A pizzeria can be found on virtually every second street corner in Stockholm. But a small pizza revolution was instigated around 2014, proclaiming Neapolitan pizza as being the new black. Neapolitan pizza goes back to 1889 when, according to Italian legend, during a visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Savoy was served a pizza with ingredients resembling the colours of the Italian flag (Tomato red, mozzarella white and basil green). It is said the Queen liked it so much, the Margherita Neapolitan pizza was named after her.
With a bunch of Neapolitan-style pizzerias popping up like fungi all over town, all claiming the same ingredients and methods (Tipo “00” flour and cold-fermented dough, San Marzano tomatoes and fior di latte mozzarella, along with the 450-degree oven in which the pizza is cooked for no more than 90 seconds), it is increasingly difficult to stand out in the crowd. But Meno Male (Italian for thank goodness) on Hantverkargatan seems to have found a unique selling point. The woman behind the counter juggles the long line of guests and telephone calls with orders and pizza bakers like a true Italian bosslady. In her broken Swedish, she takes on running the bustling spot with a stern yet jovial hand, running the operations like a pro.
Once we’ve managed to snag a spot at the counter by the window, we crack open a bottle of Nero d’Avola (280 kronor) as we wait for our pizzas to arrive. Glasses, cutlery and napkins are found at the cash register, and collected by guests themselves.
Aside from the classic Margherita, Meno Male’s menu offers quite a departure from classic Neapolitan pizzas, which usually don’t feature a bunch of fancy toppings. The Nduja (160 kronor) is an orgy of flavours, featuring provola smoked mozzarella, nduja spicy salami, truffle salami and grana padano cheese. The signature pizza is quite the decadent treat – we savour every single bite. We are also glad that our second pizza, a Salsiccia Friarielli (160 kronor) has a completely different flavour profile. Topped with fior di latte, Italian salsiccia and friarielli – a type of vegetable that has a similar flavour as broccoli, but with a slightly bitter taste –, it comes with a halved lemon to squeeze at will. It is fresher, lighter and more “earthy” than pizzas in general. In a city flooded by pizzerias, Meno Male stands out – and delivers.