The pizza being turned out of the woodfire ovens at Sorbillo in Naples is legendary. Even with lines out the door thanks to hungry locals and a major increase in culinary tourism in Napoli, the Sorbillo pizza lives up to the hype and may very well be the best pizza in Naples.
I love Roman pizza, and I eat pizza here in the Eternal City at least once a week. which might be why my funny French doctor told me to “invert” my cheese consumption. (Sorry, buddy, this is Italy and I will eat all the cheese I please).
However, as much as I love Roman pizza, nothing compares to Neapolitan pizza. My first stop is always Sorbillo for a few very simple reasons.
If you are going to the city with the best pizza in the world, it makes sense to eat the best pizza in the city.
Even if you have never been to Naples before, you can easily find the Sorbillo pizzeria by first spotting the line in front.
Actually, as you can probably quickly discern from the photo above, that “line” is, of course, a generous term for what is happening in front of Sorbillo’s door on Via dei Tribunali.
It is not a line, but a mass of people. A mass of people waiting to sit down and eat the best pizza in the world.
If you are anything like the guy throwing up deuces in the left of my photo, then you should consume an entire fried pizza and THEN order your regular pizza.
The pizza is literally folded in half and fried. It was impressive to watch him inhale it. (Note: there is also a Sorbillo that does fried pizza exclusively. It is a short walk from Palazzo Reale. Officially called “Antica Pizza Fritta da Zia Esterina Sorbillo”, you can find it at Piazza Trieste. Keep in mind that there is zero seating and even though this is fast food, the wait is still significant).
I believe that when you are eating pizza in Naples, the only way to really judge the quality of a pizzeria is to do it against a Margherita baseline. Just fior di latte cheese, organic tomatoes (at least at Sorbillo), Caputo flour (the Naples standard when it comes to pizza dough) and basil.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
In this case, the ingredients are layered generously on the most perfect chewy-gooey pizza dough.
Each bite has the tang of the sauce, the comfort of the cheese and the balance of the just-right-charred dough.
Want to watch the magic come together? Here is Gino Sobillo talking about his pizza (with English subtitles):
Just thinking about it is making me want to book another trip to Naples. Even if there is some cost incurred with that train ticket, it’s not like you have to spend much at Sorbillo’s itself.
In fact, how much will two of the best pizzas in Naples / in the world, with two bottles of water, set you back?
Nirvana costs a mere €10.56, naturally.
The lighting is weird and too low and too blue, but I can forgive it.
I can forgive the cheesy music too. All because of this:
However, I totally get that the wait really can be horrendous. If you want amazing pizza in Naples with a smaller mass of people jostling for entrance – then hop in a cab to 50 Kalo. You won’t be disappointed.
Otherwise, you need to be at the Sorbillo door before the pizzeria opens. Your only other hope is to take the excellent Culinary Backstreets food tour. They magically skip the line.
Pizza in Naples will ruin you for life. Even the mediocre pies will make your Dominoes pale in sad comparison. Go. Eat. Enjoy. Ruin yourself.
Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo
Via Tribunali, 32
No reservations accepted. First come, first served.
Monday through Saturday from 12 pm – 3:30 pm and 7 pm – midnight. Closed Sunday.