World Pizza Day falls on February 9th in 2023. It is a day dedicated to celebrating all things deliciously crusty  and heavenly cheesy. We figured it was a perfect opportunity to support our Illawarra pizza shops and get our carb-loading on. I was tasked with carrying out some investigative journalism in order to find some of the best pizza in Wollongong. If you have a favourite in mind that you think I should try, please let us know and I’ll be sure to check them out in future.

What is World Pizza Day?

The origins of this day are a little vague at best and perhaps contradict the Italian version of the day celebrated on Saint Anthony’s day, January 17th. Saint Anthony is the patron Saint of all the arts and jobs that deal with fire – including pizza makers!

 My understanding of this date is that it celebrates the pizza makers, whereas Feb 9th celebrates the actual pizzas.  If you are unsure which of these dates you should celebrate these mouth watering delights on, I encourage you to embody the attitude of the little girl off the Old El Paso commercial a few years back, “Why not have both?”

 People across the world eat over 5 billion pizzas every year and Australians eat more than 264 million of those. There is no doubting our love affair with this Italian staple, even though we were only introduced to it relatively recently following World War II when Italian migrants started moving to our shores in greater numbers. The Italian migrants who settled in the Illawarra region brought Italian cuisine and influence to the area and for that, we are truly grateful.

 To celebrate this fine day, we should of course endeavour to eat some pizza. You can opt for the home made variety if you wish, but here at The List Illawarra, we’re all about getting out and supporting local businesses. Here are some of our recommendations for finding the best pizza in Wollongong:

best pizza in wollongong

Our favourite places to eat pizza in WOLLONGONG:

Terra Mia, wollongong

Terra Mia is a hidden gem in the middle of Wollongong – blink and you might miss it. Tucked away below street level, Germana and Pasquale have created a space that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a little Italian village. Established in 2015, Terra Mia translates to “My Land”. They are open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday.

 In 2020 Germana and Pasquale also took over Lo Stretto at the maritime building in Port Kembla as a sister restaurant. Lo Stretto is open 6 days a week with spectacular views and tasty breakfast or lunch options. All of their pizza bases are made in house with a lot of love and care before getting rolled and stretched, all ready to get dressed with the toppings you choose. They complete their journey by being baked in the woodfired oven until they are perfectly done.

Terra Mia’s version of a good old pepperoni pizza is a stand out for me. The ‘Diavola’ pizza includes a tomato sauce base, cows milk mozzarella and hot, spicy salami.

terra mia pizza in wollongong

Image sourced from

Lupa Pizzeria and Bakery, Wollongong

My research for World Pizza Day has led me to discover the meaning behind that weird looking creature on the front window of Lupa Pizzeria and Bakery on Keira St. Here’s what I learned: The La Lupa Capitolina is a bronze sculpture depicting a scene from the mythical version of how Rome was founded. The She-Wolf is suckling twins who were to be the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. They were ordered to be thrown into the river, but the She-Wolf came to their rescue and cared for them until they were discovered and raised by a shepherd and his wife.

The She-Wolf is the Goddess, Lupa. She brings protection to those she cares about and prosperity and fertility to crops and animals. Sounds like a pretty good guardian spirit to have watching over your business! Lupa is open as a traditional Italian Woodfired pizza restaurant, available for dine-in or take away Wednesday through Sunday nights. The bakery version is open on Friday mornings and sells a range of woodfired breads and Italian pastries and cakes.

The man behind the restaurant is Luca Battisti. Luca is a humble man who loves to give back to the Illawarra community, hosting both school groups and children from Unique Kids Clinic at the restaurant to learn some pizza making and hospitality skills.

In the past he has also been involved with Infinity Disability Organisation to run a market stall, with all the money raised going towards this not for profit group who run activities for people with disabilities.

Luca and the crew at Lupa (that’s a tongue twister!) have been serving authentic woodfired pizza to hungry Illawarrians for over 10 years.

lupa pizza restaurant wollongong

Da Orlando, wollongong

Orlando Luciani is the man behind Da Orlando in Wollongong. In 2020 he published his autobiography “Dream Chaser”. It is the story of how he left a small town in Italy to pursue his dreams in Sydney, Australia. He left behind all he knew, his family and friends, but through persistence and hard work achieved his goals of happiness and success. Orlando hopes to inspire young people to be brave and follow their dreams, no matter how intimidated they might feel along the way.

His short-lived, semi-professional tennis career and a brief stint in the military taught Orlando the values of hard work, dedication and persistence that have served him well throughout his time as a chef. After working in some of Sydney’s best restaurants for more than ten years, he decided to move to Wollongong and open his own pizzeria.

Da Orlandos proves their dough for 72 hours to help even those with a delicate stomach enjoy their pizza habit without paying a price for it later. This traditional Roman method makes the base crunchier and less doughy.

The smell as you approach the restaurant is a combination of that beautiful garlicky pizza sauce, the enticing whiff of cheese melting mixed with a hint of smoke and baking bread from the crusts baking in the fire. Make sure if you are keen to eat in on a weekend, you book ahead as it is always super busy. We highly recommend the chargrilled chicken pizza with its delicious pesto topping.

The issue dividing Illawarra pizza lovers

One last note…

Before you decide who you choose to celebrate world pizza day with, make sure you know where they stand on pizzas’s most divisive topic. Is your pizza pal on the same team as you? If not, it might be time to get a new friend!

Team Pro-Pineapple or Team Anti-Pineapple?

I know where I sit! 🍍🍍🍍

takeaway pizza in wollongong