves as an edible plate for the delectable morsels on top.
    And the Cuciarin is really great! A world away from the so-called ‘Italian mints’ you get at the end of a meal. Bravo!

  10. Dax says:

    I ate at Massimo’s again last night and it was fabulous again. They have some new pizzas which were up to the usual standard and the hospitality hasn’t softened.

  11. Massimo says:

    thanks Dax, a great night. It was the first time we had a group of 80 people (happy birthday again to Leanne), now we know we can do it!!!
    I have another good news: from this Saturday my organic Limoncello and Chocolate liquors will be for sale (and tasting) at the Earth Fair Food Market in Tokai!
    ciao

  12. Lee says:

    Thanks to Massimo and Tracy for being great hosts – I had a lovely party there and you most certainly can handle 82 people! :). It was such a fun night and the pizza’s were amazing!
    Thanks! Leanne

  13. Jamie Who says:

    Hey Dax,

    I wrote recently about Carlyle’s having the best pizza in CT. On the strength of your review I went to Massimo’s and must now admit defeat! They absolutely nailed it. Check out what I had to say…

    http://jamiewhatshisname.blogspot.com/2009/09/massimos-pizza-club-good-luck-beating.html

  14. Massimo says:

    Pizza Club, but not only pizza!!!

    we are organizing a “Cenone di Capodanno” (New Years Eve celebration) for 31 December at 8pm.
    This time no pizza, we want to show that we can also cook a proper Italian celebration dinner! see http://www.pizzaclub.co.za/Html/capodanno.html for full menu (you might have to stop eating after Christmas to fit it al in!)

  15. daz says:

    Had another great pizza at massimos last night.

  16. Tach says:

    A group of 13 went to Massimo’s to celebrate ‘payday’ (for a few of us it was our first payday after 6 long years sloggin at med school). We enjoy the full Italian Experience, which for R140 was an absolute bargain! and with decent wines costing around R70 it made the evening even better. Thanks to Tracy and Massimo, wonderful hosts, who even managed to deal with some more difficult members of the group. Any new arrivals to CT will definitely get a visit to Pizza Club!

  17. Sam says:

    So worth the trek over the hill, around the mountain and past the sea.

    Don’t visit if you plan on fitting into skinny jeans or not undoing a top button or two – I was literally scooping the little bundles of tasty mozzarella off the pizza surface. The pizza’s were mouth-watering, (we ordered 6 different kinds) from the Italian flour and the perfect napolitana – but for me – it was the quality of the Mozzarella that set them pizza’s apart….

    Then there was Massimo himself – and his ethanol citrus soaked sugar cubes – awesome party trick!

    I havent experienced a dining moment quite like this in a while – and it is why we are going back again this Sunday.

    P.S. the chocolate liquor chocolate mousse moulds – do yourself a favor!

  18. Massimo says:

    thanks for the review, i guess this Sunday you will have the Pizza Feast so you will try them all!
    one little correction, the flour is not Italian, but it’s Eureka Mills, the best South African flour money can buy!
    you are right with the mozzarella, it’s local fior di latte, the proper mozzarella balls, not the pregrated plastic stuff you find in some other so called pizzas.
    a Domenica (come with an elasticated waist), ciao Massimo

  19. Sam says:

    Ahhh – so proudly South African flour does the job! Good to know… yep elasticated waist band and designated driver is a must.

    Forgot to mention the Homemade Lemoncello – which I am ordering over crushed ice this weekend – as the flavor is so intense! Thanks for the amazing hospitality that you and wife showered our table with. – See you on Sunday.

