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Shopping, dining in Napoli

My wife and I will be in an apartment overlooking the Bay for the first two weeks in April. We will not have a car.

Our flat has excellent views but, even better, a wonderful kitchen. I need advice on day-to-day shopping (my wife is an excellent cook) and restaurant recommendations: casual lunch, fancy lunch, same for supper. We like all foods.

We'll be doing a lot of day tripping so insight into end-of-journey destinations like cozy wine bars and places with decent nibbles would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. HOw wonderful! Believe me, you will not miss the car. when you say "over the bay" what neighborhood or area in the city are you referring to?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jen kalb

      Hi Jen, I was hoping you would respond.

      My apartment is in a palazzo in the Riviera di Chiaia district.

    2. I will be in Naples on Oct 16 for three nights....any and all dining ideas would be most welcome. First visit.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ciao Bob

        We're on our own, Bob. That's the way it works sometimes.

        Enjoy your trip, post a full report and I'll do the same.

        1. re: steve h.

          Here are some suggestions. Since we stayed in near Piazza Dante and Vomero on our two visits, and did not visit the Chiaia/Riviera di Chiaia area dont have direct experience there.

          Food Shopping - the Pignasecca market, running between the Montesanto station and Via Toledo is great.. We even found some nice porchetta in one of the shops. The taralli with nuts, which is made with lard which is findable in the vicinity (one shop is on Via Toledo) is very good. There are also local items in the shops along Via Tribunali. Squitezze, the cheese cafe associated with the restaurant Stanza del Gusto, on Via Constantanopli, specialized in regional products and when we were there had some nice packaged items for sale. Fred Plotkins book, I believe has some recommendations in Via Chiaia - take a look at that if you have it, The local tomatoes and lemons if in season are, of course fantastic. On our first visit, there were braids of tomatoes handing in the shops in March,

          I will post a little later about some Restaurants.

          1. re: steve h.

            Wow - when it rains it pours.
            We have a lot to, um, digest!

            Just arrived in in Rome. Had a fabulous seafood dinner at Caffe Ciampini. Negronis then a feast.
            Crudo platters of Sea bass and Gamberi Rosso carpaccios, a "semi crudo" plate of squid/octopus/olives/mussels/tuna, wonderful spaghetti with bottarga e vongole, and rissotto frutti di mare.
            So great to be back in Rome.

            1. re: Ciao Bob

              Excellent!

              Special thanks to Jen and the Bee.

        2. It is easy to get up to Vomero from where you are, and fun, because you go up the funicular. I highly urge you not to miss eating at Donna Teresa.

          I think it is fun to read Luciano Pignataro's blog. I didn't find Katie Parla's blog helpful, and just about 99 percent of all the other standard guides save Plotkin are really more concerned with keeping you in some kind of comfort zone for perceived safety than getting you closer to the local cuisine.

          Even if your wife is an excellent cook, I highly recommend letting the Neapolitans cook for you as a much as possible. It is not an expensive experiment, and there is a lot of variety on the menus, impossible to get through in a single week. it is a great education in meal making and cooking to eat the wonderful soups and pastas and veg dishes.

          Also, don't neglect Napoli's myriad flamboyant pastries, some of the very best in Italy. There is more than sfogliatelle (and please don't eat sfogliatelle from Mary's. I think it is the worst).

          If you are planning daytrips by train, then an end of day meal at Mimi alla Ferrovia near the train station can be delightful (even if you aren't planning train trips!) The best sfogliatelle I tasted were also near the train station, at Attanasio.

          Caffe Mexico serves dynamite coffee. There are several branches dotted around the city (including one opposite the train station). If you don't want any sugar in your coffee, say so before the barista makes it for you, but I recommend trying it at least once with sugar.

          Have a great time. I've enjoyed eating in the trattorie of Napoli much more than Piemonte, and not just because it is one-third the cost. Bring home lots and lots of pasta. It is some of the best made anywhere, and it is lightweight to pack.

          5 Replies
          1. re: barberinibee

            My wife and I like to shop on the economy. It binds us to the neighborhood. Our apartment has a fancy kitchen and we intend to exploit it. Yes, the views are that good from the terrace.

