Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Apr 12, 2007 01:10 PM

Naples Restaurant Recommendations Needed

I'm trying to put together the final planning for my trip to Italy next month, and one of the things that is most important to me is the dining aspect of the trip. I've complied a list of restaurants in Rome to check out, but I'm having more difficulty with Naples. I'd love to hear from other chowhounds where to go for some good, authentic Neopolitan food (I'm covered for pizza recommendations). We will be staying in the Chiaia district, near Piazzza Martiri, so restaurants in this general vicinity would be most appreciated, although I'd like to find something close to the Archeological Museum for lunch.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)

    we just got back and one lunch place nr the Arch Museum sticks out - Cantina della Sapienza on Via Della Sapienza, a small, family-owned Slowfood place that has a pleasant regular clientele (lots of medical folks from the hospitals and faculties nearby). It looks like the Dad runs the front of the house and the Mom and two wellfed sons the kitchen. They have a BIG array of vegetable dishes on display and on the menu that can be ordered separately or as a mixed antipasto, simple stuff like grilled scamorza and pasta fagiole are excellent - other stuff looked good too, good prices.

    Farther into the centro and past Spaccanapoli is and at La Chitarra (also in Slowfood) on Rampe San Giovanni Maggiore which serves a 3 course fixed lunch, very tasty for maybe 9 euros - they are supposed to have more stuff in the evening.) My lunch was a large place of pasta arrabiata with a nice light tomato sauce chile bite and dusting of parsley (very good, more than I could eat, a large slice of smoked scamorza bakers style cooked in a light tomato sauce and a good salad. Excellent value (the house red wine was rather thin) Taverna del Arte is next door, also rec by Slowfood, open eves only

    Since weve come home I sussed out some campanian smoked scamorza at my local italian store - we have been frying it regularly!

    You possibly might want to walk a few more blocks for great pizzerie on Via Tribunali (great street life too) - Matteo on Via Tribunali 94 had absolutely stunning crust very bubbly with little touches of char - extremely impressive and wonderful - my white pie with prosciutto, parm and rucola was just great - for some reason the cheese on my husband's margherita was insufficiently melted and so the texture was not so good and it was a bit soggy with the tomatoes by the end.. Sorbillo, also on Via Tribunali was also very good, had a white pie there also, with friarielli (like broccoli raab) and salsicci - the cheese underneath was swooningly good and even tho the crust didnt match Matteo the ensemble was excellent. There are several other pizzerie on that strip unsampled. ps. re Matteo - the seating there is upstairs and on the side - just enter next to the oven and they will point you. They offer a whole range of little fried things - do try some as an appetizer - I was sorry we didint.

    Also in that area - We had a very nice dinner at the Trattoria Port'Alba in Via Port Alba, a seafood pasta followed by a nice fish - kind service (dining room upstairs) people were eating pizzas too. Never found Dante e Beatrice on Piazza Danta - its supposed to be at 44 - at 48 is Leon d'Oro (recommended by L'Espresso) and at 53 is "al 53" I wanted to go to that one but the time change messed us up - on Sunday afternoon, I looked in to see a great antipasto spread and many family groups relaxing and enjoying themselves overe their meals.

    Here are some additional useful sources

    A link to the recommendations of the main italian foodguides in major cities:

    link Luciano Pignataro's page recommended by another savvy chowhound (very good
    ) - click on "scelti per voi" on left - when the new page comes up, click on the same words on the top - you will then get the osteria pull down - select your province, campania, your region, naples and you are in biz

    the carla capalbo book - Ive read it its very good, not sure it recommends much you wont pick up from the other sources if you are only visiting naples, excellent for food oriented travel in the region

    arthur schwartz - check his website for a few reccs and background
    fred plotkin - covers campania, some good reccs, not sure about the updating but if you have the book, old or new, he's reliable.

    the churches and urban environment in the Naples Centro are just magnificent - dont miss the Gesu Nuovo (a more restrained Neapolitan Baroque when you get tired of wild marble inlays in black-white-gold-red etc), San Lorenzo (with its underground excavations, Santa Chiara for gothic etc. Above all take the time to go up to Capodimonte for the Art Museum - just splendid, one of the best.

    I have some reccs for Pompeii (if you are going there) to post later.

    Sorry I cant add personal experience in the Chaia/Santa Lucia area - we never made it down that way - but there are a lot of ideas in the linked materials above.

