Many say that the best pizza in the world is here in Napoli, and although I haven’t been everywhere, I wouldn’t doubt it. But which pizzeria does it best? Everyone seems to have their own opinion on the matter, so we decided to venture out and give one of the top contenders a try… L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele.
Many may know this pizzeria from the book/movie Eat Pray Love. Here’s the scene, filmed on-location:
And let me tell you, it’s even better than it looks. I don’t know how Julia Roberts ate hers by picking it up and folding it–even though that’s usually how it’s done here–because our pizzas were so soft and blanket-like (although not soggy or under cooked by any means) that we had to cut them into small pieces with a knife and fork to avoid all the toppings flopping over on to the table or in our hands.
The menu is simple at Michele’s. The choices are pizza Margherita (normal or medium, regular or double mozzarella) or pizza Marinara (normal or medium).
And here is a quick history of the pizzeria from the website:
“In 1870, the Condurro family started what was to become a long tradition of master pizza makers in the center of Naples.
Michele Condurro son of Salvatore, improved the family’s art of preparing the pizza, whose secrets he had learned from the famous masters in Torre Annunziata (district outside city), who were experts in preparing and kneading the dough, as well as baking the pizza.
Michele opened his first pizzeria in 1906, where the current Ascalesi Hospital is and whose construction forced the pizzeria to move. In 1930 the store was transferred to its present location, in Via Cesare Sersale. The historic pizzeria has often been described by experts and journalists as “the Sacred Temple of Pizza”.
Since then, five generations of master pizza makers have kept on working as the founder, following the tradition and being faithful to Grandfather Michele’s instructions: “There are only two types of Neapolitan Pizza, the “Marinara” and the “Margherita” and no “junk” should be used in preparing the pizza, because it could only alter its world famous genuineness and taste”.
The secret of da Michele’s never-ending success is: using natural ingredients and an old, traditional, time-tested method of leavening the pizza dough.”
Family, tradition, experience, and natural ingredients turn this common, simple dish into a masterpiece. That’s what I love about the food here in Naples (well, food in general). Made with love and care (and the best ingredients), a meal can become an art that pleases all the senses.
So here’s the verdict: My husband and I both got medium Margheritas (he got double mozzarella, and I’m kicking myself for not doing the same!) and a couple of beers. We both polished our plates. I don’t often order pizza unless I’m at an actual pizzeria, and I can’t recall any particularly bad experiences with pizza here, but I have to say that Michele’s is my favorite so far. However, there are still a handful of other favorites that I still need to try.