Pizza, cheap or gourmet, is a favorite food of the masses, and I am no exception. There are so many different types to choose from: New York-style thin crust, Chicago deep dish, Trenton tomato pie, and even bar-style. But none of these resonate with the authenticity of a true Napoli pizza found at Fuoco Pizzeria Napoletana.
Above all else, I crave good flavors and authenticity in a restaurant. The pizza at Fuoco Pizzeria Napoletana goes above and beyond. It's 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 the succulent flavors of Naples to SoCal .
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. They now have several locations, the newest being in Downtown Fullerton.
The pizzeria uses traditional methods hundreds of years old to make their pizzas. Each pie is baked for 90 seconds in a handmade, wood-fire oven imported from Italy. The pizza dough is soft and contains little yeast, making the product light and digestible.
Primary ingredients, including 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, which requires that the pizza is made using certain ingredients and equipment, and is prepared using only traditional Napoli methods.
The inside of the restaurant is decorated with wood furnishing, warm colors, and dim lighting. The pizza oven is visible from the seating area, giving customers a view of how the pizzas are made as delicious aromas waft throughout the restaurant. Overall, the ambiance is friendly. The servers are all Italian and many are members of the owner’s family. My waiter was very charismatic and was quick to emphasize the legitimacy of the pizza.
Now, on to the most important part: the food. I cannot adequately express how delicious the pizza is at this restaurant. There is 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 recommended by our server.
I’ve eaten at Fuoco a number of times and tasted a variety of their pizzas—affumicata, capricciosa, and the special black truffle one. What makes these pizzas particularly unique is the ultra thin crust and exceptional sauce. The sauce is light with a sweet, almost tangy flavor—not as thick and salty as its typical American counterpart.
The affumicata is topped with tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, roasted mushrooms, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. 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 luscious flavors from ricotta cheese, garlic, black truffles, mozzarella, and prosciutto. This pizza is the most expensive choice 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 a dessert and can confirm that the restaurant excels in sweet flavors just as much as savory ones. Although Fuoco's specialty is their Nutella pizza— Nutella, crushed hazelnuts, sliced strawberries, and bananas dusted with powdered sugar—I opted for a lighter option. The limoncello flute is a cool and refreshing swirl of lemon gelato and tart limoncello. It was the perfect balance of fresh sweetness after the flavorful dinner.
Overall, it was a fantastic night of wonderful food and conversation. I highly recommend a visit to this Fullerton gem for anyone in search of a good Italian meal. While Fullerton is a bit of a trek from Claremont, the food is worth the journey. Fuoco Pizzeria Napotelana is a the perfect destination for students who want a break from the bland pies posing as pizza in the dining halls.