Sorbillo pizza is highly recommended by Naples guidebooks as well as locals. Sorbillo has a VPN designation meaning that it is certified as true Neapolitan pizza. The pizzaiolo, Gino Sorbillo, is famous and has won awards in Italy for his pizza. From an internet search, it sounds as if he was opening or had plans to open a pizzeria in New York City’s Times Square as well.
Another New Yorker had Sorbillo pizza in Napoli too–NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Before I write about Sorbillo, I need to mention my stance on Neapolitan pizza. Like food writer Ed Levine, I prefer coal-fired New York-style pizza like that of Lombardi’s, Grimaldi’s, etc. As Levine says, Neapolitan pizza tends to be soggy in the middle, a fact he attributes to the moisture in the tomatoes and cheese. Indeed, others say it is the moisture in good-quality mozzarella or from non-strained tomatoes. I attribute the wetness to the double zero flour not being strong enough to hold these ingredients. My cousins in Italy say the pizza should be wet, and they like it that way. I’m guessing it’s a sign that good ingredients are being used.
There are a few locations with the name Sorbillo right next door to each other on Via Tribunali, the main street in the Centro Storico district of Napoli. The one with the crowd outside is Gino’s store. According to Rick Steves, the other location belongs to Gino’s relatives.
My cousins said that you have to take a numbered ticket here, but the night we went that was not the case. Everyone just crowded the door until the restaurant opened and then it was every man or woman for herself to run to secure a table. No worries for me. My inner New Yorker came out, and it was lucky #7 for me.
People have described a rushed atmosphere, but I didn’t feel that at all.
We got a classic Margherita pizza. The outer edge of the pizza that you see is called the cornicione in Italy. It tends to be doughy on Neapolitan pizza.
We also got a “Patrizio”–with ramata onion from Montoro (cipolla ramata di Montoro from Irpinia) and the Alife onion (cipolla di Alife).
The onions on this pizza are out of this world. They have such a sweet, pure flavor unlike any onion I have tasted before. The ingredients on both pizzas are of high quality, and both were very good. But they do have the characteristic wetness of Neapolitan pizza.
–Dina Di Maio