Queuing for an hour and a half for a pizza that takes a minute to make might sound crazy – but then this isn’t any ordinary pizza. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is one of the most famous pizzerias in the world (thanks in part to being featured in the Julia Roberts film Eat, Pray, Love), and has been attracting the world’s pizza-obsessed to Naples for decades. Its London incarnation opened in Stoke Newington last week amongst some serious media hype, and the queues (which only get really bad on Saturday night; opt for a takeaway if they’re too long) certainly show there’s plenty of demand for authentic Neapolitan pizza in the capital.
Of course, having nearly 150 years of history, experience and fame to fall back on certainly helps when opening a new restaurant. But what makes L’Antica stand out perhaps even more than its traditional methods and huge, authentic wood-fired oven is that it only serves two types of pizza: marinara (tomatoes, garlic, oregano) and margherita (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil).
‘When we were first opening we thought about having two or three specials, and we might still do that in the next month or so,’ says Vania Sarnataro, who runs the pizzeria with her sister, Serena. ‘But we wanted to begin with just the two classics, exactly the same as you will find in Naples.’