You can get a pizza on every street corner in Berlin. There’s a plethora of Italian restaurants and ‘pezzi’ places claiming to be good at putting a bunch of ingredients on dough and baking it. Thing is, they ain’t. The general standard is pretty low on the Berlin pizza scene, surprisingly low, given that there are that many pizza places. The worst offenders are usually those calling themselves Italian, or even Neapolitan, which is the very reason only one pizza place made it onto this site so far: it’s not even trying to be Italian. However, food times change, and there has been somewhat of a revival on the Berlin pizza front of late. Which is why I and some food-savvy friends have gone on a little tasting tour of five new, and fairly hyped, pizza places in the past few weeks. The original goal was to write an overview of this sudden influx, the result, however, is only one worthwhile recommendation. Although you’d never guess it by its name, allow me to introduce the tastiest new pizza place on the block: Standard.
When the young, slightly grumpy (typically Berlin) waitress placed our Margherita (8,50 Euro) in front of us, my friend uttered ‘this will be the best we try all day’ I didn’t doubt it, but faked some optimism in respect of the other pizzerias we were to visit later. But she was right. Standard was indeed the best of the lot, with the others not even coming close in terms of quality of ingredients, baking, or taste.
When Standard opened just off Schwedter Straße late last year, and subtitled itself with the tagline “serious pizza”, I wasn’t convinced. The place looked a bit too well designed – a bit too chic, the marketing was a tad too intense in its claims of making ‘real Neapolitan pizza’. Because most pizzerias claiming to do pizza the original way are promising too much, in fact pretty much all newly opened places in that area promise too much. It’s a given that traditional Neapolitan pizza can only really be had in Napoli, the pizza there is out of this world. Apparently it’s a combination of Napoli’s special humidity that’s perfect for the dough, and the fresh ingredients they use that make it so good (and that just can’t be exported without a loss of quality). Whatever it is, don’t even try to replicate – unless you’re serious about it. At Standard, this is not only a tagline.
We’d made it a rule to only sample each restaurant’s Margherita on our tasting tour to allow a fair comparison, and their’s was stellar. They top it with Fior di Latte, a high quality mozzarella made of cow’s milk and widely used for pizza in Italy, San Marzano tomatoes, and a little bit of Pecorino cheese – which might not be strictly necessary or completely traditional, but delicious nonetheless. The dough was super tasty, albeit a tiny bit too thick and chewy in the centre but the crust was perfect. The three leaves of basil did seem somewhat stingey though- if you’re listing it on the menu, put a decent sprinkling of basil leaves on there – but the overall texture and taste combo was mouth watering. Exactly how a good pizza should be. To top it off it is made in a Stefano Ferraro, the standard hand-made pizza oven used in Napoli, which I’m sure gives it that extra flavour.
I can’t wait to get back and taste their Bianca with provola, pesto, aubergines and tomatoes (10,50 Euro), and their delicious sounding Calzone filled with spinach and fresh ricotta (10,50 Euro). When we went, they had Fresella as a special on the menu: a double baked bread with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and olive oil, which sounded seriously tasty. So I want to try that too… Pizza Pizza Pizza! I’m happy to be excited about it again.