Perhaps the best place to get a really great pizza outside of Italy is not New York City but in Tokyo. The website for the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana lists thirty-five authentic Napoletana pizzerias in Japan.
Many of the pizzaiolos have apprenticed in Italy, bake their pizzas in wood burning ovens, and do an outstanding job of replicating authentic Italian pizzas. Alan Richman wrote an excellent piece about this (as well as French and Chinese cuisine in Japan) in this piece in GQ magazine. His piece opens up in Nakameguro with Kakinuma-san of Seirinkan, who is one of the most revered pizzaiolos in Japan. There are only two pizzas on his menu, marinara or Margherita as well as some salads, pastas, and other dishes. I always get the broccoli sautéed with garlic and then save the garlic oil to dip the crust of the pizza into later.
Thanks to Tokyo’s pizza boom there are now several more restaurants in the metropolis to satiate your craving for pizza. Here are just some (of many).
Meguro-ku, Nakameguro 2-6-4
11:30 – sold out; 18:00 – 21:30
Setagaya-ku, Kamiuma 4-5-1
11:30 – 14:00; 17:30 – 22:00
Peppe, at only twenty-six years old, may appear to be young for a pizzaiolo but has said that he has been helping out in pizzerias in his native Naples since he was twelve.
Tarantella da Luigi
Minato-ku, Shirokane 3-22-2
12:00 – 14:00 Saturday and holidays
17:30 – 23:00 Monday – Saturday (until 22:00 on Sunday)
Teratoka-san has apprenticed with seven pizzerias in Naples and has spent more time in Italy making pizza than in Japan.
Setagaya-ku, Soshigaya 2-4-7, Soshigaya Danchi Building #1
12:00 – 14:00; 18:00 – 22:30
Goto-san serves authentic Napolitan pizza as well as a local version which is topped with shirasu (boiled baby anchovies) and nori.
Pizzeria e Trattoria da Isa
Meguro-ku, Aobadai 1-28-9
11:30 – 14:00 (until 14:30 on Saturday and holidays)
17:30 – 22:00
Yamamoto-san prides his pizza on its ingredients. The flour and salt are imported from Italy. The dough is slowly fermented at room temperature for eight to ten hours.