Naples is one of the most representatives places in Italy when it comes to food. There’s something magic happening in that city and food is always present, it’s a vital part of the city, its history and its inhabitants. Naples is a marvellous place, and its food is the perfect way to discover the inner city.
This is not the usual structure of TheTaste food travel guides, instead to ensure you appreciate the true nature of Neapolitan cuisine I’ve preferred to give you indications about specific types of local food and where you can find them if you’re in the city. So, not breakfast/lunch/dinner but…
Pizza deserves an entire chapter in every food guide about Naples. I can easily say pizza is Naples and Naples is pizza. The traditional art of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli was nominated, for the year 2017, in the List of Intangible Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO. So, if you’re looking for a rewarding, big, genuine pizza, Naples is the ultimate place to go.
There are so many pizza places, pizzerie, in the city it is quite hard to choose just a few of them but my choices in this case are the historical ones, the ones that are most true to Naples, and the ones where locals go.
Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo is one of the most famous pizzerias in Naples and abroad. Arrive early as there is always a of people queue out the door even when the weather is not good at all (which actually rarely happens in Naples!) to taste Gino’s pizzas.
The same happens at Di Matteo, locared very close to Sorbillo, which is famous for his ‘Margherita a Libretto’, a folded pizza margherita, and his fried pizza.
Da Michele is another unmissable institution. In business since 1836, the marinara and the margherita pizzas are a must to taste.
Starita in Materdei has been the location of a few old movies and their most loved pizza is the montanara, but if you’re brave enough you can also try the double cooked pizza: which is fried and then cooked into the wood oven.
People cannot live by pizza alone, and Neapolitans know this very well; so well you can find amazing cakes and sweets in the city, capable of satisfying even your worst craving.
Try the sfogliatella, which comes as a shell-shaped filled pastry (sfogliatella riccia) or a shortbread one (sfogliatella frolla) at La Sfogliatella Mary, located at the west entrance of Galleria Umberto, but also at the historical Pintauro and Attanasio.
Scaturchio is Naple’s oldest pasticceria (shop selling pastries and cakes), and here you need to plan more than just a brief stop to taste a babà with rhum (sponge cake soaked in rum), a slice of pastiera (tart with cooked wheat, eggs, ricotta cheese, and flavoured with orange flower water) and the famous ministeriale, a chocolate fudge medallion filled with chocolate cream liqueur.
Naples is also home of the ‘Fiocco di Neve‘ (snowflake cake), a sweet brioche filled with milk cream, ricotta cheese and fresh cream; there’s only one place in Naples where you can find this delicious cake, Pasticceria Poppella (and the recipe remains a secret!).
Naples is home of some of the best street food we have in Italy. Street food in Naples is not just a trend but something people have in their DNA, and that’s the reason why if you’re around Naples you will easily skip a classical Italian lunch or dinner to taste everything you’ll find on the street.
A few examples? Spaghetti frittata, fried dough with a little bit of tomato sauce, white and red rice arancini (rice balls stuffed and fried), potato croquettes and fried pizzas of every kind and size.
The places where you can have these kind of food are called friggitorie (literally meaning place where food is only fried) and it’s not hard to find one of these; they’re everywhere and they’re so cheap you won’t regret a stop. And if people don’t understand what you’re saying, no worries at all: just use your hands, exactly like we Italians do, point at your object of desire and let your dreams come true.
If you want to have a complete your tasting of Neapolitan cuisine, then follow my advice and book a table (or don’t, just go) in one of these places and you won’t be disappointed.
Don Alfonso 1890 is a boutique hotel and restaurant near Naples, in Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi; a 2 star Michelin well known for the attention to traditional and innovative cooking techniques only using local ingredients: the experience is definitely worth the money spent.
If you want to try the best local fish choose Terrazza Calabritto, in the city centre. While Trattoria Nonna Anna is a very local (no tourists at all) place where you can only eat at lunch and you only can choose among 10 dishes every day. You’ll find the same style at Da Nennella where everything is local and traditional.
I’m an Italian, but Dublin based, food and travel writer. I decided to start my food blog in 2010, when I moved to Ireland. Since then, I’ve been working with brands, companies, tourism boards and magazines producing content, strategies and taken part in cooking shows and events all over the world. Among them, Jamie Oliver, Barilla and many many more. I plan and write while my husband and business partner Giuseppe takes care of the pictures, both food and travel side.