There aren’t many people in this world who don’t love pizza. We argue whether pineapples should go on pizza or not, yet one thing remains united: our love for pizza. Well, Franco Manca unites us in just that, with their appreciation for a decent pizza in full show through the balanced dance of flavours in the fresh doughy goodness.
Franco Manca is a Neapolitan pizza restaurant dedicated to the art of making sourdough pizza. The brand started out in 2008 in London, which makes them a pioneering force within the industry. Since then, Franco Manca has seen noteworthy success, branching out across the country: now, we have two Franco Manca’s in Edinburgh, one in Stockbridge, and another spot near St Andrew Square.
The story behind the name Franco Manca is, actually, quite sweet. The original site in Brixton Market was named Franco’s and was, unsurprisingly, owned by a guy called Franco. However, he did hand over the business to his friend Giuseppe Mascoli, who then named the franchise Franco Manca, which means “Franco is missing” in Italian.
The food at the pizzeria is taken as seriously as its name. The pizza dough is made fresh daily, with ingredients sourced from small local suppliers. Franco Manca has also recently introduced several new menu items, with four new pizzas, some starters and various fresh ice cream flavours.
Well, Secret Edinburgh had to go try it out for ourselves at the Stockbridge branch that offers beautiful views of the Water of Leith. It was dinner time on a Wednesday and the restaurant was booming, with plenty of pizza lovers chatting to each other in anticipation in front of the green backdrop of the river.
To start, we went with the Buffalo mozzarella & marinated baby plum tomatoes with mint, as well as a Platter of bocconcini, Kalamata black olives, grilled artichoke, dry San Marzano tomatoes, roasted courgettes, piquillo peppers, wild rocket, Franco & Cantarelli Grana and sourdough bread. There is nothing like a good mozzarella starter, and the marinated tomatoes have been marinating throughout the entire day.
For the main, the wild mushrooms, burrata, truffle pesto base, mozzarella and fresh basil pizza with a gluten-free base is one of the best gluten-free pizzas in town. One could not tell that the base is an alternative, with flavours just as rich as your usual pizza. We also tried the ordinary base pizza, with lightly smoked beechwood spicy salami, organic tomato, mozzarella, caramelised red onions, homemade Franco’s chilli oil & fresh basil, and let us tell you it’s spicier than it sounds!
The dessert menu at Franco Manca is small but to the point, as sticking to the classics is what they do. Expect all-time favourites such as Homemade Tiramisu, Caramel Pecan Cheesecake, plenty of ice cream options or Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake with Madagascan Vanilla ice cream.
What is more, guests can indulge in classic cocktails and have that Aperol Spritz or a Negroni on the outdoor terrace and enjoy the perfect backdrop in the beer garden when it’s open. On top of a selection of Italian wines, visitors can also savour beers and ciders, or a good ol’ San Pellegrino Limonata.
Overall, Franco Manca is the place for pizza lovers who appreciate true Neapolitan goodness: it is, hands down, one of the best gluten-free pizzas in town.