Last year, while researching his book Pizza: A Slice of Heaven (Universe Publishing; $24.95), Ed Levine ate 1,000 pieces of pizza. After making his way through 50 pies in Naples alone, he homed in on the city's ideal: a puffy crust with raised blisters and a high lip; rich mozzarella di bufala; San Marzano tomatoes; and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. Here, four Neapolitan spots that top his list.
• "L'Europeo di Mattozzi [4 Via Marchese Campodisola; 39-081/552-323; lunch for two $40] delivers perfection, with a puffy, two-inch-high cornicione (lip), sweet tomatoes, and creamy mozzarella."
• "Di Matteo [94 Via dei Tribunali; 39-081/455-262; lunch for two $12] dishes out a denser version with a distinctive smoky flavor."
• "A crisp crust can be hard to find in Naples—locals prefer doughy—but the expert pizzaiolo at Da Ettore [56 Via Santa Lucia; 39-081/764-0498; lunch for two $54] offers a nicely charred Margherita."
• "And the rich cosacca, or cured pork fat, pizza at Lombardi a Santa Chiara [59 Via Benedetto Croce; 39-081/552-0780; lunch for two $27] is worth risking a shorter life expectancy for."
—JENNIFER V. COLE
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