Upon entering Fuoco Pizzeria Napoletana on 101 N Harbor Blvd in the heart of downtown Fullerton. The eye is immediately drawn to the brick walls, the open ceilings, and the large red-tiled wood fire pizza oven.

The building has been there since 1956, and Fuoco Pizzeria is right at home in the deep-rooted building. This is what a pizzeria should look like.

Fuoco's Pizzeria's dining area.

Fuoco's Pizzeria's dining area. Photo credit: Dustin Malek

If you didn’t know better, you’d think you were at a pizzeria in the lower east side of Manhattan. Which makes it all the more special that Fuoco is only a 15-minute walk from the Fullerton College campus.

Not only is Fuoco’s impressive pizza oven imported from Italy so are many of their ingredients.

Fuoco Pizzeria's original brick walls adorned with artwork.

Fuoco Pizzeria's original brick walls adorned with artwork. Photo credit: Dustin Malek

Walking around the restaurant, it’s easy to be distracted by the artwork that adorns the walls. But if you look closely, you’ll see something else. Bags of flour and boxes of tomato sauce imported directly from Italy.

Fuoco is the real deal in every sense. The authenticity extends from the décor to the food.

Fuoco specializes in traditional Neapolitan pizza. Neapolitan pizza originates from Naples, Italy, and can be considered the precursor to New York-style pizza. Unlike a New York-style pizza, though, Neapolitan pizza relies on high-quality ingredients.

Fuoco Pizzeria's caprese salad accompanied by a margherita pizza

Fuoco Pizzeria's caprese salad accompanied by a margherita pizza Photo credit: Dustin Malek

With all the attention to detail, you’d expect Fuoco’s pizza to be delicious. It is. Fuoco keeps its wood oven at around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and fires each pizza for 90 seconds.

As great as the ambiance is, the real story of Fuoco is the food. Fuoco has the old classics like a Caprese salad or Margherita pizza, but they also have creative seasonal items on the menu.

One such pizza is the Vespa. The Vespa is a white sauce pizza covered in buffalo mozzarella, fresh roasted garlic cloves, basil, pepperoni, and honey. Hoang Tran from Garden Grove said about the pizza, “It hits the sweet and the salty. It’s like eating waffles with syrup.”

Fuoco's seasonal pizza the Vespa.

Fuoco's seasonal pizza the Vespa. Photo credit: Dustin Malek

The saltiness comes from the cheese but also from the pizza dough. The pizza crust at Fuoco is airy and perfectly charred. Even if you’re a person who doesn’t eat the crust, you won’t be able to stop yourself at Fuoco. Customer Tanya Chavez from Fullerton commented, “That’s the winner here, it’s the crust.”

The commitment to excellence is clear in everything they do at Fuoco. The restaurant is clean and inviting. The staff is attentive and friendly. Every aspect of Fuoco is on point.

The pizzas range from 12$ for the basic marinara to 24$ for the black truffle. All pizzas are 12 inches and easily sharable between two people. So the best thing to do is order a variety and share with friends.

Despite the old-world charm of Fuoco, there are TVs viewable from every seat in the house and a full bar for anyone over 21. Fuoco works for a romantic first date, a quick lunch, or a place to hang out and watch the game. Fuoco is one of Fullerton’s not-so-hidden gems.

Author profile

Dustin Malek (He/Him) is a Journalism major residing in Fullerton, Ca. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and riding his bike around town.