Rating: 8 / 10
"So you ate at Petrucci?". "No, not yet". The waiter at Spazio Nea looked disapprovingly at me. He had instructed me to try their pizza a week ago and I still hadn't been. Being my second last night in Napoli, I figured I better honour his wishes and headed down the slippery stones of a rain aftermath.
The restaurant was empty. Perfect for me, not only due to covid but also my irritation at most of humanity. I chose a corner, accounting for the fact people might walk in during my meal but would probably not choose to sit there, so I'd be fine for the duration.
I politely asked the chef if I could photograph the oven. He proudly opened the door and motioned me in. I told him this would be the ninteenth pizza I ate in Naples, he showed genuine surprise and demanded that I returned to the kitchen after I ate and give him my verdict, personally. I promised I would.
Of the thousands of pizzerias in Naples, the Michelin Guide had mentioned Petrucci as a spot of genuine interest. This was not the basis for my visit, but I started to think the bartender at Nea perhaps was a clandestine foodie. I ordered the Margherita, as usual, and sat in shadows.
And thus started my love affair with another pizza. It came out singingly hot. I allowed it to settle a tad as I exhausted my photographic angles, then attacked it with knife&fork.
Rich tomato sauce, crust of puffy bliss, creamy cheese, piercing basil leaves all complimented each other in equal balance. This was a dance. No matter how confident the chef was in his pizza, you never know if its justified until you've had a bite, and this dude could be as cocky as he liked. It was definitely sneaking straight into the top five I had eaten thus far. If I stayed in Napoli another month, who knows where it would have ended up on the list, but you're only as good as your last review and this was an excellent pizza.
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"