We can say one thing for sure: it is truly a challenge to eat a bad pizza in Naples. Any pizzeria serving less than stellar pies in this pizza-centric city wouldn’t last very long, so often it’s not worth waiting in the long queues to nab a table at the most famous pizza joints when you can get an equally unforgettable pizza napolitana at a little-known spot just steps away in minutes. Here we list what we think are the best pizzerias in Naples, beloved by locals and serving authentic pizza made the old-fashioned way.
Do pizzerias in Naples accept reservations?
Most Neapolitan pizzerias do not accept reservations. Once you arrive, give your name to the cashier or host and wait outside until you are called (usually with a megaphone). At the most famous pizzerias, you can wait up to an hour for a table during peak periods like weekends, though most Italians happily pass the time chatting in the street, getting to know the other people in line, and warding off hunger pangs with a starter snack from the nearby bars…it’s all part of the experience of eating a pizza in La Bella Napoli. That said, there are a few pizzerias that accept reservations, so check websites to find one that does.
1. L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele a Forcella - Neapolitan landmark
Probably the most famous pizzeria in Naples and featured in Julia Roberts' film “Eat, Pray, Love”. This pizzeria only serves two types of pizza: margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil leaves) and marinara (tomato sauce, garlic, and oregano) plus a limited selection of drinks. The tables are shared and there is almost always a long queue of both Neapolitans and travelers from all over the world who come here on a pizza pilgrimage, but the service is quick so the line moves along.
2. Pizzeria Salvo - Book a table online!
The historic headquarters of this pizzeria is located in San Giorgio a Cremano, a small town outside of Naples, but a few years ago the Salvo brothers opened a second location on the Neapolitan waterfront. The menu offers seven varieties of pizza margherita that vary according to the type of tomato, mozzarella, and even olive oil used. They also serve a wide variety of classic, modern, and seasonal pizzas. This is one of the few pizzerias in Naples that accepts reservations, a definite perk!
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3. Da Brandi a Chiaia - Where the original pizza margherita was invented
Pizzeria Brandi is another must for lovers of Naples pizza. This pizzeria is famous for being the birthplace of pizza margherita, one of the most popular types of pizza in the world. It was created by the pizza chef of this historic restaurant in honor of Queen Margherita's visit to Naples and the recipe remains unchanged still today.
4. Da Sorbillo - Celebrity pizza chef
Pizzaiolo (pizza chef) Gino Sorbillo has been Italy’s go-to TV pizza chef for a number of years and has opened several locations in cities like Rome, Milan, Miami, and Tokyo. His original pizzeria is at Via dei Tribunali 32 in the historic center of Naples, immediately recognizable by the long and cheerful queue at the entrance. There is another location along the city’s waterfront on the corner of Piazza Vittoria, where you can eat pizza with a view of the sea and Mt. Vesuvius.
5. 50’ Kalo - A modern touch
For a unique twist on traditional pizza making, head to 50 Kalò. Here pizzaiolo Ciro Salvo creates both traditional and modern pizzas in an elegantly chic space. The secret to his soft and light pizza is a more hydrated dough, which has earned his pizzeria a spot in the Michelin Guide.
6. Di Matteo - The king of frittatina di pasta
La Pizzeria di Matteo has also made pizza history. This landmark pizzeria has been making pies since 1936; former president Bill Clinton stopped here to dine during his official visit to Italy. Di Matteo is known for its "wagon wheel" pizza, common in the historic center of Naples, with a diameter so wide that it reaches beyond the edge of the plate. The mouth-watering frittatina di pasta is also a local classic.
7. Da Starita a Materdei - An authentic experience
Another historic pizzeria in Naples, Da Starita opened in 1901 and has recently expanded to New York. Perennially listed amongst the best pizza in Naples, this eatery rests on the high quality of its ingredients. In addition to pizzas, Da Starita is known for its savory and sweet deep-fried specialties, including the delicious angioletti (strips of fried pizza topped with chocolate or pistachio spread). Since it’s located in an area off the tourist track, the vibe here is completely authentic!
