Pasta, patate e provola, pasta e fagioli, salsiccia e friarielli, scarpariello, frittata di maccheroni, crocchè, pizza, pizzetta, pizza a portafoglio, parmigiana, ragù, genovese, cuoppo fritto, ‘o pere e ‘o musso, gattò di patate, zucchine alla scapece, polpo alla Luciana, tortano, sartù di riso, babà, sfugliatella, pastiera, caffè e triccheballacche… In Naples, food is abundance, warmth, hospitality. And a mountain of carbohydrates, good ones though, and fragrant doughs. Pizza is just the tip of the iceberg: in this guide you will certainly find addresses where you can eat some great ones, but also sincere, unfashionable, authentic places where you can discover the less famous dishes of Neapolitan tradition!
Pizzeria Starita: In my opinion (and at the risk of my life) the best pizza in Naples. Rustic, genuine atmosphere, very fast service, crazy good smell, pictures of saints on the walls. The neighborhood is Materdei, one of the most authentic in the city.
Must Order: The Marinara Starita (with a lot of grated Parmigiano cheese and fresh little tomatoes) and the famous and revered corno di Maradona, fried dough stuffed with ricotta, pork cracklings and black pepper.
Isabella de Cham Pizza Fritta: A little place in the heart of Sanità, a neighborhood that has been enjoying greater popularity in recent years, run by an all-female team led by Isabella De Cham, owner and pizzaiola of the eponymous pizzeria. Famous for her perfect pizza fritta (fried pizza), hers is also a more than worthy address for frittatine di pasta (cooked and fried pasta medallions, usually spaghetti, with various fillings in the middle) filled with seasonal produce.
Must Order: Isabella’s classic pizza fritta with mozzarella and tomatoes; frittatina di spaghetti alla Nerano (fried spaghetti with cheese and zucchini) and frittatina di pasta alla parmigiana (with eggplants and tomatoes). But I recommend consulting the menu because it changes often.
Lombardi 1892: The business has been open since 1892 (obviously) with classic, old-school Neapolitan pizza–no edges, no fluffy crusts, excellent dough. But we are not here to talk about its pizza (which I do recommend, especially the ripieno al forno): try the fritti, you won’t regret it.
Must Order: Lombardi’s crocchè di patate (fried smashed potatoes with pepper and cheese) has all the taste of tradition.
Concettina ai Tre Santi by Ciro Oliva: Now a must stop in Naples, in the heart of Sanità and just a few steps from Isabella de Cham, Ciro Oliva’s pizzeria appeals to Neapolitans and tourists alike. A place, where pizza gains a whole new meaning, Ciro and his family merge tradition with innovation and we promise you that the results are expolosive. Get ready to savor one of the best doughs, gourmet pizza and atmospheres in the city.
Must Order: If you want to taste everything (recommended) try the tasting menù or go for the unmissable Annarell’ sandwich, sott’ngopp fried pizza with sauce underneath instead of on top and a pizza with ragù and ricotta di bufala. Or, my favorite, pizza cosacca, just tomato and grated cheese, no mozzarella.
Annarell’ sandwich, Concettina ai Tre Santi
Salumeria Upnea: Right in the historic center and very close to the Basilica of Santa Chiara (check out the splendid cloister!), this little restaurant has an informal ambience, an exhibition of photos by contemporary artists, and a menu to suit all tastes.
Must Order: Ziti al ragù: classic Neapolitan ragù with braciola (veal chop), tight, tasty, cooked for hours and hours (or the variant in the cozzetto, the final part of the bread).
Salumeria Malinconico: A historic address in the city since 1890 and the king of the marenna napulitana (Neapolitan panini) with sandwiches filled with literally everything, including fantastic fresh mozzarella. You can also buy its beautiful merchandising (t-shirts, fabric shoppers, hats) or organize a photoshoot between refrigerators and shopping trolleys. It’s basically a delicatessen, greengrocer and market all in one space, but the owners organize small sit-down dinners in the evenings if you book in advance. Ask for Alessio, you won’t regret it.
Must Order: Mamma Amelia’s focaccia (the mom of one of the owners) and Stephanie’s parmigiana.
La Locanda del Cerriglio: To reach this historic place, which is said to have hosted even Caravaggio, you have to cross the narrowest alleyway in Naples (hidden in the corner of Piazzetta di Porto). It was cited by Basile and Cortese as their “favorite tavern, where you can sing and drink… Coming in at lo Cerrigli is sweet”. On the shutter you will find a painted Pulcinella, one of the symbols of Neapolitan folklore.
Must Order: Ziti alla genovese with a piece of meat on every plate is a religion. Don’t be fooled by the name, they have nothing to do with Genova. Also try the bucatini all’ischitana, pasta with a rabbit and tomato sauce, typical of Ischia island.
Osteria della Mattonella: Walls covered with ceramics framing the kitchen, painted plates and grandmother’s dishes. This is an old family-run trattoria between the Quartieri Spagnoli and Monte di Dio. With a cozy inside and cheap prices, you can taste any traditional Neapolitan dish here.
Must Order: The pasta, patate e provola is a must. And then the meatballs, zucchini alla scapece, and sausage with friarielli (broccoli rabe).
Trattoria Speranzella: Checkered tablecloths, wood, worn counters, antique floors, the corner restaurant is a stone’s throw from the San Carlo Theater, but nestled in a noisy, lively alley. You will recognize it immediately from the red-painted sign.
Must Order: Fusilli alla mammà (with meatballs in the sauce) and the polipetti alla Luciana (baby octopus with tomato sauce and red wine), which you can find in two versions, either as an appetizer or as a sauce for spaghetti.
