I have took my job in Naples very seriously. I am not taking about the one that occupied my time 8-5, but the job of searching for the best pizza in the world. Here is what I have learned...
The "True Pizza" of Naples a.k.a. “La Vera Pizza” of Naples has a few basic golden rules:
- The crust has to be soft and light, that’s why the dough is made the day before it’s used,
allowing the yeast to rise for at least 10/15 hours.
- - The pizzaiolo (“pizza maker”) must be a real maestro, the dough stretching technique is
essential and you need at least 2/3 years of apprenticeship to become a pizzaiolo.
- The pizzerias that make the traditional pizza “verace” are members of the Pizza
A good hint while walking around Naples is that these pizzas will say “La Vera Pizza” somewhere on the signage. You can use this list as a map of suggestions to find some of the best pizza in Naples.
1. Da Michele
Via Sersale, 13 Tel +390815539204.
If you read "Eat, Pray, Love," you're already acquainted with Da Michele. You must be willing to wait in long lines, but this is generally considered to be the best people in Naples. They only serve two types, pizza margherita and pizza marinara, but its worth the wait. I went with a group of friends my last week in the city, and I fell in love. Like I wanted to run out into the streets signing and tattoo "AMO DA MICHELE" across my chest. Kidding.... kind of. I give them 10 slices out of 10.
2. Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente
Via Tribunali, 120/121 Tel. +39081210903
Nestled in the heart of the Centro Storico, Signore Ernesto Cacialli has been a pizzaiolo since he was seven! Ernesto invited Former President Bill Clinton to taste his creations back in 1994. Since then, the pizzeria has been named in his honor. I give them 7 slices out of 10.
Salita S.Anna di Palazzo, 1- 2
Located near the Chiaia neighborhood and near Piazza Plebiscito, this pizzeria is where the “pizza margherita” was invented. Raffaele Esposito worked at Brandi (established in 1780) and in 1889 he was asked to bake three different kinds of pizza for the visit of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy. The Queen’s favorite had the colors of the Italian flag: basil for green, mozzarella for white, and tomatoes for red. It was given the name pizza margherita in her honor, and this has become the basis of pizza everywhere. This place was neat for the history factor, but for the price I was underwhelmed.... I gave it 8 out of 10 slices.
4. Di Matteo
Via dei Tribunali, 94
Founded in 1936 by Salvatore Di Matteo, today it is run by Raffaele Marigliano, who 50 years ago created an amazing pizza con alici e cicinielli (anchovies and newborn very very little fish, not produced any more). Here you cannot miss the pizza fritta, a deep fried pizza with ricotta cheese, provola cheese, tomato sauce and sugna (lard). Heaven on earth! 8 slices out of 10.
5. Pizzeria Trianon da Ciro
Via P. Colletta, 46
This pizzeria, established in 1923, stretches up three stories. Here you can find exquisite (made fresh daily) buffalo milk mozzarella as a topping as well as the full range of pizza toppings you normally expect. This was a favorite when I have people come visit. 7 slices out of 10.
Via Tribunali, 32
This is another pizza “temple” in the “centro storico” of Naples; run today by daughter Anna Sorbillo, a member of the 21st generation pizza making family. Sorbillo can also deliver to your home or hotel (in historic center of Naples) and you can order on line. If you don't find this tech-savvy-ness impressive now, after an hour in Naples you will. 9 Slices out of 10.
7. Da Ettore
Via S. Lucia, 56
Tel +39081 7640498
Right on the waterfront facing Castel dell’Ovo sits this pizzeria on the elegant Santa Lucia boulevard (where politicians, actors and tourists frequent), and the pizza here is truly excellent. But apart from pizza, they also excel in the “frittura all’italiana”, a sinfully delicious mix of deep fried aubergines (eggplant), zucchini, mozzarella, arancini (rice croquettes), cauliflower, potato croquettes, and zeppulelle con alghe. 7 Slices out of 10.
Via Foria, 12
Close to the fantastic archeological museum of Naples (Museo Archeologico Nazionale), Pizzeria Lombardi was founded in the turn of the century by Enrico Lombardi who sold pizza in Brazil before setting up his pizzeria in Naples. Nowadays it is run by his grandsons Nando and Gigi. Their specialty is pizza with smoked provola cheese. 8 slices out of 10.
9. Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba
Via Port’Alba, 18
This is the oldest pizzeria in Naples and Italy. Founded in 1738 as seller of street food, it became a real pizzeria in 1830. Vincenzo Luciano is the 5th generation to run the business. 8 slices out of 10.
10. La Notizia
Via Caravaggio, 53-55
Named after the movie (the owner Enzo Coccia loves “Citizen Kane”), this pizzeria opens for dinners only, allowing time for the yeast to create the perfect dough. A real treat is the pizza bianca – without tomatoes – with scarola salad, aubergines (eggplant) and provola cheese. It is not located in a touristy neighborhood, but it is absolutely worth going to the upper part of the town to reach it. Authentic Napoli. 8 slices out of 10.
11. Restaurant Napoli 1820
Viale Antonio Gramsci, 11/d
A personal favortie, check out this restaurant nearby Piazza delle Repubblica for a delicious lunch or dinner. We frequented 1820 almost weekly, and I still have dreams about it now that I'm home. 10 slices out of 10.
In case you were wondering.... no..... there is no rating below 7. There is NO SUCH THING as bad pizza in Naples.
A couple other FYI's for you to keep in mind....
- Italians in general order one pizza per person. Splitting is frowned upon. Taking left-overs home is also frowned upon.
- The pizza will come out uncut, and you will typically cut off little pieces to eat at a time.
- Finally, pizza is typically only served with beer in Italy. Its the only time when vino is not a preferred Italian drink.