The waitress brings out my pizza straight from the wood oven. The smell of the bread and the wood from the oven makes me salivate. It’s thin, crispy and on an individual little plate just waiting for me to dig in. The waitress sets down a knife and a fork and says “Buon appetite!” I take one look at my plate and the excitement I initially felt about my Italian pizza quickly morphs into panic. Unlike pizza in America, this pizza isn’t cut at all, it’s simply a round, crispy pizza served on a normal size plate.
No Slices? Now What?
I look at the knife and fork, and I look around me at the Italians eating the pizza and realize I have to cut this myself; there’s no American pre-cut slices here. But where does one start when you have an uncut pizza spilling over a normal size plate; do you do it the American way and cut it like a pie, or do you use your knife and fork and cut it as if you’d cut up a steak in little pieces that you eat with your fork? I simply wanted to get it in my mouth as quick as possible; not sit and cut it up into bite size pieces! As an outsider to this culture, I immediately feel self-conscience about trying to cut my pizza. This is the one thing in Italy that has always baffled me – how do you eat pizza like a local in Italy?
After many various attempts of trying to slice my pizza to appear like a local, I finally met someone that could help. Dario is the husband of my friend and fellow travel blogger, Katrina from www.tourabsurd.com. Dario is from the Naples area (ahem – the birthplace of pizza) originally so I knew I had found the right person to ask about how to eat pizza the ‘correct’ way.
A Local’s Take On the Best Pizza in Naples
In addition to solving this dilemma, I would also be able to utilize Dario to take Bethany and me to the best, local pizza joint in Naples. When we first met Dario and Katrina in Rome I had told them about my quest to go to eat the best pizza in Naples AND to learn how to eat it properly. They immediately accepted the challenge and told us to make sure we didn’t order pizza in Rome as it would be a waste of time. They were insistent that the only pizza worth having was a Napoli pizza.
Bethany took this advice to heart even though the Amalfi Coast and Naples was the last stop on our trip. Every day when we sat down at a restaurant to eat, I’d try to temp her with ordering pizza and she would refuse based on Dario’s instructions. I was quite impressed with her resolve; I on the other hand didn’t really have a great of resolve.
Dario knew right away where he wanted to take us in Naples for a slice – Pizzeria Antonio e Gigi Sorbillo. – a local pizzeria which happened to be very close to the place where all of the tourists went and waited in line for hours. There are multiple restaurants called Sorbillo along Via dei Tribunali; this is NOT the one with lines of camera toting tourists, but a instead a small gathering of locals waiting for a seat. (Update 2017: note is has become more popular in recent years and apparently there are frequently lines now!) It looks like this:
However, Antiono e Gigi Sorbillo’s lack of line didn’t mean that it wasn’t good; the place was a constant buzz of activity with the wood oven in the front manned by a few big Italian men full of smiles and the back was packed full of people speaking Italian.
Going to Naples to Eat Pizza? Here’s More Things You Need to Know!
The Only Thing Italians Consider ‘Pizza’
When we sat down I asked Dario what we should order and he said, “There’s really only one thing to order. Pizza margherita – it’s the only thing we really consider pizza.” He went on to talk about how the ‘less is more’ theory allowed you to simply taste the homemade sauce and enjoy the taste of the crispy crust. We decided to take Dario’s advice and we ordered 4 margherita pizzas.
Soon we had a table full of the best ‘pies’ Napoli had to offer and I could hardly wait to dig in. But wait…first I must learn how to eat the pie properly! Dario and Katrina nicely demonstrated for me and to my surprise it was more like the American way of eating pizza than I thought! Watch below and you can also learn how to eat pizza like an Italian.
How to Eat Pizza Like a Local
The pizza was divine, and the sauce was perfect. It tasted as if they went out and picked the tomatoes 5 minutes earlier and put them on my pie.
Now you know the best place to eat pizza in Naples AND you can look like a local eating it! Go forth and eat!
PIN IT FOR LATER!
Where to Eat Pizza Like An Italian in Naples
Antonio e Gigi Sorbillo Pizzeria
Address: Via dei Tribunali, 38 – 80134 Napoli
Read the Trip Advisor Reviews
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By Jess C. April 17, 2012 - 7:09 am
We eat pizza in Malta just like Dario does!
And I couldn’t agree more – less IS more. Thin crust, minimalist, wood fired pizza is the way to go.
By Barbara Weibel April 17, 2012 - 7:38 am
Ha! I imagine the entire thing sliding off my plate, flying through the air and landing on the floor as I try to cut it.I’d be tempted to pick the entire pie up and start munching.
By Laura April 17, 2012 - 10:45 am
Your pizza looks much tastier than anything I can get around here. I skipped Naples on my trip to Italy but now I see I have a reason to go back!
