Chez Etienne

43 Rue Lorette, Marseille, 13002, France

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This little pizzeria, tucked away in a quiet side street, has been operating since 1942 under the same family ownership. It has a simple dining room and a view from the tables onto the heart of the action, a kitchen dominated by a large pizza oven. Pizza chef Pascal Cassaro is the grandson of the founder here. Be aware that it is cash only, and there were no reservations taken, though we had no difficulty in getting a table at noon on a Tuesday. The clientele seemed to be mostly local.  

This is not a place with a long list of pizza options: in fact there is no choice at all. They make a single pizza with two sections, half topped with Emmental and Mozzarella cheese, and the other half with tomato, anchovies and olives. It took just seconds for the pizza to make it from the brick pizza oven to our table. The crust was thin and pliable, the toppings excellent, an absolutely exemplary pizza (14/20). They did offer a few other things, mainly some meats prepared on a wood-fired grill, but we stuck to the pizza offering.

A simple side salad of mixed leaves and frisée lettuce was dressed and mixed at the table, and was very pleasant. As a bonus there was a very enjoyable slide of caramel and apple tart, also cooked in the pizza oven. This had nice pastry and a well-made filling, the sharpness of the apples cutting through the richness of the pastry (14/20).

The meal was just 16 euros (£13.70) apiece, albeit just with water to drink. Our server was charming and she went above and beyond, helping us to track down a lost taxi that had gone to a nearby but incorrect address. Pizzaria Etienne was delightful, the kind of place we all wish was on the corner of our street. 

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