The Etruscans may have come up with the idea of putting toppings on flatbreads, but it was the Neapolitans who elevated this simple concept to an art form. Prototype pizzas were sold as street food in Naples as early as the 16th century and the Margherita – that classic, modern pizza topped with cheese and tomato sauce – was invented in Naples in 1889. Unsurprisingly, Naples remains the best place on earth to sample this undisputed culinary classic.
Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo
Restaurant, Italian, Mediterranean
You’ll be queuing round the block to get a table at Naples’ best-loved pizzeria, but it’s worth the wait. Fresh, local ingredients and family know-how are the keys to Sorbillo’s success, but the fair prices and generous portion sizes don’t harm the restaurant’s “best pizza in town” reputation. Despite its legendary status, Sorbillo is family-friendly and unpretentious, luring as many locals as tourists.
The menu at La Masardona goes off-piste from the classic cheese-and-tomato-on-bread vision of pizza. Here, the speciality is pizza fritta – deep-fried dough stuffed with salami, lard cubes, ricotta, tomato and provola cheese. Think of it as a fried calzone and you’ll be on the right track. The setting is simple – a hole-in-the-wall doorway, metal chairs and Formica tables inside – but what it lacks in elegance, it makes up for in flavour.
Concettina Ai Tre Santi
Pizzeria, Italian, $
Fat, bubbled-up crusts, lakes of melted mozzarella and artisan toppings are the hallmarks of the pizzas served up by master pizzaiolo Ciro Oliva in this fabulously popular pizzeria in the La Sanità neighbourhood. It’s busy at lunch and dinner, but it’s worth braving the queue for the fresh-from-the-oven crispiness of the pizza bases and the imaginative toppings – lemon zest, salmon, fried clams, you name it. The owner’s family have been making pizzas for four generations – and it shows.
Pizzeria, Italian, $
Movie director Vittorio De Sica put this historic pizzeria on the map in his 1954 love letter to Naples, L’oro di Napoli. The pizzas served up by Sophia Loren in the movie were made in the restaurant kitchen and they’re just as good today – hot, satisfying and heavy with local ingredients. Pizzas come fried, stuffed or flat and piled high with toppings such as speck, artichokes, porcini mushrooms, mortadella, pistachio pesto and zucchini flowers.
Pizzeria, Italian, $
It’s the dough that pulls in the punters at this hip pizzeria, praised by the New York Times as one of Italy’s best pizza places in 2014. Pizzaiolo Ciro Salvo is rightly recognised as a master of the wood-fired oven; his pizza bases are light, puffed and crisp in all the right places, set off by quality toppings from Campania producers. No reservations are taken, so come early to avoid a wait for lunch or dinner.
L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele
Restaurant, Pizzeria, Italian
A cameo in the movie Eat Pray Love propelled this phenomenally popular pizzeria to even greater heights but at heart, it’s still the same, family-run, marble-tabled pizza parlour it always was. Members of the Condurro family have been creating pizza perfection since 1870 and loyal regulars don’t mind the fact that the menu has just two choices – Margherita and marinara – as both are filling, fabulous and friendly on the wallet.
Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba
Restaurant, Italian, $
With an impressive claim to fame as Naples’ – and perhaps the world’s – first pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba has been doling out pies since 1738 and it still does a lively trade today. This old-school pizzeria also has a convincing claim to having invented pizza a portafoglio – wallet pizza – folded into neat quarters, wrapped in paper and served through the window to eat on the hoof.
Pizzeria Oliva da Salvatore e Carla
This is a pizzeria with a pedigree in La Sanità, run by the son of legendary pizzaiolo Ciro Oliva and a great choice for no-nonsense, authentic Naples pizza baked the old-fashioned way. It’s on a lively piazza decorated with street art and the menu features all the Neopolitan classics: a textbook marinara, a superlative Margherita and puffy, crispy bases topped with ham, artichokes, mushrooms, aubergine and more.
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