L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is the destination for pizza in Naples. It’s the Pepe’s of New Haven or the Di Fara of Brooklyn. Expect similar wait times too.
The Condurro family started making pizza in 1870. Michele Condurro opened his pizzeria in 1906 and it has been at its current location since 1930.
There are only two types of pizza served here, the Neapolitan classics, marinara and Margherita. The pizzeria’s website says it doesn’t use “junk” to make its pizza, only “natural” ingredients. Ed Levine, in his Pizza: A Slice of Heaven, says that the pizzeria uses “cheap oil.” This article from Vesuvio Live includes an interview with Francesco and Fabrizio Condurro who say they use a blend of vegetable, peanut and sunflower oils before they cook the pizza and then use olive oil on the pizza once it is cooked. They say they do this because, at high temperatures, the olive oil leaves a burned taste to the dough. In addition, they use fior di latte (cow’s milk) mozzarella. Fior di latte is cheaper than mozzarella di bufala, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s “cheap” or “bad” to use it. It is different and not as creamy or flavorful as bufala mozzarella, but it is still good.
Da Michele is highly recommended by locals. On my visit, there were a number of American tourists as well as Spanish-speaking tourists and locals as well. It is an experience similar to eating pizza in New Haven. When we arrived, there was already a crowd at the door. If you go inside the doorway, there is an attendant who gives out numbered tickets. Then you wait for your number to be called. It was a bit daunting to get a 42, but the line moves quickly. We waited for only 30 minutes. The numbers are called in Italian, of course, so it’s helpful to know your numbers. I was able to help some non-Italian-speaking Americans with their number. The attendant assigns tables as they become available, so we sat at our assigned table. Tables can be communal here due to the lines, so there was one older gentleman at our table who was a local.
We ordered one of each pie. The marinara:
You can order the Margherita with extra cheese (doppio mozzarella) too. From these photos, you can see the nice bubbly char on the crust. Both pies had the proverbial wetness in the center, so we did have to use forks and knives. But the sauce, cheese and crust tasted good.