Beating out even über-fancy The Restaurant at The Chedi Muscat, which comes second, the best restaurant in Oman, according to TripAdvisor, is...La Fattoria Della Pizza. It's not the most talked-about. On top Facebook group Oman Restaurant Review, there's just one post by a happy customer (none by unhappy ones, incidentally), although Fattoria comes up several times in replies to the question "Where can I find the best pizza in Oman?"
If you're interested in how TripAdvisor ranks its rated restaurants, this article tells you. I can tell you that La Fattoria Della Pizza is my - and Maurizio's - favourite place for pizza in Oman, especially since Chef Mario left Tomato. Tuscany pizzas are excellent too but, at OMR 11 for a margherita, just a touch on the pricey side. Relative newcomer Volare gets mixed reviews over on ORR; I really enjoyed my eat-in pizza but was disappointed in the subsequent takeout we got to take to a friend's. My runner up would probably be Slider Station; pizza's not their speciality, not even on the menu in fact, but their flatbreads - Italian style flatbreads, I think they're called - are pretty much the same, and lovely and flavourful.
FatSu, as you can probably tell, uses a proprietary algorithm to determine whether a place is Good or Bad, a bit like TripAdvisor, but much more complex and technical. I can't say exactly how it works - the process of perfecting it was too long and expensive to share, you see - but, La Fattoria gets my approval because:
1. The pizza is really good. (I told you this was complex.)
2. There is a real Italian chef there, making the pizzas. Yes, I know other nationalities can make pizza, of course they can, even English people, but we are in Muscat and eating pizza, so every bit of authenticity helps establish a European vibe.
3. The restaurant itself has a cosy kind of charm to it, from the rustic walls and piles of wood for the pizza oven, to the little nooks and random decoration. There are adverts for pipeline suppliers and truck rental agencies on alternate pages of the menu. It's not overly eye-talian, nor branded to death.
4. Instead of bread while you make up your mind about what to order, they bring you little deep-fried nuggets of pizza dough, hot and sprinkled with parmesan, which probably have a real Italian name.
5. It's part of Kargeen, or adjacent to it anyway, so you get to soak up the atmosphere, making this a good place to take pizza-loving visitors, especially if you happen to be boycotting Kargeen because they REFUSE to mix tobacco flavours in their shisha and you don't like lemon and you don't like mint, you only like lemon mint.
6. Every time I've been there and ordered the Bufalina (a margherita made with buffalo mozzarella), they've had it in stock, and they're generous with it, too.
So, mille mabrouks to La Fattoria Della Pizza.