Friday, August 12, 2011

Neapolitan Pizza in Napoli

I’m in Napoli, the place where fast food was invented. The land where pizzas originated and raved about with many pointing that it must be the air or the water that makes it so good. 

Needless to say, our travelling party has been looking forward to it and we have been limiting ourselves in having pizzas elsewhere in anticipation.  

The two places that we went to as I subsequently discovered after my trip are members of the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association. In fact, they were part of the original group of founders who set this up to retain and preserve traditions, customs, quality and authenticity of the Original Neapolitan Pizza

A Neapolitan pizza is very specific, you can click here for more information.

We found ourselves at Ciro for our virgin experience of the Neapolitan pizza. Arriving early and with the heavens pouring on us, we stood with our squeaky shoes and wet umbrellas looking in at the staff going about setting up the place. A few minutes later, the doors opened and in we went. 

Without any debate, we went straight to the pizza section on the menu. 


Alla Ciro (Tomato, Mozzarella, Ham, Mushroom) €10

Margherita (Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil) €9

We chose one of the classic originals, the Margherita as one of our selections.  The simplest dish is sometimes the best way to taste and highlight the skills of the chef. We barely had to wait a few minutes after placing our orders and two huge pizzas was placed at our table. 

Cutting it into slices, I held my first slice and took a bite, then a second and a third. I have never had pizza like this, it totally blew our minds. 

Let's start with the crust.  The crust had a crispy exterior, slightly charred which gives a hint of smokiness that comes from baking it in a wood fired oven. Yet, it holds a soft and slightly chewy dough inside, almost sponge like.  This was light as air sponginess, I squeeze the crust between my fingers and in a few seconds, it has risen back up again like pillowy air pocket bubbles.

What continued to amaze was going to the toppings. The toppings were still liquidy and yet that few millimetres of crust holding the toppings were not soggy.  It still retained an amount of texture that holds everything. Biting into it yields a slight crunch sensation. 

More elastic rather than biscuity, airy pocket bubbles edges rather than chewy dough. Truly distinctive and I have not had anything like it. 

The Neapolitan pizza is just so different. We agreed that it is unfair to compare as it doesn't fall into what we always thought a pizza is. 

Ristorante Ciro a Mergellina
Via Mergellina 21 (the Lungomare), Napoli, Italy

The next day after walking for miles exploring Pompeii (highly recommended), we came back and headed to Matozzi. 

This time, we went with a pasta and pizza. 

Scialatielli Gamberi Vongole (Scialatielli with shrimps and clams) €10


The pizza did not fail to amaze once again and came out extremely fast.   You have to see with your own eyes to believe and understand the speed of it.

The pizza maker Paolo is the third generation of this family business which he mentioned when chatting with us. He was also kind enough to allow me to take a video of how fast it was to make the pizza, a mere 40 seconds. 

Ristorante Matozzi has such a great vibe which came from the staff. Friendly, fun, cheeky and vibrant, it was a great way to end the last night of our trip. 

Ristorante Mattozzi 
Piazza Carità, 2, 80134 Napoli, Italy
+39 081 552 4322

Part of my love for travelling is having this amazing experiences meeting people, their cultures and customs and tasting food in ways beyond my imagination. There are parts of Naples which is not safe as we were warned by locals and other travellers alike but that exists in many other places as well. Do not be put off by that as the warmth of the people and what this place has to offer is worth it. 

My first Neapolitan pizza is definitely deeply entrenched in my memories and plans are in the works to come back to check out the annual pizza competition held here every September.  

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  1. i am salivating. ly

  2. These pizzas look amazing. Sometimes the best things are the simplest.

  3. Nothing beats Italian food in Italy, this looks so gorgeous! Have never been to Napoli, but it's very high up on my to do list. I will keep your restaurant suggestions for this occasion.

  4. Gorgeous. Have now bumped Napoli further up the list of places to go, based on the strength of those descriptions. Can't wait.

  5. Mr Noodles - Yes. =)

    Ute and Tori - There is a food market near Matozzi as well and next door to is a gelataria that is meant to be really good too.

  6. Oh my. Those photos look so tasty, as though I'm nose deep in the pizza myself! My best pizza experience was also in Napoli - at Da Michele and I still salivate over the memory of that pizza.. yum. So want to go back!


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