Via Napoli Pizzeria
141 Longueville Road, Lane Cove, NSW
02 9428 3297
Just when you thought that Sydney was a city that really excels in its pizza, along comes a venue to take it to the next level. Via Napoli Pizzeria is the result of a dream held by Luigi Esposito since the age of eight, to own and run a Neapolitan-style pizzeria.
Since the days when he followed his grandparents around the streets of Naples selling pagniottiello, and freshly-made pizza fritta covered by a blanket in a pram on the side of the streets, Luigi knew he had a passion for pizza. This only got stronger as he grew older, working in the most famous pizzerias in Naples and all over Europe, and gaining as much experience as possible.
Seven years ago he landed in Sydney to a new life, but the dream remained. Anyone who met him couldn’t help but be impressed by his infectious love of all things pizza, and his burning desire to bring a taste of the streets of his native Napoli to his new home. The dream finally became a reality when he found the ideal location on Lane Cove’s main drag, at the end of 2011.
With the exceptional service provided by his equally enthusiastic team of Italian waiting staff and his no compromise, 100% authentic approach to making pizza, the passion has quickly spread to a loyal customer base. The restaurant has also received critical acclaim, winning the Time Out ‘Best Pizzeria’ award in 2013 and the ‘Good Food Under $30’ award in 2013 and 2014.
In the kitchen, traditional values of course reign, meaning they use the highest quality produce, sourced and prepared with the respect it deserves. “A true Neapolitan pizza must be baked in a wood-fired, domed oven at 485C for no more than 60 to 90 seconds,” Luigi said. “The base must be hand-kneaded by rolling it with your fingers and the pizza must not exceed 35 centimetres in diameter or be more than one-third of a centimetre thick at the centre.”
The drive to create pizza bases just like in Naples, where they are soft and pliable, as well as authentic toppings, means that Luigi and his team must import many ingredients from home, including the all-important San Marzano tomatoes, Buffalo mozzarella, fior di latte mozzarella, Caputo flour and olive oil. The one concession made for an Australian audience is the size of the pizzas, which are available in 13 inch, half metre or a truly colossal one metre and two metre base.
If you haven’t guessed by now, the Neapolitans take their pizza very seriously, and at Via Napoli the Marinara and the Margherita are two of the most popular varieties. The Panzerotto Napoletano is also a favourite with its lightly fried dough topped with a San Marzano Napoli sauce, fresh buffalo mozzarella, parmesan, and basil. The traditional pizza fritta is a deep-fried pizza stuffed with Buffalo ricotta, Buffalo mozzarella, mild Salami San Marzano tomato sauce and Pepper.
With all these wonderful ingredients, it’s easy to forget the real secret ingredient. Luigi said, “The main ingredient is passion. Passion is everything!”
Via Napoli Pizzeria is a fully-licensed venue that recreates the extraordinary bustle, chaos and overcrowded atmosphere of the streets of Naples, to complement the great food. And this blend has been so successful that Luigi has recently ‘doubled up’ on his dream, opening his second pizzeria in Hunters Hill!