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From Naples with love

Original post made on May 19, 2017

According to Costas Eleftheriadis, owner of Napoletana Pizzeria in Mountain View, all the recipes he uses are from his grandmother in Naples. Nonna was a great cook.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 18, 2017, 11:22 AM

Comments (3)

Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on May 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Thank you for the review. I gotta go for the Carbonara !!

Posted by Max Hauser
a resident of Mountain View
on May 20, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

Thanks for the notes. Here is some further information (from experience of a hopelessly addicted regular customer) than newcomers to Napoletana Pizzeria might find useful.

- While good secondary menu items, including spaghetti Carbonara, can be distracting (Napoletana's was about the best version of that dish I've experienced in a restaurant) -- just as a daily chalkboard special can also distract a reviewer from the main focus of Doppio Zero, another VPN-certified Mountain-View pizza restaurant Web Link -- both restaurants are mainly about pizzas. Baked fast, in wood-fired ovens, and made in Naples styles, different in several ways from most US pizzas. If you're interested in these restaurants, it's worth trying the range of pizzas -- unique pleasures are to be found among them. This is especially true at Napoletana, since Costas is an utter perfectionist, obsessive over recreating the true-Naples-pizzeria experience. (He visits there periodically, to calibrate.) Napoletana Pizzeria is the oldest VPN pizzeria nere here (Terun and Doppio Zero later followed its example).

- This review, like Sheila Himmel's earlier one in these pages, Web Link mentioned the True Neapolitan Pizzeria trade group (VPN, Web Link ), which certified Napoletana Pizzeria in 2012 (not 2010 as this article says -- the restaurant opened in 2011). It might be useful to add a little background about Naples pizzas. That's because Naples isn't just "a" pizza style, but "the" original pizza source. Food historians (such as Mariani) point out that until fairly recent times, pizzas were unknown to most of Italy. The pizza was "poor people's food from the slums of Naples... [immigrants to the US] enlarged it and sold it as finger food, in contrast with the pizzas customarily served on plates and eaten with knife and fork in Italy." The pizza became internationally familiar "only after its boom in the US. . .spurring a keen interest in this once-lowly item both in Italy and abroad. . .pizzerias in America outnumbered pizzerias in Italy in the 1950s, and they probably still do."

- As the quotation indicates, unlike in the US, Naples pizzas aren't "finger food" but are made in individual-diner size, served unsliced, on plates, with knife and fork. Local VPN pizzerias accommodate US expectations by slicing the pizzas, but that's optional and has a side effect. The very hot, freshly baked pizzas come together slightly (as a freshly baked lasagne does, after resting for a few minutes); while if the pizza is sliced right from the oven, juicier toppings drip through to the plate. Some unfamiliar diners complained of that at Napoletana, but it's a consequence of immediate slicing, and you can reduce the problem by either asking for the pizza unsliced and cutting it up on the table, or getting it sliced after a few minutes' rest. Napoletana's large contingent of Italian-born regular customers typically orders them unsliced.

- MV-Voice editor Andrea Gemmett once captured a further advantage of this smaller pizza size: "When I was a teenaged exchange student, the most baffling part of my first experience going out for pizza in Italy was the lack of prolonged familial negotiations over which toppings to choose. It wasn't until all the pizzas arrived that I understood. With individual pizzas, everyone got exactly what he or she wanted. I could never figure out why such a sensible idea took so long it make it to American pizzerias." (Quoted with permission.)

Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on May 28, 2017 at 10:58 pm

Napoletana Pizzeria did not disappoint tonight. I loved the Carbonara , but will certainly have pizza next time. I sat at the tiny bar near the pizza oven where I could see the pizza at all stages of its preparation. Wow. Did it look good. Thanks @Max for the tip about not having it sliced. How did I not know this place about this place? Thank-you Dale.

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