Saturday, February 12, 2011

Searching for the best Neapolitan in town

Everty time I start to think I need to catch up on my posts on my Italy trip last year, I don’t know why, but I get this huge writer’s block. There is so much to tell and I don’t know where to start –that’s the trouble with long trips, I guess. I have an abyssimal 2 posts... So I am starting with 3 random experiences....or less, depending on when my word count runs out of steam.

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One evening in Naples, we set off in search of the best Neapolitan pizza in Naples. We were recommended to Il Presidente in the centro storico (city center). The road was narrow, and quite deserted, but the Pizzeria was buzzing with people spilling out into the roads. It seemed a bit like Bade miaan (for those who are familiar with Mumbai).

As we queued up, we got a terribly huge token number. We first tried to find out how long that may be – everyone around us spoke only Italian, and we spoke only English. The token-giver would answer emphatically in a string of Italian with so much gusto that it could have been an ebullient answer just as it could have easily been a string of curses. Next we tried to enquire what pizzas were available in a mix of mime, English all in between sheepish laughter. The token-giver would reply and we would spend the next 10 minutes deciphering it. This went on for a bit. At some point, I think he understood what we were asking and made some reference to the pizzeria not being McD’s. We could hear the group around us breaking into laughter. We were lost – for the first time, ordering a pizza seemed like the most complicated thing.

We then tried to ask him if we could do a take away and he kept waving his hands and saying dopo, dopo. So far it had sounded like he was just being a loud, expressive man, and suddenly we wondered if he was insulting us – what with his multiple referrences to McD and him shooing us away. We were embarrassed slowly moving to being on the brink of serious frustration. And just like that my friend was suddenly incensed! We decided we didn't want the best pizza that bad after all if they couldn't even help us decently! And just like that we walked off in a huff!!!

So much for the perfect pizza!

Don’t worry.... in the last one hour on our last day, we decided we needed to give one more shot at having a true Neapolitan. We tracked down the second recommendation given to us – Da Michelle - which was spartan, white and almost like a hospital cafeteria in looks. Here, they serve only 2 types of pizzas (the Neapolitan and Margherita). We ordered the double cheese margherita , lightly flavoured in basil and oozing olive oil.... truly divine!!!

We later found out, the Dopo, dopo may have just meant later later!

Naples is considered the home of Pizza. The Neapolitan is particularly known for also the tomato toppings that goes on pizza (I understand). Both Il Presidente and Da Michelle are recommended in the lonely planet. Da Michelle is also the pizzeria featured in the Eat Pray Love movie.

PS: I swear, there were supposed to be 3... but will rein in word count on the next 2!

PS 2: Yes, I did put on a few kilos after the trip!!!

The crowds outside Da Michelle

A divine margherita

And so, we did a takeaway and ate by the roadside