            Returning from a day of moderate tourism requires knowledge of a few good neighborhood wine bars. Nibbles are important. Any insight?

            1. re: steve h.

              You might find this particularly useful

              http://www.lucianopignataro.it/r/low-...

              I don't think of Napoli as a wine-bars-nibbles place like you have in Northern Italy (although Pignataro is probably the go-to-guy for wine bars in Naples). There are, however, the great historic cafes, if you want to sit down and sip something. Or this might work for you (no personal experience with it, but I suspect it shares the fault of I mentioned above regarding standard tourist guides

              http://www.timeout.com/naples/search/...

              There is a lot of street snack food. You can get at an idea of that scene reading this

              http://www.arthurschwartz.com/guide/o...

              It is hard to cook in Naples cheaper than you can eat out. Something I would recommend to someone who loves to cook is to spend the time between now and departure date cooking some classic Neapolitian recipes (Pignataro's blog has quite a few). And then eat the real deal in Napoli. Even if you decide to cook in Napoli, knowing the local recipes will give you a head start when confronted with the local ingredients.

              http://www.lucianopignataro.it/a/past...

              http://www.lucianopignataro.it/r/le-r...

              Views are a nice part of Napoli. So is the abundant public life of the city, so I hope you will plunge into that. There is a lot to be seen and learned in the city's myriad eateries, serving all classes of people.

              1. re: barberinibee

                It's my first time as a Napoli denizen. My wife and I have day tripped but never lived on the economy.

                I'll report back on where we shopped, what we bought, how it tasted. The key is where we enjoyed end-of-day nibbles and wine in our neighborhood.

                To be continued.

              2. re: steve h.

                We tend to eat in in Italy in the evening but not to do a lot of cooking - easy when there is plenty of salumi, cheese fruit and veg and pastries to sample. In Naples there are quite a number of stores/ tavole calde selling prepared dishes -There is a small chain called L.U.I.S.E for example with a couple of shops which may be convenient to you. Friggitorie are another source (though the fried things we tried were rather heavy) My GR lowcost guide mentions a place called Pescheria Mattiucci at Vico Belladonna a Chiaia,27 - looks good!
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx17Tt...

                Dining out is inexpensive in Napoli unless you decide to splash out - we didnt get to Donna Teresa, but places like Hosteria Toledo (fine welcome, solid food), Cantina di Sapienza (lunch place near Archeologico), Ciro a Santa Brigida (quite an experience for food and ambience), La Chitarra and Squisitezze (misspelled above) were very pleasing.

                In your end of town my notes indicate that places include Da Dora (seafood), La Notizia on Via Caravaggio and da Ettore for Pizza, Amici Miei, Osteria della Mattonella,Umberto on Via Albardieri and Radici could be worth looking into. Toward the top of my want to try list has been Vadinchenia (a slowfood place) also not far.Brandi, I think and da Tonino, via Santa Teresa a Chiaia,47 is also recommended in GR lowcost.

                I didnt really notice winebars as a Napoli phenomenon at least in the central areas we frequented but I note a couple in GR - La Cantino di Triunfo, Riviera di Chiaia 64 and La Barrique piazzaetta Ascensione, 9

                Our favorite pizza has been at Gino Sorbillo via Tribunali 32 but there are so many good pizzerie that you will not have too few choices!

                I agree with bb about the coffee at Mexico and avoiding Mary's overrated sfogliatelle - dont waste the calories.

                Do check out the Pignataro wineblog - lots of info on Napoli and the region -really a priceless resource of enthusiasm and knowledge for Campania particularly. the site has gotten a bit harder to navigate but here is a page you can start on. http://www.lucianopignataro.it/r/i-ri...

                Ive posted reccs for Pompeii and Ercolano if you search and expand the date range. One area we noted that Campania was not like northern italy was the dicey public transportation when we travelled into the Campo Flegrei area. It was a little less predictable and we did LOTS of unanticpated walking along highways- some of the slowfood etc restaurants in that area are pretty much unreachable without a taxi or private car which would be advised to visit that zone (Cuma, Baia, etc

                There have been posts about Ischia and Procida if you extend the date range, but we didnt make in there in our most recent (October) visit due to rain and stormy seas.I spent hours researching how to get to Il Focolare there along with hiking in the hills, but it didnt happen!http://www.trattoriailfocolare.it/ind...

