Pizza from L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele
L'Antica Pizzeria box


The best pizzeria in the world is run by the Italian Mafia. I am sure of it. 

The head honcho, an ancient white-haired Italian with watery blue eyes, sits at the front desk and smiles knowingly at me. When I ask him whether I should take a ticket with a number, he only nods and gestures towards the young men shoveling pizza in and out of a hot hole. He is definitely Mafia material. Do you take card? He shakes his head, still smiling. Cash only then? Uh-huh. Mafia. 

This pizza place may be a perfect reflection of the city in which it hides - Naples: dirty and rude, like a child who has wronged you, and instead of apologising, pulls the fingers at you and laughs. The streets of Naples seem to erupt here and there in splashes of torn-up cobblestones. The pizzeria itself is a scene of chaos. Fight your way through people and dogs to pick up a numbered ticket, and wait until your number is yelled out at the street; or order to-go and stand by the blazing hot furnaces.

But boy, is the product of that chaos a beautiful one! There is one type of pizza served here: Margarita. And you can get it with either one helping of cheese, or two. The pizza base is doughy, salty, and a little fire-charred around the edges. The sauce, a family recipe, leaks olive-oily goodness all over the cardboard box, and smells divine, scattered with blobs of mozzarella. But the best part? The way the small sprigs of basil in the middle of the pizza permeate the whole with an intense flavour.

Ah Naples, where pizza is king, and one can yell into the phone while driving one-handed between un-laned traffic. 


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