Five Of The Most Authentic Pizzas Outside Italy
Photograph courtesy of 400 Gradi
From Madrid to Melbourne, MR PORTER has searched out the finest restaurants around the globe for a traditional slice of pie.
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.
Standard Pizza, Berlin
Photograph courtesy of Standard Pizza
Set in the city’s Northern Mitte district, Standard sets the bar for Berlin pizza. Adored by critics, bloggers and punters alike, its secret is in the ingredients it uses. They’re all imported from Naples, from the San Marzano toms, to the yeast and its choice of cheese, Fior di latte mozza from Agerola. It’s a harder version of buffalo mozzarella that doesn’t release as much moisture so as to maintain the pie’s integrity in transit and on the plate.
Templiner Str 7,10119 Berlin,Germany
Luna Rossa, Madrid
Owned by Naples-natives and sisters Ms Anna Carla and Ms Simona, who took the reins since their father bequeathed them the restaurant, the 40-cover Luna Rossa is the first and last word for quality pizza in the Spanish capital. They imported the wood-fired oven from their hometown and even brought over Neapolitan tradesmen to put it together. It works its way up to a furnace-grade 450ºC and cooking a pizza takes 40 seconds.
Calle de San Bernardo, 24,28015 Madrid,Spain
Kesté Pizza & Vino, New York
Photograph courtesy of Kesté Pizza and Vino
New Yorkers from far and wide travel to the Greenwich Village institution for truly authentic incarnations of Italian pizza. The restaurant’s patron Mr Roberto Caporuscio, who is the president of the US chapter of the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, is head honcho for the training and certification of pizzaioli across the entire US. He’s a former dairy farmer and mozzarella producer, so is au fait with every element of its construction. Order a classic margherita with butternut squash puree and smoked mozzarella for an umami-laced twist on the original.
271 Bleecker St,New York, NY 10014,USA
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, London
North London’s Stoke Newington has just ushered in the first outpost of the world’s best pizzeria. In its 147-year history, L’Antica has kept just one site in the hills surrounding Naples and was introduced to the wider world in Eat, Pray, Love, when Ms Julia Roberts declared that she’d fallen in love with pizza after eating in the restaurant. They’re taking the London site duly seriously, shipping in a two-ton pizza oven and a team of staff from the Naples site to make sure it’s being used properly. Margheritas are the lifeblood of the restaurant, but there are rotating seasonal specials featuring house-hung charcuterie and myriad quality Italian cheeses.
125 Church St,Stoke Newington,LondonN16 0UH
400 Gradi, Melbourne
Photograph courtesy of 400 Gradi
It may surprise you to hear that it’s an Australian who shoveled the award for the world’s best Neapolitan pizza at 2014 The World Pizza Championships in Parma. Mr Johnny di Francesco, who plies his trade at 400 Gradi in Melbourne, has Napolese roots and trained in the city at Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. He’s brought every ounce of his learning to Melbourne, where he serves his world-beating margherita to an adoring public.
99 Lygon St,East Brunswick VIC 3057,Australia