Napoli’s finest pizzeria lands in Barcelona’s Eixample district. The Southern-Italian charm is impossible to import fully but the pizzas have survived the journey.
Bite-sized Review: L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele Barcelona, Eixample, Barcelona
Recently, I posted about the time 20 years ago when I visited L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele in Naples. In short, it played a part in transforming my view of food. It was spectacular. Realistically, the Barcelona outpost of Da Michele, which opened in late 2017, could never live up to that combination of novelty, youthful enthusiasm and two decades of blurred nostalgia. And it doesn’t. Nevertheless, it’s very good.
I ate at Da Michele BCN as a guest of the Neapolitan co-owner. Everyone who works there is from Naples; they’ve hired experienced pizzeros and waiters who bring with them technical know-how and a characteristic Neapolitan insouciance. How this translates to busy periods I cannot comment but glorious chaos is part of the charm of Naples so perhaps it fits perfectly.
The venue, on Consell de Cent lacks character and has the air of a quick refurbishment; from the outside it could be mistaken for a fast food franchise. But you don’t go to Da Michele for the decor. You go for the pizza. And the pizza is good. The flour, tomato and mozzarella are imported every week from Naples. So is the wood used in the oven. The dough is slow fermented at a controlled temperature for 36 hours so it’s flavoursome, stretchy and easy to digest. Blasted for 45 seconds in the oven, it’s perfect. The base is the secret of great Neapolitan pizza and Da Michele gets it exactly right. There’s a little too much tomato on top of it perhaps but that’s really a minor complaint. This is wonderful pizza, worthy of the Da Michele name.
Prices are steeper than in Naples, of course, but still reasonable: €8 for a marinara to €13 for a pizza frita. The menu may as well be like in Naples: marinara or margherita (€9) are all you need. Desserts choices are limited but what they have is excellent.
It’s not Napoli. But it’s near enough.