The life of a blogger is tougher than you think!. Oh, yes it is!. Just imagine, all the time going around the city, finding new places to see and trying new pizza restaurants. It's tough!. For my followers I would do anything!. For this blog I am going to an old traditional Neapolitan pizzeria that has just opened in London. I am talking about L' Antica Pizzeria da Michele.
You might think 'well, there are many pizza restaurants in London, why is this one so special?'. Well, first because it makes an amazing pizza and I can say this as a Neapolitan and secondly because it is one of the oldest pizzerias in Napoli, opened by Michele Condurro in 1870. The Condurro's pizza making origins go even further back as the grandfather of Michele was a pizza maker at the court of the Bourbons. In 1844 the grandfather made a pizza for the Russian Tzar Nicholas II and his wife Alessandrina Feodorwna, who had come to visit king Ferdinand II. For this occasion he made a special pizza just for them: the cosacca, half marinara half margherita. The legend says that they enjoyed the pizzas so much that they gave the Neapolitan king a present of two bronze statues, now in the gardens of the Royal Palace in Piazza Plebiscito. The rest is history. Since this time, the Condurro family have only made two types of pizzas: Margherita (mozzarella cheese, tomato, oil and basil) and Marinara (tomato, garlic, oil and oregano).
In the movie Eat Pray Love, Julia Roberts appears eating a delicious pizza in the Pizzeria da Michele. You might of liked or not liked the movie, but honestly I can't disagree with Julia, 'It is a moral imperative to enjoy a pizza in Napoli!'.
The following step is to open a restaurant in other places in the world, so more people can enjoy amazing pizzas. After Tokyo and Rome, London is next!.
In cosmopolitan London which has a huge choice of international cuisines, it is a challenge to open a pizzeria with just two types of pizza. It seems though for the expat Neapolitans they finally have a proper Neapolitan pizzeria in the UK and apparently, British people seem to appreciate it as well. Probably the time of the 'pineapple pizza' is fading into the past. More people around the world are well travelled now and appreciate authentic food and that is why Londoners are flocking to eat the proper Neapolitan Pizza. Just a few weeks ago, in the London Evening Standard Newspaper, Gordon Ramsey expressed his opinion regarding the 'pineapple pizza', "an absolute no-no on the Italian dish". Neapolitans have the same opinion. Pineapple pizza is just wrong!. Personally, I don't want to create a debate about it, but as a Neapolitan, I can understand why we are so passionate about it. We take very seriously our products from Napoli. We also want you to enjoy the best pizza available and not a second best experience.
And speaking of authenticity, if you want to go to L' Antica pizzeria da Michele in London, be aware that the pizzeria like the Napoli one is always busy and you can't book a table in advance. The system is 'first come, first served', so I suggest you turn up as early as you can. For the London one there is an app to tell you when it is your turn in the queue.
Some people say that the real secret of the pizza is the water used to make the dough and that's why Neapolitan pizzas are so unique, however the London one is very close to the original. The oven and the chefs were brought from Naples and the pizzas have the same authentic flavours. The tomato sauce is deliciously fresh and the smell of the basil is amazing. Ah!!, it really seemed to me that I was in Napoli...except for the weather!.
L' Antica Pizzeria da Michele
London Opening hours: 12.00 - 23.00 (Sunday closes 10.30) Closed Monday.
Napoli Opening hours: 11.00 - 23.00 Closed Sunday.