  20. Massimo says:

    just a note: our new opening time is now from 6pm Wednesday to Sunday (instead of 5.30pm).
    Also, on Sunday 14th (Valentine day) we will have live music with Dave’s acoustic guitar (“Pizza e Musica” on Sunday might become a regular thing)
    ciao
    Massimo & Tracy

  21. Sam says:

    TOP NOTCH – Myself and Jill took home a bottle of the chocolate liquor and homemade lemoncello. thanks to our hosts of our hosts at the Pizza club. – What a treat!
    A beautiful bottle of the homemade chocolate liquor at R70 per bottle = great gift idea. – I’m just saying.
    Will be back soonest… Sammy

  22. Mark says:

    We had our third meal at Pizza Club on Sunday night … as stunning and experience as ever. It’s also nice to see the ongoing changes and efforts to constantly improve, as in daily specials and innovative salads etc. The live music was also a nice touch and I had my first @Union beer (good stuff). I was just wondering … does Massimo have plans on possibly branching out and offering pasta dishes as well. If he makes pasta anywhere as good as the pizzas that would make going back TWICE as worthwhile! 🙂

  23. Massimo says:

    Just a reminder to all our loyal clients that we will be moving location soon. Our last day of trading at our current location (Scarecrows) is Saturday 29 May.
    We will soon announce our new site, to open in Spring.
    ..and, we are now proudly serving Lavazza coffee and the whole range of &Union beers!
    (and, on reply to Mark, yes, we will eventually offer more that pizza, and will be open also at lunchtime)

  24. Massimo says:

    We are finally able to reveal the new location for Massimo’s: check here: http://twitpic.com/2mf2 We will still be in Hout Bay, in an old barn, part of Oakhurst Farm. It will have a great garden with tables under a giant oak tree, panoramic veranda and the inside will be an 18 metres long barn. We will be open for lunch and dinner Wed to Sun. Gradually we will introduce antipasti, pasta and other dishes plus all the fav pizzas. We hope to open by the end of November. thanks you for waiting for us! Massimo & Tracy

  25. Kim says:

    Hi!! My first post on “Relax with Dax.” @Massimo- I CANNOT wait to try your pizza,even if it means trekking from Sea Point( to us Sea Pointers- the Waterfront is like Jhb). I just feel that because pizza is fattening in every sense( but oh so delicious) I’m only willing to try the best pizza available in Cape Town,and it seems as if Massimos has excelled in the pizza league 🙂 Dax,any chance you remember peasants? they made an excellent pizza,and Carlyles has become a fav too. When do you open for business again Massimo? Kim

    • Dax says:

      Welcome Kim

      I did eat at Peasants once back in the day but didn’t have pizza. Carlyles is popular for pizza and I have to admit that my favourite when I don’t feel like driving to Hout Bay is Col’cacchios.

  26. Bryan says:

    Hi All

    Does anyone know if Massimo’s has reopened yet and the exact directions to get there please? Thanks.

  27. Massimo says:

    Hi Bryan,

    we are still busy renovating the barn that will become the new Massimo’s. Hopefully will be able to open, for lunch and dinner, by the end of February.

    You can see the new location on our website http://www.pizzaclub.co.za
    (or if it’s easier to remember… http://www.massimos.co.za)

  28. Massimo says:

    just in case you missed the big news… we are now open!!!!

  29. Massimo says:

    please note: there is a new place in Plumstead called Massimo’s.
    It is not a new branch of the original Massimo’s in Hout Bay. We have no connections with that place, the owner is not even Italian.

  30. Wayne says:

    OMG!!! The owner is NOT EVEN ITALIAN!!! You have a pizza joint – get over yourself.

  31. Massimo says:

    what is your point Wayne? i know i have a pizza joint, and i’m very proud of what i do.

    I just want to warn people about the confusion this new place is causing. I have received several emails and phone call asking if i have opened a new branch in Plumstead so i want to make clear there is only one Massimo’s run by Massimo.

  32. Wayne says:

    OMG!!! My point is that you cannot simply write a place off simply because the owner is not Italian. I don’t care about the confusion. Names are there to be used. Wikipedia says that there are about 750,000 restaurants called Massimo’s in the world. Are all those restaurants managed by people called Massimo? Or even have owners who are Italian? WE WILL NEVER KNOW!!! What I do know is that there are other nationalities that can also cook food and although Plumstead is a bit of a dive, that doesn’t mean that nationalities other than Italians can own or run restaurants there. OMG!!! You have a pizza joint – get over yourself.

  33. Wayne says:

    Read the two previous posts. Repeat until you get the point, Massimo.

    Clearly there are two Massimo’s. How’s your trademark application coming along?

