After burger fever, it’s now pizza mania in Budapest, gobbled up like juicy meatballs. Even more so, in fact... The whole world loves pizza, many surveys show that it's the most popular food on the planet. We can only nod in affirmation, as do visitors to one of the latest restaurants on busy Szent István körút between Nyugati station and Margaret Bridge. We sampled the pizzas at Forni di Napoli with their light, beautiful leopard-spotted cornicone edges, which the area has loved since the place opened. Spontaneous, planned or part of an evening out.
For any evening out – Forni di Napoli, award-winning Neapolitan pizzas on Szent István körút
A 2021 overview of Neapolitan-style pizzas in Budapest may not have
included the Forni di Napoli, quite new back then but now, half a year on, they have gained valuable experience during the autumn-winter season.
They came to Szent István körút to bring a real Italian pizza experience to this part of the city as well, the area more characterised by trattorias rather than places specialising in Neapolitan pizza. However, thanks to their intervention, you can now sit on this section of the boulevard at any time for a masterful meal.
The owners have long been involved in hospitality and tourism, and there
is a strong football connection, so Italy is very much in the frame. Of course,
pizza too, but this style was only discovered and taken up a few years ago.
And today, as you sit here in the friendly dining room of Forni di Napoli, you can’t help but watch the couriers zip in for deliveries and pizza master László (’Laci’) Damu’s creations blister in the gigantic mix-fired Morello Forni oven. It can make 90-100 pizzas an hour, provided the pizza makers have the chops.
Laci has been working in the genre for many years, with much training and many openings behind him, a truly dedicated pizza master. His favourite professional milestones include John’s Pub in Keszthely and Pizza Quasi in Eger and one of his main role models in domestic baking and pizza-making is Szabi Szabadfi.
The award-winning term in the headline of the article is no coincidence,
as Laci came home from the World Pizza Championships in Parma, where he finished
seventh among 36 countries and 700 starters in the pairs category with chef
An entire Hungarian team was represented in all categories. The Piaggio Pizza Porter Team Hungary of Lázár Kovács, László Damu (Forni di Napoli), Zsolt Dömők, Márk Takács and Alexandru Ilie Paduraru made great competition pizzas. The seventh pizza in question, Green Cheese, was completely meat-free, characterised by grilled vegetables, Hungarian Pálpuszta cheese and green spices. Following this success, work continues apace at Forni di Napoli.
The seen-it-all pizza master and his disciples continually make
delicacies, authentic thanks to their protected Italian ingredients. Of course,
you also need Laci’s expertise, an excellent oven and the consistent quality of
highly hydrated pasta. Expect a very airy dough that is not cloudy and puffy but, simply, light.
The fundamentals are serious: the obligatory San Marzano tomatoes or the ricotta/pesto base crowned with excellent mozzarella, Parma ham, prosciutto cotto, pecorino and other exciting toppings. Of course, fresh vegetables and herbs don’t come from Italy, but we can let that pass.
During their extensive six months of operation, they have come across
plenty of returning customers, positive feedback, constructive criticism and smiling
faces, and they work on improving continuously. Now, for example, the issue of
an opening glass wall terrace has been resolved so that guests can feel comfortable
in the spring-summer season outside or, if they wish, inside.
In any case, many still order home delivery, but the proximity of the Comedy Theatre also entices Hungarian diners. What used to be a combination of coffee and an isler cake before any performance is today a shared pizza or maybe two whole ones, since – as is typical of the genre – they’re not too filling and you won’t feel stuffed afterwards. Just smiling with satisfaction at the quality of such a pleasant pizza experience.
They also make calzone folded pizza, and sweet varieties too, with Nutella, pistachios... it works great! How could it not with such fantastic dough?
If you’d rather stick to a classic Italian dessert to end the meal, tiramisu, cannolo or panna cotta, then, of course, the goodies will be on your table in no time.
On any evening out, if you’re strolling around nearby and fancy a great pizza, you’ll be welcome with open arms at Forni di Napoli!