A Little Slice of Italy

Sasha Rivera, Asst. Editorial Editor

Pizza. Whether gourmet or cheap, a majority of people, including myself, can easily call it their favorite food. There are so many different types as well: New York-style thin crust, Chicago deep dish, Trenton tomato pie, and even bar-style pizza. However, none of these radiate with the authenticity of the true Napoli pizza found at Fuoco Pizzeria Napoletana.
Above all else I crave good flavor and authenticity in a restaurant. Fuoco Pizzeria Napoletana goes above and beyond in meeting these requirements with its pizza, genuine in a way that makes it different from any pizza I’ve eaten before. Located on North Harbor Boulevard in Fullerton, the restaurant brings to SoCal the succulent flavors of Naples.

The owners of the pizzeria, Franco Ceccarelli and his son Tullio, are third generation pizzaiolos, or pizza makers, from Italy. They opened the first Fuoco Pizzeria Napoletana in San Diego. Now, they have several locations, with the newest being in Downtown Fullerton.

They use traditional methods and specifications over 200 years old when making their pizzas. From their handmade oven imported from Italy, they burn fire fueled by wood. The pizzas are made from soft dough using little yeast, making the pizza very light and digestible. The pizza then bakes for 90 degrees in the hot oven.

Their main ingredients, Caputo flour and San Marzano tomatoes, are imported from Italy to ensure authentic flavor. The pizzeria is also certified by the Naples-based Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, requiring that the pizza be made with certain ingredients, equipment, and be cooked in only the traditional methods of true Napoli pizza.

The inside of the restaurant is nicely decorated with wood furnishings, warm colors, and dim lighting. The pizza oven is visible from the seating area, giving customers a nice view of how the pizzas are made, as well as sending the delicious scents wafting throughout the restaurant. Overall, it had a very clean, warm, and friendly ambiance. The servers are also Italian and are part of the owner’s family; my waiter was very charismatic, quick to emphasize the legitimacy of the Italian pizza.
Now, on to the most important part: the food. I cannot even begin to express how delicious the pizza is at this restaurant. They have an extensive list of antipasto options; I tried the Involtini Ai Sapori, which is prosciutto wrapped around fresh mozzarella and arugula, served with extra virgin olive oil and pesto. The creaminess of the mozzarella paired with the succulent prosciutto and crisp arugula were already a charming medley of flavors, only to be enhanced by the sweetness of the olive oil and salty tang from the pesto. This dish was instantly recommended by our server.

From the multiple times that I’ve eaten there, I’ve tasted a variety of their pizzas: affumicata, capricciosa, and black truffle, which is a special not on the menu. What makes these pizzas particularly unique is that they have a very thin crust and the sauce is completely different from the usual American concoction. It is very light, with a sweet, almost sour and tangy flavor, not as thick and overly savory.

The affumicata contains tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, roasted mushrooms, basil, extra virgin olive oil and the capricciosa has tomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto, olives, roasted mushrooms, artichokes, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. The black truffle, though, was my favorite by far with its unique, luscious flavors from ricotta cheese, garlic, black truffles, mozzarella, and prosciutto. This pizza, however, was the most expensive due to the pricey ingredients. If ordering from the specials menu, I suggest asking for the price right away. Nonetheless, I found this dish to be worth the money and I can easily say it’s one of the most delicious pizzas I have ever eaten.

I also sampled one of the beautiful desserts available and the restaurant definitely excels in sweet flavors just as much as savory ones. Although their specialty is their Nutella pizza, which has Nutella, crushed hazelnuts, sliced strawberries and bananas, dusted with powdered sugar, I opted for a lighter option. The Limoncello flute is cool and refreshing with lemon gelato swirled with sour-sweet limoncello. It was the perfect balance of fresh sweetness after the flavorful dinner. The overall experience made for a fantastic night of wonderful food and conversation. I highly recommend a visit to this Fullerton gem for anyone in search of a good meal.