Top Ten Pizzerias in Naples
Let’s get one thing straight ragazzi- pizza is just one of the MANY iconic dishes that Naples offers. Still no trip to Bella Napoli is complete without it. The original Neapolitan pizzas are the simple Marinara of San Marzano tomato sauce, oregano and garlic or the Margherita of tomato sauce, mozzarella or fiori di latte cheese and basil. The secret to enjoying a good pizza is to keep it simple. And for the love of God, don’t drive the pizzaioli of Naples crazy by trying to customize your f*cking order. Order what is one the menu and basta!
Below you will find my top ten pizzerias in and around Naples. You can eat an amazing pizza almost anywhere in Naples – and for that reason I am not putting the same tired old joints that have 2 hour lines and surly staff eager to put you in your place as foreign colonist/ pizza cultural appropriator (which you probably are, but I still hate the pizzeria clip board mafia….) In no particular order, my top ten pizzerias of Naples:
1) Pizzeria 22
In the heart of the Pignasecca market district, Pizzeria 22 just gets its. This is no frills and no lines joint. Arguably they have the best potato croquet in Naples here. Hand rolled and fried in fresh oil, these potato bombs offer one of the few excuses I use to order an antipasto before the pizza. Pizzeria 22 also offers a variety of Bourbon era inspired (the French Bourbons ruled Naples before the Italian Republic was formed in 1861) pizzas with the finest local ingredients including pomodori a piennolo (highly concentrated hanging tomatoes), Aversa fiori di latte and pecorino cheeses.
Enzo Coccia, the owner and head pizzaiolo at Notizia is GOD in Naples. He is the OG of the d.o.f*cking.c—(that is denominazione origine controllata). With exacting detail he selects the ingredients and purveyors of each seemingly simple element of his Margherita pizzas. He has written exacting articles on water ph levels and how they affect pizza leavening. He has studied how beech wood (faggio) vs. oak (quercia) is better to start a pizza oven fire vs. maintain a pizza oven temperature. To understand how pizza, a humble dish of the masses, becomes transcendental manna- go to Notizia.
3) A’ Pizzettata
Pizzettata is more than just a pizzeria- it is a neighborhood trattoria, watering hole and oh yes, they delivery, A LOT. It is a new kid on the bloc and yet they have perfected their dough recipe to establish themselves as one of the best pizzerias in the hilltop hood of Vomero. For something different order the pizza alla pizzettata which includes a tasting of four different pizza flavors. The house made liquor here is excellent.
The Marinara pizza here brings happy tears to my eyes every time. It is an ambrosial slice of heaven that converts all of the steadfast Margherita pizza lovers who eschew this more rustic cousin. To test the true skill set of a pizzaiolo one most always order a Marinara and Starita’s is the best. There are also many stuffed and fried pizzas here including the ricotta stuffed crusts of the stella and raquetta pizzas. But I will always remain loyal to the original Marinara.
Hands down the best gluten-free and whole grain pizzas in Napoli. They also have a full selection of gluten free mixed fried antipasti. My favorite pizza here is the Cetarese featuring anchovies from the Amalfi Coast town of Cetara. It will transport you straight to the sea.
6) La Masardona
The first hand-held street pizzas in Naples were moon shaped fried pizzas stuffed with flecks of ham, lard and ricotta. Remember Sophia Loren in the film the Gold of Naples- full of bosom and sass and serving pizzas out of miniscule storefront? Well she was serving pizza fritta. The pizza fritta at the original Masardona is the best in Naples. It is also a terrific hangover cure as most carb laden fried things are!
7) Pizzeria 900
Head pizzaiolo Carmine Mauro turns pizza into art here. There is the peacock pizza stuffed with every imaginable flavor and the sofia’s tits pizza- which unsurprisingly consists of two not so mini pizzas. Carmine once made a gold dust flecked pizza for President Obama. When I asked him what he would put in Trump’s pizza, he said squid ink! Gotta love a pizzaiolo with a culinary inflected sense of humor.
8) 50 Kalò
When Ciro Salvo opened 50 50 Kalò in 2013, it instantly became a beloved favorite among locals. It is not your typical hole in the wall pizzeria straight out of a Vittorio de Sica film. This is a luxury pizzeria in the heart of swanky Mergellina’s Piazza Sannazzaro. It is the pizza dough that stuns here—some how the crust is both soft, bouncy and crunchy all at the same time. Only the best pizzaioli manage to accomplish this feat. This is a place to take the naysayers and skeptics in order to convince that not only is Naples home to be best pizza in the world, it is also the best city in the world!!!
9) Pizzeria Sfizi e Fantasia
When I don’t feel like standing in line, waiting around and dealing with all of the flotsam and jetsam that is the Neapolitan Pizzeria Pilgrimage scene- I come here. It is next door to the entrance of the Napoli Sottosuolo catacombs and the best thing here is Pietro- the owner’s young son who acts as general Maître’s and badass pizza boss. He may only be ten years old but it is plain to see that he is in charge. Don’t know what to order? Ask Pietro. It is CHEAP here. And portions are abundant.
10) Pizzeria Carlo Sammarco Pizzeria
This is not your average Neapolitan pizza. The dough here is made with two simple ingredients- fizzy water and flour. The result is one of the lightest pizzas you will ever taste. The pizzeria is in Aversa so plan a day trip to the Reggia Caserta with a stop here after. The pizzas here are so light, you might just want to order seconds!