Pizza was invented in Naples, and arguably the best pizzas in the world can still be found here. *** = Luke's favorites, ## = haven't tried but want to
Every Neapolitan has a different opinion on what the best pizzeria is, although many of them will point you to the Centro Storico (Historic Center) of Naples. Several of the most famed/popular pizzerie are featured on the Restaurant page and the Downtown Restaurant page, as well as below:
- ***Da Michele (Condurro) - Sale Lilly (of Pizzasforsale.com fame, see below) righfully calls this the "In-n-Out of Pizzerie," given its short menu (only margherita and marinara) and cult status (both with Neapolitans and with Oprah Book club readers of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love). Via Cesare Sersale 1 (in the "Forcella" neighborhood in the Centro Storico, between Via Duomo and the main train station at Piazza Garibaldi), 081-553-9204, open 10-11, closed Sun except May/Dec; also closed for much of August.
- ***Gino Sorbillo - often on people's short list for best pizzeria in Naples; their Margherita is slightly less soggy and oily than da Michele but not as toasty and the sauce has slightly less flavor. Via dei Tribunali 32, 081-446-643, closed Sun (except Dec). Don't get suckered in by the two (!) other Sorbillos down the street. (This is also the only Centro Storico pizzeria to make it onto Sale Lilly's Top 10 Pizzas List)
- ***Gino Sorbillo Lievito Madre al Mare - Via Partenope 1, great branch of Gino Sorbillo right on the water near the Castel dell'Ovo (and the Chiaia shopping/nightlife district)...no reservations and it fills up fast, so get there when they open to ensure you get a seat—outside unless it's very chilly (since it gets hot inside!), see an early NYT writeup. As of ~2016-2018, they also had an *excellent* gluten-free pizza.
- ***La Notizia - some of the most inventive pizzas come from Enzo Coccia in his wonder of a pizzeria in Vomero; also features decadently light crust. Via Michelangelo da Caravaggio 53, 081-714-2155. To truly experience Enzo's genius, go with some friends and split several pizzas amongst the group. Rec'd by the NY Times.
- ***Concettina ai Tre Santi - Via Arena della Sanità 7 Bis (in the Sanità neighborhood, ~5 min walk from the Cavour metro station), is a fun place run by a pizzaiolo who cares about this often-neglected neighborhood; they have a pretty extensive menu, including some interesting calzones, also have some gluten-free options. Get there early to avoid a wait, and optionally participate in the "pizza sospeso" (a riff on caffè sospeso) tradition, where you pay for a pizza for a poor person who can't afford one (NY Times explains more). Rec'd Michelin, Lonely Planet, Scatti di Gusto, Gambero Rosso (they won a prize for being one of the top 6 pizzas in all Italy), Il Golosario
- ###50 Kalò - new-ish pizzeria by Ciro Salvo in Mergellina that has really good ingredients, rec'd by the NYT and Slow Food 2016
- Di Matteo - one of the classic centro storico pizzerie; also has a busy business in take-away food. Via dei Tribunali 94, 081-455-262.
- Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente - when Bill Clinton was in town for the G8 Summit in 2004, he stopped at Da Matteo for some pizza; shortly afterwards, the pizzaiolo, Ernesto Cacialli, decided to open up his own shop just down the street, which is another of the "short list" for best pizza in Naples. Via Tribunali 120, 081-210-903, closed Sun.
- Port'Alba - the oldest pizzeria in Naples (founded in 1738!), just inside the eponymous Alba gate off of Piazza Dante. A little "upscale" but still nice--feels more like a restaurant than a pizzeria. Via Port'Alba 18, 081-459-713. See blogger review.
- Pizzeria Pellone - near Piazza Garibaldi, Sale Lilly's favorite pizza out of 365! Via Nazionale 93, just N of the Centrale train station.
- Various Pozzuoli pizzerie (such as Acqua e Farina and Bocuccia di Rosa) are on the Campi Flegrei page
- NOT Rec'd: Brandi - the inventor of the Margherita pizza (see below) is unfortunately a bit overpriced and mediocre now.
- ###In Caiazzo (~30 min N of Caserta, ~1 hour N of Naples): Pepe in Grani - Food and Wine Magazine says this may be the best pizza in the world; Katie Parla has a great post explaining how their pizza reflects the Alto Casertano region
- More pizzerias:
- Scatti di Gusto has some great (Italian) articles about pizzerie, such as this 2014 article with the top 30 in Italy (mostly in Naples), this 2016 one of 15 pizzas to try before you die, and this 2016 article of a critic's top 8 pizzerie...they also quote Gambero Rosso's 2015 rankings here
- 2foodtrippers has a great Naples Pizza Guide
Types of Pizza/Pizza terms
The following will help you decipher terms not already described on the list of food words:
- Pizzaiolo - the pizza baker; the best are true magicians
- Margherita - named after Margherita of Savoy, wife of Italian King Umberto I. When Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi brought Queen Margherita three pizzas, she chose this one as her favorite--with the same green (basil), white (mozzarella), and red (tomato sauce) as the Italian flag.
- Marinara - "Sailor style" pizza, with a simple tomato sauce seasoned with garlic, oregano, and basil (because sailors--or their wives--had to whip up a simple recipe upon returning to port)
- Diavola - "Devilish," with spicy sausages. The closest thing to a pepperoni pizza, and consequently popular with Americans. (Note that "pepperoni" is the American word...the Italian word peperoni, with only 2 p's, means "bell peppers")
- Filetto - "Fillets," meaning with fillets of chopped fresh tomatoes, vice a tomato sauce.
- Siciliana - "Sicily Style," with melanzane (eggplant, the Sicilians' favorite vegetable)
- Quattro Formaggi - "Four Cheeses," about what it sounds like
- Quattro Stagioni - "Four Seasons," usually a pizza divided into four areas, each with a different topping
- Vera Pizza Napoletana - a green sign (of Pulcinella pulling a pizza out of the oven) denoting pizzaioli who are certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (the Association of True Naples Pizza) as producing "true" Naples pizza, which meets certain standards of quality.
Gluten Free Pizza
Celiac or can't eat gluten for some other reason? Luckily, there are a lot of Italians in the same situation, and thus there is "pizza senza glutine" or "pizza per celiache". The Associzione Italiana Celiachia has more information. Here are some pizzerie that have gluten-free pizzas:
- Pizzeria del Guappo - in Moiano (E of Caserta, ~1 hour north of Naples), named by Gambero Rosso in 2016 as the best gluten-free pizza in Italy
- Gino Sorbillo Lievito Madre al Mare - see above
- Pizzeria Fresco - on the waterfront near Castel dell'Ovo, although if you're there Gino Sorbillo's is better
Learning More About Pizza
- Pizzasforsale.com is a wondeful website created by Navy Intel Officer Sale Lilly describing his quest to eat 365 pizzas over two years, along with detailed reviews of each pizza.
- This Houston Chronicle article gives a more recent (2014) take on Naples pizza, by Andrew Sessa and Katie Parla
- Arthur Schwartz's (no relation to Wikinapoli's founder) food maven website describes several famous Naples pizzerie
- Waitrose.com includes an article describing some of the best Naples pizzerie
- Cellartours also has a good article on what it considers the "top 10" Naples pizzerie
- Other guides to Naples Pizza (in Italian): Gazzetta Gastronomica, Luciano Pignataro/Slow Food, Pizzerie Napoli