After our trip to Milan to preview the 2016 Spring/Summer shoe collections, we travelled to other parts of Italy to take in what inspires us about Italian shoes & fashion and wanting to sell Italian Made Shoes/Handbags. A lot comes from nature, the incredible coastline, the art of food, and a passion for design & style. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to meet many passionate shoe designers and to hear their stories and their passion for specific designs. It inspires us to sell our Italian shoes and impart that passion in our store. Consequently, we also have a deep appreciation for other people & crafts that impart that same passion in whatever they are creating.
We decided to finally make a trip to Naples to experience “Pizza Passion” and the art of Neapolitan Pizza. If you google Neapolitan pizza you will find many links describing this style of pizza. I recommend reading up on it as it is different. It’s made with a very specific, and strict, guideline in terms of dough, sauce, mozzarella cheese, pizza oven, etc. I love this style of pizza and I have a passion for eating it! I love other styles too, but this style has taken me to another place in my food/pizza experience. The majority of our vacation was devoted to Italy’s southern coast of Amalfi and Capri. But, we decided to squeeze in one night of pizza.
We had done our research in advance and came up with 4 pizza spots that we wanted to try. I am not sure if these were the top 4 in terms of ranking, as that is subjective opinion, but we did have to narrow down the list to be the most efficient given the 3-4 hours we had. We wanted to finish each pizza (no leftovers!) and keep moving on, but still appreciating each pizza spot. We didn’t take any to go orders. So we called it the “Pizza Tour… One Night in Naples”.
We booked a hotel that was 1 to 1.5 blocks away from what is commonly known as pizza boulevard: Via de Tribunali. Our researched list included 7 pizza spots (not that we expected to hit them all, but in case any were closed, lines too long, couldn’t find the place, etc.). Our top 4 must hit places were:
• Sorbillo, (via de Tribunali,32)
• Di Matteo (via de Tribunali,94)
• Pizzalo de Presidente (via de Tribunali, 94)
• L’Antica da Michele (via Cesare Sersale, 1/3)
This was also based on overall recommendations and close proximity to each pizza location. Thus, after landing at Naples Airport, catching a taxi to hotel (some tips about this later), splashing our face/refresh, we set out on our long awaited tour.
The first pizzeria we arrived at was Sorbillo. There was a bit of a crowd outside the entrance and in the narrow street. However, without wasting much time admiring the scene, we quickly found the lady taking down names for the waiting list. She said about 20 minutes, so not bad and it was actually a bit quicker. Remember they pump out these pizzas in about 90 seconds! They also don’t want too much lingering after you are done.
Once our name was called we sat down, we ordered our Margherita pizza and a couple glasses of wine. The pizza came out in the expected 2 minutes. It’s amazing how fast they do it but with so much care and attention to the ingredients and the process. We took a couple of quick pics, and then dove right in! The pizza truly was fantastic… a light charred crust from the oven, excellent DOP mozzarella cheese, and tasty tomatoes. For me, the key is the true simplicity of the ingredients coming together to make for an unforgettable taste experience. And it is why I love this style of pizza so much (if done right). Sorbillo provided a very good pizza. It didn’t take long to polish off the pizza, and now we had to move on to the next place (and make room for all the other eager people waiting outside).
The next stop was Di Matteo. Luckily, we arrived and were able to snag a table right away. You go right by the beautiful pizza oven and the pizza making station/area. In addition to being known for great pizza, they are also famous for having President Bill Clinton drop by in 1994 during a G7 summit. (Check it out on YouTube) I really can’t imagine the scene it must have been having him there. We love Margherita pizza for its simplicity and taste so we decided to order that at each place. We ordered their award winning 2012 Margherita recipe. While waiting, we got to admire the pizza making scene. The pizzaiolo’s were doing their thing: we saw them lightly fry some crusts before putting on the ingredients, some amazing looking calzones, and of course the house special margherita. It truly is an art. It seems chaotic, but it all works so well. Our pizza arrived and was piping hot and had a perfect crust. We like to add a touch of olive oil (EVOO) to the pizza for some added flavor. Di Matteo was really good. The flavor combination was on-point! I truly savored each bite. I gave Di Matteo an excellent rating. I could have easily ordered a second pizza as I didn’t want the experience to end. But sadly, we needed to move on if we wanted to hit 2 more places.
After leaving, we decided to skip dal Presidente, which was just down the street, and make our way to L’Antica da Michele. It was about a 10 minute walk, which we figured we needed. Da Michelle is also famous for their great pizza. The only make 2 styles: Marinara and Margherita. But they are also famous for being in the book/movie “Eat, Pray, Love” with Julia Roberts. So the popularity has grown as you can imagine. But it’s still all about the pizza. It is on a street that is perpendicular to via de Tribunali. When we finally arrived, it became obvious that there was a massive crowd outside of this place. There was no mistaking what the crowd was there for. We placed our name on the list and were told 1.5 hours wait.
We headed to a bar just across the way from Da Michele. Figured the wait would do us some good as we were feeling pretty full, but still enjoying the experience. We ordered a couple of Limoncello’s to help with digestion. Unfortunately, the time wasn’t passing and we were feeling pretty full. We decided that we were not going to fit in the other 2 places, and that we would just have to come back for another visit!
We truly enjoyed the pizza! It is worth the visit especially if you are a Neapolitan pizza fanatic. I enjoyed Di Matteo the most, just a little bit over Sorbillo. But both pizzas were wonderful and I would recommend either place. So Da Michele and the others… we will see you next time.
Thank you for reading about this pizza journey. We hope you enjoyed it and we welcome your comments, suggestions, your experiences, etc. Stay tuned for our next post about Italy’s incredible Amalfi Coast
Some tips and other information from Naples that we learned:
Taxis: I would recommend getting the fare before getting in the taxi and also before putting any suitcases/bags in the back. It seemed to be up for negotiation. We learned the hard way right from the get go at the airport. The guy put our bags in the back and started. But then told us it was 35euros. It was too late to get the actual fare, but we at least got him down to 25euros.
Pizza places we had on our list:
• Sorbillo, (via de Tribunali,32) www.sorbillo.it
• Di Matteo (via de Tribunali,94) www.pizzeriadimatteo.com
• Pizzalo de Presidente (via de Tribunali, 94)
• L’Antica da Michele (via Cesare Sersale, 1/3 www.damichele.net
• Starita (via de Materdei, 27) www.pizzeriestarita.it
• Brandi (Salita Sant’Anna di Pallazo, 1) www.brandi.it
• Da Ettore (Via S. Lucia, 56)
• La Notizia (via Michelangelo Caravaggio, 53-55) www.pizzarialanotizia.com