Like everyone who is obsessed by pizza, I have dedicated a good portion of my travel time to finding the best pizza in Naples.
Naples makes a strong case for inventing the pizza. In 1889, Antica Pizzeria Brandi made pizza for King Umberto and Queen Margherita. But instead of preparing the usual combination of oven-baked dough, olive oil, and garlic, pizza chef Raffaele Esposito decided to create a more royal pizza, adding tomato sauce. Today, this pizza is famously known as the Margherita pizza, and Brandi Pizzeria still operates in Naples. Carrying legions of pizzeria’s like these on its shoulders, Naples is filled with dedicated pizzaioli (pizza chefs) who are both trying to stay true to their tradition while creating unique pizzas.
I dined at Pizzeria Lombardi Dal 1892 for the first time a few weeks ago. Instead of dining at the infinitely famous Naples pizzeria’s, such as Da Michele and Trianon, I wanted to get a bit off the beaten path. There are so many pizza restaurants in Naples that finding the best pizzeria is a perpetually rewarding process. Located on Via Foria 12, the same street that goes past the Naples National Archaeological Museum, Pizzeria Lombardi is open every day of the week, including Monday, the night when many restaurants are closed.
The décor is a little tacky, but the service was astute and friendly. The menu offers a long list of unique pizzas, and though there were images to accompany them–a practice that I can’t personally stand–the ingredients are mouthwatering. The Nando and Gigi pizzas both offer the decadent buffalo mozzarella; the ingredient that makes Neapolitan pizza so special in my opinion. Buffalo mozzarella, also known as mozzarella di bufala, is a rich and creamy mozzarella made from real buffalo milk, and it is primarily sourced from the nearby Amalfi Coast. These two pizzas carry the hefty price tag of 9 euro (which is only hefty when you consider that most Margherita pizzas run 4 euro), but I couldn’t stop myself from ordering the Nando, which comes with a veritable tower of buffalo-milk ricotta in the center.
My girlfriend and I were debating whether or not to order a vegetable side dish when we spotted the Allo Contorno Pizza. Literally the “side dish pizza”, it came topped with an incredible amount of marinated vegetables. If you want the best of both worlds, a great pizza and a well-rounded meal, this is what you should order.
The Nando pizza was a new experience, which means a lot when you’re talking about an ancient tradition. The crust was not as thin as some Neapolitan crusts, but it was impeccably chewy. The sauce was thick with half-dissolved, whole tomatoes. The ricotta was nicely browned on top, making for a crème-Brule-like glaze, and the buffalo mozzarella was everything it promised.
Besides the flavors, my favorite aspect of Pizzeria Lombardi is its generosity. The pizzas were huge and the toppings were lavish. It’s well-worth spending a few more euro to visit this restaurant.
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com