By Kieu ~ GQ trippin April 17, 2012 - 10:57 am
oOo I really want to have a “real” Italian pizza in Naples. Even more, learn to finally eat it like an Italian. One day..
By Katrina April 17, 2012 - 12:45 pm
Hahahaa! I have a new skill to add to my CV. Thanks, Sherry. This made me grin and giggle. 😀
By Sherry April 17, 2012 - 2:08 pm
I loved the look on your face at the end when I made the comment about folding starting in Naples. It sort of screamed ‘duh’.
By Dario April 17, 2012 - 1:03 pm
Thank you Sherry 🙂
This is very sweet. And with all Katrina’s posts too, I think soon enough I’ll start getting phone calls for pizza tours :))
I really enjoyed having you and Beth around.
By Sherry April 17, 2012 - 2:08 pm
I miss your guys! Writing about all of this now is making me miss our great times together! Hope you are doing well!
By Michael April 17, 2012 - 1:04 pm
YUMMO! Love ’em anywhere. Eat ’em any which way as long as it’s Pizza..
By Sherry April 17, 2012 - 2:07 pm
Very good point Michael!! It all goes to the same place…and it all tastes good!
By Mark H April 17, 2012 - 6:03 pm
My biggest surprise with pizza in Italy (and I didn’t wait till Naples to start!!) was the minimal amount of toppings they used (less is more). In Australia and probaly elsewhere pizzas are piled high with unimaginable numbers of different toppings (words like “super supreme”) and don’t have the subtleties of taste and flavour enjoyed in Italy. I also loved going to a local shop and paying for pizza by weight as a cutter carved off the amount of pizza you wanted of a certain topping.
By Dave April 17, 2012 - 6:29 pm
Yep, when you’ve got fresh, top quality ingredients, less is more as it allows you to savor the depth and uniqueness of the individual ingredients.
Out of curiosity, what kind of greens are on the pizza, dandelion?
By Sherry April 18, 2012 - 11:24 am
In the first picture I believe the green was arugula and that pizza wasn’t from Italy…it was from Malta. 🙂
By Gray April 17, 2012 - 7:12 pm
I must be part Italian and never knew it; that’s how I’ve always eaten pizza. 🙂
By Dean April 17, 2012 - 8:51 pm
It took me a few goes to get this right as well. When in doubt, always look to the locals! 🙂
By Prime April 18, 2012 - 4:18 am
oh god, now i just want to eat pizza. ahh carbo load! (love the video, btw)
By jon Allen April 18, 2012 - 9:21 am
No no no, the best pizza in Napoli is at Pizza Da Michele ..
Have you not seen Eat Pray Love ?
By Ross December 10, 2012 - 12:53 pm
di Matteo, good Sir, di Matteo. 🙂
By CharmingItaly April 19, 2012 - 11:38 am
Lovely article!! Even if, instead of a Margherita, I usually order my Pizza with something… whatever! 🙂
By Ross December 10, 2012 - 12:52 pm
I found a way out of the pizza-cutting dilemma…my friend PierLuigi says, “I Napoletani mangiano con le mani” (The Neapolitans eat with their hands)…so if you want to, just tear in! No one will be offended! 🙂
By Sherry December 10, 2012 - 7:00 pm
Ahhh – much easier!!
By Frank January 13, 2014 - 11:20 pm
The waiter will not say, “Buon appetite” he will say, “Buon’ appetito.”
By Sherry January 14, 2014 - 12:34 am
Ahhh – thanks for the Italian correction! My Italian skills are dwindling!
By Federico July 29, 2014 - 10:52 pm
Actually he will rather say, “Buon appetito”, with no apostrophe.
By Loes Bakker July 10, 2015 - 11:01 am
I don’t see how it’s so daunting to have to cut pizza yourself? It’s hardly any different from cutting a pancake? But the woman in the white t-shirt in the video still has a lot to learn about holding cutlery! First of all fork and knife are the wrong way around, and secondly she is pricking her fork vertically in the food, like a spade or something!
By Sherry July 10, 2015 - 11:16 am
Loes – for me it was just different – one of the many cultural differences that realize when you travel. My pizza always came pre-cut…it was simply foreign to me to see it served not sliced already. Yes – the other BIG cultural difference is that most Americans don’t hold their cutlery in both hands when they eat – whereas in Europe that’s the only way people eat. I had to retrain myself how to eat holding my fork in my left hand as I grew up holding it in my right hand! The woman in the white tshirt is my niece and she’s struggling with that concept!
By Kentate321 December 5, 2015 - 8:41 am
You managed to write an entire article titled “How to Eat Pizza Like an Italian” without answering the question “How to Eat Pizza Like an Italian.”
