Rating: 8 / 10
The narrow alleys of Spagnoli are teeming with life. Every angle provides food for thought. The scooters wizz past like kamikaze mosquitos, old women hang up laundry from the second floor balconies, men smoke and argue about football, tourists amble by paying more attention to their google maps than noticing where they are. Restaurants spill out from the sidewalks and out onto the road. Life emanates.
I have walked the narrow streets of this area on many occasions, either hunting a new place to eat or finding a corner cafe to sip a strong coffee and pick up the vibe. Pizza being one of the main temptations in these parts, I was armed with optimism as I entered A'Quartrian on the high recommendation of the bartender at Spazeo Nea.
What greeted me was a tight knit family of incredibly friendly spirits. They took my order and then battered me with a million questions as to who I was and why I was in Napoli. I was taken aback by the kindness because Naples can be quite a testy place.
My pizza came out in a box, like I asked, but as soon as I opened the lid to take photographs the pizzaiolo approached me asking if I was a journalist. "No No"... I answered, but what followed was a fantastic twenty minute dialogue where he told me a few choice places to visit and explained that he often took tourists around the area tasting pizzas and had even been interviewed by German TV. I promised him if the Norwegian broadcasting company ever sent a reporter to Napoli I would send him/her their way.
He beamed as I told him his pizza was excellent, achingly thin melt-in-your-mouth crust with a large hit of salt, good sauce and cheese, and at three euro fifty you can hardly complain. I did what I don't normally do and finished the entire pizza, crust and all, which put a stop to my initial plans of trying two places for lunch and eating only half.
On the occasion the pizza tastes this good, you simply have to surrender.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"