We visit the restaurant that presented Queen Margherita with the first–ever modern day pizza, and try the unmodified recipe.
After a particularly hot, particularly exhausting day of walking around Napoli, visiting museums and exploring the city, my family and I were becoming increasingly grumpy. We were ready to call it a day and eat dinner by about 5:45pm, but, as is common in Italy, the restaurant wasn’t open until much later.
We finally were able to go there at around 7:00pm, and by that point we were all pitying ourselves for our empty stomachs.
Now, let me clear this up before you start preaching at me telling me I’m wrong:
Yes, early forms of pizza have been around since the dawn of civilization, with flatbread used as plates to hold various vegetables. However, the restaurant I’m talking about is the one that Queen Margherita of Savoy was presented with when she came to Napoli in 1889.
According to the story, the queen was presented with three “pizzas” when she arrived at the restaurant: one of which had colors representing the Italian flag. Basil for green, mozzarella for white, and tomatoes for red. She was so enthralled with the dish that it soon gained widespread popularity. Now almost every form of pizza has these three ingredients. The restaurant claims to still use the same pizza oven, which I believe, as the entire city of Naples seems to still be functioning on the same buildings and streets that were around during the Roman empire.
Waiting… waiting… waiting…
We were seated in an outdoor patio as the sun made its final descent below the tops of the buildings. Initially, we were relieved, and we ordered our pizzas as soon as we caught sight of a waiter. However, the pizzas didn’t arrive until extremely late in the night (from our tired and hungry perspective). After about an hour of waiting, and seeing that a couple who had arrived after us had received their food, my dad decided to check with a waiter to make sure our food was coming. Apparently that was not proper etiquette, for the waiter went into a huff and began acting accusatorially and rudely about our impatience.
The wait wasn’t terribly agonizing. The restaurant was snugly situated in between two rows of old buildings, and we could get a slight glimpse of the kitchen through the doorway. We even had some entertainment! Two Italian musicians came by and took requests. At the time, I was part of a summer high school musical production of The Wizard Of Oz, so we had them play a modified instrumental version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” It was fantastic, and although I’m glad that I was experiencing it 100% in–the–moment, I wish I would have recorded it.
Our pizza finally arrived, and it was the some of the best pizza we had the entire time we were in Italy. Bragging rights for having pizza where it was invented is definitely a plus, but I came away with a prominent memory of a long wait and rude waiters. All in all, I’m just glad I got to cross another item off my bucket list!
Read what other tourists think on trip advisor about Pizzaria Brandi