On the hunt for the perfect Neapolitan Pizza

Be selfish about this one, don't try to split it

A crispy yet slightly chewy crust, savory sauce, and gooey cheese are all requirements for a delightfully perfect pizza. But it’s the variations of each of those ingredients that determine just the kind of pizza you’ll be enjoying. Of course, pizza as we know it was created in Italy, but there’s one pie, in particular, that has remained a popular choice: Neapolitan-style.

The History Of Neapolitan Pizza

According to About.com, baker Raffaele Esposito is typically credited with creating the original Margherita pizza, which we now know as the Neapolitan-style pizza, when Queen Margherita of Savory visited Naples, Italy. Esposito baked a pizza in her honor, using the colors of the Italian flag: red tomatoes, white mozzarella, and green basil leaves.

Neapolitan Pizza Certification

What most people don’t know, however, is that there is an actual certification process pizzerias go through to be sure they’re using the right ancient artisan traditions of authentic Neapolitan pizza. Founded in 1984, the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), which includes an American branch, has necessary requirements for certification, which have to be applied for by a pizzeria.

For a Neapolitan pizza to be certified, it must have a crust made with highly refined Italian type 0 or 00 wheat flour, salt, water, and Neapolitan or fresh brewer’s yeast. Additionally, the dough has to be kneaded either by hand or with use a low-speed mixer, then shaped by hand, without using a rolling pin. The sauce is made from raw, pureed San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, cow’s milk or water buffalo’s milk mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil. The pizza cannot be baked for longer than 90 seconds inside a minimum 800 F stone oven with a wood fire.

Many restaurants will serve Neapolitan-Style Pizza, which doesn’t strictly adhere to the requirements or because they haven’t applied for certification.

Finding The Perfect Neapolitan Pizza

You could easily make a trip up to your local pizza joint and order a Neapolitan-style pizza, but what if you want the real thing? That’s where certifications come in handy. So where in the U.S. can you find a true, certified Neapolitan pizza? Below you’ll find out top 5 list of restaurants serving Neapolitan pizza that has been certified by the VPN, as well as other deliciously crafted pizzas!

  1. La Pizza Fresca Ristorante – New York City, New York
    1. Certified by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana in 1997 (and the first in New York to become certified)
  2. Spacca Napoli – Chicago, Illinois
  3. Racca’s – Denver, Colorado 
    1. The only pizzeria in Colorado to be certified by the VPN
  4. Napoletana Pizzeria – Mountain View, California
  5. La Piazza PHX – Phoenix, Arizona

When trying a Neapolitan pizza for the first time, it’s important to keep in mind that it may be unlike any other pizza you’ve had before. The crust is lighter and airy around the edges, while thin in the middle. Because the sauce uses real tomatoes, it tends to puddle in the middle which some diners may find off-putting. At first glance, a Neapolitan pizza may seem too simple or lacking in flavor, but just one bite will change your mind forever!

Below you can find a list of restaurants in the United States that have had their Neapolitan pizza certified by the VPN. Please note that this list is not exhaustive. Did your city or state make the cut?

ARIZONA

FLAGSTAFF
  • Fat Olives
GLENDALE
  • La Piazza Al Forno
  • Pomo Pizzeria Glendale
PHOENIX

A photo posted by La Piazza PHX (@lapiazzaphx) on

  • Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana
  • La Piazza PHX
SCOTTSDALE
  • Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana
TUCSON
  • Vero Amore
GILBERT
  • Pomo Pizzeria Gilbert

CALIFORNIA

SAN FRANCISCO
  • A16 Restaurant
  • Mozzeria
PALO ALTO
  • Terún
PASADENA
  • Settebello Pasadena
MARINA DEL RAY
  • Settebello Marina del Rey
SAN DIEGO
  • Caffè Calabria
  • Pummarò Pizzeria
OAKLAND
  • A16 Rockridge
NAPA VALLEY
  • Ca’ Momi
  • Ca’ Momi Osteria
CORONA DEL MAR
  • Pirozzi Corona del Mar
SAN JOSE
  • Pizza Bocca Lupo
MOUNTAIN VIEW
  • Doppio Zero
  • Napoletana Pizzeria
FULLERTON
  • Fuoco
NEWPORT COAST
  • Settebello Newport
OXNARD
  • Settebello Oxnard
TWAIN HARTE
  • The Prospector
CULVER CITY
  • Ugo

