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Take a Tour Through Italy with Each Bite of Varuni Napoli's Pizza

By S. Mathur

Luca Varuni, Owner and Head Chef, is an Italian import himself, arriving in the US in 2004. He brought the Neapolitan tradition of pizza-making with him. Luca had many reasons to open this restaurant, which he was kind enough to share.

"I wanted Atlanta to have a little corner of Naples and a truly authentic Neapolitan experience. Atlanta has been exponentially growing in the last few years. I arrived here from Italy seven years ago and am excited to see our city being recognized as a major American metropolis- especially when it comes to dining and culture."

Varuni Napoli is the realization of a unique concept: pizza made in the "old school" Neapolitan way, in an atmosphere that is modern and comfortable. Varuni calls it the perfect juxtaposition.

Diners can be assured that the pizzas are authentic, since even the huge ovens are imported from Italy. They are made by a third generation oven maker. Varuni is personally responsible for the quality of the ingredients.

"We import our main ingredients directly from Napoli. I go there twice a year to check the quality of our San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, mozzarella and flour, all imported from Italy. We only use the freshest produce available. All our ingredients are GMO free."

The food is fresh, the dough is made daily, and the yeast too is refreshed every day. The most popular item on the menu is the Bastardo pizza, with a topping of fresh buffalo mozzarella, mixed pepperoni, Nduja or spicy spreadable pork sausage in ragu sauce, Pecorino Romano and basil. The menu includes street food like arancini and panzerotti, classic and artisan pizzas, and everlasting favorites like mamma's meatballs and eggplant parmigiana.

Desserts include tiramisu, cannoli, gelato, chocolate fondant and torta della nonna. To accompany the food, there are fine wines from the Veneto and Campania regions, and house made Italian liqueurs and flavorful cordials like limoncello. One critic, who overdosed on the limoncello, says that he ordered the pizzas as accompaniment to the drinks.

The open plan design allows guests to watch the pizza being made. They can even ask questions, says Varuni: "You can actually sit on the other side of the pizza-making table and ask the "Pizzaioli" questions about the ingredients, and even taste them while your pie is being made! This is part of my Italian culture and what we are. We love good food and we enjoy sharing this love with our guests."

Varuni Napoli currently holds the #2 spot on USA Today's list of 10 Best Places to Find Pizza around Atlanta, and many fans would argue that it should be at the top. The Midtown location, right next to Piedmont Park and the Beltline, makes it accessible and scores points for walkability too. Critics and diners alike agree on one thing - they'll be coming back for more. And soon.

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