Gino Sorbillo, via dei Tribunali 32 (closed on Sundays).
THE Neapolitan pizza. The menu is the right size: it’s not as small as marinara VS margherita like you find at Da Michele (yes, the one of Eat, Pray, Love), but it’s not infinite either. The whole atmosphere matches the location of this pizzeria in the heart of popular Napoli: plastic cups and un-arranged flatware rolled into paper napkins, paper menu and fast service. Prices are also very popular: two pizzas, water and a can of beer are going to cost you about 15 euro. This might explain the long queue at the entrance, which is well worth tackling nonetheless, as it moves pretty fast.
Pizzaria La Notizia, via Caravaggio 53/55
With his pizzaria located in the residential area of Mergellina, Enzo Coccia created an environment that is far from the popular atmosphere of an everyday pizzeria, and a solar-system-far from the original, street food version of pizza a portafoglio. At La Notizia, fancy water bottles, a wine and craft beer list, and a long list of “creative” pizzas, embraced by antipasti and desserts, are part of the deal. Ingredients are top-quality, all from local sources. The pizza? Outstanding. Coccia squeezes his mozzarella balls hours before using them for pizza. The crust is yet still soft and the combination of flavors is extremely well-balanced. The check: three pizzas, water, craft beer (75cl bottle), coffee and limoncello came to 48 euro.
La Focaccia, Vico Belledonne a Chiaia 31
In the heart of the happy hour/aperitivo area of Naples, this place is a true gem to mop up some alcohol with something very tasty. Particularly on Sunday night, when every restaurant seems to be closed, this is your safety boat after a couple of drinks in a nearby enoteca (listed below). This family owned place serves a huge variety of focacce (note the difference: they are not pizze, as they are thicker and they come by the slice!) at very affordable prices. The quality of the dough and the toppings is good, and you can ask for an extra warm-up if you want yours very hot. Best of all is the beer selection, quite impressive for such a low-key place.
Enoteca Belledonne, Vico Belledonne a Chiaia 18
A cozy spot in the most lively and lovely area of Naples, Chiaia. Take a seat, and someone will bring you plump green olives, tarallini (round-shaped cracker snacks), and a wine list. The by-the-glass choice is quite interesting, with some good local wines. Wide choice by the bottle, with the option of broadening your horizon outside of Campania with some excellent labels.
Naples is the city of coffee. Espresso, ristretto –forget about these: once inside a bar, you’ll simply call it caffé. Pay and get your receipt first (each coffee is 90-95 cents), then get your order at the counter. Experienced baristas will quickly serve you an inch of super-concentrated caffeine potion from the best mix of dark-roasted, high-acidity beans. One shot, done. Love it or leave it. Please be careful, some places serve it in a very hot cop. Also, if you take your coffee without sugar, make sure you ask for it beforehand, as the standard serving here is sweetened.
1) Mexico, Piazza Dante 86
2) Gran Caffé Gambrinus, Via Chiaia 1/2, Angolo Piazza Trieste e Trento
Also home of traditional pastries like babà, mini-pastiere, sfogliatelle ricce or frolle, zeppole etc.
3) Caffé del Professore, Piazza Trieste e Trento 46
Ice Cream (and Chocolate)
Gay Odin, via Toledo, Via Colonna et al.
We are not the biggest chocolate consumers but we heard of this historical place and local chocolate institution and we couldn’t miss it. We stepped inside the one in Via Colonna and enjoyed the view of this pretty, old-school looking shop with all kinds of chocolate crafts. What we couldn’t resist was the ice-cream, just plain outstanding.
In Naples, it’s all about sfogliatelle, little pasties filled with ricotta cream and candied citrus. You’ll find them in two versions: riccia (wrinkly and very crunchy) and frolla (softer, almost like a sugar pastry dough). Other classics include babà with rum, pastiera (a traditional Easter cake now available all year), caprese (almond-chocolate cake, nothing to do with the salad), tart with wild strawberries, and zeppole (fried pate à choux covered with custard and topped with maraschino cherries, typical for Father’s Day, around March 19th).
Moccia, Via San Pasquale a Chiaia 21
It’s the only one we made it to among the recommended ones. The selection is impressive and the sfogliatelle are delicious, though I don’t claim any kind of expertise on the subject.