Many will know the iconic corner block that houses Papi's Pizza as the old stomping grounds of Captains in Rye. With a killer spot directly opposite the bay, it's a welcoming beacon for those taking the scenic route along the foreshore.
Four friends who met years back serving thousands of pies a night at The Royal Saxon have joined forces to bring Papi's Pizza to life. They came across the site in 2020 and set about restoring the old building to its former glory, creating a relaxed hangout where friends can meet for a casual drink and a slice.
Stripping back layers of white paint to expose the original red brickwork was the first step in a lengthy fit-out. Moody strip lighting sets the scene inside, with recycled messmate tables, green timber cladding and honeycomb tiling behind the bar. You can slide into a comfortable leather booth or grab a stool at the bar to watch the pizzas being pulled from the oven.
The venue seats 100 across indoor and outdoor dining, with wheel-chair access available through the back. You'll find picnic tables lined up curbside, where you can soak in the salty sea air with views of the bay.
If you're feeling snacky, a small bits menu includes tasty morsels designed to share, including a rich and silky burrata served with pepperonata, fresh basil and crispy baked bread. The pork and toasted fennel meatballs are another crowd-pleaser, with a rich tomato sauce that begs to be mopped up by a stray pizza crust. As always, you can't go wrong with the arancini – a Papi's family recipe made with salty pancetta and parmesan.
The team serves up a tight menu of Napoli-style pizzas, focusing on fresh and seasonal ingredients sourced locally where possible. An excellent Margherita sets the benchmark with scamorza and fresh basil, and the option to add pillows of fresh buffalo mozzarella. The triple cheese pizza – with caramelised onion, scamorza, gorgonzola dolce and parmesan – is another standout. Add a crust dipper if you're feeling a little extra saucy.
For dessert? Indulge in a classic tiramisu made with lashings of mascarpone, or a Mornington Peninsula choc-top.
A banging drinks list accompanies the menu, featuring a selection of Curatif Cocktails, local beers from St Andrews Beach Brewery and Jetty Road, and Aperol Spritz on tap. Their signature Papi's Peninsulada is a tropical dream – a frozen piña colada that pairs perfectly with the prosciutto cotto and pineapple pizza. You'll find local drops from Yabby Lake and Crittenden Estate, a sophisticated Taittinger NV Champagne, and a selection of Mobo Vino's natural lo-fi wines to round out the list.
If you're looking for something to do on the weekend, the team have recently launched a bottomless brunch menu, including unlimited cocktails, beers, bits and pizzas to be enjoyed over a 90-minute sitting. A monthly wine dinner is also on the cards, with plans to showcase what makes the Peninsula great all year round: stellar food and wine.
You can pop into Papi's Pizza Thursday through Monday, with bottomless brunch and lunch available on weekends. Stay tuned for details on local deliveries coming soon.