Rating: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Pizza is big business in Berlin, and within 200 meters of Boxhagener Platz are half a dozen places vying for your hard earned Euro. From the punk aesthetics and terrible service of "Il Ritrovo", the hit & miss Neopolitan style at Vira, to the pan style "wider" pie at Trattoria Libau, each restaurant offers a reason to return, and a reason to choose another next time.
A few years ago I would have claimed Il Ritrovo was the undisputed king of pizza in the neighborhood, but having been disappointed a few times lately with very blonde crusts, the time had come to seek other shelters. With Covid ravaging the local economy, the time had never been more important for supporting local businesses, and dealing with the take-away arrangements that kept them alive.
After waiting in the cold and having a pleasant chat with the server, I walked in that half-run style that you only do when carrying home a blazing hot pizza and knowing that the evening chill had already begun to set in. I had already been to the Spati for a soda that was cooling in the fridge, and had my key ready in hand to attack the front door.
Kick off the shoes, off with the jacket, hands washed in slightly less than 20 second rituals, and bang open the box to smell the sifting swill of crust, sauce, cheese and toppings. The rocket still held an element of life and the shavings of parmesan on top were not too far gone.
For all intents and purposes this was a delicious Neopolitan style pizza. The crust had risen, had good structure, was cooked well enough (another half-minute for me would be brill), the sauce was tangy and balance and the parma and cheese complimented the rocket. It was one of those pizza's that perhaps is a little bit too text-book in that you enjoy it whilst eating it, but it's quickly forgotten.
For those who want a safe and steady pukka Neo style pizza in Friedrichshain then this is the spot to go. If you want to battle the inconstistency of Il Ritrovo where one day it's fantastic and the other not so, then by all means: risk it for your biscuit!
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 by the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"