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Pizza is without a doubt one of Italy’s best known and best loved dishes – enjoyed by people of all ages, from small children to their parents and grandparents. As the home of pizza, with around 500 pizzerias in the city, Naples is recognised by UNESCO for pizza-making. No one in the world surely knows how to make pizza better than a Neapolitan. The best pizza is thus found in Naples, Italy!
On the Untold Italy podcast, we chatted to local pizza lover and official tour guide Pierpaulo from Joe Banana Tours and secured this incredible list of pizzerias to try in Naples. So read on to find out exactly where to find the best pizza in Napoli!
What is Neapolitan pizza?
So where did Italian pizza originate, and where do you find the most delicious pizza on the planet? The finest pizza in the world surely must come from Naples, as that’s where this hugely popular dish was born. Eating pizza in this Italian city is therefore an authentic experience quite unlike any other.
A cheese and tomato Margarita topped with a few green basil leaves is known as the classic pizza dish, yet the first pizzas weren’t actually topped with tomatoes at all. Pizza first appeared in the early 1700s, yet the popular fruit wasn’t introduced from Peru until the second half of the century.
Another typically Neapolitan pizza is the Marinara. Although the term means ‘from the sea’, the connection is to the fishermen who first ate it rather than the ingredients. The name comes from the fact that they returned to land so hungry that they would devour freshly-baked pizza directly from the oven. The Marinara pizza is very simple – just dough and tomato. No cheese.
Pizza from Naples has also been awarded the Designation of Controlled Origin (DOC), in addition to UNESCO recognition. This reflects the love, care and attention to detail that exists when every Neapolitan family bakes their own version of the pizza pie.
Pizza Fritta – or fried pizza – really is a thing, and stems from the days of World War II. Attempting to use up whatever ingredients they had, this Italian speciality may have been made using ricotta, provolone or mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and black pepper on a ciccioli bread base. This was then folded, calzone style, before frying.
Best traditional pizza
Here are some of the top traditional pizzerias in Naples, Italy. The best pizza in Italy can be found here. While some of these restaurants can be quite upmarket, your meal should cost no more than around €30 per person – including drinks.
Pepe In Grani
Pepe in Grani is located in Caiazzo, to the north of Naples. This was the first pizzeria to employ a Michelin starred chef. Their signature dish consists of a buffalo mozzarella topped base with stripes of highly concentrated tomato or basil gel on top.
Pizzeria i Masanielli
Pizzeria i Masanielli can be found in Caserta, also north of Naples. It is overseen by Francesco Martucci, a personal friend of our podcast interviewee Pierpaulo. This top pizza chef recently bagged the coveted 50 Top Pizza award, and his most famous dish is the Canotto (dinghy) pizza which features a feather-light dough base.
50 Kalò di Ciro Salvo
Chef Ciro Salvo runs the show at 50 Kalò, and he is a third generation member of a family of master pizzaiolo (pizza makers). House specialities include pizzas made with escarole – a local, leafy green vegetable. The highly hydrated dough used here also results in a pizza base as light as air.
Pizzaria la Notizia
Enzo Coccia is the leader of a dedicated pizza-making team at Pizzaria la Notizia in western Naples. The ethos here is on a team effort, with guests welcomed like long lost friends. Also a Michelin guide listed restaurant, the food here leaves many diners raving about having sampled the best pizza of their entire lives.
The Fratelli Salvo (Salvo brothers) are also responsible for the unforgettable meals served at Pizzeria Salvo. A particular favorite is not for the faint-hearted, pairing a super strong conciato cheese originating from Roman times with papacella – large round peppers that have been soaked in vinegar.
Popular pizzerias in Naples
If the best pizzeria in Naples for you serves superb food, yet is more laid-lack and pocket-friendly, then take a look at this selection of Neapolitan pizzerias. All serve very good food and offer visitors a warm Italian welcome.
There are several branches of this popular pizzeria around town, but we recommend visiting Sorbillo in Via Tribunali if you can. This historic restaurant has a convivial atmosphere and serves up a selection of perfectly baked favorite pizzas.
