There are hundreds of restaurants that specialize in pizza in Naples, and the best of these make pizza and nothing else. As befits the original fast food, pizzerie tend to be simple, fairly basic places, with limited menu choices, and quick, occasionally brusque service: the less complicated your order, the happier the waiters. We’ve got the insider Italy tips—on what to order, why Neapolitan pizza is so special, and the top pizzerie to try—to inspire your next trip to Naples.
What to Order
Ranging from the size of a plate to that of Hummer wheel, Neapolitan pizza is pretty different from anything you might find elsewhere in Italy—not to mention what’s served up at American pizza chains. The "purest" form s the marinara, topped with only tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and olive oil.
- margherita, the classic made with red tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese, and a few leaves of fresh green basil—reflecting the three colors of the Italian flag
- capricciosa (the "capricious"), made with whatever the chef has on hand.
- siciliana with mozzarella and eggplant.
- diavola with spicy salami.
- quattro stagione ("four seasons"), made with produce from each one.
- salsiccia e friarielli with sausage and a broccolilike vegetable.
Special Ingredients & Wood-Burning Oven
An association of Neapolitan pizza chefs has standardized the ingredients and methods that have to be used to make pizza certified DOC (denominazione d’origine controllata) or stg (specialità tradizionale garantita):
- Locally grown San Marzano tomatoes are a must.
- The best pizza should come out with cheese bubbling and be ever-so-slightly charred around its edges.
- Only buffalo-milk mozzarella or fior di latte cheese should be used.
- The dough has to use the right kind of durum wheat flour and be left to rise for at least six hours.
The Neapolitan pizza must be made in a traditional wood-burning oven. Chunks of beech or maple are stacked up against the sides of the huge, tiled ovens, then shoved onto the slate base of the oven where they burn quickly at high temperatures. If you visit Pompeii, you will see how similar the old Roman bread-baking ovens are to the modern pizza oven. The pizzaiolo (pizza chef) then uses a long wooden paddle to put the pizza into the oven, where it cooks quickly.
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Recommended Fodor’s Video
Fodor’s Choice Review: Da Michele
You have to love a place that has, for more than 130 years, offered only two types of pizza—marinara (with tomato, garlic, and oregano) and margherita (with tomato, mozzarella, and basil)—and a small selection of drinks, and still manages to attract long lines . . . See full Da Michele restaurant review.
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Photo Credit: Campania Tourism.