The Three Pizza Laws
After eating over 200 pizzas in Italy, I have learned a few things that can drastically improve your chance of having a wonderful pizza, rather than just an average pizza experience. Here are the pizza eating rules I would adhere to if you are going to hunt for a high quality pizzeria in Italy.
Never eat in a pizzeria before seven thirty in the evening. Pizzerias usually begin heating their brick ovens in the later evening to suit the Mediterranean dining time. If a pizzeria is open before seven it can be for one of two reasons; one the pizzeria is so popular it makes business sense to keep the oven open all afternoon, or two, the pizzeria is near touristy clientele or high volume street traffic with customers who are less discerning. I have found more of the latter, sub-average pizza produced for tourists during the early evening, then I have of high quality pizza.
(look to see if there is more staff than Italian diners )
Only eat in a pizzeria that has a decent number of Italians present.This should be self evident. If there is not boisterous conversation and wild gesticulation happening at every table you are probably at the wrong pizzeria. Who would know best as to what a good pizzeria has to offer? The more Italians in line outside and inside a pizzeria, the better the food should be.
(The ‘Acqua & Farina’ pizza at Acqua & Farina Pizzeria)
Always order the pizza named after the restaurant (if they have one). Unless dietary concerns prevent you from eating the ‘Restaurant-named pizza’ You ought to eat the pizza the pizzeria owner was willing to stake the reputation of their whole restaurant on. Sometimes theses named pizzas are designed for multiple persons, so ask for a ‘normale’ if its just for one person, or get some idea idea of how big the pizza will actually be before you order it. Hand gestures will compensate here for any lack of Italian you may have.