    Enjoy your trip!

    2 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      what Ive said above barely scratches the surface in Naples - I mean, I was only there 3 days. One further observation - the day of the week matters so check whether your chosen restuarants are open. Via Tribunali and the surrounding area in Spaccanapoli, which was the heart of my explorations, is very quiet on weekends. Ttourist oriented places, sit down restaurants (classic Sunday lunch destinations!) around Piazza Dante , Piazza Bellini like al 53 are still open , Scaturchio, etc. (but lots of the shops, pizza places etc that really flavor up the area are closed. Cantina Sapienza (a lunch only restaurant), La Chitarra and Taverna del Arte are all CLOSED. on the weekend.

      1. re: jen kalb

        This is a wonderful rundown..thanks for posting; I will save it for my next trip!

      2. I don't remember the name of the restaurant but it was right in the middle of the Marina in front of the Castel dell'Ovo. It was our last night and we came into Naples that day from a week on the Amalfi coast. The atmosphere was unbeatable and the food was great fresh seafood, of course.

        3 Replies
        1. re: 2top

          Are you thinking of Z Teresa? I would prefer Da Dora.

          1. re: shayne

            I can't recall. All I remember it was on the city side and was flanked by other restaurants. There was a full moon also.

            1. re: shayne

              After checking GoogleEarth I think the place I enjoyed is in the middle of the dock before or next door to Ristorante Transatlantico. Centro Nautico Santa Lucia, Via Luculliana 15 (Borgo Marinari).

          2. I love Europeo Mattozzi, in the center, I've walked there from the museum but it's not right around the corner, maybe 20 min. The antipasti flow fast and loose but try to save room for pasta, or pasta e fagioli, and fresh fish. I haven't been to Dante e Beatrice in eons, but would certainly consider it as a choice for something nearer the museum.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mbfant

              Thanks for all the great suggestions - too bad I only have three days/ 6 meals to indulge!

              1. re: hazel1

                Try to include a day trip to Procida - only an hour or so by boat so it can be done in a half day - the island of Limoncello and lemon grove dining. Some wonderful local food - check out the Procida website and pick your favorite picturesque restaurant setting.

                Agree, it is hard to not dine well in Naples - where everything Italian is still wonderfully alive and well.

            2. Da Dora. Must reserve in advance. Delicious food in charming small very local restaurant. An added highlight is Dora's singing. Don't miss it.

              5 Replies
              1. re: shayne

                What a wonderful thread! In planning for my upcoming visit to Naples (only two days there) I was wondering about Dora..the place is in every guidebook; seems quite pricey. Worth it for great local food?

                Another place which appears to be near our hotel (in Chiaia) is Umberto at Via Alabardieri, 30/31...any opinions on this one??

                If anyone has recent eating/food information, please advise! (We are in the city on a Friday and Saturday..)

                Many thanks!

                1. re: erica

                  We ate at Umberto last May, at the recommendation of a local shopkeeper, and had a fine meal. Many people at nearby tables were eating pizza, which looked delicious, but we ordered from their regular menu, including a couple of suggestions from the waiter. I can't recall specifically what we had, but I do remember that we were very satisfied with our food as well as the service, and later told the shopkeeper how much we enjoyed it.

                  1. re: hazel1

                    Hazel thank you. I will think about eating here on our first night as it is close to the hotel and the menu looks very good...


                    Question: Is it likely that restaurants in Naples will be closed next weekend, which is a long holiday weekend due to May 1 falling on Thursday..?? Does the city usually clear out on this kind of weekend??

                  2. re: erica

                    We had two pasta dishes and a fish each at Dora, plus a bottle of wine which cost 90 Euros, the total came out to about 170 Euros. There were a lot of other tourists there (each with guidebook in hand, haha), but the place didn't feel touristy at all. We loved it.

                    1. re: erica

                      Hi Erica,

                      I also replied to your Amalfi thread, but pizza at da Michele was excellent, not to be missed (and it was an amazing value, 2 pizzas, three beers and a large bottle of water ended up being 17 euros!). We also highly recommend Dora. Have fun in the city! We are off to Capri today...

                  3. If you are going to Napoli, I would expect you would like some pizza. Da Michele and Il Trianon, which are across the street from each other are the places to go. They are in Spaccanapoli not too far from the station...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Campania

                      Of course we will eat pizza! I have Matteo on my short list. What is the word on Brandi, which seems to be near our hotel??