Travel like a local

L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele


We arrived at 3.30pm on a Tuesday afternoon, assuming it would be a quiet time for this hugely popular (especially since "Eat, Prey, Love" filmed a scene here) restaurant, but we still had wait an hour for a table. Go to the front, grab yourself a numbered ticket and wait for your number to be called. The wait outside is made easier by the fact they sell ice-cold beer for you to take outside (2 euros each).

Once inside, you realise it's bigger than it looks from the outside. The ordering feels rushed but that's fine as there are only really two options: margherita and marinara (although you can give larger sizes and you can double the mozzarella on the margherita). Both normal options are 4 euros each, which is incredibly cheap given the hype. Weirdly they don't offer any wine, only the beer.

It was my first pizza in Naples so I had to get the regular margherita, the original and favourite. My first reactions when it arrived was how red it is. The tomato sauce dominates with just a few small pieces of mozzarella and a generous sprinkling of olive oil. The first bite shows that the tomato really is the star of the pizza. The cheese and dough are good (although I think the crusts were a bit too doughy for my taste) but the whole thing is very delicious due to the fantastic sauce.

On the following Monday I returned, this time at 4.45pm and although I knew to go straight to the front for the ticket and was ready with my order as soon as I was inside, it still took just over 1.5hrs from arriving to having the pizza in front of me. Considering I went at an off-peak time, this is totally unacceptable and I can't help but think they are badly organised. For instance, a lady who arrived after me decided to get her two pizzas to take-away and had them in her hand in about 10 minutes - this proves that they're fast at cooking but totally inefficient with the table service, which I found to be awful the second time. The waiter was far more interested in chatting to two young Dutch girls than he was at taking my order.

I tried ordering one margherita for my friend and one double mozzarella for me but I was told that it was impossible to order the 4 euro margherita - only the double mozzarella. I looked around and indeed, everyone had double. Initially he told me it was because it was a Monday. Then he told me it was because they only have seven staff. Neither reason seemed to make any sense.

The pizza is definitely fantastic, especially for the price, but I can't say that it's worth waiting 1.5 hours for. Sorbillo wins in almost all departments, except for the tomato sauce.

Overall rating... 8.5/10