Since being made famous by the movie Eat, Pray, Love, it can be tricky to secure a table at Da Michele. Our podcast star Pierpaulo urges you to ask for double mozzarella here.
Up and coming pizza chefs in Naples
Naples also has its share of rising stars. Each place on the following list of pizzerias in Naples is run by young yet experienced pizzaiolo. Grab a slice of the action before they become overbooked – or overpriced.
Fresh-faced pizza chef Diego Vitagliano specialised in creating delicious contemporary twists on classic Italian combinations. Pizzas featuring the flavors of a traditional ragu or Genovese sauce are typical highlights of the menu.
Vincenzo Capuano is the chef at the helm of his eponymously named pizzeria in Piazza Vittoria in Naples. Beautifully presented yet affordable pizzas are the order of the day, with even die-hard New Yorkers praising the pies to the skies.
Pizzerias close to the central train station in Napoli
If you’re on a quick visit to the city, head to one of our top pick pizzerias located close to the central train station.
This Neapolitan pizzeria is over 100 years old. Carmnella‘s owner Vincenzo, also a friend of Pierpaolo, is committed to discovering the secrets of dough. One of his key aims is to improve its digestibility, while retaining a mouth-watering taste and texture.
However brief your visit to Naples is, Gallifuoco’s position – directly opposite the main train station – makes it a must. This place serves up a superb range of wood-fired pizzas. A top choice for first class, affordable food, with an authentic Italian interior and atmosphere.
Hungry? Head to Pellone for its huge pizzas that resemble chariot wheels – they are so large that they overhang the side of the plates. This place is so popular that a London branch has now been opened by the same owner.
Best pizza fritta
If you want to try fried pizza for yourself, then make sure to visit one of these leading pizzerias. They specialise in this folded, calzone style Neapolitan dish.
Antica Friggitoria Masardona
Antica Friggitoria Masardona uses all sorts of fillings for their fried calzone pizzas, made on the premises at Piazza Vittoria. They also serve delicious pasta dishes, standard topped pizzas and gelato.
Pizzeria de Figliole
Pizzeria de Figliole is regarded by many as the number one place in Naples for pizza fritta. Authentic fried pizza is served at this little gem of a pizzeria, favoured by locals and visitors alike.
Pizzerias near Pompeii
Naples isn’t the only place to sample some of the best Italian pizza. A couple of places in nearby Pompeii also came highly recommended by our pizza guru Pierpaolo.
Vincenzo Capuano Pompeii
Vincenzo Capuano has another pizzeria in Pompeii, as well as the one found on Piazza Vittoria in Naples. Again, his well-presented, flavour-packed pizzas can be expected here.
This Pompeii joint is a cocktail bar as well as a pizzeria, so you can wash down all that dough with an expertly mixed drink. With over 20 pizzas on the menu, there is certainly plenty of choice at Varnelli.
How to make Naples pizza at home
When one can’t be in Rome – or in this case Naples – why not try making a fabulous pizza at home? You can check out how to create a pizza worthy of any Neapolitan master right here.
There is also a great Facebook group for learning and practicing the art of making top class pizza. The language used is Italian, but don’t be daunted as it can easily be translated. If you fancy trying to make your own pizza along with the group, you can join Quelli di Bonci here.
For those who want to give it a go on their own, why not try a 24-hour fermented pizza dough that you can prepare in advance? Check out this delicious homemade pizza recipe (in English) here.
Where will you try the best pizza? Whether it’s in Naples, Italy or the comfort of your own home, the world’s finest pizza has to be eaten to be believed. If you are heading to the Naples or Pompeii areas, do make sure to try at least one of Pierpaolo’s recommendations! You can listen to him talk all about pizza on Episode 73 of the Untold Italy podcast.
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The creator, writer and photographer behind Untold Morsels, Katy has been travelling and tasting the world since she was a teenager.
Now the proud mum of twins, she hopes they grow up to share her passions of great food, wine and travel. Favourite destination: Italy