COLORADO

DENVER
  • Racca’s

FLORIDA

LAKE BUENA VISTA
  • Via Napoli

HAWAII

LIHUE
  • Pietro’s Pizza Kauai

ILLINOIS

CHICAGO
  • Forno Rosso
  • Forno Rosso on Randolph
  • Spacca Napoli
DOWNERS GROVE
  • Parkers’ Ocean Grill

IDAHO

BOISE
  • Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria
MERIDIAN
  • Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria Meridian

INDIANA

EVANSVILLE
  • Pangea Kitchen

IOWA

SOLON
  • Red Vespa
GOSHEN
  • Venturi

KENTUCKY

LEXINGTON
  • Smashing Tomato
  • Smashing Tomato 2

MAINE

BELFAST
  • Meanwhile in Belfast

MICHIGAN

PLYMOUTH
  • Cellar 849

MINNESOTA

ST PAUL
  • Punch Neapolitan Pizza

MISSOURI

ST JOSEPH
  • Il Lazzarone
KANSAS CITY
  • Il Lazzarone KC

NEBRASKA

OMAHA
  • Dante Pizzeria Napoletana

NEVADA

HENDERSON
  • Settebello Henderson
LAS VEGAS
  • Settebello Las Vegas

NEW JERSEY

RIDGEWOOD
  • A Mano

NEW YORK

NEW YORK CITY

  • La Pizza Fresca Ristorante
  • Ribalta

OREGON

BEND
  • Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria Bend
EUGENE
  • La Perla Pizzeria

PENNSYLVANIA

PITTSBURGH
  • Il Pizzaiolo
  • Il Pizzaiolo Market Square

RHODE ISLAND

CRANSTON
  • Avvio
  • Basta
SOUTH KINGSTOWN
  • Pasquale’s

SOUTH CAROLINA

AIKEN
  • Apizza di Napoli

TENNESSEE

NASHVILLE
  • Porta Via Italian Kitchen

TEXAS

FORT WORTH
  • Cane Rosso Fort Worth
HOUSTON
  • Pizaro’s Pizza Napoletana II
  • Cane Rosso Heights
ARLINGTON
  • Pupatella
AUSTIN
  • Pieous
CARROLLTON
  • Cane Rosso Carrollton
DALLAS
  • Cane Rosso White Rock
  • Cane Rosso
FAIRVIEW
  • Cane Rosso Fairview

UTAH

FARMINGTON
  • Settebello Farmington
SALT LAKE CITY
  • Settebello Salt Lake City

VIRGINIA

Centreville
  • Ciao Osteria
VIENNA
  • Crust
FALLS CHURCH CITY
  • Pizzeria Orso

Washington, d.c.

  • 2 Amys
  • Il Canale
  • Menomale

WASHINGTON

SEATTLE
  • Via Tribunali (Capitol Hill, Fremont, Georgetown, & Queen Anne locations)
  • Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria (Issaquah, Stone Way, West Lake, Crossroads, & Columbia City)
  • Pizzeria Pulcinella
  • Pizzeria 22
  • Picolinos Ristorante
  • Cornuto
BELLEVUE
  • Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria Crossroads

WISCONSIN

SHEBOYGAN
  • Harry’s Prohibition Bistro
  • Il Ritrovo
MADISON
  • Naples 15

Now that you know where you can find true, certified Neapolitan pizzas, keep in mind that pizzerias all over the country are making their own versions that may be just as good. Certification isn’t a requirement for a good tasting pie. We just wanted to highlight the hard-working chefs and restaurant owners who have dedicated their careers to crafting authentic Neapolitan pizza, bringing a taste of Italy to their hometowns. Once you dig in and try one yourself, be sure to come back and share your reviews! Why not try to visit them all?

Emily Hayden

Emily Hayden is a stay-at-home, single mom of one with a passion for parenting, writing, and life in general. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Cincinnati where she played volleyball for the Bearcats

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