Masaniello is an Italian institution in Kreuzberg that has been baking some of the city’s best pizzas since way before the wall came down. Their delicious and authentic Neapolitan style pizzas along with their antipasti and pasta dishes are the reason why you should visit Masaniello.
Masaniello is truly an Italian institution inKreuzberg and, much more importantly, also a reoccurring name among Italians when asked for their favourite pizza in Berlin. That’s also how I heard about this place and and after a visits, I must say that I’m starting to understand why. This place should be listed in the Duden under the word “Nachbarschaftsitaliener”, the neighbourhood Italian restaurant that has a special place in every German’s heart. Masaniello has been around since 1979 and sits on the edge of the Gräfekiez, right next to Hasenheide park. This might not be the prettiest part of the Gräfekiez, but due to the location Masaniello has an abundance of space and during summer they sport a massive outdoor terrace. Masaniello is one of those Italian joints that’s always full. Open seven days a week, this place attracts people from all across Berlin. Specializing in Italian food from the region of Campania around Naples these guys have built themselves a solid reputation. The whole place does looks like it’s straight from the 80s with its dark wood interior and brick walls, but then you’re also not going to go here for the venue. You’re here for the pizza.
The tomato sauce is so intense and fruity that you really don’t need any cheese.
Masaniello fearures Neapolitan style pizza, indicating a thick and soft crust that’s baked at very high temperature. At Masaniello this means around a short visit to a scorching hot, wood-fired oven. The pizza menu is always the same and can be found in the paper menu, while the antipasti, pasta and secondi are seasonal and are written on chalk boards across the restaurant. There are around a dozen pizzas on the menu and the truly interesting ones are the three first ones that are marked as S.T.G. pizzas, which stands for “Specialità Tradizionale Garantita” and basically means that these pizzas use the recipe and toppings for an authentic, Neapolitan style pizza. These three varieties are very puristic and the toppings don’t go beyond tomatoes and cheese. You don’t need more though, trust me. The pizzas at La Massaniello have it all, the dough is perfectly thin in the middle, only to explode in a deliciously chewy and partially crispy crust. The tomato sauce is so intense and fruity that you really don’t need any cheese. If you do go for that cheesy goodness you will be munching very tasty buffalo mozzarella. The quality of the other toppings is equally great and the wood fired pizza oven blazes these beauties to perfection within a minute.
You can not miss out on the Scamorza antipasti
The pizzas are however not the only reason to come to Massaniello, their antipasti and pasta dishes are very solid as well. If you get a chance, try their lamb ragout on tagliatelle, a killer take on the classic, Italian dish. And if you’re like me and a lover of all kinds of cheese you can not miss out on the Scamorza antipasti. At Massaniello, they cut thick chunks of the smoked cheese and fry it up in a pan, much like the greeks prepare Halloumi. The result is ridiculous, fried smoked cheese might just be the best invention since buttered popcorn and this dish is my spirit animal. The Parmigiana Melanzane is also very good and worth a go any day. I’ve heard some bad comments on the non-pizza menu and although the pizza does stand out in terms of quality, the rest should not be neglected. At the same time I habe to this day also not sampled their meat and fish secondi.
Masaniello is a Berlin and Neukölln institution and the service works accordingly. The place is pretty much always full and although the waiters might sometimes give you that I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude, service is usually very swift and generally friendly. In terms of pizza quality, La Massaniello is up there with the best of the best in Berlin and you should not miss out on this one. Is it the best pizza in Berlin as many claim? It’s definitely one of the, but I’ll save this discussion for a different day. What I do know is that this is one damn delicious pizza and that you won’t be disappointed.