Hi guys! I hope you’re not too hungry because this post will have you dribbling…. I apologise in advance for the pizza cravings you’ll shortly be getting 😀 I was very kindly invited to Ecco Pizzeria in Leeds, to try their gorgeous, Italian food and let you guys know what I thought.
You know the drill by now – I was VERY kindly given this meal free of charge, to review for the blog, but all views and opinions are totally honest and my own. Now, are you ready for some serious food envy??
What/Where is Ecco Pizzeria
Ecco Pizzeria are a lovely little restaurant on the bustling Street Lane, in Rounday (North-East Leeds). This restaurant has only been open four months, but if the name sounds familiar, that’s because they’ve had their original branch in student-central Headingley for several years.
Ecco Pizzeria say “our mission is to provide the most authentic Neapolitan Pizza… using centuries old wood fired cooking techniques and use only the freshest, finest ingredients imported from Italy”. Sounds pretty good to me! Naples is the birthplace of pizza. If you want to feel like you’re eating in a little restaurant in Naples but without the flight, Ecco Pizzeria is the restaurant for you!
You won’t find the stuffed crusts of their next-door neighbour on Street Lane, Dominos – but you certainly won’t miss it once you’ve tried their traditional woodfired delights! Impressively, Ecco Pizzeria’s oven was hand crafted in Refrattari Reggello, in the hills of Tuscany.
Fun fact: Ecco translates to mean “maker of pizza”! Put that one away to impress your friends with next time you go! 😀
Now I should have done my research… bad blogger! I fancied a glass of wine, so we got a taxi to Ecco Pizzeria. As it turns out, they don’t serve alcohol – oops! This didn’t end up being an issue though, as they have such nice soft drinks on offer. There was the usual coke, lemonade etc but they also serve some super-refreshing, freshly made mocktails.
I chose what I think was a Virgin Mojito (but the drinks menu isn’t online so don’t quote me on that!) It was filled up with ice, fresh mint and fresh lime wedges – so refreshing! My husband had a Blueberry Refresher, which was amazing! Packed with fresh blueberries and more mint, it was sweet without being sickly – yum!
We decided to order a tomato garlic pizza bread to share as a starter. It was the perfect size – about two thirds of the size of a standard pizza. It has been freshly made and woodfired, covered in a fresh tomato sauce with a hint of garlic. The pizza bread came generously sprinkled with fresh parsley. Very tasty and just the right amount of food to share!
Now for the good bit! The lovely manager of Ecco Pizzeria came over to tell us how their pizzas work. The pizzas come either as individual 12 inch pizzas or as half metre pizzas, with the option to change toppings every quarter metre. This makes them perfect for sharing, especially if you can’t choose just one flavour! I’m vegetarian and my husband isn’t, so we chose the half metre pizza but didn’t share. Well, he tried mine, but I couldn’t try his (always the case, sadly!)
I was so impressed with the huge range of pizza types to choose from. Usually, I just have to choose ‘the vegetarian option’ and don’t really get any choice. At Ecco Pizzeria, there were 13… yes 13 vegetarian pizzas for me to choose from! Amazing! I will definitely be going back very soon, as there were so many types I would love to try.
I eventually decided on The Athens (bottom of the photo) – traditional tomato and mozzarella base, topped with baby spinach, feta cheese, black olives, cherry tomatoes, caramelised onions and herbs/olive oil. Oh em gee. It was so good! So fresh tasting, absolutely packed with flavour and cooked to perfection. You know how you always leave your crusts and concentrate on ‘the good bit’ in the middle? Well the crusts were so crispy and nicely cooked that I even ate those too! I couldn’t finish my whole pizza, but they kindly offered to box up the leftovers for us to take home. I love restaurants that offer this without you having to ask, as I hate food being wasted!
My husband went for The London (top of the photo above), topped with rosemary wood-fired chicken, sliced roasted potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms on a traditional base. He said the flavours were great, the chicken was really nicely cooked and juicy and he really enjoyed it. We also ordered the garlic mayo and sour cream & chive dips, which were really fresh-tasting and perfect for dipping those tasty crusts in! I know I’ve said ‘fresh’ so many times in this post, but that’s the thing that really stood out to me about Ecco Pizzeria – everything was so clearly prepared to order and…well…FRESH! Haha.
I’m not a huge dessert person. I’d usually rather have a starter and main, but I’d seen what gelato flavours were available and I couldn’t pass them up! Gelato is the traditional, Italian version of ice cream. Apparently, gelato has around half the fat of traditional ice-cream, which really surprised me. It tasted so creamy and rich that I would have guessed it was the other way round! It is also served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream, which results in a better taste as it melts in your mouth.
Ecco Pizzeria have 15 gelato flavours, plus three sorbets. They really have the flavours nailed – even as someone who’s not so bothered about dessert, I struggled to narrow down my choices! I went for the three-flavour sundae, made with banoffee, peanut butter and sea salt caramel gelatos. I’m not kidding when I tell you… it was one of the BEST desserts I’ve ever had. I nearly had a little cry when it ended 😀 So creamy, rich and the flavours were perfect!
My husband was pretty full at this point, but he couldn’t pass up the gelato either! He chose two scoops – one of dark chocolate and one mint. They were both beautiful as well – the mint tasted a bit like After Eight Mints, yum. They also have tons of other desserts, like Oreo cheesecake, waffles, brownies, lemon cake, milkshakes and much more!
One thing that stood out to me was how genuinely kind and friendly the staff were. We sat on the little outside terrace, and the manager offered me his jacket in case I got cold several times! There was a really unfortunate incident while we were there. A disgusting excuse for a man decided to racially abuse one of the chefs, shouting things at him that I can’t repeat here. It was completely uncalled for and really shocking, but the chef handled it really well. He came over to us afterwards to apologise (even though he was completely blameless!) So sad that things like this still happen, but staff dealt with it calmly and with a sense of humour (afterwards).
It’s probably pretty obvious by this point that I liked the restaurant! I will 100% be going back to try the other 12 vegetarian pizzas, (and 12 more gelatos, haha). There is free on-street parking all along Street Lane, so perfect to drive to. We had a great meal and a lovely experience overall. I would highly recommend it, if you live in Yorkshire.
PS – I’ve just found out now… they also deliver takeaway… including gelato!! Life. Made. You can check whether they deliver to you here.
Have you tried Ecco Pizzeria? What is your favourite pizza topping? Are you a gelato fan like me? Let me know in the comments!
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