                Do check out Plotkin for his walk on the Via Chiaia - tho you really will not need him will you? and you might want to look at Arthur Schwartz's Food Maven website, though I dont think his reccs for Naples have been updated recently.
                http://www.thefoodmaven.com/guide/ind...

                Naples is a magic place and looking forward to your report. Do take an umbrella if travelling in the fall - its not cold and it doesnt rain every day, but its the rainy season in thisregion.

                1. re: steve h.

                  We tend to eat in in Italy in the evening but not to do a lot of cooking - easy when there is plenty of salumi, cheese fruit and veg and pastries to sample. In Naples there are quite a number of stores/ tavole calde selling prepared dishes -There is a small chain called L.U.I.S.E fir example with a couple of shops which may be convenient to you. Friggitorie are another source (though the fried things we tried were rather heavy) My GR lowcost guide mentions a place called Pescheria Mattiucci at Vico Belladonna a Chiaia,27 - looks good!
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx17Tt...

                  Dining out is inexpensive in Napoli unless you decide to splash out - we didnt get to Donna Teresa, but places like Hosteria Toledo (fine welcome, solid food), Cantina di Sapienza (lunch place near Archeologico), Ciro a Santa Brigida (quite an experience for food and ambience), La Chitarra and Squisitezze (misspelled above) were very pleasing.

                  In your end of town my notes indicate that places include Da Dora (seafood), La Notizia on Via Caravaggio and da Ettore for Pizza, Amici Miei, Osteria della Mattonella,Umberto on Via Albardieri and Radici and Cantanopoii could be worth looking into. Toward the top of my want to try list has been Vadinchenia (a slowfood place) also not far.Brandi, I think and da Tonino, via Santa Teresa a Chiaia,47 is also recommended in GR lowcost.

                  I didnt really notice winebars as a Napoli phenomenon at least in the central areas we frequented but I note a couple in GR - La Cantino di Triunfo, Riviera di Chiaia 64 and La Barrique piazzaetta Ascensione, 9

                  Our favorite pizza has been at Gino Sorbillo via Tribunali 32 but there are so many good pizzerie that you will not have too few choices!

                  I agree with bb about the coffee at Mexico and avoiding Mary's overrated sfogliatelle - dont waste the calories.

                  Do check out the Pignataro wineblog - lots of info on Napoli and the region -really a priceless resource of enthusiasm and knowledge for Campania particularly. the site has gotten a bit harder to navigate but here is a page you can start on. http://www.lucianopignataro.it/r/i-ri...

                  Ive posted reccs for Pompeii and Ercolano if you search and expand the date range. One area we noted that Campania was not like northern italy was the dicey public transportation when we travelled into the Campo Flegrei area. It was a little less predictable and we did LOTS of unanticpated walking along highways- some of the slowfood etc restaurants in that area are pretty much unreachable without a taxi or private car which would be advised to visit that zone (Cuma, Baia, etc

                  There have been posts about Ischia and Procida if you extend the date range, but we didnt make in there in our most recent (October) visit due to rain and stormy seas.I spent hours researching how to get to Il Focolare there along with hiking in the hills, but it didnt happen!http://www.trattoriailfocolare.it/ind...

                1. re: steve h.

                  just to mention a few simple dishes (other than pizza) we particularly enjoyed in Campania- the cuisine is lighter than you expect and the veg are great - pasta with "genovese" sauce, basically a beef flavored onion ragu, stewed octopus. pezzogna (a fine whole fish of the region), melanzane parmigiana, grilled provola cheese, pastas with seafood or fish and above all the wonderful vegetarian antipasti, including scapece - never a mistake to start a meal with a plate of these.They are good at frying too - fritto misto can be a good choice if you like fried fishes.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Jen, in between cooking these wonderful dishes and actually being in Naples (too long ago, maybe next year, tho), I like to spend a few minutes every so often with the wonderful Mimmo Corcione, the pensioner from Boscotrecase whose many home kitchen videos are little gems of napolitanita. Here's Mimmo making salsicce e friarell'.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbJWz...