Author Topic: Naples, Pizza journey  (Read 3351 times)

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Offline PetersPizza

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Naples, Pizza journey
« on: February 18, 2013, 08:17:50 AM »
My wife and I spent a magical week in Naples back in December...what a wonderful city.  Pizza, music, chaotic streets; an absolute heaven.
Due to many things, I didn't have the time to focus on typing up our pizza notes and re-sizing photos till now. For another topic, but after Naples we also had the opportunity to visit Franco Manca while we were staying in London.

I want to thank Omid and Marco for providing the invaluable information and inspiration that motivated us to take this trip. Hopefully I will make it back in the next few months. Naples is one of those cities that latch onto you...similar to Istanbul.

In 6 days we visited 11 pizzerias, returning to Di Matteo and Da Michele. We consumed around 23 pizzas between the two of us...but thanks to Naples being such a captivating city we ended up walking about 10 miles a day from dawn to dusk, stopping only for the 15-20 minute pizza break. Also the weather was nearly perfect except for two short bone-soaking downpours, adding to the adventure.

On our first night we went to Gino Sorbillo's and had a margarita and a marinara. The cornice was light with little flavor and good charring, mild tomato and chewy, slightly sour mozzarella. As our first Neapolitan pies, they were a bit disappointing.
The following morning we went to da Michele at 11:30am. Ordering a single margarita. The difference was night and day compared to Gino Sorbillo's, the cornice boasted complexity; the cheese was creamy and well melted, and the sauce was robust.
A few hours later, we went to Trianon da Ciro. We had a DOC margarita. The pie was tough and doughy with little flavor, and bland cherry tomatoes. The rich and creamy buffalo mozzarella was the only redeeming quality.
 Later that night we stopped at Di Matteo for two street margaritas. They exploded with fresh tomato and flavorful dough with well-charred tender undercrusts. Best fast food I've ever ate ;)

The next day we went to Pizzeria Vincenzo Costa (Antic Costa) and had one margarita and a margarita with mushrooms. The undecrust was charred and packed with subtle flavors, revealing different notes bite by bite. The mozzarella was melted but maintained a slight chewiness, and the tomatoes were mellow allowing the dough to shine. Later we picked up one street pizza from Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente. It was bland and unmemorable.  
In the early evening went to Pizzeria Vesi (Via Tribunali) and had one margarita. It was a bit under cooked, the sauce was ok and the cheese was chewy and flavorful. Since, we came near the end of their busy time, this may not be a fair representation of Vesi's average pie.

That night after wandering into an amazing four-hour long concert by students of the music conservatory, we went to Sorbillos. We had one margarita, it was a good baseline pie. The cornice was airy, tender and lightly charred. Well melted mozzarella and mildly flavored sauce. It was far better than Gino Sorbillos imo, since it had a delicious soupy center.

We returned to da Michele the next morning. The pies were again excellent, withstanding the test of our increased experience. Only the sauce seemed lacking after Di Matteo's.
Soon after, we took the train to Sorrento and spent a few hours strolling around in what seemed to be a ghost town. In contrast to Naples, beautiful as it was, Sorrento felt like an empty stage for tourists; lacking authenticity.
Around 5:00 pm we got on the train to Torre Annunziata(about half way between Naples and Sorrento) to visit pizzeria MassŤ where Ciro Salvo works. We arrived much too early before the ovens were even running, and we were instructed to come back around 8:30pm. Giving us time to stumble into an artsy chocolateria and enjoy some exquisite espresso drinks and chocolate fondue.
 
We returned to MassŤ around 9:00 pm. And ordered two margaritas, one with mozzarella di bufala. As soon as the pies arrived I could see how light they were. Upon the first bite I was sent into a state of euphoria.  Every aspect of the pizza was superb, surpassing the best qualities of all pies we had tried. The cornice was like cutting into a cloud it. The undercrust was expertly charred providing just enough flavor. The Mozzarella melted to perfection, nearly dissolving in your mouth. Along with sauce that exuded freshness complemented by a drizzle of subtle oil. Had Ciro's pizza been the first pizza I tasted, I would have spent the entire week worshiping at Masse. Hopefully I will be able to return soon.