By Sherry December 5, 2015 - 8:50 am
Apparently you didn’t watch the video in the article. There lies the answer…:)
By Scott January 12, 2017 - 11:19 am
I didn’t realize that pizza in Italy is not pre-sliced. It’s understandable why thinking it would be and not being that way would cause some anxiety, especially if you are a little insecurity about fitting in already. I remember the first time I visited another country and having to learn a completely different way of eating. It is definitely a good idea to research how that culture eats before going there.
By Alice Jones May 1, 2017 - 3:50 pm
I’ve loved pizza ever since I was a kid so learning about how to eat it like it was designed to be eaten is interesting to me. Thank you for sharing your story about learning how to eat pizza like a proper Italian. I would’ve assumed that the slices were cut to, instead of using a knife and fork. I’m going to try using a fork and knife at the local pizzeria instead of using my hands!
By Sherry May 1, 2017 - 10:20 pm
Yes – try it – maybe you’ll feel real European! And either way – cut your own like steak or pre-cut slices – it all tastes delicious!
By Mitch November 5, 2017 - 6:25 pm
I have been in Sicily for some time now and I am very glad to find this article. I love the pizza here and I find it not being pre sliced to be simply outrageous. It’s not easy to tear into either. You wind up with a jumbled mess on your plate as the different layers tear unevenly. And it isn’t easy to cut with a fork and knife…that’s why the pizza wheel is in everyone’s kitchen.
Sure it’s the “traditional” way, but there’s nothing special or rewarding about making a mess/work out of what is probably the best pizza you will ever eat.
Sorry had to get this off my chest ?
By Sherry November 5, 2017 - 10:57 pm
Ha! I feel your pain! I traveled around Europe for months and had to teach myself how to eat the pizza there without looking like an idiot! And learning how to cut my pizza correctly also meant I had to learn a whole new way to hold my knife and fork…it’s hard to relearn this stuff as an adult! Good luck and happy pizza eating!
By Jean Farrell February 9, 2018 - 11:30 am
I always find the little differences from place to place so interesting, and this reminded me of a pizza story. Our au pair, Rebecca, had just arrived from Brazil. She was helping out with my son’s birthday pizza party. All the kids and a bunch of parents were sitting at a long table waiting to dig into the pizzas that had just been put on the table. Rebecca, called out “who wants ketchup for their pizza?” The table fell silent (I swear it was like that scene in An American Werewolf in London where the boys walk into the pub just before walking on the moor) and everyone stared at her in shock (and horror). We put ketchup on just about everything in America, except pizza. Ketchup on pizza in Brazil apparently is par for the course. Poor Rebecca was mortified, and has never put ketchup on her pizza again. This was 10 years ago. We still laugh about it all the time.
By Sherry February 9, 2018 - 1:00 pm
Jean – that’s a great story – made me smile!!
By Ivy Baker April 27, 2018 - 8:24 pm
This is some really good information about eating pizza. I liked that you talked about how in Italy they don’t pre-slice your pizza. That is a good thing to know if you are planning on getting takeout while you are there. Then it seems like it would be smart to grab a fork and knife at the restaurant.
By Pizza Restaurants in Ras al-Khaimah May 14, 2018 - 3:37 pm
Yummy and delicious pizzas…So nice of you that you have shared really good information about eating pizza.
By Mina Edinburgh August 3, 2018 - 7:07 pm
It was really nice to know that Italians eat pizza almost in a similar manner as Americans do. I was surprised as well since I know that Italians follow some rules when it comes to eating. Anyway, I will share this with my sister since we intend to eat at an authentic Italian restaurant next week. Knowing her, she won’t come unless she knows the proper etiquette to follow.
By Sherry August 13, 2018 - 4:35 am
Glad it was useful for you!
By Jim Bodily October 20, 2018 - 5:49 am
Loved The Naples Pizza’s from anywhere away from the tourists Haunts. Usually down a narrow alley, shall shop, some limited sitting. Wood Fired Oven. First, Olive oil over the dough, topings next, into oven. Out of oven. MORE Olive OIL
I preferred a fried EGG in the center.
Haven’t had one since 1974…..Cannot find anything like it, except by a couple Greeks in Chesapeake Virginia and I haven’t been there since 1976. All I get mow are American and “NY” garbage. Would love to be back in Naples again.
By Sherry October 20, 2018 - 6:20 am
I’m so excited becuase right now as I type this I’m heading back to Naples and can’t wait to have more pizza! It’s been 6 years since I’ve been here and it’s long overdue. So I can’t imagine that you haven’t been back since 1974!! I hope you make it back someday!