After my semester in Rome ended, I had 3 weeks until my flight home to the USA. The first one of these weeks I spent in Naples with my roommate and travel buddy, Gina. Naples tends to have a less than shining reputation for being crime ridden, dirty, and all around unsafe, but despite this it managed to be one of my favorite destinations in Italy. Why you ask? Well, for starters, it was incredibly beautiful, especially along the coastline, a somewhat unexpected treat for us. It also proved to be a city filled with much more than just trash (though there was PLENTY of that). Naples had art, culture, history, one of the friendliest populations we came across, and most of all fantastic pizza.
Pizza in Naples is like no other. For starters you can get a full pie for one person for 3 euro, convenient for broke college students. It just so happened that the hostel Gina and I were staying at was located on the same street as some of the most famous pizza joints in town. I think it goes without saying that for 3 euro a pie I ate more than my fill of pizza.
While the famous spots, like De Matteo, had delicious product I do not count them as the best Pizza places in Naples for the fact that their pizza wasn’t good enough to make up for the lack of customer service. Granted, Italy is not known for great customer service, but a simple smile and acknowledgement of a customer’s presence is not too much to ask for no matter the location. Most of the famous pizzerias could not seem to manage even this. There is a place that has not only excellent pizza, but also the friendliest staff. It is the Trattoria and Pizzeria Dai Medici.
Also located in Naples’ historic center, this family owned pizzeria is refreshingly low key with only a small sign outside and a simply decorated interior. As Gina and I walked inside, we were immediately greeted by an older Italian woman who spoke little English, but did not let that stop her from making us feel incredibly welcome. Before we even sat down, she asked us if we were staying at Robby’s House B&B. Since we were, we were brought out a special treat (apparently Bobby sends Dai Medici a lot of business and this is their way of showing their appreciation). What we were brought was an appetizer of “algae del mar,” fried balls of dough with seaweed. These salty fried pillows were so simple and so delicious. They were also a uniquely Naples treat that we never saw them on another menu anywhere else in Italy.
Then it was time for the pizzas. Oh my. For starters, they were huge. They were easily the size of the Roman style pies served at Da Baffetto in Rome, only the crust of Dai Medici’s pizza was in the true Neapolitan style: thin in the center, yet thick and chewy around the edge.
For toppings, I ordered the mixed vegetables while Gina got spicy sausage. Needless to say, we both thought our pizzas were scrumptious. Hers came with red sauce while mine came with only cheese. The veggies on mine ended up being eggplant, artichokes, and chicory. While I was expecting they would be mixed together on the pizza, they were all separated. I liked it this way, probably because I have obsessive compulsive tendencies when it comes to arranging food on my plate and always give each food its own space, so this pizza was just my style.
While my pizza was excellent, I did wish a little that I had ordered a pizza with red sauce on it. After having already eaten red pizza for two nights before going to Dai Medici, I had wanted to switch things up a bit by ordering a white pizza, but after trying both I decided that I like pizza better when there is red sauce. Despite this, the veggies on my pizza were so fresh and the portion was so big that I was definitely not unsatisfied when I was finished. Red sauce or no, the pizza at Trattoria and Pizzeria Dai Medici was the best I had in Naples.