After Ciro's pies we were confident that nothing could possibly exceed that level of perfection. But we continued to experience as much as we could in the short time we had left. Hard work  ;D
Around noon the next day we went to Pizzeria Da Attillo for two margaritas. They were fairly good pies, similar to Sorbillo's. Nothing amazing but worth the visit to enjoy the family atmosphere.

For late lunch we went to Port'Alba with very low expectations after reading reviews the night before. As expected the pizza was poor. The dough was nearly raw, with tasteless sauce and cheese. And a hefty service charge on top. Port'Alba may be the oldest, but from our experience is has devolved into a shabby tourist trap. I feel sorry for anyone who is directed there, especially those who only have the opportunity to try one pie in Naples.

That night after the fifth concert we stumbled upon, Mastro Masiello Mandolino, we went to Di Matteo. Two margaritas, one with eggplant. They were large well baked and wonderfully soupy, blasting with the same tomatoes that we experience on the street version. But accentuated by the rich melted mozzarella and sunflower oil. A worthy final bite of Naples.


Ranked:
1. MassŤ (Ciro Salvo)
2. Di Matteo
3. L'antica Pizzeria da Michele
4. Pizzeria Vincenzo Costa (Antic Costa)
5. Sorbillo
6. Franco Manca (Brixton, London. Tough competition...)
7. Gino Sorbillo
8. Da Attilio  
9. Vesi
10. Trianon da Ciro
11, Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente (only based on street pizza)
12. Port'Alba

Over the next few days I'll continue adding photos as I have time to resize/upload. For now, I uploaded almost all of the photos into a flickr set. http://www.flickr.com//photos/93321351@N03/sets/72157632797459928/show/

ciao,

-Peter

« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 09:31:46 AM by PetersPizza »


Offline PetersPizza

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 08:18:55 AM »
continued

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 08:27:24 AM »
Thank you for the detailed reviews, you must have had quite a trip. I can't wait to see Ciro's pies.

John

Offline PetersPizza

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 08:52:18 AM »
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 09:31:13 AM by PetersPizza »

Offline dineomite

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 09:40:15 AM »
Envy! One day the dollar will get stronger and I can afford to take a trip like this.

Offline Creeper

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 09:46:34 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to write this up, Peter.  Great stuff.  I like that you hit some of the not-quite-as-well-known spots, like Da Attillo and Vesi.  On your return, I heartily recommend the pizza fritta at Antica Costa.

Offline PetersPizza

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 09:53:08 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to write this up, Peter.  Great stuff.  I like that you hit some of the not-quite-as-well-known spots, like Da Attillo and Vesi.  On your return, I heartily recommend the pizza fritta at Antica Costa.
I've heard they're great.

I would love to, if they'll make it without Cicoli...I'm a vegetarian  ;)

-Peter

Offline mkevenson

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 10:20:33 AM »
Peter, thank you so much for the fine review. We were unable to visit Naples last Oct so you have filled the gap. Good job!
Nice slide show on flicker!
Mark
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 10:25:44 AM by mkevenson »
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Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 10:55:16 AM »
After looking at your flickr set it is really interesting to see how much of a difference there is in leoparding and charring in Da Michele and MassŤ compared to the rest of the pics. Those two pizzerias are much more in line with what we are trying to accomplish here on the forum. Yet the other establishments are considered traditional NP pies as well.

John

Offline andreguidon

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 11:30:38 AM »
Great Trip and Review Peter! wen i was in Naples (june 2012) Masse was not open yet, the best pizza i had was at Di Matteo, what also was great was the fried antipasto at Di Matteo.
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Offline R2-Bayou

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2013, 12:20:48 PM »
Awesome! Thanks Peter!
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Offline kiwipete

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2013, 02:55:36 PM »
Thanks for a very insightful review.

As an aside, I noticed the use of wooden dough boxes in 3 different photos..

Offline Pizza Napoletana

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 05:12:49 PM »
My wife and I spent a magical week in Naples back in December. . . .

Dear Peter, thank you for the review and pictures; I enjoyed them. Have a great day!

