Pizzeria 1926 is found in the west of Edinburgh on Dalry Road, just a stone's throw away from Locanda de Gusti - a celebrated family owned restaurant serving Naples-inspired cuisine. Pizzeria 1926 was created by the same family, with this site focusing on Naples most famous export. The restaurant doesn't only pay homage to pizza however, with another Naples favourite given maximum exposure. S.S.C Napoli - the local football team, not only inspires the pizzeria's name - the club were founded in 1926, there's also football shirts hanging from the ceiling, the pizzas are named after famous players and the entire restaurant is draped in a monotonous sky blue.
Looking at the menu, the restaurant offer a good choice of classic starters such as arancini and fried medleys. These are offered alongside a touch of Italian sass as the menu boldly states 'starters take time to prepare and cook - WE DO NOT USE A MICROWAVE'. While objectively a good thing, and subjectively we found it pretty hilarious, it is a fairly nugatory point to make, especially considering a deep-fat fryer or a 400 degree pizza oven would cook food quicker than good old chef Mike. We opted for Fritturina di Pesce - a mixture of fried seafood including prawns, whitebait and calamari. It was delicious, cooked perfectly and it was good to give our tastebuds something entirely different in flavour and texture to the onslaught of dough, meat and cheese that would follow. While a brilliant starter as it is, we agreed a lemon or garlic aioli dip would be the perfect accompaniment to the dish.
For our pizzas we ordered our usual Margherita - offered here at £8.95 as the Regina Margherita - the Italian Queen the pizza was named after, again emphasising the history of Naples and the authenticity of the restaurant. There was confusion over our second pizza and we ended up with the wrong pie. As it turns out, Pizzeria 1926 have two different pizzas on their menu - the '1926' and the 'no. 26'. The pizza delivered to our table was the former - a combination of tomato, fior di latte, basil, ham, boiled egg and peppered ricotta stuffed crust (£9.95). This wasn't our first choice, and probably wouldn't have even been our second or third, but at the time decided not to mention it: figuring it's always a good idea to try things away from the safety or your usual leanings. Truthfully, we wish we'd got the pie we'd chosen. We've got it on good authority from a friend and 1926 regular that they also regularly change the ingredients of their pizzas but retain the same names. Perhaps a less gimmicky menu wouldn't go amiss.
The pizza is classic Neapolitan pizza, where perfection is characterised by a soft and elastic dough, and 1926 nailed this. If you imagine the exact opposite to that shitty breadiness you get from cheap oven pizza, you're on the right lines. Almost gooey in texture, the abundance of char is instrumental in balancing the richness of the dough.
The (Regina) Margherita was nothing short of phenomenal, being carried into the Slice or Die Hall of Fame by the best tomato we've ever had on a pizza. 1926 use the customary San Marzano tomatoes but they're left unusually a little chunky, with each bite bursting with natural sweetness. With this sauce being married with good dough, great cheese and a strong bake, their Margherita is definitely up there as one of our favourite versions of the classic.
As mentioned already, pizza two was not what we were expecting and inevitably hard a bit of an uphill battle to blow our minds, but the taste was delicious. The combination of egg and ham gave the pie an indulgent breakfast vibe and the ricotta stuffed crust was an interesting addition. It was the first time we'd ever had a stuffed crust on a pizza that wasn't part of a misguided attempt at curing a hangover with a rather shit £20 family deal. We enjoyed the unique experience, but perhaps gimmicks should be left to those who haven't got anything better to offer. The real issue with this pizza was that it was very, very wet. Perhaps extra moisture from the ham had overloaded the dough, but it was pretty much impossible to eat with your hands. We're fairly certain from extensive food documentary binge-watching that knife and forks may be the norm in Naples, but we're Slice or Die kinda people (get it?). It made for an albeit delicious, but very messy affair.
This is undoubtedly delicious, authentic Neapolitan pizza and the closest you'll get to a true Naples pizza experience without leaving the city. It might even be the closest you'll get to a proper Neapolitan pizza without flying to Italy. Our friend and DJ Andrea is a Naples native and he swears by 1926, calling the place a cure for homesickness. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for us.
Although not mentioned above, they've also got great value booze choices including a dirt cheap and fairly banging house wine. Fun fact: this isn't our first attempt at reviewing 1926. The first time we went we got smashed on the wine (served as a litre for £17.95) and lost all ability to accurately judge the food.
The only reservation we have is we wouldn't recommend taking a first date here; it's a messy ordeal where your primal desire for meat and cheese takes over any manners and grace you once possessed.