  34. Wayne says:

    OMG!!! There are two Wayne’s!!!

    There is only one Wayne and the legitimate non-italian one is the shorter of the two. I am however pleased that the other Wayne spelt it out for the one and only Massimo.

  35. daz says:

    love it, this has out a smile on my face on a cold winters day

    the big question is who counted the 750,000 massmimos restuarants for wikipedia.

    well done wayne keep taking those pills they obviously dont seem to be working all that well.

  36. Wayne says:

    OMG!!! There is more than one Massimo’s. Whatever are we to do? Are both of them Italian? OMG!!! Never again will I attend a restaurant that is not run by an Italian. Insult me, insult the family. OMG!!!

  37. Massimo says:

    Please note that I am the Massimo from Massimo’s in Plumstead and not the Massimo from Massimo’s in Hout Bay. I am not Italian, although I did once own an alabaster model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa which my grandfather stole during the war. The model, I mean, not the tower. I think that is still in Italy, which is where I’m not from. It is sad that we are having this discussion. What happened to the city in which there was room for two restaurants to operate with the same name? I have counted at least 74 McDonald’s restaurants in Cape Town and they seem to get along just fine, even though the majority of them are run by people with a nationality other than Italian.

  38. Wayne1 says:

    We appear to have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Chill other Wayne.

  39. Massimo says:

    Hello. I thought I should add my 2c to this thread. My name is Massimo, but I am not the Massimo from Massimo’s in Plumstead, nor the Massimo from Massimo’s in Hout Bay. No, I am the Massimo from Massimo’s in Table View and which is not related to either of the the other Massimos, nor in fact affiliated to to either of the Massimo’s. I trust that your English is good enough to understand that I am referring to the owners and the restaurants respectively. I am not Italian, but my wife, Massima, is. Our cooking is therefore mainly quasi-Italian fusion. We don’t do pizza. I can’t believe that there is more than one Wayne.

  40. Wayne says:

    My wife says I’m the only one, but it appears she may be mistaken.

    Three Massimo restaurants in Cape Townand counting. Do we have a fourth?

  41. Wayne says:

    I’m thinking of opening a restaurant called “Wayne’s”. Does anyone have any objection to this? After all, I am not Italian.

  42. Wayne says:

    I already have a restaurant called Wayne’s. It’s next door to Massimo’s. But I’m not telling you which one.

  43. Wayne says:

    It may clash with my proposed biltong & pizza emporium “Wayne’s”.

  44. Wayne says:

    And my vegan outlet “Wayne’s”, where most of the recipes based around the Tseng Tsau staples of radish and coriander. And pizza.

  45. Massimo says:

    We have a Wayne’s restaurant next door to my establishment. But I’m not saying which Massimo’s we are.

  46. Wayne says:

    I want the old scarecrow site when Massimo moves. Can’t decide on “Massimo” or “Wayne”.

  47. Wayne says:

    I’d go with “Massimo’s”

  48. Wayne says:

    I’d go with “Wayne’s”

  49. Massimo says:

    I wouldn’t go to Plumstead.

  50. Angela says:

    I would most defintely go to Massimo’s in Plumstead…Love the owner, love the managers, the waiters and waitresses are such family oriented, friendly people each and every time(24 times to be exact) that I’ve been there…BUT, wait, the food is exceptionally good. Pizza is the hit, I can garantee you that, ok! I don’t know, it really doesn’t feel worth doing this…please just do yourself a favour, and pop in a MASSIMO’S PLUMSTEAD..even better to make your visit even that much enjoyable and special, I dare you to give the owner a call to get the welcome that you deserve, and will always get from him…Patrick Cupido is the name.

  51. Vicki Penfold says:

    Thanks so much for the HILARIOUS dialogue on Massimos!?!? i am just about to go the one in Plumstead for pizza and was just checking for specials – but what I got was a really good laugh to boot! Thanks so much…my kids insist on going for pizza regularly – just glad there are so many places to choose from!

  52. Ingrid Schultz says:

    Just would like to say that the Massimo’s in Plumstead is an absolute rave. Staff are friendly and the vibe is buzzing.