Lately, I have had the pleasure of eating some seriously fabulous pizza in my search for great pizza places. Pizza is an easy dinner out for us – the kids love it, the food comes out quickly and its relatively informal. It is also a good option for dinner out with friends and family for celebrations.
Last weekend, we spent a sunny afternoon in Edinburgh Gardens playing footy, having a swing at the park and catching up with friends. With dinner time approaching, Suse suggested heading to their local pizza place. It opened at 5.30pm, had great pizza and was “good for kids”. That pretty much ticked all the boxes for me.
After a quick phone call to secure our booking, we packed up the picnic rug and made the short journey to Queen Margaret at 356 Queens Parade, North Fitzroy.
Our friends were right on the money. Named after the Italian monarch who reputedly inspired the now famous Margherita pizza, this is a seriously cool place. I appreciated the great modern Italian bistro fit out with mood lighting, great visual displays and Italian graffiti on the walls.
The four children in our party (aged 7, 5, 3 and 2) were greeted with pencils served in a takeaway coffee cup and a special Kids Menu/Colouring Page and the promise of a spot on the Queen Margaret Colouring Wall of Fame (see below).
They all took to their colouring with great enthusiasm, leaving the four adults to decide on an order of House Marinated Warm Olives, the QM salad (mixed salad, fresh pear, sliced fennel, shaved parmesan, walnuts and white balsamic dressing) and four delicious pizzas. We chose:
– Easy Tiger (Tomato, Prawns, Fior di Latte, Chilli, Cherry Tomatoes and Basil – below, right);
– No.17 (Pork Sausage, Mozzarella, Pancetta, Spinach and Tomato – below, left);
– Just Magic (Seasonal Mushrooms, Thyme, Pancetta, Mozzarella and Taleggio;
– The Special (Potato, Caramelised Onion, Buffalo Mozzarella and Pancetta).
The Menu has some great starters including Gruyere Croquettes with Aioli, Pork and Veal Meatballs and Polenta Chips with Smoked Tomato Sauce and Creamy Gorgonzola. You can also order Bruschetta, Cured meat and cheese platters and Focaccia. There are 17 pizzas on the menu (around $20 each, give or take) including the imaginatively titled “My Only Crush” and “Yeah … Whatever!”. Gluten free pizza bases are also available for an extra $2.
If pizza is not your thing, there is Lasagne, Spinach and Ricotta Agnolotti and Crumbed Free Range Cotoletta with Italian Coleslaw.
Our kids inhaled their pizzas, all of which were delicious although our Master 5 inhaled a bit too much chilli on his favourite prawn pizza and needed an emergency rehydration. Next time, we would probably hold the chilli. As for the adults, everything was delicious but our pick was the delicious Easy Tiger followed closely by the No.17. The olives and salad were both fresh and flavoursome and complimented our pizza selection.
Next time, I will make sure we save room for the desserts. Gelati is available in serves for 1 ($12), 4-5 ($30) and 6-8 people ($40) catering for crowds or people who really like gelati. I also like the sound of the Nutella, Pear Crumble Calzone served with vanilla bean ice-cream ($12). There is also a dessert tasting plate for two people ($20) and the QM Tiramisu ($12).
After the kids finished off their dinner, they returned to their colouring. The older children carefully wrote their names and ages on their pages and handed their creations to our obliging waiter. They were then keen to check out the colouring wall which grouped the contributing artists by age, leaving the adults to have a brief uninterrupted conversation.
Overall, we could not fault Queen Margaret. The ambience was cool, the food was delicious and the children were well catered for on all fronts (not just the colouring spoils – drink spills were cleaned up without fuss). In other words, I would go to Queen Margaret with or without kids, the greatest compliment you can pay a family friendly restaurant.
What is your favourite place to eat out with kids?What/where is your favourite pizza place? Let’s share our collective pizza intelligence.