Italian immigrants, precisely the Genoese, were the ones who popularized the pizza recipe at the end of the 19th century, first in the La Boca neighborhood and then throughout the city. It was an expansion that in a few decades reached all the provinces of the country. The first versions of the recipes were faithful to the spirit of the original formulas, but over time these recipes began to transform, until they reached a model of Buenos Aires pizza.
There are several styles of pizza:
In the mold: way of making pizza that measures about 3 cm high, is spongy and drips oil.
Half dough: it is molded but less high and has a thick crumb due to its double proofing.
Stone-cooked: narrow dough formerly cooked in the oven.
Fugazza con queso: onion pizza with cheese. A Buenos Aires classic.
Fainá: portions of chickpea flour that accompany pizza.
Margherita: tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil pizza.
A true Buenos Aires pizza should include a lot of cheese. Normally mozzarella is used and, in some cases, another fresher, slightly more acidic and a little less greasy. Whichever is chosen, there is one idea that is not negotiable: the cheese must be abundant. And, of course, this criterion also applies to the rest of the ingredients, according to the type of pizza: a lot of bell pepper, ham, garlic, white sauce, vegetables, onion, hearts of palm and fresh tomatoes, among others. The classic mozzarella pizza is served with only one green olive per slice and a sprinkle of oregano.
The kneading and subsequent fermentation of Buenos Aires pizza are faster than Italian procedures. A lot of yeast is used here to encourage the rapid rise of the buns and to obtain a fluffier dough. The sauce also has its peculiarities: Argentine pizza makers use fresh tomato sauce, bottled crushed tomatoes and are not afraid of adding garlic and other condiments.
The names of the specialties, such as fugazza, fugazzetta with cheese and fainá, derive directly from the Genoese dialect and the ancient cuisine of that city. At the same time, the original Neapolitan contribution stands out with its Margherita pizza (the Italian mother of mozzarella pizza) and the popular bakery pizzaiola focaccia.
In the Italian city of Palermo, a local specialty called “sfincione” is traditionally consumed. It is a pizza bread three centimeters high, seasoned with an onion and tomato-based sauce, with anchovies, golden breadcrumbs and coarsely grated provolone cheese. Its thickness, sponginess, typology and abundance of ingredients are very reminiscent of pan pizza. It is evident that, in past times and in a short time, the Neapolitan, the Genoese and the Sicilian were mixed and merged into something completely new: Buenos Aires pizza.
Next, we tell you about some of the most traditional pizzerias in Buenos Aires:
It is a historic pizzeria in the city, at Av. Córdoba 5270, in the Villa Crespo neighborhood. It opened its doors in 1938. Despite the decades that have passed, the Pintos family, owners of the establishment, continues to bet on tradition. It is already in charge of the third generation, direct descendants of the founder Oscar. It is an emblem of Villa Crespo, it has customers from the neighborhood, many rockers who are fans of its pizzas and even a photo autographed by Frank Sinatra, who tried its pizzas in 1981. The house's pizza makers continue to make a few varieties, and very good fainá . Their specialty: traditional Buenos Aires pizza in the mold and half dough in a wood-fired oven.
At the end of the 19th century, the Banchero family (from the town of Recco, Italy) arrived in Argentina and settled in the neighborhood of La Boca. There they opened a bakery and years later, in 1932, the family opened a pizzeria, on the street at Suárez 396 and Almirante Brown. To this day it is considered a milestone in the history of city gastronomy, because the fugazzeta was invented there, a cross between fugazza with onion and fugazza with cheese. A recipe that is now part of the offering of its traditional pizzerias.
Burgio was born in 1935 thanks to the Italian Giuseppe Burgio. The store is located at Av. Cabildo 2477, in the Belgrano neighborhood. Everything remained as it was at that time: the counter is a piece of decoration, the blackboard with white plastic letters. Everything contributes to experiencing a journey through time. The venices on its walls, the worn Formica on the tables and the counter, the leather-upholstered chairs and the wall fans. The pizzas are faithful to the original recipes. Molded, spongy and loaded with mozzarella cheese. And we must not overlook the old refrigerator counter that displays the house's desserts.
Pizzeria El Cuartito
This pizzeria, located at 937 Talcahuano Street in Barrio Norte, was founded in 1934. It attracts all types of people who line up every day of the week. The owner, Manuel Diz, observes his customers while they happily eat the pizzas that come out of the oven and talks to them. The success of this house is the good raw materials and the preparation technique so that the pizza always comes out the same, with the same flavor and texture. The waiters are experienced. The bustle, the photos, the pennants and the spectacle of the pizza makers in action feed a special mystique that is now in its third generation. Their specialty is the traditional Buenos Aires pizza in the mold and half dough.
El Fortin Pizzeria
El Fortín is a family business founded in 1962 by Don Perfecto Purdón and followed by his son Sergio and his grandson Sebastián, who over time knew how to transform it into a temple of Buenos Aires pizza. It is located at Av. Álvarez jonte 5299, in the Monte Castro neighborhood. From a neighborhood pizzeria it became a city pizzeria: it is always full of customers. The followers of the football teams All Boys, Argentinos Juniors and Vélez Sarsfield compete for it as the official pizzeria of the respective fans. The pizza is strictly baked, high, oily and very loaded with ingredients. The desserts are also traditional and Buenos Aires. Their specialty is traditional Buenos Aires pizza baked in a wood-fired oven.
Pizzeria Las Cuartetas
Legends say that Alberto Vaccarezza, creator of the Buenos Aires sainete and lyricist for Carlos Gardel, wrote his quatrains on the house's paper napkins while sitting at one of the tables in this establishment. The anecdote was captured in the name of this one that opened its doors in 1932 thanks to the efforts of the Basque Urcola and the Catalan Espinach. The current owners took possession in 1955 and, despite the passage of time, this pizzeria remains at the top of the preferences of Buenos Aires pizza lovers. Its specialty is traditional Buenos Aires pizza baked in the pan, half dough and on the stone. It is located at Av. Corrientes 838, in the San Nicolás neighborhood, a few meters from the Obelisk.
The four founding partners were die-hard football fans and, therefore, they thought of a name that all football fans would agree on. Los Campeones, located at Av. Montes de Oca 856, was founded in 1954. It is a pizzeria that became an institution in the Barracas neighborhood. Their specialty is traditional Buenos Aires stone and mold pizza.
Its founders were the Genoese Franco Malvezzi and Guido Grondona. It is located at Av. Corrientes 1368, in the Almagro neighborhood. This famous pizzeria, founded in 1932, has 70 varieties of pizzas available and is a paradise for lovers of pan-fried pizza. Their dough is still worked manually in a large pan despite the astonishing number of pizzas shipped throughout the day. Customers begin to fill the premises at 11 a.m. and as the hours pass the crowd becomes frenetic. Their specialty is pan pizza, although they also offer the medium crust variety (a little thinner), and both are cooked in a wood-fired oven. This pizzeria is another classic in Buenos Aires, which is always visited. Recently, a Napolitano patio was inaugurated within the premises, with capacity for 130 diners.