sorbillo - napoli, italy
Rating: 5 / 10
Tourist traps give me hives, and knowing full well that Sorbillo was the king of "I ate pizza in Naples look at my selfie" I avoided it for almost a month. However, if my dissection of various pizzerias was to have any substance, I knew one day I'd have to give it a go and see what all the rabies was about.
I'm not wrong in being suspicious of a place that has a line of 200+ (mainly) tourists waiting every night to get in. Of all the pizzaiolo's I spoke to in Napoli, not one of them recommended it, and in fact, most of them turned their nose up when I mentioned the name. After eating there I can see why. This is not a small pizza place with passionate chefs churning out food made with love to hungry, loyal clientele. This is the McDonalds of Neopolitan Pizza. A gargantuan, soulless behemoth helmed by a massive team of waiters and waitresses armed with earpieces to control the hordes thirsting for that instagram moment after reading all their tips from their respective guidebooks.
I almost felt ashamed walking in, like I do sometimes in Asia when I have the (very rare) deep need for a Big Mac. That shame should have been a signal for me to leave, but if there is one thing I have learnt in life, it is to try not judge a book by it's cover, even tho it's so fucking tempting in this case.
I ordered, got a ticket, stepped outside again to wait and watch the line of tourists walking inside to their impending doom. I wanted to plead with them to try a different spot, but what hypocrisy would that be with me in line waiting for a pie too?
A waiter shouted my name and I returned my ticket in exchange for a box of molten hot pizza. I stood at one of the outside tables, took photos, waited a second for it to cool and ate. By ate I took two bites (not one Mr Portnoy), closed the lid and left 6 Eur and 50 cents worth of a 7 Eur pizza on the table to demonstrate my regret. It was exactly as I thought, without any redeemable traits. The base reminded me of 50 Kalo, another behemoth - another curse, the sauce was uninspiring, the cheese was fine, but there was no love in this pie. This was the result of over-worked staff who look over their shoulder at the catastrophic long lines every single day and churn out pizza's like a factory worker packs boxes of apples.
Astoundingly enough, nine out of ten tourists that visit Naples will come here, eat, and be perfectly content to brag online about their "Most awesome pizza ever" adventure, having absolutely no clue that barely a few hundred meters away are some pizzeria's that would quite literally blow their minds.
Most people don't want their minds blown tho, they just want to do what everyone else did before them so they don't feel they missed out.
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.
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"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"