As loyal readers of this blog will know, when it comes to travelling everything else is a second priority behind my appetite. My recent four day trip to Naples was no exception and it should come as no surprise to read that while visiting the home of pizza I was very much led by my stomach before all else.
Pizzeria Da Attilio
Having arrived in the early evening and not having eaten anything since a full English earlier that day, I quickly booted up Google Maps on arrival in search of a good feed close to my hostel. As it happened, this was futile as I ended up chatting to a Brazilian lad – Luis – whose mate had been on a pizza making course earlier that day, and had been told that the nearby Pizzeria Da Attilio was the place to go for the best pizza in Naples!
Despite a walk resembling a stroll through the Wild West, with kids no older than 11 punching shop shutters to set off the alarms and one lad of a similar age riding a scooter on the main road, we arrived at the rather unassuming eatery.
We arrived just before the closing time of 11.30pm. You wouldn’t have known it was almost time to shut up shop, as there were still a few other parties waiting around for a table before us and we were seated pretty much as the doors were closing!
Despite being a place which wouldn’t stand out to the passing tourist, it was clear that this was the place to be as we were surrounded by locals without a single word of English being spoken on the tables around us. Always a good sign!
I opted for the Romana pizza, which was basically a margherita with anchovies. I’d heard it was best not to stray too far from the basic stuff as this is more of a ‘real pizza’, again who am I to question the experts?
Attilio himself was slaving away over the pizzas despite the late hour and within five minutes of our order the food was at the table. It really does make you wonder why a pizzeria in England takes half an hour to knock up something of much inferior quality! From watching the master at work it seemed to take him two to three minutes to prepare and cook a pizza, which was a real surprise to a layman like me.
Needless to say it was outstanding and set a high bar for the rest of the trip. Then again, maybe I was just that hungry anything would’ve blown my socks off! Perhaps even more impressive was the final cost of €34 for three pizzas, a bottle of red and two big bottles of water!
Pizzeria Rosario Piscopo
Following a tough morning of sightseeing broken up by sitting around drinking Aperol Spritz, we’d worked up quite an appetite. I left it to trusty Google Maps once more to find a pizza place away from the overpriced gaffs on the front and fit for the palette of a cultured pair of gents like Luis and I, and Pizzeria Rosario Piscopo was the one we settled on.
It looked like a straight upward walk from the Castel Dell’Ovo, however that was far from the case and we found ourselves wandering through a 10 minute long tunnel which I’m almost certain we weren’t supposed to be walking through before we made our round-about way to the joint. I found myself having flashbacks to a very similar situation at Taroko Gorge in Taiwan! Thankfully, anything goes in Naples so nobody seemed to bat an eyelid.
It felt like we had walked around half the city before we finally arrived, and despite the rave reviews the place was absolutely empty. Not a soul. I wasn’t even sure it was open, but the owner (I presume!) quickly noticed us and gave us the freedom to choose our table and order when we were ready.
Now, if ever there was a case for not judging a book by its cover then this was definitely it! Not a soul in there, no smells coming from the kitchen and no real atmosphere, but the pizza? Wow. I opted for the Sorrentina (with ham, cheese and rocket) and Luis had a 4 Stagioni (basically a bit of everything!), and we both couldn’t speak highly enough of them.
It was thicker dough than the night before, and a little less sloppy in my case, but equally as good if not better. An absolute hidden gem and a must-try!
On the way out too, the owner stopped us just before he sped off on his scooter to tell us of an excellent viewpoint at the end of the road. Top marks all round!
Pizzeria 400 Gradi
Another day, another pizza.
Set just off the bustling Via Toledo, this small pizzeria is a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ type of place. Thankfully, we didn’t blink and we didn’t miss it!
After two days of traditional pizza, I went for something a bit outside of the box with a fried pizza. Yes, I am in Naples, not Scotland.
Stuffed with loads of cheese, marinara sauce and what tasted like tuna (although I forgot to check the menu afterwards), this was heavy work. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, just not something I’d rush back to as I’m typing this 12 hours later and still feel full! A great value feed, as two of these and a bottle of red came in at €20 on the nose.
If you’re in the mood for a quick tipple after, head a block or two down where you’ll find a bar specialising in Aperol Spritz for €1!
Unfortunately, they have to close around 11pm due to the local residents so we only managed to get one drink. Still, at closing time on a Monday it was a hive of activity, with 30 or 40 people milling about outside. A mention must go to the guy in the video below, who upon finding out I was from England insisted that we sing Oasis’ Live Forever together for him to send to his mates on WhatsApp. Enjoy!
Italy’s #1 Liam Gallagher fan was the latest in a very long line of people to suggest this place. However, upon arrival it seemed I wasn’t the only one who’d heard about it.
In the end, I couldn’t figure out the waiting system (if there even was one) and my hunger got the better of me. Instead, I fired up Google for one last pizza.
Antica Pizzeria Dal 1959
Google hadn’t let me down thus far, and I trusted it once again to satisfy my cravings. Pizza in Naples seems to be like shooting fish in a barrel.
Despite being empty, I opted for this gaff as the reviews were once again outstanding and my previous experiences had proven that you can’t judge a pizza place by its lack of customers. I’m not sure that proverb will catch on.
I was outnumbered considerably as I was the only one in there while the staff, on the other hand, were five-strong. I took this as a sign that the place gets busier later and I was just being typically English in eating early.
The fact that this place was in Forcella, a slightly sketchier neighbourhood, might have put off some tourists too.
A little crispier than previous pizzas, but tasty nonetheless. Either I find it hard to tell good pizza from bad, or everything I ate in Naples was outstanding. I like to think it was the latter.
Honourable breakfast mentions
Yep – more carbs!