THE BEST PIZZA IN NAPLES
One hot day when we wanted a break from galleries and museums in Naples we decided to go on the ultimate pizza hunt. It’s no secret that Naples is the home of pizza, and it’s not hard to find the best in the world here. The city is home to over 800 pizzerias, 100 of which are ‘certified’ by the ‘Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana’ (AVPN), which, according to their website, ensures International Regulation through “a set of codified rules, orally transmitted by the Neapolitans’ generations of pizza makers, passed down from father to son.
In 1984 Antonio Pace and Lello Surace united the most important and famous pizza makers of the time to write down the fundamental rules in order to recognize and differentiate the True Neapolitan Pizza from the other type of pizza, giving it the maximum dignity. Since then, the International Regulation has been the heart of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, which protect the tradition of this old recipe, defending its uniqueness and peculiarity.”
Traditionally, an authentic Neapolitan pizza will have a simple topping of tomato, mozzarella, and basil (margherita) or tomato, garlic, and oregano (marinara). This lets the pillowy pastry base and quality of the ingredients shine. I am literally salivating while writing this…
We obviously couldn’t try all the pizza places we wanted (so many pizzas, so little time…) but below are the ones we can recommend from experience. Your best indication of a good pizza place in Naples is a line at dinner and lunch-time - don’t let it put you off! Service is usually quick, and if a pizza place is good in Naples, it will always garner a collection of locals and tourists alike. For places like L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele though, you might prefer to go at a weird ‘in-between’ hour so you have more chance of getting a table and relaxing a bit.
Without further ado, here are our top pizza recommendations in the order we visited!
This place was recommended to us by locals, but it’s well known for being the ‘original’ Neapolitan pizzeria. The topping is flavoursome and the doughy base slightly sloppy, so you have to fold your slice in half as you bite into the rich, tasty goodness. Their flagship restaurant is in the centro storico, but they have a few locations around Naples, and are branching out in Milan, Genoa, and even New York. We got a takeaway pizza from their Gino Sorbillo Lievito Madre al Mare location where we were able to eat it overlooking the sunset over the bay of Naples.
2. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Initially we thought the hordes of tourists flocking to this famous joint (it’s an age old Neapolitan institution and it’s where Julia Roberts ate pizza in the film adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert) would be indicative of poor quality and high prices, but we couldn’t have been more wrong. This was without doubt the best (and cheapest) pizza we had in Naples. Don’t be put off by the long line! We recommend pushing your way through and ordering a takeaway pizza, that way you join a shorter line inside the shop where they churn out the pizzas straight from the huge oven and into your hands. If you want to have a seat, you need to also push your way in and get a ticket - don’t be passive or you’ll be waiting on the street forever!
3. Antica Pizzeria D’É Figliole
This place specialises in deep fried calzone so we tried it and while it was delicious, we couldn’t stomach an entire one to ourselves. If you love your fried goods, this one’s for you! We wouldn’t hesitate trying one of their un-fried pizzas though, because the dough and topping was divine!
4. 1906 Imperatore
This is a great place to eat in. It’s not quite as busy as the others but the sugo is perfect and the fresh discs of mozzarella will melt in your mouth.
On our list for next time:
Here are some pizza joints we didn’t get to on our last visit, but are on our hit list for next time:
1. 50 Kalo
This place is a little more modern than your traditional Neapolitan pizza joint, and apparently their emphasis is on high quality, organic and locally sourced ingredients.
2. Pizzeria da Attilio
Apparently featured on award winning chef David Chang’s ‘Ugly Delicious’ TV show, this place has been a Neapolitan pizza institution since 1938.