Of all the transcendental food experiences I’ve enjoyed throughout my travels Italy, nothing comes close to the feeling of biting into a perfectly prepared Neapolitan pizza for the first time. Neapolitan pizza-making is a true art form, one even recognized as part of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, and I’ve done my fair share of research to uncover the best pizza in Naples.
Naples is a city that captured both my heart – and my stomach – from my first visit and I continue to return several times a year for a margherita fix. I’ve dutifully eaten my way through the city’s many pizzerias in the name of culinary research and am excited to share notes about my favorite pizzas in the city. I’ve listed descriptions below and put them all on a handy map you can download by clicking the star at the top!
Sorbillo is arguably Naples’ most popular pizzeria and a long line begins to form an hour before opening for each lunch and dinner shift. The pizza here is very, very good and Gino Sorbillo himself is worth the hype – I loved this wonderful feature in Eater that highlights how Sorbillo almost single-handedly created the Neapolitan pizza culture as we see it today. He helped revitalize the maligned centro storico through his establishment and I’ve heard he’s a wonderful person so I’m all in for supporting him and his pizzas. The pizzas themselves are very oversized and quite wet in the middle, meaning they’re not the easiest to eat and some people criticize the consistency, but you can’t beat the excellent flavor. If you only have 24 hours in Naples though, I wouldn’t recommend spending half the day in line: if you need to try a Sorbillo pizza, head to Sorbillo Lievito a Madre down by the waterfront instead.
Gino Sorbillo Lievito Madre al Mare
This restaurant is surprisingly much less crowded than the flagship pizzeria but it still makes a pretty good pie (as well as an excellent gluten-free version!). It’s not quite as good as the original Sorbillo but it’s a good second option if you need the name value and the wonderful location on the waterfront earns it its place on this list: there’s indoor and outdoor seating meaning you can enjoy a view of the waterfront and take a stroll after your meal. I have a feeling that the standard margherita here comes served with smoked provola cheese, rather than margherita, so double-check when you order (unless you like a smokey pie). And although you’re supposed to pair pizza with beer (Italians love the carb-on-carb combo), the white Falanghina del Sannio is a truly delicious wine to accompany your meal!
Concettina ai Tre Santi
I love Rione Sanità, a blue collar neighbor in north Naples with a strong local identity, incredible architecture and delicious food, so I’m always happy to dine at Concettina ai Tre Santi and have a chance to wander around the area afterwards. This 4th generation family-owned pizzeria is helmed by Ciro, a young and ambitious pizzaiolo who, like Gino Sorbillo, is helping to turn his neighborhood around through his vibrant establishment. This modern pizzeria keeps reinventing itself and it is involved in numerous social initiatives, like offering Pizza Sospesa on the menu (a spin on the Caffe Sospeso tradition where you can contribute €2.50 for someone who can’t afford to buy their own pie).
Just nearby in the Materdei neighborhood lies Starita, my other go-to pizzeria. The pizzeria is famous for being the setting of L’Oro di Napoli starring Sofia Loren and for its 100 year old history. Starita first opened in 1901 as wine bar and then began serving local foods and today is well known for its Neapolitan pizzas and fried variations. Starita also has locations in Milan, Torino and New York, though I’d wager the Neapolitan branch is the best. I love ordering the marinara here, which comes slathered in tomato sauce and topped with extra cherry tomatoes, and you can’t miss the angioletti alla nutella: fried dough drizzled in melted nutella that is seriously one of the most orgasmic food experiences I’ve ever had. Unlike most other pizzerias, Starita is open on Sundays (closed Mondays).
Alongside Sorbillo, Da Michele is ultra famous in Naples for its inexpensive pizzas and for being featured in Eat, Pray, Love. It actually took me a while to get to this pizzeria because I was never in the mood to wait in a long line and I still probably wouldn’t recommend it over others: yes, the pizza is excellent and the atmosphere is traditional (verging on austere, but it’s a very classic blue collar place) and no, you can’t beat €4 for a margherita, but overall it’s not my favorite vibe. The experience feels a bit rushed and chaotic and you’re usually seated family style. It depends what you’re looking for but this pizzeria is not significantly better than any other pizza on this list so I’d recommend trying one with less of a crowd.
