As one of only two pizzerias in the state of Oregon that is Verace Pizza Napoletana-certified, La Perla Pizzeria Napoletana is a must visit.

There are no sticky wooden tables or pitchers of frothy soda. Instead, there is the smell of a wood-burning oven, fresh pizza dough, and olive oil in the air. When you take a seat here, you won’t just experience some of the best pizza in Oregon; you’ll experience certified authentic, Neapolitan Italian pizza.

La Perla was opened in June of 2008 by John “Gianna” Barofsky and Beppe Macchi, who also own and manage the popular Italian eatery Beppe & Gianni’s Trattoria. Both owners are dedicated to authentically-crafted cuisine and strive to bring the traditional flavors of Italy to Eugene.

The pizza at La Perla is made with Italian flour that’s finely ground to produce a lighter, airier crust, as well as a housemade mozzarella and fresh tomatoes. The wood-burning pizza oven, visible in the restaurant, burns at up to 1,500 degrees, so each pizza takes only 90 seconds to get a perfectly crisp crust and deliciously melted cheese. Pizza made using this technique is lighter and airier than typical American-style pizzas.

Neopolitan pizza has sparser toppings, but the flavors are much more intense because the dough, tomatoes, mozzarella, and other ingredients are all as fresh as you can get!

The prices aren’t bad either. Each pizza can serve about two people (depending on how hungry you are…) and costs between $9 and $13. A must-try is the traditional Margherita, which features San Marzano tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and crisp, fragrant basil. If you’re craving something a little meatier, try the Campagnola, which features housemade Italian sausage, prosciutto cotto, and Calabrese salami. Or for a salty treat, order up the Puttanesca with olives, capers, garlic, basil, and anchovies.

La Perla offers a variety of fresh, delicious salads, none of which cost over $12. Start your meal with a classic Insalata Caprese, brimming with slices of ripe tomatoes, thick slabs of mozzarella, and fresh basil topped with olive oil, or Insalata D’arugula tossed in wild huckleberry vinaigrette with marinated figs, walnuts, oven-crisped prosciutto and shaved parmesan. Yum!

There’s also fresh, soft focaccia bread made with the same dough as their pizzas. Try the La Perla Focaccia drizzled with olive oil, herbs, parmesan cheese and sea salt, or the Beppe & Gianni-inspired version with fresh roasted garlic and cambozola cheese.

The expansive menu also offers another Italian import: wine! Sip from a selection of glasses or bottles, including rosso (red), bianchi (white), and sparkling. They also serve both draft and bottled beers, and of course, non-alcoholic options, including shots of rich espresso direct from Italy to finish your meal with.

For a slice that can’t be missed, visit La Perla at 1313 Pearl Street. By offering pies that are a step above the typical pizza, this Neapolitan-style pizzeria demonstrates that sometimes, getting something right is all about going back to the basics.