8. La Notizia - Home of Enzo Coccia
Enzo Coccia was one of the city’s first pizzaioli to campaign for a Neapolitan pizza classification process to ensure the quality and authenticity of the techniques and ingredients long before the “local” movement began. Today, largely because of Coccia’s work, only ingredients from the surrounding region of Campania can be used to make true Neapolitan pizza. Coccia today helms two local pizzerias: Notizia 53 (traditional pizza) and Notizia 94 (gourmet pizza), both in the Vomero district.
9. De Figliole - Home of la pizza fritta
No visit to Naples is complete without sampling "fried pizza", and the best place to taste this humble delicacy is De’ Figliole. This landmark pizzeria opened in 1860, and has moved locations several times over the years but has always been run by the same family. De’ Figliole only serves fried pizza; the classic version is a stuffing made of ricotta, pork cracklings, salami, fiordilatte mozzarella, tomato sauce, and ground pepper that is wrapped in pizza dough and deep fried.
10. Pizzeria da Attilio alla Pignasecca - Star-shaped pizza
In the working-class district of Pignasecca - hidden among market stalls, fishmongers, and fry shops - you’ll find one of the most beloved pizzerias in the city. The specialty here is star-shaped pizzas with each point of the crust stuffed with ricotta and other delicious ingredients. You can also opt for the nine-pointed Attilio pizza, with each slice featuring different toppings…a perennial crowd-pleaser.
11. Diego Vitagliano - The next generation of pizzaioli
To sample this pizza, you’ll have to make the trip out to Bagnoli, the farthest Neapolitan neighborhood before the city melds into neighboring Pozzuoli, but we guarantee that this pizza is worth the trip! Diego Vitagliano is the leader of a new generation of pizzaioli (pizza chefs) who are focused on ingredients of impeccable quality. Feast on “dinghy-style” pizza (with a soft, high outer crust) or a unique "crispy" pizza, cooked in a separate oven. There are also tasting menus to sample a variety of pizza types and toppings.
12. Concettina ai tre santi di Ciro Oliva - The young pizzaiolo
Young Ciro has renovated his family pizzeria in the heart of the Sanità district, giving it a modern look and investing in the quality of the ingredients. Today he is a favorite among pizza connoisseurs and enthusiasts and a star among the new generation of pizzaioli. You can opt for a tasting menu and reserve a table here.
This is by no means a complete list, and there are many other excellent Naples pizzerias and its environs (two names to remember: Pepe in Grani, Franco Pepe's pizzeria in Caiazzo, and the famous Pizza a Metro in Vico Equense). But this list is a good guide if you are spending a few days in Naples and want to be sure that you sample at least one authentic pizza. Try more than one to compare (just make sure you pack loose-fitting clothes!).
Still hungry? Check out our guide to street food in Naples
Book a pizza tasting in one of the top pizzerias in Naples
Pizza facts and figures:
The oldest pizzeria, the Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba, opened in Naples in 1738.
Pizza Margherita was created in 1889 in honor of Queen Margherita of Savoy.
Authentic Neapolitan pizza must be made with San Marzano tomatoes, grown in the volcanic soil of Mt. Vesuvius.
Fiori di latte is the traditional cheese of real Neapolitan pizza.
Buffalo mozzarella from Campania can also be used to make Neapolitan pizza.
Neapolitan pizza dough must be kneaded by hand and left to rise for at least 24 hours.
Pizza must be baked in a wood-fired oven, reaching a temperature of at least 905 degrees Fahrenheit (480 degrees Celsius).
Pizza is baked for 60-90 seconds.
The diameter of a Neapolitan pizza should not exceed 35 cm (13 inches).
Neapolitan pizza is protected by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, which has strict guidelines that must be followed to prepare an authentic pizza.