Omid
Recipes make pizzas no more than sermons make saints!

http://pizzanapoletanismo.com/2011/09/27/a-philosophy-of-pizza-napoletanismo/

Offline PetersPizza

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2013, 06:53:35 PM »
Peter, thank you so much for the fine review. We were unable to visit Naples last Oct so you have filled the gap. Good job!
Nice slide show on flicker!
Mark

Glad you enjoyed it. You must make it to Naples sometime soon...I feel it's so close to the edge of destruction by economics, pollution and of course Vesuvius looming over head. 
After looking at your flickr set it is really interesting to see how much of a difference there is in leoparding and charring in Da Michele and MassŤ compared to the rest of the pics. Those two pizzerias are much more in line with what we are trying to accomplish here on the forum. Yet the other establishments are considered traditional NP pies as well.
John

Yeah, most had almost no leparding and in the case of Di Matteo the cornice was low and more evenly browned without the strong contrast of pale and char...possibly because of a different flour mix.

Great Trip and Review Peter! wen i was in Naples (june 2012) Masse was not open yet, the best pizza i had was at Di Matteo, what also was great was the fried antipasto a

Thanks, it was a perfect trip in every way, we went with no plans but a loose list of pizzerias and the intention to haul as much cheese as we could carry back to London. (9kg in our carry-ons, no checked luggage) ;D  . I have a short video, that needs to be edited, of the front of Di Matteo. It was constantly swarmed with locals at the counter for street pies. fried eggplant, cicoli and mozzarella sticks, pizza fritta, and what seemed to be fried polenta balls.
Awesome! Thanks Peter!

Thank you.

Thanks for a very insightful review.
As an aside, I noticed the use of wooden dough boxes in 3 different photos..

Glad you enjoyed it, Pete.
From what I have read and seen, the dough balls are moved from plastic boxes to wood for the final stage of fermentation.
Dear Peter, thank you for the review and pictures; I enjoyed them. Have a great day!
Omid

I will always be in Marco's and your debt for this absolutely perfect week. Thank you!

A few short videos of the concerts we had the pleasure attend. (excuse to goofy username)

Mastro Massiello Mandolino
IMG 0678


Romeo Barbaro - Tambourine
Romeo Barbaro - Tambourine | Naples


Ludovica Ambroselli - Beethoven Allegretto S.25 n.29
Ludovica Ambroselli - Beethoven Allegretto S.25 n.29


A. Piazzolla: Quattro Stagioni
A. Piazzolla: Quattro Stagioni


Ave Maria - Coro Polifonico Exsultate Deo
Ave Maria - Coro Polifonico Exsultate Deo


-Peter
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 12:19:24 PM by Steve »

Online scott123

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2013, 07:56:20 PM »
Yet the other establishments are considered traditional NP pies as well.

Are they? By whom? ;D Some of these appear to look, imo, pretty far north of 2 minute bakes. If a pizza is made in Naples, is it automatically a traditional NP pizza?

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2013, 07:38:45 AM »
Some of these appear to look, imo, pretty far north of 2 minute bakes.

No, I think they are under two minutes, but a shorter dough. Same day probably. The reason I said "traditional" is that they are some of the more well-known names in Naples. But now that you have me thinking about it, they may just be tourist traps.

John

Offline thezaman

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2013, 10:07:14 AM »
thanks for your well done report and you fantastic flicker pics.!!

Online scott123

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2013, 04:11:56 PM »
No, I think they are under two minutes, but a shorter dough.


FWIW, and unless Peter clocked a bake time, there's no way to confirm it, but I believe Da Attilio is pretty far north of 2 mnutes- at least 2.5, imo.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8100/8484811453_5051516d00_h.jpg

Offline Creeper

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2013, 07:05:15 PM »
I was lucky enough to spend some time at Da Attilio.  Bake time varied by time of day.  Meaning, it varied by how active the oven / fire was.  Pies during peak service were typically under 2 minutes.  But there were times, such as the start or end of service or during other occasional lulls, when bake time would increase.

Offline apizza

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Re: Naples, Pizza journey
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2013, 07:36:53 PM »
Thank you for a wonderful pizza visit to Naples. Besides the pizza I would say you saw some really great concerts. I enjoyed the videos.
Marty


 

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