The best pizza in Naples is a family affair, but perhaps not in the way you may think.
Gino Sorbillo, the man behind the eponymous Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo, belongs to one of the oldest pizza-making families in Naples. In 1935, his grandparents Luigi Sorbillo and Carolina Esposito opened a tiny pizza shop with only four marble tables on Via dei Tribunali, the epicenter of Neapolitan pizza production.
While this history is certainly interesting, the way that Sorbillo broadcasts it is what we delight in. Take, for instance, our favorite pizza, the Raimondo. Who is Raimondo? He’s one of Gino’s uncles; twenty-one out of the 23 pizzas served at Sorbillo’s are named after his father and his father’s 20 siblings (all were pizza-makers). The other two are dedicated to his fruitful paternal grandparents.
As we decide between pies named Benito, Vittorio and Carmela, we marvel at Sorbillo’s lineage. With such a pizza-rich past, it’s no wonder that he makes the best pie in Naples.
Unfortunately for us, the rest of the city shares this high opinion of Gino’s pizzas. Which is why, on most days, you can find crowds of customers waiting – sometimes up to an hour – to get into the restaurant.
It’s rare for a Neapolitan to eat alone (eating in Naples is a collective rite), but we often find ourselves doing just that at Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo. We take a seat at the collective horseshoe-shaped marble table in the lower level, and when the thin, soft pizza – so large that it’s spilling over the edges of the large plate – is placed in front of us, we gobble it up while it’s still hot. We’re worried that if we come with friends, we’ll get absorbed in conversation, giving the pizza time to cool down.
Every single pie is subject to quality control, and Gino is very careful when sourcing ingredients. “I have no secrets,” he explained. “I just work to find high-quality ingredients. That usually means taking advantage of the many raw, seasonal materials that the Campania land gives each year.”
With such a pizza-rich past, it’s no wonder that Gino makes the best pie in Naples.
For the dough, he only uses bio flour, which is made from grains that haven’t been exposed to fertilizers or other pesticides, and mother yeast, also known as a bread starter (but the proportions of the mix are top secret). As for the toppings, many of them are Slow Food “Ark of Taste” ingredients, heritage products that are unique to a region. These include Conciato Romano cheese, San Marzano tomatoes and Nduja salami from Spilinga.
Take the Raimondo: Along with top-shelf arugula, ham and parmesan cheese, it is also topped with artisanal tomatoes from Mount Vesuvius (Pomodorino del piennolo). For something more decadent, we order the Luigi, a fried pizza filled with cigoli, compressed pieces of fatty pork (the higher the calories, the better it tastes).
Not only does Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo have the best pizza in Naples (which, if Naples is home to the world’s best pizza, means that Sorbillo’s pizza is the best on the planet), but you can also feel good about eating there. Gino is an active participant in the city’s cultural life and supports a wide variety of causes: for example, two of the pizzas on the menu are dedicated to Amnesty International. For each of these pizzas sold, the pizzeria will donate €1 to human rights campaigns.
If the pizza doesn’t leave you feeling stuffed, we recommend ordering a few scoops of pistachio gelato. Casa Infante, a Neapolitan ice cream maker, produces this incredible ice cream fresh every day just for Sorbillo’s.