Through the grapevine I heard that Naples or “Napoli” was a very interesting city. Not to be judgmental, but it is known as one of the dirtier and more dangerous cities in Italy. I wanted to go there for one reason, and one reason only. Pizza. You haven’t had pizza until you have ordered the extra cheese margherita pizza from L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele.
This place, has been a Neapolitan treasure for years, but was made even more famous by a book some of you might have read called “Eat Pray Love.” Author Elizabeth Gilbert explains the pizza best:
“Pizzeria da Michele is a small place with only two rooms and one nonstop oven. It’s about a fifteen-minute walk from the train station in the rain, don’t even worry about it, just go. You need to get there fairly early in the day because sometimes they run out of dough, which will break your heart. By 1:00 PM, the streets outside the pizzeria have become jammed with Neapolitans trying to get into the place, shoving for access like they’re trying to get a space on a lifeboat. There’s not a menu. They have only have two varieties of pizza here—regular or extra cheese. None of this new age southern California olives-and-sun-dried-tomato wannabe pizza twaddle. The dough takes me half a meal to figure out, tastes more like Indian nan than like any pizza dough I ever tried. It’s soft and chewy and yielding, but incredibly thin. I always thought we only had two choices in or lives when it came to a pizza crust—thin and crispy, or thick and doughy. How was I to have known there could be a crust in this world that was thin and doughy? Holy of holies! Thin, doughy, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise. On top, there is a sweet tomato sauce that foams up all bubbly and creamy when it melts the fresh buffalo mozzarella, and the one sprig of basil in the middle of the whole deal somehow infuses the entire pizza with herbal radiance, much the same way one shimmering movie star in the middle of a party brings contact high of glamour to everyone around her. It’s technically impossible to eat this thing, of course. You try to take a bite off your slice and the gummy crust folds and the hot cheese runs away like topsoil in a landslide, makes a mess of you and your surroundings, but just deal with it. (p. 80)
When you enter the restaurant, they sit you down and you order. They have a limited menu, “margherita, margherita with extra cheese, coke, fanta, and nastro azzuro.” We all ordered cokes and the extra cheese margherita pizza. When the pizza arrived at our table we were all in shock. It was exactly how Elizabeth Gilbert described it, this melty mess of cheese and dough, that oozed everywhere with each bite you took. Suffice it to say, I was in heaven for the next 20 minutes and the table was completely quiet.
If you are going to Rome, it is literally worth it to take the train to Naples just to have this pizza, you won’t regret it!
Ciao for now,