Ziti alla genovese, Mimi Alla Ferrovia
Mimì alla Ferrovia: Not far from Garibaldi Station, wandering through the alleyways of the multi-ethnic neighborhood, you come across this historic trattoria, open since 1943 and very popular with locals and tourists alike. The owner and his son chef Salvatore Giugliano (known as Sasà) will welcome you as if you were old friends.
Must Order: All the antipasti and their ziti alla genovese. The homemade desserts are the icing on the cake.
Cibi Cotti Nonna Anna: Naples is not just pasta and pizza, but also countless traditional vegetable-based side dishes. At Anna Pappalardo’s, you can taste them all: it’s like going to grandma’s house, only it’s a pleasure to eat vegetables. Nestled in the Torretta district market, this spot often goes unnoticed, but is spartan, fast and authentic.
Must Order: All the vegetable side dishes and the dishes of the day that Anna recommends.
Le Zendraglie: In Naples, there is a very long tradition of offal dishes–not for picky eaters. The king of them is definitely ‘o pere e ‘o musso (pig’s foot and calf’s snout cleaned, boiled, cut into pieces and served with salt and lemon juice). Located in the Pignasecca neighborhood, this restaurant takes its name from the zandraglie, the women of the common people who retrieved meat scraps from the kitchens of the Royal Palace. In fact, in Naples, since 1600, the offal and entrails of animals slaughtered and cooked in the royal kitchens were thrown from the doors and balconies of the royal and noble kitchens to the plebs as a sign of His Majesty’s magnanimity. The French term for these entrails was “les entrailles”, which in neapolitan dialect became “e zandraglie”. Not to be confused with other zandraglie, sweets similar to chiacchiere.
Must Order: ‘O pere e ‘o musso con lemon, olives and lupins; la trippa al sugo (tripe with tomato sauce); la zuppa forte (a traditional, particularly savory and robust stew made from coratella di maiale, i.e. the offal of the pig consisting mainly of heart, lungs, spleen and trachea, with the addition of tomato paste, lard, chili pepper, bay leaf, herbs and red wine).
Pescheria Azzurra: If you have a craving for seafood, you have to stay in the Pignasecca district and look for the Pescheria Azzurra: this is not a classic restaurant, but a buzzing business where locals also stop to buy fresh fish. Spartan tables but very fresh products and a noisy environment, immersed in the typical Neapolitan ammuina (happy confusion).
Must Order: Spaghetti alle vongole or any first course “allo scoglio” (with mixed seafood). Let the staff also advise you on the fresh fish caught that very day.
‘A Fenestella: If you prefer a more refined ambience or have a pickier palate, then you must pop in here. Situated on a cliff, very close to the famous and unmissable “Finestrella di Marechiaro”, an extremely evocative and romantic place, the restaurant ‘A Fenestella will make you fall in love. Clearly, fish dishes are king here too. Elegant ambience, but you’ll be too busy admiring the beautiful view to notice.
Must Order: Paccheri di Gragnano with lobster and the gnocchetti ‘a fenestella, homemade gnocchi with clams, shrimps and lemon sauce. If there are any, ask for cannolicchi (razor clams).
Pasticceria Carraturo Vittorio: A legend in Naples. There are several pastry shops that bear this surname, but the best is the one opposite the Circumvesuviana Napoli Porta Nolana station.
Must Order: Of course, sfogliatella riccia, sfogliatella frolla (the ricotta filling is the same, but the first one has a crispy shell and the second has a shortcrust pastry shell) and babà–the holy trio of the città (and I even rhymed).
Pasticceria Pintauro: Along Via Toledo, while shopping, you are bound to come across this small, ancient pastry shop. It is said that sfogliatelle were born here in 1785.
Must Order: Ça va sans dire, try both the sfogliatella riccia and sfogliatella frolla, as well as its pastiera (a traditional Neapolitan cake, typical of the Easter period, made of shortcrust pastry, ricotta cheese, eggs and with an intense aroma of orange blossom).
Libreria Berisio: In the lively area of Port’Alba, to the left of the hemicycle of Piazza Dante, there is a historic bookshop active since the 1950s that not only sells books and magazines, but also organizes evenings where you can eat and drink wine, often with live music, surrounded by a sophisticated and cozy atmosphere.
Must Order: A glass of Aglianico or Falanghina (typical red and white wines of the Campania region), cocktails of any kind, they are all good and relatively inexpensive, and a board of charcuterie and cheeses with which you can never go wrong.
10 Diego Vitagliano Pizzeria (Bagnoli location): Just outside the center of Naples with excellent pizza and unforgettable fritti. The best contemporary pizza at the moment (plus they also have gluten-free options).
Must Order: Frittatina di pasta, aglio, olio e peperoncino. Any pizza (or all of them).
Braceria Rispoli: In Cava De’ Tirreni (about 40km away from Naples), a steakhouse where you can taste Campania’s best meats. Their first courses are also absolutely excellent. Great wine selection, refined ambience.
Must Order: Grilled Prussian beef; their spaghetti allo scarpariello (tomato sauce and lots of parmesan) is the best I have ever tasted.
Armatore – La Dispensa: An address on the costiera is mandatory. Splendid in summer, this small restaurant overlooking the sea at Cetara is linked to the Armatore Cetara company, a famous producer of colatura d’alici (a typical amber-coloured, shiny liquid sauce obtained by maturing anchovies in a solution of salt and water).
Must Order: Anchovies from Cetara and red tuna. The menu is always changing so adjust according to the options revolving around these two exceptional products.