Di Matteo was the first pizzeria I fell in love with in Naples so I’ve got a soft spot for it, but like the other pizzerias along Via dei Tribunali you have to wait in line (something I clearly try my best to avoid at all costs). Di Matteo also has an excellent friggitoria out front so order up some fried treats like crocchè, melanze fritte and arancini, while you wait for your table.
Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba
Certainly one of the best pizzerias in the historic center, Pizzeria Port’Alba is criminally overlooked and underrated. This is one of the oldest pizzerias in the city and for some reason, it’s not talked about to death in guidebooks and blog posts – maybe because it isn’t a sexy spot, or maybe because the pies are €1-2 more than they should be – but the pizza here is really, really good. It’s also open all day, every day making it a great place to get your pizza fix on Sundays when most good establishments are closed. It’s also the perfect spot to try the city’s famous pizza al portafoglio, a small margherita folded in quarters (resembling a “wallet”) that you can pick up for only €2.50.
Palazzo Petrucci Pizzeria
Palazzo Petrucci Pizzeria might be the closest you’ll get to rooftop dining in Naples. Located on a low terrace in Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, it’s one of the few places you can enjoy a classic Neapolitan pizza al fresco with a view. An offshoot of Palazzo Petrucci, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the city’s chic Posillipo neighborhood, this pizzeria is a little more “upscale” than others in the area but you’ll still be rewarded with an authentic Neapolitan experience – and a delicious pizza. It also offers a welcome respite from the buzz of the city if you’re looking to get away from some of the action. In the evenings, the terrace is illuminated by candlelit, creating a romantic atmosphere.
La Figlia del Presidente
La Figlia del Presidente is better known among Neapolitans than foreigners and it gets seriously crowded on Saturday evenings despite lying just off the beaten path in the center, but you can make a reservation ahead of time and avoid the wait. This pizzerias is owned by Maria Cacialli and is a spinoff of the Pizzeria del Presidente originally owned by her father Ernesto, a master pizzaiolo who famously served Bill Clinton in 1994. Maria is a classic Neapolitan matron: warm, strong and decisive, skillfully managing a team of all male pizzaioli as she runs her pizzeria alongside her husband Felice Messina. This pizzeria is mainly situated underground but the dining area is spacious and bright so you won’t feel the difference. It’s also well-known for its frittatine di pasta so order one as an appetizer.
One of the cozier pizzerie in Naples Da Attilio is a third-generation restaurant nestled in the heart of the historic Pignasecca market, sandwiched in between fruit and vegetable stands, tripe shops and homeware stores. It’s a no-frills establishment that is a favorite with locals and well known for its Pizza Carnevale, a star-shaped pie with a stuffed crust filled with ricotta.
Heading away from the historic center, 50 Kalò is a contemporary pizzeria in the Mergellina district of the city. The well-to-do Neapolitans love it but I wouldn’t recommend a tourist to trek all the way across town for this pizza: it’s very good.. if you’re in the neighborhood. 50 Kalò roughly translates to “Good Dough” in Neapolitan dialect and has been highly lauded by food critics and pizza enthusiasts for its wonderful dough, a carefully-researched recipe that uses low-protein flour to ensure high digestibility (an all important aspect of Italian cuisine!).
I have to admit, La Notizia is the only pizzeria I haven’t personally tried on this list but I’ve heard too many wonderful things about it to leave it out! Helmed by Enzo Coccia, it is widely regarded as one of the best – if not the best – pizzeria in Naples but it’s also not convenient for tourists to reach so I haven’t been able to make the trek yet. I hope to report back with positive news after my next trip to the city!