Alley Cats, Marylebone: Why This Pizza Spot Has People Queuing Round The Block

By Martha Davies

2 weeks ago

No-nonsense, NYC-style pizza that's worth the hype


If you’re in the mood for pizza, TikTok will tell you to head straight to Alley Cats. But what’s all the buzz about? Martha Davies reviews.

Review: Alley Cats, Marylebone

Exterior of Alley Cats, with a dark green awning and yellow outdoor furniture,

Tucked away at the end of Paddington Street, Alley Cats might appear, upon first glance, to be just another neighbourhood pizza restaurant – except for the fact that it’s usually flanked by a rather lengthy queue. This, as you may be able to guess, is the power of TikTok; when the internet starts to rave about pizza, you’d hope it’s worth standing in line for. And if you can bear to wait, Alley Cats’ no-frills, New York-style pizza is definitely worth standing in line for.

Billed as London’s very own slice of Brooklyn, Alley Cats is a traditional pizza spot with a touch of old-school kitsch: think gingham tablecloths, exposed brick walls, and shelves lined with tinned tomatoes. Oh, and an enormous projector screen playing The Sopranos on loop – just in case you forgot that this is, indeed, a real Italian joint. (Sicilian head chef Francesco Macri can vouch for that).

While you can begin your meal with olives, candied bacon, cheese-stuffed bread bites or meatballs served with slow cooked tomato sauce, the pizza is, of course, the star of the show here. Each one boasts a gloriously crispy base, sauce made from fresh San Marzano tomatoes, and creamy Buffalo Mozzarella straight from Campania. If you order more than one (why wouldn’t you?), they’ll be stacked up on a metal rack so every slice is within easy reach. Perfection.

Tomato, basil and mozzarella pizza

When it comes to toppings, there’s plenty to choose from: the vodka tomato sauce is a bestseller, while the marinara – scattered with smoked garlic, stracciatella and basil – levels up your classic margherita (though this is also on the menu, along with good old pepperoni, if you want to play it safe). The ‘tuna bonito’ is a real winner, as is the fennel sausage, which is finished with pancetta and pecorino. There’s a vegan alternative (plant-based nduja alongside pesto, roasted peppers and crispy potatoes), and white pizzas for anyone particularly tomato-averse (or cheese-obsessed). You can add on as many toppings as you like, and you can also order dips including garlic mayonnaise and smoked barbecue sauce.

If you’re looking for an Italian menu with a dizzying variety of dishes, then, you won’t find it here; apart from a few salads, pizza is your only option. But who doesn’t want pizza? Especially pizza that tastes this good. Plus, the menu still includes some all-important Italian desserts (the most notable of which is the tiramisu – it’s heavenly). You’ll walk out sufficiently (perhaps uncomfortably) full, straight past all of those eager diners waiting outside the door.

THE FINAL WORD

It seems the internet really was right this time: Alley Cats serves up some exceptional pizza. It’s love at first slice. 

BOOK IT

22 Paddington St, London W1U 5QY. alleycatspizza.co.uk