Papa Gino’s

221 Lygon St, Carlton
Phone: 9347 5758

There’s a time and a place for everything in life, so they saying goes. I’m not sure who said it, but they’re a very forgiving soul. Because conversely, life’s too short to [insert something negative here]. My insert negative is [go on bad dates].

Recently single again, I’ve started picking up the pieces of my life and going through that strange process known as ‘moving on’. It’s strangely coincidental, but every time in my life that has marked the end of a significant relationship, has also been marked by my moving house. But I digress. I recently went on a date, which life was too short to have really happened. I won’t go into details, because you’re reading to find out about Papa Gino’s, not the travails of my dating adventures. That’s another blog entirely!

After a couple of beers, which impaired my judgment somewhat, I agreed to move on for dinner. Since I was a bit inebriated, I was quite happy when he suggested pizza. I’m a patient guy, so I thought I’d give the conversation a chance to improve. I also thought it might still be early enough for us to get a table at D.O.C.. Alas, I was wrong on both counts. So given my relative inexperience and lack of knowledge about pizza on Lygon St, we ended up going to Papa Gino’s.

I won’t lie and say I’ve never been there before – I used to go there very occasionally for work lunches – but I’ve never really liked the place. It’s a bit too bustle-y, the chairs are uncomfortable, the lighting is strangely bright, and well, the pizza is mediocre. The only saving grace is that when the place isn’t too busy, the waitstaff are charming. But in the evening, it’s usually busy.

This night, he ordered the quattro gustri. Out of these, I think the margherita was probably the best corner. I’m really not a fan of shredded ham on my pizza. It makes me think of McCain’s frozen pizza, and let me just say, as far as pizzas go, McCain never did it once, let alone again. The other mushroomy and olivey corners weren’t terrible, but weren’t much to write about either, so I won’t.

Always one for carb-on-carb action, I ordered the campania, which was topped with diced tomato, mozzarella cheese, potato, onion, prosciutto. It wasn’t a bad combination of ingredients, but the quality and the execution let it down, I think. The tomatoes, which while obviously fresh, were under-ripe, and therefore a bit bland and watery. The potato was sliced too thickly, and this made the pizza feel a lot heavier than it needed to be. Similarly, the onion was a bit too chunky, and could have been cooked a little longer, too. The prosciutto was fine, but it’s hard to stuff up prosciutto, right? I’m going to try to be positive here and say the herbs were a nice blend of oregano and rosemary.
I wouldn’t recommend Papa Gino’s – at least not for pizza, and not for a date. Perhaps if you’re wanting somewhere for a group of colleagues to go for lunch? Perhaps. Even then, I’d stay away from the pizza.

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2 Replies to “Papa Gino’s”

  1. Billy, next time you're stuck … Try Doninni's. Known for their pasta … Their pizza doesn't suck at all – it's at least as good as DOC. I think it's better.

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