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