De Noantri, Pizza & Restaurant, Berlin, Germany
3,5 points by Alexander van Dülmen
I am pleased that today my friend and critical supporter Gasper Gabrijelcic shares his view of his – of course – “best pizza of the world”:
I am honored to be only the second guest reviewer to be invited to post a review on Alexander’s blog; his son Balthasar having previously enjoyed this distinction (https://avdwineandfood.net/2015/02/27/arco-antico-pizzaria-san-marco-di-locorotondo/). Needless to say, pizza is a most unique food – it manages to be many contradictory things simultaneously: very personal, totally ubiquitous, and bitterly contentious. Not only does everyone have their own favorite spot which is also, as Alexander puts it, „the best in the world“ (https://avdwineandfood.net/2016/02/19/pizza-piazza-rossa-berlin/), but these preferences inspire irreconcilable disagreement and occasionally, the desire to „set the record straight.“
In order for the reader to understand my urge to write this review, I need to write a few sentences about my pizza-eating history. Over the last 30 years, I have likely on average eaten 1 pizza per week -which makes roughly 1,500 pizzas. I have once, during the Cannes film festival, eaten pizza for 7 days straight. I will eat and enjoy pretty much any kind of pizza and it will take a really exceptional tasting menu (like the one at Hisa Franko https://avdwineandfood.net/2015/05/03/hisa-franko-restaurant-staro-selo-kobarid-2-report/) for me not to, at some point during the meal, think about my favorite pizza place and compare the level of satisfaction: pizza wins almost every time.
My favorite pizza place and the best in the world is De Noantri in Berlin. It is run by some of the former staff of Due Forni, an institution in Berlin when it comes to pizza (together with its sister restaurants Il Ritrovo and Il Casolare), known for their exceptional pizzas but also notorious for their deliberately bad and impolite service. Compared to the anarchist Due Forni, De Noantri feels much more like a “normal” Kreuzberg restaurant.
Having said that, the service is particular – when we were there with Alexander (https://avdwineandfood.net/aboutme/), the place wasn’t very busy, but somehow it still took the waiter a long time to bring us the menu. And when the place gets busy – which it does almost every evening – expect to be ignored and also to wait. To me, this is part of the charm and it keeps away people who wouldn’t be able to truly appreciate their pizza anyway. The same goes for the fact that they only take cash.
Anyway, this is their pizza funghi, luscious and velvety.
To me, there are a few objective criteria when it comes to pizza: a thin, slightly crisp and not greasy crust (check), high quality tomatoes (check), excellent mozzarella (check), a real wood-burning oven (check). And the ultimate test of a pizza’s quality is eating a whole pizza during your lunch break and then going back to the office awake and energetic. With this pizza, I’ve done it many times – it is actually surprisingly light. The other test is bringing the leftover pizza (doesn’t happen that often) home and eating it cold the following morning. Again, you can only do this if the pizza is really good and not greasy.
There is an interesting phenomenon in Berlin of Albanians and people from former Yugoslavia running pizza places and posing as Italians – in his review, Alexander correctly recognizes the importance of the pizza being made by real Italians. However, there is an important distinction between real Italians as well – there are the slick, shoe-shine in their hair, gigolos in button down shirts who are there to charm you and to serve tourists, and then there are the rougher-looking guys and girls in sweat pants, with tattoos, piercings and dread-locks who will insult you (and rightly so) if you complain about the pasta being too hard or ask for ketchup to put on your pizza (who would do that?). In my experience in Berlin, these are the people you want to make your pizza; and if you go there often enough (and NEVER complain about anything), they will eventually become your friends (but like all good things in life, you’ll have to really earn it).
When it comes to pizza, the challenge is to keep it simple, to not cut corners and to be strict and dogmatic about how you make the pizza and what you put on it. The guys at De’ Noantri get it exactly right.
There is no webpage! The address is Görlitzer Str. 63, 10997 Berlin