Our appreciation of pizza has come a long way in the last decade. It wasn’t so long ago that laying your hands on a fresh pie meant a trip to the ubiquitous Hut, or a hungover thumb on a speed dial for a Domino’s Pepperoni Passion – but these incarnations are as close to the original as a Rolex from a Bangkok market.
When we think of “proper” pizza, we think of Naples, in southwest Italy. Pizza-making in the region can be traced back to Pompeii and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD, when street-food vendors were embalmed in volcanic ash while peddling their wares. The recipe they used – wheat flour, yeast, salt and water for the dough; San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella cheese for the topping – has been preserved to this day as the traditional, unimprovable way to make one of the world’s most popular snacks. If it ain’t broke, some might say, don’t sling anchovies and truffle oil onto it.
Nowadays, you’re hard-pressed to find a high street that doesn’t offer an authentic pizzeria that bends the knee to its Neapolitan forefathers. If you spot a mosaic-clad oven with a roaring wood fire lurking at the back of your restaurant, it’s a safe bet you’re in good hands. Though as with anything, some do it far better than others. So, to mark National Pizza Day on 9 February in the US, here the best five restaurants out of Italy that churn out quality pizza, with due reverence to the original.