Naples – pizza fritta in Vicaria
Vicaria (also known as Vasto) is the area due north of Garibaldi station (see my Google map). It’s a grimy residential area with not a tourist in sight. The only reason to come here is for this excellent pizzeria…
Pellone (Low Intermediate A), 93 Via Nazionale, www.facebook.com/PizzeriaPellone
As this is one of the more well-known pizzerias in town amongst locals there’ll probably be a crowd outside in the evenings. Just give your name to the waiter at the door and wait to be called.
Many people purchase some deep-fried rustici or arancini from the cabinet on the pavement to eat while they’re waiting. If you’re by yourself you’ll probably have to share a table so you’ll get an opportunity to practice your Italian.
By all appearances the blokes working here are classic examples of gruff Neapolitan pizzeria waiters but don’t let that bother you, they’re okay guys really and will come and serve you when they’re good and ready.
There’s a wide choice of pizzas on the menu, all excellent and much bigger than elsewhere (made from 300g of dough rather than the more typical 250g). If you’re feeling brave, and hungry, you should try the Pizza Fritta for which Pellone is particularly famous. It’s basically a huge deep-fried calzone with a filling of ricotta, provola and ‘ciccoli’, a kind of rendered pork (recipe for the latter here).
The pizza fritta is way too big for a single person to eat so if I don’t have someone to share it with I get the other half to take away (‘porta via’) and give it to one of the many people sleeping rough in Garibaldi station on the way back to my hotel.
Pellone is where Anthony Bourdain chose to eat pizza for the filming of the Naples edition of his No Reservations show (starts at 5.35).
Here’s a place it’s probably best to avoid:
Dalle Sorelle Vini & Cucina 1910 (Low Intermediate C), 1 Via Benedetto Cairoli, www.dallesorelle1910.it
I pass this place every time I’m on the bus to the airport and have often wondered whether it’s any good. It isn’t unfortunately, which is probably why I was the only customer on a week night.
They were a bit surprised and quite happy to see me so I received good service but sadly the cooking wasn’t up to much and I actually felt a bit queasy after I’d left. This was probably the fault of the provolone filled rustici (C-) but the oily Spaghetti alle Vongole wasn’t much better (C) and the house wine was pretty rough (C). I passed on a dessert.
They are very cheap though, as indicated by the ‘Vini & Cucina’ in their name, which puts them at the bottom of the restaurant hierarchy below ‘osteria’, ‘trattoria’ and ‘ristorante’. Vini & Cucina places can be great but not in this case unfortunately.