Like other big cities, Budapest has plenty of pizza joints that churn out cheap, but not especially good, slices. In addition to these, there are also a handful of dedicated pizzerias that have mastered the art of pizza-making. Some of them specialize in Naples or Roman-style pies, others simply put out delicious pizza without devotion to a particular region.
Pizzica was the first pizzeria in Budapest to specialize in pizza al taglio: the Roman invention where rectangular-shaped pies are sliced with a scissor and usually taken to-go. This tiny takeout joint in District 6 is run by the de Bartolomeo brothers, natives from Southern Italy, who can be found most days sliding cast-iron pans in and out of the electric oven. .
You step into Little Italy Pizzeria, and an oversized photo of Naples and the Mount Vesuvius will face you from the opposite wall. Around it hang a myriad of blue-and-white soccer scarves with “solo Napoli” signs. The waitstaff and much of the clientele consists of Italian natives. It really feels like being in a Neapolitan restaurant, but instead of the Tyrrhenian coast, this pizzeria is actually in an indistinct Budapest neighborhood, a bit outside the city center..
Pizza Manufaktura is a hip, tiny, always-crowded, counter-service pizzeria in Budapest’s District 9. The place makes no secret about its coolness: hipster twentysomethings scurry between the counter and the kitchen while loud music pipes through the speakers. Their pies, made with an electric oven, fall between a Roman and Neapolitan style: the crust is soft, doughy, and has some air pockets with charred spots, but the texture is firm enough to hold the slice in your hand..
Digó, which is an open-air pizza stand by Deák Square, the epicenter of Budapest, makes some of the best Naples-style pies in Budapest. The competence and passion of Digó's pizzaiolos shone through as they enthusiastically explained the benefits of using “double-zero” flour and a two-step dough fermentation, and also the technical challenges of a wood-burning oven (the individual logs burn differently), which is what they use here. .
As Neapolitans like to say, “when it comes to clothes and pizza, it’s always Naples over Rome." This proverb is taken to heart at Igen, a spacious pizza joint on the Buda side, churning out Naples-style pies all day long inside a wood-burning oven fueled by beech to achieve high heat and a smokey flavor. The Naples variety is known for an airy crust with splotches of char, and a soupy center. As customary, Igen uses a refined, type "00" flour to ensure a soft pizza dough. .
If you’re serious about your pizza and are spending more than a few days in Budapest, grab your hiking boots and trek out to Kemencés Pizza, which makes some of the best pies in all of Budapest. It takes about an hour to get to from downtown by public transport, but think of it as part of the experience of discovering Budapest. .
MANU+ is the second branch of Pizza Manufaktura, a popular pizza joint near Corvinus University. The good news is that this one doesn't usually get as mobbed by people as the original venue, meaning that you won't have to wait longer than a few minutes before devouring a Naples-style pizza, which is what MANU+ specializes in. .