We went to Naples Italy to eat the best pizza in the world. While there, we found the best pizza in Naples and therefore the world. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!
We had many reasons to visit Naples, a real Italian city that’s filled with graffiti and history. Naples has more than its share of art and culture. The city also has an impressive assortment of beautiful churches on almost every block. And there’s the steaming Mount Vesuvius, majestically situated in the blue Bay of Naples.
Who are we kidding? We went to Naples for the pizza.
We can get excellent pizza without getting on an airplane. Of course there’s great Neapolitan pizza in New York at Motorino and Kesté. And it’s not just Manhattan. We did a pizza crawl in Staten Island, of all boroughs, a few years ago that blew our pizza-loving minds. More importantly (at least to us), there’s world-class pizza in our home city of Philadelphia, with the closest Neapolitan style pizzeria located just two short blocks from our house.
As the birthplace of pizza, Naples has more than its fair share of pizzerias. But, really, would the pizza be that much better than the pizza that we eat at home?
Naturally skeptical but culinarily curious, we were literally compelled to go to Naples in our quest for a taste of the perfect pie.
Upon our arrival in Naples and before we unpacked, we immediately enlisted the assistance of our gracious hotel host to help us plot out our pizza quest. We didn’t want to waste any time.
Enough Already, How Was the Pizza???
We ate a lot pizza during our time in Naples, and we didn’t have one bad pie. Not one. It’s fair to say that the worst pizza in Naples is better than most pizza anywhere else in the world.
For us, though, two pizzerias stood head and shoulder above the others as the best pizza in Naples.
The Best Pizza in Naples
Without further adieu, we present the best pizza in the world. (Cue the drum roll…)
Pizzaria La Notizia
Not messing around, we ate our very first meal in Naples at Pizzaria La Notizia.
Even though we were jet lagged from the three flights that had transported us eight time zones and almost 6,000 miles that very day, we ignored the recommendation for “perfectly good” pizza right near our hotel. (Sorry Ken!)
Instead, we journeyed to the pizzeria helmed by Enzo Coccia, a self-proclaimed pizzaiolo and world-renowned pizza expert. This journey involved a walk plus subway and bus rides to the Vomero neighborhood. We arrived at Pizzaria La Notizia, tired and hungry, to a 30 minute wait. We looked at each other and wondered if our trip had been worth the extra effort.
We peaked through the window and saw a room full of casual yet stylish locals happily eating and drinking. As we waited on the sidewalk with a small crowd of romantic couples and cheerful families, the initial signs were certainly favorable.
It was when we went inside, though, that we knew that we were in the right place.
Was it the tantalizing aroma of pizza wafting in the air? Was it the genuinely warm greeting that we received from Enzo himself and every member of his staff?
Was it the tour of the tiny kitchen with the domed brick oven before we were seated in a prime location right next to the kitchen?
Or was it the generous pour of local wine?
No. It came down to one thing and one thing only. And that was the pure and total bliss that we experienced when we bit into food made by a true pizza master.
We devoured a bruschetta, a pizza and a calzone. Each dish was artfully crafted utilizing the freshest available local ingredients which, thanks to its extraordinary volcanic terroir, gives Naples a home team advantage in the international food league. Only in Naples will you find basil the size of shiso leaves and sweet, bright red tomatoes that taste like they’ve been kissed by the sun. As good as the pizza was, the calzone was a revelation – a puffy torpedo of goodness featuring creamy buffalo ricotta covered with fatty strutto, a Neapolitan form of cured lard.
We ended the meal by chatting with Enzo. He doesn’t speak perfect English, and we barely speak any Italian. Somehow, though, we communicated with the language of pizza. As we left the restaurant and jumped into a taxi, we looked at each other and smiled. Yes, the trip to Pizzaria La Notizia had definitely been worth the journey.
Pizzaria La Notizia is located at Via Michelangelo da Caravaggio, 53-55, 80126 Napoli, Italy.
Relatively new, 50 Kalò is located in an elegant building in the ritzy Mergellina neighborhood. There’s a large dining room with a pizza oven right smack in the middle of the room and also outdoor seating which is where we sat. Since we arrived for a late lunch, there was no wait for a table perfectly positioned for prime people watching.
We ordered wine, as one is pretty much required to do at every meal in Naples, and wondered how the pizza would taste. We weren’t too sure if perhaps the restaurant was too refined to serve up good pizza. Would this be yet another case of style over substance? Before too long, we had our pizza and our answer.
The pizza at 50 Kalò is the real deal. The pies are made with purposefully sourced local ingredients like organic extra virgin olive oil from Don Alfonso 1890 as well as the best available cheese, tomatoes, meat and fish from local producers. But it’s what Ciro Salvo does with these ingredients that makes the pizza so special. His pillowy crust creates a perfect base for these wonderful ingredients. In other words, the pizza tastes good. Really good. Really, really good.
50 Kalò is located at Piazza Sannazaro, 201B, 80122 Napoli, Italy.
If you have limited time, skip the long wait (2+ hours!) at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele and instead go for pizza at one of the many pizzerias on Via Dei Tribunali. We especially liked the pie with salty anchovies at Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo.
L’Antica Pizzeriada Michele is located at Via Cesare Sersale, 1/3, 80139 Napoli, Italy.
Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo is located at Via dei Tribunali, 32, 80138 Napoli, Italy.
And the Best Pizza in Naples is…
Both Pizzaria La Notizia and 50 Kalò are serving up amazing pizzas. We can’t pick just one winner, and that’s okay. Trust us. Go to Naples soon, and go there hungry.