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Friday, Feb. 17, 2012

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Naples pizzeria serves up a slice of heaven

Is Tokyo becoming the Naples of Asia? It's starting to feel that way, and not just because there's a volcano lurking on the horizon. There must be as many artisan pizzerias here as in all of Campania, ranging in quality from worthy to excellent.

When it comes to authenticity, none can rival L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Ebisu, the first offshoot of the all-time classic eatery of that name in the old city of Naples. It's come to Tokyo to show us just how pizza should taste if you boast 140 years of history.

In true Neapolitan style, it serves just two kinds: Marinara and Margherita, each offered in two sizes (from ¥1,250). Both are exceptional, with beautiful mottled-brown pies slightly smoky from the wood-fired oven. The flour is imported directly from Naples, as are the tomatoes and fresh cows'-milk mozzarella.

Big and spacious, it looks the part too, with white tiles on the walls, high ceilings and retro lampshades. Not surprisingly, the place has been buzzing since it opened in late January.

4-4-7 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5447-3800; www.damichele.jp. Open 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30- 11:30 p.m. (Sat. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.). Nearest station: Ebisu (Hibiya and Yamanote lines); Japanese and Italian menu; English and Italian spoken; reservations highly recommended.


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