Franco Manca review: Trying the Leeds pizzeria that claims to cook its pizzas in the 'world's greatest oven'

London pizza joint Franco Manca has been a hit with foodies in the Capital for some time and opened its first Leeds restaurant in 2019.

By YEP Reviewer
Sunday, 16th January 2022, 11:45 am

Famed for its freshly baked sourdough bases and gourmet toppings, the chain cooks pizzas in what it claims is ‘the world’s greatest oven’ - a Gozney.

The Franco Manca recipe, developed by founder Giuseppe Mascoli, involves proving slow-rising sourdough for 24 hours before baking at 450C for just 60 seconds, promising a soft and easily digestible crust that’s crispy on the outside and fluffy inside.

I am very particular about my pizza - the sight of a thin crust makes my toes curl - so I decided to visit the Trinity Street restaurant to see what all the fuss is about.

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The Franco Manca recipe, developed by founder Giuseppe Mascoli, involves proving slow-rising sourdough for 24 hours before baking at 450C for just 60 seconds

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The large pizzeria spans two floors with stripped-back decor. Simple wooden tables and chairs on the ground floor overlook an open kitchen, giving diners a full view of the mosaic-covered oven and the pizza chefs at work.

What the restaurant lacks in character it made up for in service, our smiling waitress was very attentive and answered any questions we had.

There’s a simple menu of eight pizza combinations, with a meat and veg special and extra toppings available on the specials board.

The dry San Marzano tomatoes, roasted potatoes and onions, mozzarella, Colston Bassett stilton and pesto pizza (left) and organic tomato, British mozzarella and basil

All pizzas are under £10, with the vegan tomato, garlic, basil and oregano pizza priced at just £5.50. A gluten free base will set you back an extra £2.15.

We decided to split an organic tomato, British mozzarella and basil pizza, to see how the base stood up without the gourmet toppings, with the seasonal veggie option of dry San Marzano tomatoes, roasted potatoes and onions, mozzarella, Colston Bassett stilton and pesto.

The base was soft and fluffy on the inside with a slight bite, just how I like it. The deliciously rich toppings on our second option might ordinarily have been too much for a pizza, but the sourdough base really was easy to digest.

Franco Manca is a pizzeria on Trinity Street, just outside Trinity Leeds shopping centre

We finished the lot, along with a fresh side salad, an Aperol Spritz each - and there was even room for an affogato to finish off our meal.

Our total bill came to £37.80, very reasonable for the large portions and top quality pizza.

Franco Manca isn’t trying to do too much - it’s pizza, done well, in a casual atmosphere. And after discovering the restaurant does pizza boxes for takeaway, I think they’ll be seeing a lot more of me.

Factfile:

Address: 1 Trinity Street, Leeds, LS1 6AP

Telephone: 0113 403 3713

Opening hours: Sun-Thur, 11.30am-10pm. Fri-Sat, 11.30am-11pm.

Website: www.francomanca.co.uk/restaurants/leeds

Scores

Food: 8/10

Value: 8/10

Atmosphere: 5/10

Service: 7/10

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