Pizza. Done well.
Fat Toni’s in One Paragraph:
Nothing gets our readers more vocal than an argument about where to find the best pizza in Cheltenham, unless it’s where to find the best burger. For our money, Fat Toni’s is the real deal, in terms of proper dough, hand-stretching and restraint in use of toppings. ‘Large’ pizzas are enormous. No nonsense, bustling, dining room.
The Longer Read:
Fat Toni’s is, on the quiet, one of the very best pizza operations in Cheltenham. Actually, OK, we’re ready to call it. We’d rather eat these pizzas than any other in town.
Fat Toni’s have a few other Gloucestershire restaurants (Cam, Dursley, Gloucestershire). They really do seem to have nailed the business of proper hand-stretched sourdough.
The outside isn’t especially promising. Make your way past a floury, cheffy hallway with takeaway customers hanging around, up to a small dining room overlooking Regent Street. There are only around 20 seats upstairs. Upstairs, whilst not the most glamorous dining room in town, is busy and chatty. Downstairs has a sort of S&M-lite vibe, a bit like Evan Davis’s cellar in Dragons’ Den. There’s a stuffed boar’s head on the wall which might put your vegetarian date off if you sit under it. Basically, downstairs is OK for a quick pizza, but I’d head upstairs.
Downstairs dining area at Fat Toni’s.
The staff are hard-working and friendly. What more do you want from a pizza place?
If you’re new to Cheltenham by the way, Regent Street itself is a great address for food, coffee, restaurants and, er, cheese – with Koj, Kibou, The Find, Coffee Dispensary and Cheese Works, amongst others.
Fat Toni’s Pizzas
Toppings are hand-made and, sensibly, not too generous. This allows the quality of the dough to shine. And you want that.
Pizzas are dinner plate size (from £7.50) or their ‘large’ pizzas (from £15) are about 3 times the size of a single. They’ll make a large pizza with different parts topped differently if you’re sharing. We liked the Vegesauras £13 / £25, basically a Margherita, with walnuts Gorgonzola and artichokes added. They offer four levels of chilli heat (Dante’s Inferno levels 1-4) – try the ghost chilli jam, if you like that kind of thing.
Drinks are a cut above too. Gloucester Brewery beers (£3.95 and up). You can order wine by the glass, bottle, small or large carafe. There’s a Nero D’Avola, a red wine that’s gutsy enough for pizza, at £19 a litre. Wines have been thought through and are a zillion times better than your corporate pizza joints.
Vegans and vegetarians are ‘well catered for’. OK that’s a reviewers’ cliche, but do they take it seriously and our in house veggie reviewer loves it there too. There are 11 vegetarian pizzas on the menu and they have a vegan chef on board. You can swap in Vegan cheese at no extra charge. They also reckon they’ve sorted a gluten-free pizza base.
8/10 is a high score – I like this place. That score is within the context of being a pizza restaurant, but they do a few things really well at Fat Toni’s.