Full disclosure, I know you might think otherwise, but I do not live on fine dining alone. Yes, in between my fancy meals, I love, like most people, a slice of pizza — the mother of all carbohydrates. And as a bit of backstory for me, one of my first jobs was working at Papa John’s, so I have a special place for pizza in my life. While I had been impressed with 800 Degrees (via delivery), I was happy to go along for lunch to the Me’aisem City Centre location (a helpful little mall, should you be in the neighborhood). The restaurant is done up like an old school pizzeria (think subway tile, dark wood, and marble-topped tables), with a few differences. One, you can make your pizza on the spot. Two, there is an impressive oven to accomplish this task.
Looking at the (slightly overwhelming) board of options, the helpful pizza associate gently urges me to make my pizza (with her help). Much like Subway (but a lot better), we build a bespoke pizza tailored exactly to my liking (marinara sauce, toasted garlic, chicken sausage, basil, mozzarella, and fontina) from scratch. Although I’m not a parent, this seems like the type of thing that would be fun to do with kids.
In the span of time it takes us to sort the bill (about 90 seconds), the pizza is cooked (perfectly) and on a plate, ready for me to enjoy (with generously cut slices). As I’ve been on something of a burrata kick recently, I also take the cheesy starter with pesto and tomatoes (there are other options, should you be inclined), priced well at AED32 for a small, but filling serving. Adding in a fountain drink, the total for my lunch was AED95 and I’ll absolutely get another meal out of the order. I was offered dessert, but as I am allegedly ‘dieting,’ I had to turn down the cannoli siciliana (for now).
Overall, I found the entire team (at this location, at least) to be friendly and polite (which added to my visit). Although I’ll mostly continue to order via delivery, I’m glad to know the crew behind my delicious pies!
So, what makes a pizza specifically Neapolitan? According to the website:
Neapolitan pizza has unique attributes that set it apart from the mainstream. It’s a thin crust, made with just flour, salt, water and wild yeast. Traditionally the sauce is simply crushed tomatoes, although we add a few more goodies to ours. All pies are topped with fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. The completed pies are baked in a wood-burning oven and cook in about one minute. Coming hot from the ovens, the crust is characteristically soft and chewy, and with a little bit of char from the intense heat. In Naples, pizza is always eaten with a knife and fork, but we’re happy to slice it for you!
Have you tried one of the 800 Degrees branches? What are your favorite toppings?