In line with its steady expansion plan, Rudy’s Pizza Napoletana opened a restaurant in the popular suburb of Didsbury, this October. Following a complete refurbishment, he neighbourhood pizzeria has taken over the former Mad Giant food hall on Wilmslow Road.

Didsbury diners aren’t exactly short of doughy discs. Longstanding independent pizzeria Croma is a couple of doors down, while opposite stands international pizza delivery behemoth Dominos and the Italian food specialists Casa Italia. Further down Wilmslow Road there’s Franco Manca and Gusto Italian which has been happily surviving in the suburbs for fifteen years or so.

Despite stiff local competition, Rudy’s was buzzing when we went on a Tuesday afternoon. Everyone and their dog wanted to check out the new place. There was a real mixed crowd of families with kids on half term, groups of mums with prams, casual men of a certain age chatting business and couples just hanging out. They seemed to be doing a decent trade in take-outs too, with pizza boxes flying past intermittently.

The original Rudy’s pizzeria opened in Ancoats in 2015 – one of the first to take up residence in Cutting Room Square – and they soon had people queueing out the door. In 2017, Rudy’s owners Jim Morgan and Kate Wilson accepted a deal they couldn’t refuse from Mission Mars (the bar operator behind venues such as Trof, Albert’s Schloss and Gorilla.) The much-loved pizzeria has since adopted an ambitious plan to open more sites in keeping with the original vibe and the 90-cover Didsbury restaurant is the pizzeria’s fifth location in Manchester.

Rudy’s follows the authentic Neapolitan tradition of pizza making, serving classic recipes such as Marinara, Margherita and Calabrese. Dough is made fresh daily using Caputo ‘00’ flour, water, salt and yeast, which is left to ferment for at least 24 hours. This makes them lighter as the ‘work’ is done here rather in your digestive system. Unfortunately, this style of pizza can’t be made gluten-free but those with milder intolerances, will find these much easier to digest.

Toppings used the best quality ingredients imported from Naples, including San Marzano tomatoes grown on the volcanic soil by Mount Vesuvius, and Fior di Latte mozzarella. If tomatoes aren’t your thing, they list a couple of ‘white pizzas’ on the menu as an alternative. Two of Rudy’s standard pizzas are vegan and there are always more options on the specials menu.

Each pizza is cooked in a Stefano Ferrara oven for just 60 seconds – and although Rudy’s pizzas are huge, they’re still surprisingly soft, light pizza and easily digestible. Is this a good time to confess that I didn’t enjoy the first Rudy’s pizza I ever had? It was back in the original Ancoats’ site in the early days and since then, although they describe it as ‘floppy’, I always thought that Neapolitan-stye just meant ‘wet.’

Happily, that wasn’t the case this time and after lining our stomachs with starters of burrata with tomatoes, rocket and bread (£7.25) and a generous Caesar salad (£3.90), we followed on with a mighty meaty Carni and a Romangnola.

Coming in at £11.25, the carni is the priciest pizza on Rudy’s menu, topped with three types of top-quality salami – finocciona (with fennel), picante (spicy) and wild boar and it comes with the option of a few extra chillis if you like it spicy.

Romangnola (£10.90) is baked as a margherita with the San Marzano tomato sauce and fior di latte then cold toppings of Emiliano Romano aged prosciutto, shaved Parmesan cheese and wild rocket leaves are then added. I’d already had a hefty portion of Parmesan on my Caesar salad and was starting to worry they’d have to wheel me out of there.

The raised crust around the edges, or cornicione (if you’re pushing for the technical term) is the mark of a good pizza. Get that wrong and it doesn’t matter how authentic and well sourced your toppings are. Rudy’s are proud of theirs, so offer three dips for ripping and scooping – garlic aioli, ‘nduja ailoli and chilli honey (all £1.85).

I can report there were no soggy bases this time, just straight up delicious freshly cooked pizza made with care and great ingredients. Drinks are primarily pizza friendly of course with a handful of quality soft drinks and they haven’t over complicated things. There’s a list of aperitivo, and the wine list (three whites, three reds, a rosé and a couple of sparkling) is thoroughly Italian. Beer is almost all Italian except for Rudy’s pale draught which is a collaboration with Manchester’s Runaway Brewery.

Italians are known as much for their sweet tooth as they are for their style so there are a few desserts such as ice cream, tiramisu and…what was the other one? Affogato.

Rudy’s looks like it’ll slip nicely into Didsbury’s regular restaurant roster. It’s casual, uses good quality ingredients, prices are reasonably, they welcome kids and dogs and it simply does what it does really well.

Rudy’s Pizza Napoletana, 653 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester, United Kingdom, M20 6QZ

Follow Rudy’s on Instagram @wearerudyspizza.


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