Walk by Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo on any given day of the week during dinnertime and you will find a line of hungry patrons that stretches far beyond the restaurant’s entrance. Since it’s a highly-rated locale that’s always busy, I figured it must be good, right? Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint!
Sorbillo is a Neapolitan-style pizzeria, which means that the pizza is more dough-y and has a thicker crust than other varieties. The restaurant also has a location in Naples, the supposed birthplace of pizza. In addition to pizza, the menu also features Neapolitan antipasti and dolci (more about those later).
We opted for a bottle of the house red to go with our meal. The wine served was piedirosso, which originates from the region of Campania, where Naples is located. It reminded me of merlot, being slightly sweet and full-bodied. It certainly was not a “light” wine. It was a little too sweet for my personal taste, but I thought it paired well with what we ate.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this wine was the bottle. The wine producer apparently had made this particular variety exclusively for Sorbillo. The volcano on the front of the custom bottle is a reference to Mt. Vesuvius, further reinforcing the pizzeria’s Neapolitan origins.
It’s very typical to order fritti as an appetizer when dining at a pizzeria in Italy. That being said, we tried two types: crocchette di patate and pasta frittata. The crocchette is essentially mashed potatoes shaped into a log and deep fried (great for heart health!). Crocchette are not local to Naples and can be found in pizzerias all over the country. Pasta frittata on the other hand…
Frittata is the Italian word for omelette. A pasta fritatta is an omelette that includes pasta, cheese, and sometimes ground meat like sausage or pancetta. The finished product does not really resemble an omelette at all. As far as I’m concerned, this appetizer looked, smelled, and tasted like fried mac & cheese….AKA incredibly delicious and incredibly unhealthy. Pasta frittata is a Neapolitan specialty that I definitely recommend trying should you come across it.
I was already very content with my wine and fried goodness, but I was extremely curious to see if the pizza at Sorbillo lived up to the hype. Luckily, I was able to sample three different options that helped me form my opinion.
Margherita Gialla Massimo Bottura
Perhaps the “crown jewel” of Sorbillo is the pizza that I ordered. This pizza is named after (and was likely created by) one of Italy’s most renown chefs, Massimo Bottura, who owns the world’s best restaurant according to an association that calls itself The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. This pizza is truly one-of-a-kind. The sauce is made from yellow tomatoes, as opposed to red, which are also used as a topping. Buffalo provolone cheese is used as a substitution for the predictable mozzarella.
Yellow tomatoes are not as sweet as red, making the pizza more savory overall. Provolone packs a much greater flavor punch with its salty bite. It also melts wonderfully and is an unexpected but fantastic cheese to use atop a pizza. The Margheritta Gialla was unique and definitely did it for me.
Pizza Dell’Alleanza dei Presidi Slow Food
Alessandro’s pizza was made with the classic red sauce, as well as a variety of cheeses, among them creamy ricotta. It was also topped with Slow Food-grade sausage that had the crispiness and chew of pancetta, while being moderately spicy. Ricotta was a perfect pairing with the sausage bits. Overall, a really great pie.
Pesto di Basilico (Roberto Panizza)
My friend Brittani ordered a pizza made with pesto sauce as opposed to a tomato-based one. It was topped with red tomatoes and smoked provolone cheese. While very good, I thought it was the least memorable out of the bunch. The pesto was tasty, but nothing about this pizza was particularly “special” like the other two.
Not pictured are our delicious desserts. In addition to pizza, pastry is a another p-word that Naples does very well. Brittani had the Delizia al limone, which was a very light lemon cake with a cream frosting. It was just sweet enough, with super fresh citrus flavor, that was a great dessert to eat after salty pizza.
Alessandro went for Pastierotto, which was damn good!!! It was part-Pastiera and part-crema pasticceria (no, these are not the same thing). Pastiera is a Neapolitan tort made with wheat, eggs, ricotta, and orange essence that is usually served as Easter. This semifreddo version served as the crust for the crema pasticceria, or pastry cream (i.e. super sweet, decadent, mind-blowingly-good custard). The miniature pastry was topped with pistachios and a candied orange.
No one raves about the desserts at this place the way they do about the pizza, but they should. Both were phenomenal, and the pastierotto might have been one of the best desserts I ever ate in my life.
- Always a long line, but for the most part the pizzeria lives up to the hype
- “Unique” pizzas, in addition to classics
- High-quality ingredients
- Neapolitan delicacies that are not always easy to find outside of Campania