I write this article with some trepidation, since no debate is ever more heated than that surrounding pizza. Opinions abound among Italian and non-Italians alike, and at the end of the day that’s all this is: an opinion. I’ve travelled to many corners of Italy, including the birthplace of pizza – Naples – but I’m definitely no expert on pizza in Amsterdam or anywhere else for that matter. So take this with a grain of sale marino and a sense of humour. Let’s face it, dough with toppings is a pretty delicious thing – no matter where you eat it!
Parts of this post are taken from my Amsterdam Restaurant Guide. Want to find out more about Italian restaurants plus all the other cuisine Amsterdam has to offer? Download the guide here:
Best Neapolitan-style pizza in Amsterdam: nNea
Opening in 2019 to huge critical acclaim, nNea’s dough takes over 50 hours to produce, and the result is like a warm pillow… fantastic, if you’re in it for the dough. (If you’re the kind of person who leaves pizza bones on their plate, nNea is going to look like a waste of calories.) I ordered the amatriciana pizza because it included the magic word guanciale – possibly my favourite pork-based ingredient in the world. Think bacon but ten times sexier. The amatriciana also involved pecorino, basil, chilli oil and a decent layer of tomato sauce but without mozzarella. The result was the perfect balance of umami, spiciness and doughiness. I only had one glass of wine (a smooth red from Ischia) but the drinks and service were up to the same quality as the pizza.
Best Roman-style pizza in Amsterdam: La Perla
When it comes to thin-and-crispy Roman-style pizza, you can’t beat La Perla – which has been serving up some of the best in town since way back in 2009 (possibly earlier, but that was the first time I visited). They import most of their produce from Italy, and their buffalo mozzarella, ‘nduja and cinta senese fennel salami are to die for – hence why I’m a big fan of their “Calabrese di Spilinga” and “Finocchiona” pizzas. La Perla has a pizzeria on one side of the road (where they do mostly takeaway) and a restaurant on the other side (where you can order pizza plus various other dishes). Be sure to arrive early or reserve a table.
Most experimental pizza in Amsterdam: PizzaLab
Not all pizza has to have 100% traditional toppings, however. Opening in May 2021 in the Zuidas, PizzaLab is on a mission to perfect an incredibly accessible product but to leave room for experimentation (hence the “lab” in the name). The menu is split between classics with a twist and more daring seasonal creations. The night I visited, high on the innovation scale came the “Adventure of a Cetara Anchovy” pizza, which had neither a white nor a red sauce base but a green one: made with friarielli (sometimes known as Neapolitan broccoli) to create an entirely new visual and flavour experience. Equally delicious was the XXXNduja, made with spicy ‘nduja from Spilinga, salami from Ventricina, burrata from an award-winning cheesemaker in Putignano, organic San Marzano tomatoes, and sweeter yellow tomatoes from Piennolo – taking hyper-local Italian ingredients but using them to create something a little leftfield.
Best neighbourhood pizza chain: Pazzi (Oost)
I only discovered Pazzi very recently, having walked past their location on Steve Bikoplein in Oost several times while walking my dog around the neighbourhood. They have an east-facing terrace, which has been particularly handy during the recent heatwaves hitting Amsterdam as it’s almost entirely in the shade. There’s a brick oven inside (which means it’s also very cosy in winter) turning out classics like the cappriciosa (with prosciutto, artichokes and mushrooms), the tarfufo (with truffle sauce, fontina cheese and ham) and the salsiccia (with fennel sausage, rocket and parmesan). I’ve also never been disappointed by their daily changing pizza van de dag, mixed antipasti or sgroppino. At the time of writing, Pazzi has four locations: in the Jordaan, Oud-West, Oost and Noord respectively.
Best takeaway pizza in Amsterdam
Ok, so this is a bit of a trick question… Since pizza travels incredibly badly, the best takeaway is the one closest to your house (unless of course that’s Domino’s). In my case, I’m taking about Pizza Heart Bar – just off the Amstel river – which fed my pizza habit during lockdown once every fortnight or so. We almost always ordered the diavola (which is meaty and spicy) and the parmigiana (with aubergine and mozzarella) but all the pizzas were generally quick and reliable. However, if Pizza Heart is nowhere near where you live, they will inevitably be cold and flabby! Time is of the essence when it comes to pizza – which is your favourite local pizzeria?