The famous L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele from Naples opening up in London is kind of like a Premiership footballer like David Beckham going to play in the US at the end of his career. Even if he’s not the greatest of all time, coming from a place with such fanaticism for the game means he’s going to be at least pretty good wherever he goes. And people will pay the price of admission just to get a look regardless of the skill of play.
With that in mind, we went into this spot in Stoke Newington expecting “pretty good” and at worst to get a look at an authentic Italian pizza operation. What we didn’t expect was to experience the pizza hall of fame. The pies at Da Michele are easily the best in London, and among the best we’ve ever eaten.
L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele is a small spot on Stokey Church Street that feels like a proper locals-only establishment, with just a few tables, minimal decor, and a gigantic pizza oven out back that’s been shipped brick-by-brick from Italy. There are only two pizzas on the menu, so if you’re looking for prosciutto or spicy chorizo or fucking hoisin duck on your pie like Rebecca G from Yelp, then you should probably just go to Domino’s and then banish yourself from the internet. Da Michele doesn’t play like that.
What they do play is a skilled game of simplicity. The margherita here is absolutely incredible, and the marinara might be even better. Both rely on the sheer quality of the sauce and crust to shine, but the marinara, in particular, has a brightness and clarity of flavor that makes every tomato sauce you’ve had on pizza up until this point seem like pure garbage.
By this point you shouldn’t be wondering if we think da Michele is worth the difficult trip to Northeast London, and the inevitable queue. But just in case, let us be 100% clear - L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele is worth it. Because it’s the best. We’d even call it the David Beckham of London pizza, but that would be disrespecting the pizza. This is in a league all its own.
If you’ve never understood why pizzerias put plain old tomato sauce on their pies without any cheese, try the marinara here. The brilliant dough paired with the stunningly good herby tomato sauce is a class act. If we’re ordering one pizza here, it’s this one.
Good news: we never order just one pizza here, and neither should you. Yes, the large is huge, and can feed two average people, but you’re not an average person, you are a boss. Go big. Also The smokiness and sweetness of the mozzarella on this pie must make its way to your mouth.