With a line almost as legendary as the pizza, it can be tempting to skip Sorbillo for one of the other very good pizza shops in Naples. But if you arrive a little before the noon opening, it’s likely you’ll make it into the first seating of the day. And what a wonderful feeling, to roll up your sleeves and dive in to these resplendent pies: tart sauce; gooey cheese; and a perfectly blistered, tangy crust.
The two-level dining room is a hive of activity, with waiters hurrying back and forth carrying pies aloft to their lucky new owners. A seat downstairs offers a view into the kitchens, where the pizzaiolos spin and sweat in front of the restaurant’s giant ovens.
What is it that makes Sorbillo the absolute best? It’s hard to say — perhaps it is the specific char created by the woodfired ovens, or the organic tomatoes that go into the sauce, or the care owner Gino Sorbillo puts into his dough. As is the case with all great pizza, there is likely a little magic involved, something unknowable that turns dough plus sauce plus cheese into something far greater than the sum of its parts. In this case that magic becomes the best pizza in Naples, and by extension the best pizza in the world.
There’s no English menu, but if you speak no Italian you’ll do just fine guessing and pointing — it was this method that garnered me one of the best pizzas of the bunch, an artichoke-heavy vegetarian option with a glorious, pure acidity. The go-to order is the margherita with mozzarella di bufala, which takes the already decadent pie and ramps it up, adding a deliciously creamy element.
Sorbillo also has an outpost in New York City — I have not eaten there and can’t attest to its greatness or not. I have to guess that the setting makes somewhat of a difference, and why shouldn’t it? Some things are worthy of pilgrimage. And to eat Neapolitan pizza this good in Naples with a glass (or three) of fantastic local wine came close to a religious experience.
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Domenico Modugno. In 1958, he became famous worldwide for this song. Turn it up and sing along!
After months of warnings, Roman officials are now enforcing the 'No sitting" rule on the Spanish Steps. The rule is designed to add civility and decorum. To remind everyone that the steps are a Unesco World Heritage site, sitting will result in fines of 250-400 euros. According to David Sermoneta, the president of the Piazza di Spagna Trinità dei Monti Association.
“You couldn’t walk around the Metropolitan Museum snacking on food and slurping a Coke,” he said. “We expect the same for the center of Rome.”