Our research of eating options at Naples sprang up the name Sorbillo. Apparently, THE place to have Neapolitan pizza (the city claims to have invented pizza – the margherita pizza). After having walked several kilometers in Pompeii and then visiting Naples Cathedral, we collapsed on the stairs in front of the Cathedral and considered our eating options. Google maps showed that Sorbillo was close by. It would be crowded, we knew. But it was just the time for it to open. So we decided to try our luck. If it was crowded, we would eat someplace else nearby and then take the metro back to the hotel.
When we went there, we realized that our bet of reaching just at the opening time had paid off. Tables were available and filled up only after some time. The pizza was indeed good. We enjoyed our meal, complete with drinks and dessert.
Before going further with this story, however, I need to tell you another one.
There used to be a famous, but shabby and small, dhaba next to the Gurudwara near Ulsoor lake. It was called Bobby Da Dhaba, but didn’t even have a signboard with its name. There was no space to sit. It was always crowded. You had to wait for a long time to get the famous paranthas from a hole in the wall sort of an arrangement, which you ate standing by the road. (It has shifted since then, and now has space as well as a signboard, but that is a story for another day.)
Next to the unmarked Bobby Da Dhaba opened a bigger place, with enough seating and faster service. It also sported a big signboard. It was called Naram Garam Dhaba.
When after years of hearing about it, we finally went to Bobby Da Dhaba, we quickly realized that braving that queue was beyond our ken. We could have gone to some other place, as we knew that the Naram Garam Dhaba next to it is really an imposter. But we were hungry and not in a mood to figure out and go to another restaurant. So we decided to eat there. The food wasn’t bad, but we were not to know what the fuss over Bobby Da Dhaba was about.
Since then we call every imposter of famous outlets their Naram Garam versions.
If you travel in India you must be familiar with this phenomenon. If there is a shop or restaurant that has become famous, there will be tens of others with the same or similar name on the same street, but with shinier façade and better service (the trick to locate the right one in such cases is either to follow the locals or go for the one that looks the shabbiest.)
By now you have put two and two together and know what the twist in our story is. We stepped out of Sorbillo in Naples, satisfied with the food and happy with our initiative and good luck. Until a few hundred meters ahead, we found another Sorbillo, with barely discernible light over the signboard and a huge crowd in front of it.
The worst part is, on our way to Sorbillo, we were discussing this Naram Garam phenomenon and wondering if it happens only in India. Apparently not.
But then Italy (and Naples specifically) is perhaps the India of Europe.